Seborrhic Dermatitis - Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment
Health Education

Seborrhic Dermatitis

Dr.Raghuveer Murki profile Authored by Dr.Raghuveer Murki on 24 Nov 2013 - 20:31.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder affecting the regions where the sebaceous glands are most active such as scalp, face, chest, perineal and torso areas.  This is a common skin condition seen mostly among those who have dry skin. Typically this condition presents with scaly, flaky itchy red skin.

It occurs more among infants and adults, not so much among middle aged people.  Among infants it normally occurs between 3 – 6 months age group and in severe conditions it is called the cradle scalp which is associated with hair loss. Among children it occurs up to the age of 7 years of age. it is most common in males.

Sometimes it occurs along with Psoriasis and such a condition is called Sebopsoriasis which normally seen on the scalp of adults.

It is caused due to dryness in the skin and is aggravated during winter season. It is mostly seen in the sebaceous gland- rich areas. Genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immune-system factors have been shown to be involved in the manifestation of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. It is said to be aggravated by illness, psychological stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation, change of season and reduced general health. Infective etiology with m.furfur which is a fungal species can be associated with this disease. It has increased incidence of Parkinson's disease, facial paralysis, HIV, zinc and niacin deficiency

Commonly, patients experience pruritis followed by mild redness, scaly skin lesions and in some cases hair loss. Other symptoms include patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp, red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales, itching, soreness and yellow or white scales that may attach to the hair shaft.

In adults, symptoms of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis may last from few weeks to years. Many patients experience alternating periods of inflammation. Dr. Raghuveer, Dermatologist, advises those suffering with flaky red and dry skin on the face, chest, and other areas should immediately see the doctor and take necessary treatment before it aggravates and spreads to other parts of the body. It should be differentiated with Psoriasis,Pityriasis Versicolor, Subacute Lupus, Erythematosus etc.

Those with dry skin and who eat cold foods and egg sometimes develop this skin condition. Eggs have allergens and this might aggravate this condition, and those with immunocomprimised and neurological disorder individuals are prone to this disease.

It can be treated with application of olive oil on the scalp for children. The preferred medication is Hydrocortisone ointment used in the affected areas along with mild steroids depending on the condition and the need for steroids. 

Sometimes this condition is also caused due to fungi in the genital area among children, when a fungal cream called Clotrimazole is recommended by Dermatologists. Even among  adults when the condition is diagnosed to be fungal prone, oral anti-fungal medication like Flcanozole is advised to be taken once a week. Sometimes it causes severe dandruff among adults and teenagers which can be treated with anti-fungal lotions containing selenium sulfide,ketaconazole, zpto or coal tar. In severe cases  oral retinoids and itraconazole can be used.

Self hygiene and application of moisturizers for the body and oil on the scalp should prevent any such dry flaky conditions. Aloevera is very soothing for the skin and creams with aloe vera content in it help dry skin condition generally.

“So be watchful of dry skin problems if the nature of your skin is generally dry. Do not get exposed to direct sunlight without applying sun lotions / moisturizers containing SPF” says Dr. Raghuveer.

*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.