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Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis

May 1, 2024
Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic form of eczema that affects areas of the body with a high concentration of oil-producing (sebaceous) glands, such as the upper back, nose, and scalp. It can cause several symptoms, including a rash over the affected area and dandruff. 

While it can be uncomfortable and unsightly, it is not contagious and does not cause permanent hair loss. 

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?

The exact cause of this condition is unclear. It could be caused by the following:

1.  Overgrowth of Malassezia yeast on the skin.

2.  Too much oil in the skin.

3.  Environmental factors like cold, dry weather, stress, and certain skincare products.

Common triggers may include:

·      Stress

·      Certain medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease and HIV.

·      Hormonal changes

·      Certain detergents, chemicals, solvents, and soap.

·      Medications like interferon, psoralen, and lithium.

·      Changes in seasons

What are the Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis can appear differently depending on the individual and the affected area of the body. However, common symptoms include:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • White or yellow flaky scales
  • Itching or burning sensations
  • Greasy or oily skin
  • Dandruff on the scalp

In infants, this condition is often referred to as cradle cap and appears as a thick, crusty, yellow, or brown scale on the scalp.

Who Gets Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis can affect individuals of all ages and genders, but it is most commonly found in:

  • Infants (cradle cap) 2 to 12 months of age
  • Adults age 50 and up
  • Individuals with oily skin
  • Individuals with a family history of seborrheic dermatitis
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and psoriasis.

How Long Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Last?

Seborrheic dermatitis is typically an acute or chronic illness. For some, it may last only a few weeks, while for others, it may be a lifelong condition. Flare-ups can occur with stress, fatigue, or changes in the weather. However, seborrheic dermatitis can be mistaken for other skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.

How is Seborrheic Dermatitis Treated?

The treatment approach varies depending on its severity. In some cases, simply switching to a different shampoo. In some cases, the condition may even resolve on its own without intervention. However, if symptoms persist beyond two weeks, it’s advisable to seek guidance from your healthcare provider. They may recommend that you try one or more of these treatment options:

·      Using non-prescription dandruff shampoos that contain 1% Ketoconazole 1%.

·      Skincare products that contain 2% zinc pyrithione.

·      Gentle cleansers to remove scales and reduce irritation

·      Ointments that control inflammation.

·      Antifungal pills for severe cases.

It is important to follow the instructions provided by a healthcare professional when using these treatments, as overuse can lead to side effects.

How to Prevent Seborrheic Dermatitis?

While seborrheic dermatitis cannot be prevented entirely. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. These include:

  • Keeping the skin and scalp clean and moisturized
  • Avoiding harsh soaps and chemicals.
  • Using gentle cleansers
  • Managing stress through techniques such as meditation, exercise, or therapy
  • Avoiding triggers such as cold, dry weather or certain foods

Seborrheic dermatitis can cause discomfort and embarrassment, but it’s not contagious nor does it harm your health. This condition can be managed with proper treatment. 

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