What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic dermaitis is an extremely common skin disorder that affects people of all ages. Some people call it dandruff. In little ones, it is often called cradle cap.
Seborrheic dermatitis most commonly affects the scalp and face, but sometimes also the ears, eyebrows and chest. Patients often complain of redness, scaling, and flaking sometimes associated with itching and irritation.
What causes seborrheic dermatitis?
Allergy and skin irritation are sometimes implicated as a cause of seborrheic dermatitis. The most common cause, however, is a reaction to a yeast form called Malassezia. This yeast is a normal inhabitant of our skin’s oil glands. Seborrheic dermatitis is not a case of yeast overgrowth, but instead, it is thought that the yeast’s interaction with the body’s immune system is what leads to redness, itching and flaking. Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis symptoms will worsen with stress or change of season. Symptoms may also wax and wane over time.
What is the treatment for seborrheic dermatitis?
There is no specific cure for seborrheic dermatitis, but there are many treatments available to minimize and manage symptoms. Over the counter shampoos containing salicylic acid, zinc, or selenium sulfide can be very effective to keep symptoms at bay.
For more persistent or bothersome symptoms, prescription antifungal and anti-inflammatory agents can provide relief. There are shampoos, creams, gels, and foams available to optimally treat symptoms wherever they present.