Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment, Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors

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Information you must learn about seborrheic dermatitis

Image of seborrheic dermatitis alongside the hairline; photograph courtesy of Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

Seborrheic dermatitis might be the one most typical inflammatory pores and skin situation affecting people except for acne vulgaris.
Seborrheic dermatitis is extremely treatable however incurable.
The course of seborrheic dermatitis is characterised by spontaneous remissions and exacerbations (flare-ups).
Seborrheic dermatitis impacts all ages.

What’s seborrheic dermatitis?

DermatitisSeborrheic dermatitis produces a crimson scaling, often weepy, oozy eruption.Seborrheic dermatitis is a persistent irritation of the pores and skin that sometimes waxes and wanes.Seborrheic dermatitis produces a crimson scaling, often weepy, oozy eruption.Seborrheic dermatitis generally entails parts of the scalp, brows, mid-face, ears, mid-chest, and mid-back. It’s not uncommon for it to have an effect on the pores and skin of infants and younger kids the place it typically entails the scalp (cradle cap) and the diaper space.Seborrheic dermatitis is often known as seborrhea.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Therapy

Shampoos and over-the-counter merchandise

When the rash impacts your scalp, using nonprescription shampoos containing tar, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or zinc pyrithione are ceaselessly ample to manage most of your signs. Resistant scalp seborrhea or involvement of hairless pores and skin is ceaselessly handled with anti-inflammatory lotions containing weak topical steroids like 1% hydrocortisone cream (out there over-the-counter). Ketoconazole cream, a prescription treatment, can be efficient in controlling signs and indicators. Cussed circumstances could require stronger topical steroids.

Learn about other treatments for seborrheic dermatitis »

Seborrheic dermatitis vs. psoriasis

Seborrheic dermatitisImage of seborrheic dermatitis on the brow; photograph courtesy of Gary W. Cole, MD, FAADSince each of those situations can have an effect on the scalp with an itchy scaling dermatitis, it may generally be troublesome to tell apart one from the opposite. Apart from scalp involvement, psoriasis sometimes entails anatomically completely different areas of pores and skin than seborrheic dermatitis. As well as, seborrheic dermatitis is eczematous dermatitis producing a weepy, oozing look.Psoriasis produces papules and plaques of scaling crimson pores and skin. A pathological examination of a skin biopsy isn’t obligatory to tell apart these two situations.

Seborrheic dermatitis vs. dandruff

DandruffDandruff flakes signify scales from the scalp.Dandruff is solely an indication of the extreme manufacturing of the pores and skin. It may be seen in numerous inflammatory pores and skin illnesses, together with seborrhea and psoriasis.


An average adult has about ________ square feet of skin.
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What are danger elements for seborrheic dermatitis?

Though virtually all sufferers with seborrheic dermatitis are typically wholesome, there does appear to be an affiliation with illnesses of the central nervous system and AIDS (HIV).

What causes seborrheic dermatitis?

Medical professionals have a poor understanding of the causes of seborrheic dermatitis. There are some newly acknowledged genetic influences in seborrheic dermatitis. Eleven gene mutations or protein deficiencies seem like extra widespread in people with seborrheic dermatitis. A lot of the genes play a task both within the immune response or epidermal differentiation. Since this situation tends to happen in areas of heavy sebum manufacturing, it’s felt that oily pores and skin could also be an element resulting in seborrheic dermatitis. As well as, it appears that evidently many sufferers with seborrheic dermatitis have an plentiful progress of regular pores and skin yeast (Pityrosporum or Malassezia) within the affected areas. The truth that topical antifungal medicines are efficient in controlling seborrheic dermatitis has led some to conclude fungi could play a task in inflicting this illness. Whether or not these regular members of the cutaneous microbiome play a causal position in seborrheic dermatitis stays to be decided. Sufferers with extreme central nervous system illness (dementia and traumatic mind accidents) appear to have extra bother with seborrheic dermatitis. It’s unclear if the nervous system performs a task in inflicting seborrhea or that it’s merely an absence of regular hygiene.

Is seborrheic dermatitis contagious?

Seborrheic dermatitis will not be contagious.

What are seborrheic dermatitis signs and indicators?

The rash itself is characteristically crimson and scaling however often can change into weepy and oozy. The scaling could be intensive sufficient to provide vital dandruff and would be the affected person’s main criticism.The distribution of this rash is usually of nice assist in making the prognosis. In adults, areas generally concerned embrace the scalp, the outer ear, and exterior auditory canal, the brow, the eyebrows, the eyelids, the cheeks adjoining to the nostril, together with the folds that extends from the nostril to the edges of the mouth, and fewer generally the armpits, the mid-chest, and mid-back areas. In babies, the rash causes a scalp eruption generally referred to as “cradle cap.” It will also be extra intensive and contain the diaper space as properly. Though in each adults and kids the rash could don’t have any signs, it generally causes itching, particularly within the scalp.


