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What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Let's take a closer look at seborrheic dermatitis, why you might develop it and what you can do to help treat the condition.

The causes of seborrheic dermatitis

While it is not known exactly what causes seborrheic dermatitis, this chronic (recurring) form of eczema is believed to be related to stress, hormones, illnesses, chemicals and the weather. The word “seborrheic” means the over-production, or abnormal production, of sebum. Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in adults and babies, where it is known as cradle cap. It mostly occurs in places where the body produces excess oil from its sebaceous glands such as the nose, scalp and back areas.

Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis

For those that suffer from seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, the condition often manifests through skin flakes (dandruff), while other areas of the skin can show red patches with a greasy, scaly appearance. Not only can the condition cause embarrassment, but it is also often associated with a burning sensation. Unlike atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis tends to occur on oily areas of the skin and does not itch, while atopic dermatitis is more common on the face, hands, feet, inside of the elbows and behind the knees.

How do I treat seborrheic dermatitis?

With seborrheic dermatitis it’s important to calm the inflammation by using gentle, pH neutral emollients and cleansers that help restore the damaged moisture barrier. With regular topical use of specially-formulated skincare, the skin feels softer and less inflamed, and the burning sensation is reduced. For severe cases, prescribed medication may be required.

In any case, if you think you might have a form of dermatitis, visit your local dermatologist who will be able to diagnose your condition.

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