Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a type of dermatitis/eczema which is a chronic mild variety and usually relapsing. In infancy, seborrheic dermatitis is termed as ‘cradle cap’. Seborrheic dermatitis is also referred to as with certain different terms like – seborrhea, sebopsoriasis, seborrheic eczema, dandruff and pityriasis capitis.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition affecting mainly the scalp, the face as well as the torso. A classical case of seborrheic dermatitis comes up with scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. The areas that are markedly affected are the sebaceous-gland-rich areas of the skin. In adults and adolescent age group, seborrheic dermatitis usually presents as scalp scaling similar to dandruff or as mild to marked erythema of the nasolabial fold.
- Seborrheic dermatitis affects 1 to 3% of healthy adults.
- The occurrence is most likely to be seen in men than women.
Signs & symptoms:
- The symptoms tend to come up slowly and the first and foremost signs to appear are flaky skin and scalp.
- The parts of the skin that are most likely to be affected are – the skin of the face, behind the ears and in areas where the skin folds.
- The flakes may be yellow, white or grayish.
- In more severe cases, yellowish to reddish scaly pimples appear along the hairline, behind the ears, in the ear canal, on the eyebrows, around the nose, the upper back and on the chest.
- Generally, affected individuals experience mild redness, scaly skin lesions and in some cases hair loss.
- There may also be patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp, red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales, itching and soreness.
- When seborrheic dermatitis occurs in infants, it gives rise to a thick, oily, yellowish crust around the hairline and on the scalp.
- Most often, a stubborn diaper rash follows the scalp rash.
- In infants, the condition may subside without any treatment on its own.
- Seborrheic dermatitis may show an inflammatory reaction to a proliferation of a form of certain yeast Malssezia, however this is yet to be proved.
- Genetic, hormonal, environmental and immune-system factors are said to be responsible for the manifestation of seborrheic dermatitis.
- Certain causes which may act as triggering factors include – psychological stress, lack of sleep, illness, fatigue, change of season and reduced general well-being.
- In children. Hypervitaminosis (excessive vitamin A), lack of biotin, pyridoxine (Vit. B6) and Riboflavin (Vit. B2) may also contribute.
- Individuals with immunodeficiency (particularly infected with HIV) and with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and stroke are more prone to acquiring seborrheic dermatitis.
In majority of the cases, no investigations are required and seborrheic dermatitis is diagnosed by the classical symptoms and rash.
- A clean scalp is very important factor for prevention of a flare-up of seborrheic dermatitis.
- Daily usage of anti-fungal shampoo is recommended.
- Both natural and UV radiation checks the growth of Malassezia yeast.
- Medications such as antifungals, topical corticosteroids and keratolytics like topical urea may prove beneficial for controlling seborrheic dermatitis.
- Antihistamines may be helpful in order to reduce itching in certain cases.
- Phototherapy – Using UV-A and UV-B laser or red and blue LED light for inhibiting the growth of Malassezia fungus and for reducing seborrheic inflammation.
- Alternative medicine:
Topical application of Aloe vera.
Topical application of tea tree oil – diluted to 5%.
Topical application of Viola tricolor or Heartsease – useful for the treatment of cradle cap, seborrheic dermatitis of infants.
Best treatment for dandruff includes medicated shampoos, lotions & topical cream applications. Shampooing your hair regularly can help you get rid of oily dandruff. The cost of dandruff treatment depends upon the type of treatment chosen. Depending upon the severity of your scalp condition, your Dermatologist would provide you the best advice regarding which type of treatment you should go for.
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