Seborrheic Dermatitis

With proper treatment and time many skin disorders are common and easy to resolve. On the other hand there are skin ailments that may take longer to treat and resolve because they are rare. It is important to remember that the sooner you seek medical help the quicker you can get a diagnosis and begin proper treatment.

A common skin disorder is seborrheic dermatitis. This condition affects the areas of the skin with large oil glands. It appears as a rash that is red and scaly with swollen patches. It is very itchy and the skin can appear to be flaking. The general outward appearance of a person can be affected although it is not a contagious skin ailment.

Who Can Get Them?

It is most common in infants, but can occur after puberty and into adulthood up to the age of forty. This condition is usually called cradle cap in infants. This skin disorder can affect all races. Men have a slightly higher occurrence than women.

What Can Cause Seborrheic Dermatitis?

It is unknown exactly what causes this condition. In both infants and adults the cause seems to be slightly different. It may be related to hormones since it is a condition that affects the parts of the skin with a lot of sebaceous glands and sebum. It may also be caused by a fungus called malassezia.

How Does It Happen?

It can result from a reaction to the yeast known as malassezia especially in the areas of the skin that have a lot of sebum. Those with this condition are generally sensitive to yeast. Changes in a persons hormone levels can also cause a reaction.

Where Do They Appear?

The condition can occur on the scalp, face, eyebrows, nose, ears, neck, chest and armpits. When the scalp is flaking it can look like dandruff falling. When it appears on the scalp of infants it typically looks like thick, crusty scales. Sometimes the area will look red and slightly swollen.

What Are the Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Flaky skin that appears as reddish patch is one of the symptoms of this condition. For some it can be itchy and excessive scratching can cause it to become inflamed and it might bleed and developing into an infection. Outbreaks of this condition can last weeks, months or even years. The disorder can me made worse by stress, weather, oily skin and infrequent shampooing.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

Seborrheic dermatitis is easy to diagnose. It is easy to recognize the flaky, scaly skin. A doctor may do a biopsy in rare cases to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any other type of skin ailment.

What Treatments Are Available for Seborrheic Dermatitis?

This condition may get better on its own, but it can improve more rapidly with treatment. To control this skin disorder a combination of treatments may be used. For an individual to see improvements treatments may take several weeks or months and if the skin ailment recurs the treatments may need to be continued.

The first step is to use a daily shampoo that has zinc pyrithione or one with ketoconazole. To reduce the inflamed area a topical and oral corticosteroid can be used and should be applied to the affected area daily. Since they do have some side effects they should only be used for a short period of time especially for individuals with sensitive skin. If it determined that the reaction is caused by malassezia yeast then topical and oral anti-fungals can be used. The skin should be air dried or patted with a towel when washing the inflicted area since you don’t want to rub hard otherwise further irritation can develop. Apply a moisturizer can help, but don’t use anything high in fragrance or chemicals since this can irritate the skin. It is good to use moisturizers with a high level of water for a base.

Although a common skin disorder, seborrheic dermatitis can be an embarrassing condition for individuals in a public setting. This is why it is important to control the condition, you can find the combination of treatments that work best for you by working closely with your doctor or dermatologist.

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