Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition. The areas most commonly affected are those with many 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. This condition is particularly common after the fifth or sixth decades of life.
The exact cause for seborrheic dermatitis remains unknown but It is thought to be an abnormal immune response to a yeast called Malassezia (formerly known as Pityrosporum). This is a common non-pathogenic skin commensal. The oil production in the sebaceous areas of the scalp and face creates a warm and moist environment for Malassezia.
Mild redness and scaliness of the scalp might be the initial finding in most patients. Dryness, redness and fine “greasy scaling” over 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 people 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 severe scalp itchiness, thick scalp scales, diffuse face and body rash, and even dryness or itchiness of the eyes. Seborrheic dermatitis can also worsen other skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, etc. This condition can also lead to pigmentary changes especially in darker skin patients.
Different rashes may look similar to seborrheic dermatitis such as 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 for seborrheic dermatitis.
The itching and flaking that can be associated with seborrheic dermatitis can be bothersome and affect self-esteem. 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.
At ReJUVA Dermatology & Vein Center, we offer many treatments for seborrheic dermatitis and the associated itching and flaking. Treatments may include natural topical creams, prescription topicals, prescription shampoos, or a combination of the above. Schedule an appointment with one of our expert providers today to determine the best treatment for you.