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Seborrheic dermatitis is a commonly occurring skin condition that is easy to treat. This disorder causes a scaly, red rash that is itchy and most frequently found on the skin behind the ears, scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, nose (on the sides), or chest (in the center) and other areas including, skin folds under the arms, breasts, navel, buttocks, groin, and axillary regions can also be involved.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DANDRUFF, SEBORRHEA, AND SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS
Dandruff occurs as flakes or scales on the scalp but without redness. Seborrhea is excessively oily skin, especially of the face and scalp, without any redness or scaling. When patients have seborrhea they can develop seborrheic dermatitis later. Both redness and scaling are present in patents with seborrheic dermatitis.
WHO IS AT RISK OF DEVELOPING SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS?
This condition is most commonly found in three age groups - infants where it is called "cradle cap," in those who are middle aged, and in elderly patients. Cradle cap usually clears without treatment by the time the child is eight months to a year old. In some infants, seborrheic dermatitis can develop in the diaper area without developing on the scalp when this happens it can be mistaken for diaper rash. Seborrheic dermatitis that develops at other ages can come and go. Seborrheic dermatitis can be aggravated by the seasons, particularly in the northern climates; it is common in patients who have oily hair or skin and can affect people who also have psoriasis or acne. One possible cause of seborrheic dermatitis may be a yeast-like organism.
IS THIS CONDITION ASSOCIATED WITH OTHER DISEASES?
Seborrheic dermatitis is more common in persons with Parkinson's disease. Anyone who is recovering from a stressful medical condition such as a heart attack, may also develop this problem. People in hospitals or nursing homes and those with immune system disorders appear to be more prone to this disorder as well.
HOW LONG DOES THIS DISEASE LAST?
Seborrheic dermatitis may get better without treatment, but with regular treatments, the condition improves quickly.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CURE OR PREVENT SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS?
Currently it is impossible to cure or prevent seborrheic dermatitis. Although with proper treatment it is possible to control it.
Gentle shampooing using a mild shampoo can be helpful for infants who have cradle cap. Using mild corticosteroid lotions or creams, topical immunomodulators (Tacrolimus, Pimecrolimus) or anti-fungal topical treatments such as ketoconazole or Loprox (ciclopirox), may also be applied to the affected areas of skin. Adult patients may need to use a medicated shampoo and a stronger corticosteroid preparation. A dermatologist may recommend non-prescription shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione, tar, ketoconazole, salicylic acid, and/or selenium sulfide or a prescription shampoo (e.g. Clobex, Stieprox,), foam, or cream gel can be given. As an excessive use of the stronger preparations can cause side effects, patients should follow their dermatologist's advice.
We put academic qualifications, many years of combined experience, and training in a variety of special interest areas to work for your healthy, radiant skin. Our providers – Drs. Schachter, Hanna, Curtis, Abdulla, Pollack, and Taradash – welcome new patients for treatment at the Dermatology on Bloor practice on Park Road in Toronto. Our team is here to serve your needs