Seborrheic Dermatitis

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common skin disorder. This condition is an inflammation which occurs in areas containing a large number of oil glands. Commonly affected are the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, sides of the nose, middle of the chest, the navel and skin folds under the arms, breasts, groin and buttocks. The skin becomes red and is covered by yellow, greasy appearing scales. Itching may or may not occur. This condition can occur at any age. There are three stages of seborrheic dermatitis: (1) dandruff appears as scaling of the scalp, with no redness (2) seborrhea creates excessive oiliness of the skin usually on the scalp and face, with no redness or scaling and (3) seborrheic dermatitis creates both redness and scaling in the affected areas. This condition is common in individuals with oily skin or hair. It may also occur in people with acne or psoriasis. Seborrheic dermatitis occurs in three age groups: (1) infancy ("cradle cap"), (2) middle age and (3) old age. In many cases, this condition tends to reappear.

How is seborrheic dermatitis treated?

  • "Cradle cap" will clear untreated, but gentle shampooing will be helpful
  • Prescription shampoos containing such ingredients as tar, zinc, salicylic acid, sulfur and selenium
  • Low strength cortisone cream
  • High potency cortisone solutions for difficult cases