Dandruff; Seborrheic eczema; Cradle cap
Definition of Seborrheic dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp or inside the ear. It can occur with or without reddened skin.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Seborrheic dermatitis is thought to be due to a combination of an over production of skin oil and irritation from a yeast called malessizia.
Seborrheic dermatitis can occur on many different body areas. Typically it forms where the skin is oily or greasy. Commonly affected areas include the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the external ear, and along skin folds on the middle of the body.
Signs and tests
The diagnosis is based on the appearance and location of the skin lesions.
You can treat flaking and dryness with over-the-counter dandruff or medicated shampoos. Shampoo the hair vigorously and frequently (preferably daily). Loosen scales with the fingers, scrub for at least 5 minutes, and rinse thoroughly. Active ingredients in these shampoos include salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcin, ketoconazole, or selenium.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic (life-long) condition that can be controlled with treatment. It often has extended inactive periods followed by flare-ups.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. – 7/18/2007