Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis (SD) is an inflammation of your scalp that may also appear on other areas of your body, including your eyebrows, face, underarms, chest, upper back, and groin. It is the most severe form of the skin disorder that produces simple scalp dandruff. When SD occurs in infants, it is also called 'cradle cap.'

Dandruff, the mildest form of SD is found only on your scalp and appears as itching and dry flakes. SD, which is not limited to your scalp, comes in larger patches that are scaly and sometimes oily. It's a chronic disorder - meaning you'll probably have at least minor flare-ups throughout life. Fortunately SD isn't dangerous and can be controlled.

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Seborrheic Dermatitis Facts

  • With SD your scalp or skin is not only dry and flaky, but it also has scaly patches that often ooze or crust over. The scales may be white, yellow or red.
  • They are scaly and sometimes itch and are often confused with patches of dry skin.
  • The patches may be oily and scratching and itching might irritate it more causing increases itching and discomfort.

How Do You Get Seborrheic Dermatitis?

We don't know exactly what causes SD, but there is some evidence that it is linked to scalp yeast. What we do know, though is that both heredity and emotional stress seem to play roles, and that illnesses tend to trigger flare-ups in individuals who have SD.

Infants between 2 and 12 weeks old, along with middle aged and elderly people are most affected by SD.

The condition tends to be seasonal – for most people, SD is most severe during the winter and mildest during the summer.

How Do I Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis

In infants, SD usually clears up without treatment by the age of 8 to 12 months. For others, it can be treated either with over-the-counter or prescription medicines. If your SD is mild, often you can treat and control it with over-the-counter, anti-dandruff shampoos. Consult a dermatologist when there are red, scaly patches or the patches ooze, or are crusted over. In these cases, you may be given prescription shampoos and, in some cases, corticosteroid lotions, gels, ointments and creams.

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