What is Seborrheic Dermatitis? (male face)

What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition and one of the most common causes of scalp itchiness. The areas most commonly affected are those rich in sebaceous glands (oil glands) such as the scalp, sides of the nose, forehead, eyebrows, chest and back. Patients may refer to this condition as dandruff of the scalp. In infants, this condition is common on the scalp and is referred to as cradle cap. The condition is particularly common after the fifth or sixth decades of life but can occur across the lifespan.

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?

The exact cause remains unknown but it is thought to be an abnormal immune response to a yeast called Malassezia (formerly known as Pityrosporum) that normally lives on the skin. The oil production in the sebaceous areas of the scalp and face creates a warm and moist environment ideal for Malassezia growth. This condition can be flared by stress, fatigue, seasonal changes and use of certain medications. Seborrheic Dermatitis is not contagious and is not due to a lack of personal hygiene.

Seborrheic Dermatitis - Microscopic fungal (Malassezia, Pityrosporum), Fungal infections
What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis? (head hair)

Signs and Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Mild redness or scaliness of the scalp might be the initial finding in most patients. Dryness, redness and fine white to yellow “greasy scaling” overlying the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, mid-face, nasolabial folds (laugh lines), the beard areas, behind the ears, ear canal, and upper chest are characteristic findings.

However, many patients may not have any noticeable or bothersome symptoms initially. This may result in delays in diagnosis and treatment of this condition, which in turn can lead to a severely dry itchy scalp, thick scalp scales, diffuse face and body rash, and even dryness or itchiness of the eyes. Seborrheic Dermatitis can also exacerbate other skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, etc. This condition can lead to pigmentary changes, especially in darker skin patients.

Signs and Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis (patient face)

Different rashes may present similarly to Seborrheic Dermatitis including psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and other fungal rashes. For this reason, it is important to see one of our experienced providers for proper diagnosis and treatment of a dry itchy scalp.

The itching and flaking that can be associated with Seborrheic Dermatitis can be bothersome and affect self-esteem. Scratching of the scalp or other affected skin can lead to excoriations and open sores that can be tender. As this is a chronic skin condition, it is important to find a treatment that works best for you when the rash flares, and develop a maintenance treatment to prevent flares.

Treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis

At REJUVA Dermatology & Vein Center, we offer many treatments for Seborrheic Dermatitis and the associated itching and flaking.

Treatment may include the use of topical steroids to help reduce inflammation, prescription shampoos, over-the-counter shampoos with active ingredients like zinc pyrithione or salicylic acid or a combination of the above. Schedule an appointment with one of our expert providers in Venice, FL today to determine the best treatment for you.

Dr. Golta Rasouli

Dr. Golta Rasouli is a double board-certified and fellowship-trained vein specialist and physician. Patients are consistently pleased with her comprehensive treatment for venous diseases and other skin conditions. Dr. Rasouli’s extensive publication record complements her outstanding Google Reviews, reflecting her expertise and patient-centered approach.

Dr. Sean Mazloom

Dr. Sean Mazloom is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon with stellar Google Reviews. He is also one of few Mohs surgeons in Sarasota County where he provides exceptional treatment and care to thousands of patients struggling with complex skin cancers, skin conditions, and cosmetic concerns.

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