What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

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What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disorder that mainly affects the scalp, eyebrows, sides of the nose, and behind the ears.  The condition tends to occur in oily skin areas.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes scaly, itchy, red skin and dandruff. In infants, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp is known as cradle cap.

Seborrheic dermatitis isn’t a contagious condition, and it’s not a sign of poor personal hygiene.  It doesn’t affect overall health but can be uncomfortable and can cause embarrassment if seen in visible parts of the body.

It is unknown what causes seborrheic dermatitis, although genes and hormones play a role.  Microorganisms such as yeast, that live on the skin naturally can also contribute to seborrheic dermatitis.

Characteristic of Seborrheic Dermatitis

  • Inflammation and erythema (redness) patches on the scalp. Patches of scaling on the scalp.
  • Dandruff (either yellow or white) on the scalp, eyebrows, beard, or mustache.
  • Scalp itching and/or tenderness.

What Treatment is Available for Seborrheic Dermatitis?

There is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis.  Certain treatments are available to help with the condition and help manage the inflammation and itchiness.

The best treatment for seborrheic dermatitis is frequent cleansing. Medicated soaps or shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or tar give additional benefit. These should be applied to the affected area and left on for 5-10 minutes before being rinsed off.

Foods to Avoid that May Trigger Seborrheic Dermatitis

Some common foods may trigger a seborrheic dermatitis flare-up. Avoid foods that promote yeast growth such as bread, cheese, wine, and beer. Consider taking an omega-3 supplement. Consider taking a good-quality multivitamin and possibly adding extra biotin.

What’s the Difference Between Eczema, Psoriasis, and Seborrheic Dermatitis?

The 3 conditions often get confused with each other, but they are uniquely different from each other.

Skin ConditionSymptomsOnset of condition and Affected Areas TriggersCauses and Other factors
EczemaEczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. Symptoms: Dry, sensitive skin. Red, inflamed skin. Very bad itching. Dark colored patches of skin. Rough, leathery or scaly patches of skin. Oozing or crusting. Areas of swelling. Onset: Condition usually starts as a baby. Affected Areas: Appear on the feet, hands and nape of neck. If condition appears on the elbows and knees, it is appearing on the back of the elbows and front of the knees. Allergens like dust mites, pets, pollen, mold. Foods like eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, and wheat.Causes: genes dry skin an immune system problem triggers in the environment Most common type is known as Atopic Dermatitis. It is an Atopic disease involving immune system, including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and hay fever. Commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.
PsoriasisSkin disorder that causes skin to multiply 10 times faster than normal. Symptoms: Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin. whitish-silver scales or plaques on the red patches. dry skin that may crack and bleed. soreness around patches. itching and burning sensations around patches. thick, pitted nails. painful, swollen joints. Affects nails more seriously causing pitting, thickening, or ridges.Onset: Condition usually starts as a baby. Affected Areas: Appear on the feet, hands and nape of neck. If condition appears on the elbows and knees, it is appearing on the back of the elbows and front of the knees. Stress, skin injury, medications, infectionCauses: It is an autoimmune disease with the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy skin cells. Usually associated with other health issues like diabetes, depression, heart disease, and arthritis. Chronic skin disease. It can cause the skin to grow so quickly that they accumulate on the surface of the skin as white scales.
Seborrheic DermatitisChronic inflammation of the skin. Symptoms: Skin flakes (dandruff) on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache. Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales or crust on the scalp, face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, chest, armpits, groin area or under the breasts. Red skin. Onset: Condition usually starts as a baby. Affected Areas: Appear on the feet, hands and nape of neck. If condition appears on the elbows and knees, it is appearing on the back of the elbows and front of the knees. Stress, hormone changes, chemicals, illness, solvents, soaps, harsh detergents, dry weather, microorganisms on the skin.Causes: Exact cause unknown. Genes and hormones play a role. Not a result of an allergy. Made more likely by factors such as increased production of sebum (an oily substance) in the skin, fungi that affect the skin like yeast, and a weakened immune system.
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FIND A TRICHOLOGIST IN TORONTO GTA

With the numerous available treatments for seborrheic dermatitis our Trichologist can recommend the best treatment that can help with your skin condition. At Trichology Centre, we have helped patients with seborrheic dermatitis, advising them the best treatments available and helping them regain their confidence and self-esteem. Early assessment and treatment from the onset of seborrheic dermatitis is important and can help prevent the condition to worsen.

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