Seborrheic Dermatitis

This condition is very common and it appears as red rashes on the scalp and other regions of the body. The rashes will form flakes on the surface and it is also generally called dandruff. While the exact cause of this condition is not yet known, it is generally assumed that this happens due to weather conditions combined with a yeast infection on the scalp. In some cases, the medication you take for other diseases and stress can also increase the symptoms. It does not create too many complications and will usually subside on its own within a few weeks. In some cases, treatment is also not needed when the symptoms are not severe. However, in extreme conditions, even long-term treatment may not yield good results and patients suffer from this condition for many years.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis

- The most common symptoms you notice is the skin flakes on the scalp region. This dandruff is a very common problem that affects many people. In rare cases, it can also be formed in the eyebrow region or the beard and moustache.

- The flakes are usually white in colour and they look oily when you peel them from the skin surface. When it affects the body, it can appear on the chest, groin area and even on the face.

- You can notice red skin in the affected area and there will be constant itching sensation in that area.

- The tendency to get this condition increases with cold weather conditions. It can also get aggravated due to stress and other medication.

- It looks very similar to other skin problems and you need to visit a dermatologist for the proper treatment.

- Even babies get affected with this condition and it usually affects the scalp region.

Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis

- It is not clear as to what causes this condition and the most likely cause is said to be due to the yeast infection. Our skin secretes oil in a natural way and this keeps it protected from various external factors. The Malassezia fungus can affect this function and flakes can get formed on the skin surface.

- Other than that, this condition can also be triggered due to the improper response of the immune system. When it overreacts to some health condition, it can result in a sudden increase of dandruff on the scalp.

- Apart from this, even genetics plays a major role and this can increase with stress.

- Some medication can also trigger this condition when the immune system is not working at its best and this usually will be a temporary reaction.

- Apart from these factors, eating disorders and alcoholism can also increase your chances of getting this condition.

- Certain other skin diseases like psoriasis and rosacea can also cause this condition in many people.

- People suffering from epilepsy or any other heart condition may be prone to getting this disease.

Diagnosis of Seborrheic Dermatitis

In most cases, the diagnosis is done through physical examination and there is no need for biopsy and other imaging tests. When you first approach your doctor with such symptoms, you may be referred to a dermatologist as these professionals specialize in handling such diseases. Remember that the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are similar to that of other skin diseases and only a professional dermatologist will be able to identify the exact disease based on careful analysis of the symptoms. When the affected area is washed clean and analyzed carefully, the nature of the flares and the way they have spread across the scalp and other regions will give a clear indication about the condition. After this step, you may have to undergo a blood test in some cases to determine the suitability of some medication to treat the condition. Finally, the treatment will begin with the external application of creams and lotions to reduce the symptoms and you may have to make suitable changes to your lifestyle to avoid the problems in the future.

Prevention of Seborrheic Dermatitis

-  Lifestyle changes : You may have to make suitable lifestyle changes to avoid this condition in the future. To begin with, you need to understand that this condition can get triggered due to external factors and you can try to avoid them as much as possible. When the weather condition is too cold, you can wear a cap to protect the scalp and this will reduce the irritation to some level. In the same manner, it is also important to wash your scalp regularly and keep it clean so that it does not become too oily. Also watch for symptoms regularly and approach your doctor whenever you notice anything on your scalp.

-  Washing your hair regularly : When you keep your scalp clean, you will reduce the chances of getting this condition in the future by a huge margin. Make sure that you use a good shampoo that is well known to prevent dandruff and this will reduce the symptoms in a few weeks. Make sure that you consult your dermatologist before choosing the right shampoo and this is essential when you are using them for your kids.

-  Self-care : Along with medication, you should also work hard and maintain your scalp in good health. Always put oil on your scalp before you wash your hair. This ensures that the scalp will loosen up dandruff and you can easily wash it with a good shampoo. This will also moisturize the scalp appropriately and provide relief from redness and itchiness. You can use olive oil or any other mineral oil that enriches your scalp with essential nutrients.

- Apart from these remedies, you should also take care not to use styling gels or any other cosmetic products on your scalp as this can trigger the occurrence of symptoms in quick time. Many such products contain alcohol and they can irritate the scalp and this leads to increased redness in some people. You will also notice that dandruff flares up after using such products. You can also consider using Aloe Vera in the gel form on the affected area. This can give you relief from itchiness and also reduce the redness of the scalp.

Treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis

- In most cases, this condition will go away after a few days or few weeks on its own and there is no need for any particular treatment. However, when you find the symptoms very hard to deal with, you can use an anti-dandruff shampoo that is readily available in the market and try to control the flares. Remember that dandruff will keep coming every now and then whenever it gets triggered due to environmental conditions or stress. In this regard, you must understand that you need to treat this as a lifelong condition and provide suitable treatment whenever it is needed in the future.

- When you want to choose the best shampoo to treat this condition, you can take care to ensure that it has salicylic acid or zinc pyrithione as one of its ingredients. This is well known to prevent the symptoms and you will get relief from dandruff in quick time. In the same manner, even ketoconazole shampoo is also good for your scalp when you are suffering from this condition.

- If your baby is suffering from this condition, you should always use a mild shampoo that does not harm the scalp in any manner. You can even use some mineral oil before you apply shampoo and this can soften the thick patches of dandruff. Be gentle when you remove the scales as any irritation can increase the symptoms in future. When you are taking the baby outside, always use sunscreen on the scalp as the skin in the affected area will be very sensitive to UV rays.

- Apart from these therapies, you can also use antifungal products that are available in the market and get temporary relief from the symptoms. Some doctors also recommend corticosteroid lotions to reduce the flaring and you can use them after careful consultation with your doctor.

- Finally, you need to make suitable changes to your lifestyle to avoid such problems in the future. Remember that stress can trigger this condition anytime in future and you need to be very careful about this factor. Along with this, you should also maintain a healthy diet as this will strengthen your immune system and your body will be in better condition to fight the disease.

- In severe cases, your doctor may even suggest you take antifungal medication and this can give you good relief when other methods are not giving good results. However, this medication may come with some side effects and you need to bear them for a few days to get relief from this condition.

- You can also use ointments that will reduce the flaring and this can be a good way to reduce the redness and itchiness of the scalp. Your doctor will prescribe such medication after carefully examining your symptoms and your overall health condition.

Complications of Seborrheic Dermatitis

- In rare cases, this condition can lead to complications when the problem is not properly diagnosed. As the symptoms of this condition are not specific to seborrheic dermatitis, it can sometimes be confused with other skin diseases and wrong medication may be used to treat this condition.

- In this situation, the scalp can get irritated and even the redness can get increased due to the use of such medication. In most cases, using anti-inflammatory drugs to treat this condition can result in flaring up of the symptoms as the steroids will trigger dandruff in an aggressive manner.

- For this reason, you should always approach a professional dermatologist when you are dealing with such symptoms and they will be able to clearly distinguish between various skin diseases and provide the proper treatment.

- In extreme cases of seborrheic dermatitis, hair loss can be seen due to itchiness in the affected area. Many people tend to scratch the area repeatedly to remove dandruff and this can result in hair loss in that particular region. However, this condition is temporary and you can see regrowth of hair in that area after the symptoms have reduced to some extent.

- In case of misdiagnosis of this condition, using medication that contains steroids can also lead to thinning of the skin layer in the affected area. You need to be careful while using medication and always consult your doctor and get the proper treatment.

Myths about Seborrheic Dermatitis

Myth #1: Seborrheic dermatitis is caused due to lack of hygiene

Remember that this can be caused even when you maintain your hygiene in proper order. Even babies get affected due to this condition and it has got nothing to do with keeping your scalp clean. The exact cause of this disease is not known and it can get triggered due to various factors.

Myth #2: Seborrheic dermatitis is contagious

you need not worry about catching this condition from someone else in your family. It is not contagious and you will not get seborrheic dermatitis from another person. However, it makes sense to avoid using the same towels when someone is having this condition in your family. This will help the patients to avoid infection and other complications.

Myth #3: Diet changes can cure seborrheic dermatitis

While diet and lifestyle changes can bring in some strength to your overall immune system, it can in no way cure this condition. The fact is that there is no permanent cure for this condition and you need to take care of your scalp forever to avoid the symptoms.

Conclusion

You can approach your doctor whenever you are facing such problems and get proper treatment at the right time. One thing you need to understand is that the symptoms can be confusing as they often overlap with other health conditions. For this reason, you should always approach a professional dermatologist and get the right treatment after careful diagnosis. Also, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you can avoid the symptoms in the future. There is no cure for this condition and you have to treat this as a lifelong condition that keeps flaring up whenever it is triggered due to external factors.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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