Seborrheic dermatitis – what are the symptoms, causes and treatments

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a common skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and scaly patches of skin. There are NO pustules present. It can appear on different parts of the body, such as the scalp, face, nose, ears, chest, and back.

Seborrheic Dermatitis
Redness, Flakes Along The Nasal Folds

Cause seborrhoeic eczema

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not completely clear, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including:

  1. Excess production of sebum: Excess production of sebum can lead to a buildup of oil and flakes on the skin, which can cause it.
  2. Yeast: A yeast called Malassezia furfur, which occurs naturally on the skin, can cause or worsen eczema. The yeast produces substances that irritate the skin and cause inflammation.
  3. Heredity: Seborrheic dermatitis can also be hereditary and can run in some families. It can also be hereditary and is more common in men than women.
  4. Stress: Stress can make seborrheic dermatitis worse and may contribute to the onset of the condition.
  5. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, and strokes, can cause or exacerbate this.
  6. Medications: Certain medications, such as lithium and interferon, can cause or worsen seborrheic dermatitis.
  7. Combination seborrheic dermatitis is common in people with oily skin or hair and can be aggravated by stress, fatigue, cold temperatures, dry air.
  8. Zinc deficiency: There is some evidence that zinc deficiency may play a role in the development of seborrheic dermatitis. Studies have shown that patients with seborrheic dermatitis often have low levels of zinc in their blood and skin. Zinc is involved in several processes in the body, including the production and repair of skin cells. Zinc deficiency can therefore exacerbate or promote the development of seborrheic dermatitis.

The symptoms of seborrhoeic dermatitis vary depending on the location and severity of the condition. On the scalp, it can lead to flaking, itching, redness and hair loss. On the face, it can lead to red, scaly patches on the nose, cheeks, and forehead. On the chest and back it can lead to red, scaly patches that itch.

Seborrheic dermatitis what you can do yourself

There are several self-care measures that can help reduce this type of eczema, including:

  1. Wash regularly: Wash the affected area regularly with a mild shampoo or soap to remove excess oil and flakes. Avoid using water that is too hot, as this can dry out the skin and make the condition worse. After washing, your skin restores acidity to prevent dehydration, itching and flakes. Your skin’s acidity is around 5. Washing too frequently can disrupt your skin barrier too much. More about your skin acidity
  2. Using emollients: After washing the skin, apply an emollient cream or lotion to moisturize the skin and reduce itching.
  3. Avoid irritating substances: Avoid using irritating substances such as harsh soaps and cosmetics that can irritate the skin.
  4. Manage stress: It is important to manage stress levels. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
  5. Dietary changes: Certain foods, such as dairy products, chocolate, and sugar, can make seborrheic dermatitis worse. Avoiding these foods can help reduce symptoms.
  6. Avoid cold temperatures: Cold temperatures can dry out the skin and make seborrheic dermatitis worse. Wear warm clothing to protect the affected area.

Treatment by a doctor

Depending on the severity of the condition and the symptoms, there are different treatment options. Here are some common treatments for seborrhoeic dermatitis:

  1. Antifungals: such as ketoconazole, can help reduce the production of the yeast that causes seborrhoeic dermatitis. Ketoconazole can be used in shampoo form to apply to the scalp or in cream form to apply to the skin.
  2. Topical corticosteroids: can reduce inflammation and itching in seborrhoeic dermatitis. They come in different strengths and forms, such as creams, ointments, or lotions, and must be prescribed by a doctor.
  3. Topical calcineurin inhibitors: such as pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, may help reduce inflammation and itching in seborrhoeic dermatitis. They are often used on the face and neck because they have fewer side effects than corticosteroids.
  4. Light therapy: UVB light therapy can help reduce inflammation and improve skin in seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is usually used for extensive eczema on the body (non-hairy head) in combination with other treatments.
  5. Systemic medications: In severe cases of seborrhoeic dermatitis, a doctor may prescribe systemic medications such as oral corticosteroids or immunomodulators (ciclosporin, methotrexate)

Alternative treatments

There are several alternative treatments available for seborrhoeic dermatitis that are often sought after. However, it is important to remember that alternative treatments should never replace medical treatment and should only be performed under the supervision of a doctor. It is also important to know that there is no scientific evidence for these treatments and consulting a doctor or dermatologist is still essential.

Here are some alternative treatments that some people with seborrheic dermatitis are trying:

  1. Tea tree oil: is a natural oil known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce inflammation and redness on the skin and scalp. However, it can also cause irritation in some people, so it’s important to test it on a small patch of skin first.
  2. Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel can help reduce inflammation and itching in seborrhoeic dermatitis. It can be applied to the skin or scalp and can promote healing of damaged skin.
  3. Probiotics: Probiotics are live microorganisms that occur naturally in the human digestive system. Some studies have shown that probiotics can help reduce inflammation and improve skin in seborrheic dermatitis.
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids: found in fish oil and some vegetable oils, may help reduce inflammation and improve skin health in seborrhoeic dermatitis.
  5. Dietary changes: Some people benefit from reducing foods that can make seborrheic dermatitis worse, such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, and dairy products.

While you are here

If there are red pimples, spots or spots on the face, it can be caused by various diagnoses. Often this includes acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, or eczema. Distinguishing between these diagnoses can be very difficult. With this blog we hope to provide self-diagnosis tips and more information about which skin condition you have. More on different spots on the face – self-diagnosis

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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