Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that appears on areas of the body with an abundance of sebaceous, or oil producing glands such as the sides of the nose, scalp, eyelids, eyebrows, trunk or back. It can also appear under the breasts, groin, buttocks and underarms. Most commonly, seborrheic dermatitis affects infants under 6 months old and people ages 30-60, however, it can affect individuals in other age groups as well. Men, as well as people with a compromised immune system or certain psychiatric and neurological diseases may be at a higher risk for seborrheic dermatitis.

Symptoms for seborrheic dermatitis include redness, swollen or greasy skin, a yellowish crust or build up on the scalp (and other areas of the body), salmon pink or scaly patches that may begin to flake or peel. In some cases, seborrheic dermatitis can share symptoms with other skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, eczema or tinea versicolor. Your provider will need to do a thorough skin examination and may require a skin biopsy to rule out other conditions and determine a course of treatment.

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. However, it is understood that factors such as genetics, hormones and a yeast-like fungus on the skin may play a role. Flare ups can be caused by cold weather, dry air, stress, harsh soaps and detergents, some medications, hormonal changes, or lack of sleep. If the condition does not clear up on its own, it may require treatment or come back after being treated.  There is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, however, periodic treatments can prevent symptoms from returning.

Treatments include various topical antifungal agents. Seborrheic dermatitis can be resistant to some treatments and may require stronger topical steroids. For treatment of the scalp, medicated shampoos containing coal tar or salicylic acid can be used 2-3 times a week. For other areas of the body hydrocortisone or ketoconazole may be applied topically. Your provider will be able to recommend a combination of treatments based on your personalized needs.

If you are struggling with seborrheic dermatitis or are worried your symptoms may return over time, visit our website to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD

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