Seborrheic Dermatitis
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What specialties of well being care professionals diagnose and deal with seborrheic dermatitis?

Most major care physicians, pediatricians, internists, and household docs are in a position to diagnose and deal with seborrheic dermatitis. Sometimes, it might be essential to refer sufferers to a dermatologist for a prognosis.

How do well being care professionals diagnose seborrheic dermatitis?

The prognosis of seborrheic dermatitis is normally made clinically, that means that the physician acknowledges it on the premise of its look. Sometimes, a scraping of pores and skin scales handled with potassium hydroxide is examined utilizing a microscope to exclude a fungal an infection. A skin biopsy isn’t required for prognosis.

What’s the therapy for seborrheic dermatitis?

Therapy of hair-bearing areas, just like the scalp, typically consists of using over-the-counter shampoos which will comprise a number of of the next elements:

Tar (DHS Tar, Neutrogena T/Gel)
Ketoconazole (Nizoral requires a prescription)
Zinc pyrithione (Head & Shoulders, Dermazinc)
Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue)
Salicylic acid (Neutrogena T/Sal)
10% sodium sulfacetamide and 5% sulfur resolution (Novacet, Sulfacet R lotion)

As well as, the appliance of a prescription-strength topical steroid lotion or resolution of weak to average efficiency is efficient comparable to desonide (Desonate, DesOwen, LoKara, Verdeso), clobetasol (Clobex, Cormax), betamethasone valerate (Valisone), fluocinolone (Capex, Synalar), hydrocortisone, and triamcinolone (Aristocort, Aristocort HP, Kenalog, Triderm).

For non-hair-bearing areas, the appliance of a weak to reasonably potent topical steroid or topical antifungal cream is ceaselessly efficient. The usage of topical calcineurin inhibitors, tacrolimus (Protopic) or pimecrolimus (Elidel) ointments, could be efficient however is kind of an costly different. Sufferers might also use ketoconazole-containing lotions for the therapy of seborrheic dermatitis.

It must be pressured that since this situation is incurable however simply managed; if the illness is energetic and the therapy is stopped, one ought to count on the seborrheic dermatitis to recur. One also needs to use efficient medicines simply ceaselessly sufficient to manage the signs. Extreme therapy of apparently regular pores and skin is economically wasteful in addition to doubtlessly dangerous.

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Are there house cures for seborrheic dermatitis?

There’s little compelling proof that any of the next substances taken both orally or used topically are of any vital profit within the management of seborrheic dermatitis: coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, aloe vera, fish oil supplements, or biotin. However, 1% hydrocortisone, which is cheap and simply out there and not using a prescription, is prone to be very efficient in controlling seborrhea. It may be useful to use olive oil or fluocinolone topical oil to the scalp to melt and loosen flaky or scaly patches; comply with up by completely brushing and washing your hair.

What are problems of seborrheic dermatitis?

There are few problems attributable to this situation. Most issues appear to be associated to misdiagnosis or mistreatment. Not often, sure superficial cutaneous (dermatophyte) fungal infections of the face and scalp can resemble seborrheic dermatitis. If dermatophyte infections are mistakenly handled with anti-inflammatory medicines (topical steroids), extra intensive involvement could possibly be inspired. The overuse of potent topical steroids in an ill-conceived try and remedy this situation, particularly on the face and armpits, can lead to many undesirable pores and skin modifications together with pores and skin thinning. Extreme seborrheic dermatitis can often produce thinning or lack of hair, in nice half most likely associated to extreme scratching. Because the illness is managed, regrowth is anticipated.

What’s the prognosis of seborrheic dermatitis?

Since seborrheic dermatitis typically will not be related to any critical issues, a method of taking a look at prognosis can be optimistic. However, though therapy virtually all the time leads to a wonderful response, it’s unlikely to lead to any sturdy, everlasting decision of the illness.

Is there a strategy to stop seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis will not be preventable.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/5/2022

Borda, Luis J., M. Perper, and J.E. Keri. “Therapy of Seborrheic Dermatitis: A Complete Assessment.” Journal of Dermatological Therapy. 2018 DOI: 10.1080/09546634.2018.1473554.Clark, Gary W., Sara M. Pope, and Khalid A. Jaboori. “Prognosis and Therapy of Seborrheic Dermatitis.” Am Fam Doctor 91.3 (2015): 185-190.Ijaz, N., and D. Fitzgerald. “Seborrheic Dermatitis.” British Journal of Hospital Medication 78.6 June 2017: C88-C91.Okokon, E.O., J.H. Verbeek, J.H. Ruotsalainen, O.A. Ojo, and V.N. Bakhoya. “Topical Antifungals for Seborrheic Dermatitis (Assessment).” Cochrane Database of Systematic Evaluations 5 Could 2, 2015.Stefanaki, I., and A. Katsambas. “Therapeutic Replace on Seborrheic Dermatitis.” Pores and skin Remedy Lett. 15.5 Could 2010: 1-4.

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