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Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Seborrheic dermatitis is a common inflammation of the upper layers of skin, characterized by loose, greasy or dry, white to yellowish scales , with or without associated reddened skin. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is mainly affecting the scalp, face and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. It is marked by small discolored patches or spots on the skin. Seborrheic dermatitis is often aggravated by cold weather conditions.

It particularly affects the sebum -gland rich areas of skin. It is caused by a fungal infection by the yeast Malassezia furfur in individuals with decreased immunity and increased sebum production.In adolescents and adults, it is commonly called "dandruff." In babies, it is known as "cradle cap."

Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis:

The main causes of seborrheic dermatitis are :-

  • People with immune system disorders are more prone to get affected by seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Certain medications such as auranofin, aurothioglucose, buspirone, chlorpromazine, cimetidine, ethionamide etc. also induces seborrheic dermatitis.
  • The malassezia organisms is the main cause of seborrheic dermatitis, which increases sebum levels.
  • Alcoholic and oily skin peoples are more prone to be involved in seborrheic dermatitis disease.
  • The fungal infection i.e. dandruff in a child is also lead to the condition of seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Patients recovering from traumatic events such as heart attacks can develop seborrheic dermatitis.
  • A person with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has also been linked to increased cases of seborrheic dermatitis.
  • The hormonal imbalance may also lead to seborrheic dermatitis.
  • The neurologic disorders such as Parkinson's disease and epilepsy are also linked with seborrheic dermatitis.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis:

The possible symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are :-

  • The skin on the eyelids may becomes flaky, thick or oily type. Some patients may also have symptoms on the chest and upper back.
  • The skin becomes red over the area of the face and behind the ears.
  • Flakes can be yellow, white, or grayish.
  • Plaques may also be present over large area of the affected skin.
  • Hair loss may also be associated with this disease.
  • The patient may have the itching and burning sensation of skin.
  • The skin lesions are common during seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Dry or greasy scales on the scalp may also present.

Treatments of Seborrheic Dermatitis:

The effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis are:-

  • The use of topical corticosteroids for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis are found very effective without any side-effects.
  • Dandruff can be treated with shampoos containing salicylic acid, tar, selenium, sulfur, or zinc.
  • Steroid lotions may be used in adolescents and adults.
  • Selenium (Selsun) and topical cortisone-like drugs , such as betamethasone and fluocinonide can also be used.
  • Antihistamines is also a useful treatment of this disease.
  • The ultraviolet light treatments i.e.UVA, UVB, can be come in use for seborrheic dermatitis.
  • The immunosuppressive treatments are also helpful in some cases of seborrheic deermatitis.
  • The use of wet dressings to the affected area is also found suitable for it.