It is a condition that negatively impacts the skin. This disease produces itchy scaly rashes and affects mainly the scalp of the patient.
This condition isn’t too severe and does not hold the risk of transferring from person to person. Healthcare providers can identify it pretty quickly because of dandruff and the redness of the scalp.
It is an inflammatory and common skin ailment that causes scales to form, ranging from white to yellowish, in greasy areas such as the scalp, the face or inside the ear. It can occur with or without skin redness.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic and troublesome skin cancer that causes yellowish scales on the scalp or face, although it can also affect other areas.
People can control this lifelong process with the correct and frequent use of specially formulated hair and skin products.
Although this condition mainly affects the scalp, some patients have also shown signs of developing seborrheic dermatitis on other parts of their body like chest, back and face.
Usually, the areas where there is a presence of oil and moisture are most likely to be affected.
Some patients have also complained about itching and developing a greyish skin; the flesh gets covered with flakes and crusts.
Eyebrows and eyelids may exhibit the presence of dandruff flakes. Blepharitis is also one of the symptoms of this condition.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Causes
The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is still unknown. Some theories in the medical circles can predict to a certain extent about who will be affected by it.
For example, some experts believe that a fungus known as Malassezia which affects the oily parts of the skin is the cause of seborrheic dermatitis.
The seborrheic dermatitis is a kind of yeast fungus. This condition can also be a manifestation of psoriasis as seen in many patients.
Also, dermatologists believe that people react differently to changes in weather and some people have skins that become extra sensitive and vulnerable in the winter season. So this factor can also be a catalyst for the development of seborrheic eczema in a person.
Seborrheic dermatitis occurs when the process of cell renewal in the scalp gets shortened, resulting in rapid attachment of cutaneous corneocytes, which adhere to each other to form visible scales. Some experts had linked this process to numerous causes.
Researchers had proven that sometimes this is a hereditary condition, given a high amount of children affected by the disease had parents who had the very same ailment.
However, its relationship with the irritation caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which colonizes in very fat-rich skin areas, and produces micro-inflammations, which cause itching of the skin and scalp, is also acknowledged.
Other factors may increase the risk, such as physical or emotional stress, hormonal changes, poor diet or alcohol intake, fatigue, extreme climates, infrequent use of shampoo, poor skin cleansing and obesity.
Neurological processes are possibly related to seborrheic dermatitis, among which Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries and cerebrovascular accidents stand out.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) could also be related to an increase in cases of seborrheic dermatitis.
It is important to note here that although these predictions are accurate to a reasonable extent, it is not compulsory that a person who is not having any such complaints as mentioned above will not develop seborrheic dermatitis.
The vice versa is also true. So in case, you feel any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, we advise that you seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Risk factors include:
- Stress or tiredness.
- Extreme Climates.
- Oily skin or skin problems like acne.
- Use of some shampoos or skin cleansers.
- Use of lotions that contain alcohol.
- Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, head trauma, and stroke.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Another highly relevant point that you need to consider is that the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are very similar to psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea. There are only slight differences.
Therefore the first thing you need to do is to consult an experienced dermatologist who can rule out other possibilities and the exact condition can be diagnosed.
In general, the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:
- Skin lesions with scales.
- Patches on a large area.
- Greasy and oily skin areas.
- Skin scales: white, scaly, or yellowish, greasy and sticky dandruff.
- Pruritus: may cause more itching if infected.
- Mild redness.
- Hair loss.
When the doctor issues a diagnosis of the “seborrheic eczema” disease, they usually base it on its characteristic appearance (determine the condition at first sight).
However, in some cases, the symptoms are not very clear since other types of eczema (for example, allergic or atopic dermatitis) or psoriasis can cause a similar dermatological condition.
The doctor can rule out these diseases through allergy tests and a microscopic examination of the skin scales.
Tests and exams
Medical experts base the diagnosis on the appearance and location of the cutaneous lesions. More tests, such as a skin biopsy, are rarely needed.
Most of the time, seborrheic eczema evolves into a chronic disease. Complications may occur in cases in which the condition prolongs itself in infants, such as bacterial or fungal infections in the affected skin area.
In adults, bacteria can also invade the affected skin area (superinfection).
In babies, seborrhoeic eczema may even have a severe course. In medical terms, it is then called desquamative erythroderma Leiner and usually appears in the first two months of life.
In this case, the skin of the whole body is affected, and the infants are very sick, with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In babies, the prediction of the behavior of the seborrheic eczema is usually an optimistic one. More often than not it heals spontaneously after a couple of weeks.
In adults, on the other hand, the disease often becomes chronic, and they suffer attacks, similar to those of atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. It is quite unlikely that they get rid of this condition entirely.
Through proper care and attention can control the symptoms and in many cases avoid relapses (relapse). Especially during the seasons of the year with a lot of suns, the inconveniences appear on few occasions.
Seborrheic eczema, in general, can not be prevented. If you have a tendency to oily skin and intense sweating, you should regularly take care and clean the flesh.
To do this, use neutral cleansing substances (it is often sufficient to wash only with water).
If you have seborrheic eczema, you can prevent a relapse if, after consulting with your doctor, you take care of your skin with exclusive products (for example, with keratolytic or antifungals) and pay particular attention to your emotional health.
The sun and fresh air, especially in the sea and mountains, also favor the cure of the disease. However, you should not neglect the dangers of UV rays and should use adequate sunscreens.
In the case of seborrheic dermatitis, there are several products you can try. To start, doctors often prescribe Desowen and Desonide to the patients who complain about inflammation of the skin.
These medicated lotions and shampoos are quite useful, but medical experts advise that the patients abstain from prolonged usage.
Some doctor may prescribe ketoconazole shampoo along with Temovate. People can use these products twice a week.
Oral medication is also available for patients who want to opt this alternative. Lamisil is available in the market as an antifungal pill.
However, this drug has many side effects, which is why medical experts rarely recommend it.
Other gels and creams that have shown considerable positive effects in patients are Metrogel and Metrolotion. They fight against the bacteria which we find in the affected parts of the skin.
These were some of the many possible methods of treatment. It is not a fact that a particular option is more efficient than the other. You should consult your doctor and see which alternative suits you the most.
Scales and dry skin can get treated with over-the-counter shampoos or medicated dandruff. You can buy them at the pharmacy without a prescription.
Look for a product that says on the label that is to treat seborrheic dermatitis.
These products contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcin, ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. Use the shampoo according to the instructions on the label
For severe cases, your health care provider will probably prescribe a shampoo or lotion containing a stronger dose of selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, ciclopirox, sodium sulfacetamide, or corticosteroids.
A cream containing an immunomodulator, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, may be prescribed. This medicine inhibits the immune system to treat inflammation.
Sunlight is thought to help in fighting seborrheic dermatitis. In some people, the condition remarkably subsides in the summer, especially after outdoor activities.
When to contact a professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis do not respond to personal care measures or over-the-counter treatments.
Also consult if patches of seborrheic dermatitis drain fluid or pus, form crusts or become very red and painful.