Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common skin disorder that can be easily treated. This condition is a red, scaly, itchy rash most commonly seen on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, skin behind the ears and middle of the chest. Other areas, such as the navel (belly button), buttocks, skin folds under the arms, axillary regions, breast and groin may also be involved. Dandruff, seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis are not the same.
Dandruff appears as scaling on the scalp without redness. Seborrhea is excessive oiliness of the skin, especially of the scalp and face, without redness or scaling. Patients with seborrhea may later develop seborrheic dermatitis, which has both redness and scaling.
This condition is most common in three age periods: infancy, when it’s called “cradle cap”; middle age; and old age. Cradle cap usually clears without treatment by age 8 to 12 months. In some infants, seborrheic dermatitis may develop only in the diaper area, where it could be confused with others forms of diaper rash.
When seborrheic dermatitis develops at other ages, it can come and go. Seborrheic dermatitis may be seasonally aggravated particularly in northern climates. It is common in people with oily skin or hair, and may be seen with acne or psoriasis. A yeast-like organism may be involved in causing seborrheic dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis may get better on its own, but with regular treatments, the condition improves quickly. There is no way to prevent or cure it. However, it can be controlled with treatment. Gentle shampooing with a mild shampoo is helpful for infants with cradle cap. Mild corticosteroid creams and lotions or anti-fungal topicals may also be applied to the affected areas of skin. Adult patients may need to use a medicated shampoo and a stronger corticosteroid preparation. Non-prescription shampoos containing tar, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, and/or salicylic acid may be recommended by a dermatologist. Also, a prescription shampoo, cream gel or foam may be given.
Your dermatologist must examine the affected areas in order to determine if you have seborrheic dermatitis or other skin condition and will provide treatment as necessary depending on your condition.