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SEBORRHOEIC DERMATITIS

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes scaly, red, and itchy skin. The condition is characterized by the presence of flaky, white or yellow scales on the skin, and it most commonly affects the scalp, face, and chest. Seborrheic dermatitis is also known as dandruff, cradle cap in infants and seborrheic eczema.

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, but it is thought to be related to an overgrowth of a type of yeast called Malassezia, as well as an overproduction of oil (sebum) in the skin. Factors that may contribute to the development of seborrheic dermatitis include stress, hormonal changes, a weakened immune system, and certain medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and HIV/AIDS.

Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms can vary depending on the location and severity of the condition. The most common symptoms include:

  • Scaly, red, and itchy skin, which can be severe in some cases.

  • Greasy or oily skin, especially on the scalp, face, and chest.

  • Flaky white or yellow scales on the skin. These scales can be easily removed and may appear like dandruff.

  • In severe cases, the skin may crack and bleed, and the condition can become painful.

  • The symptoms can be more severe in people with Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or other medical conditions that affect the immune system.

Symptoms typically appear gradually over time and can be present for weeks or months at a time. The symptoms may improve or worsen depending on various factors such as weather, stress, and hormonal changes.

It’s important to note that seborrheic dermatitis can be mistaken for other skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, or even a fungal infection. A dermatologist can confirm the diagnosis by looking at the skin and may do a skin scraping or fungal culture to rule out other conditions.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, but it is thought to be related to a combination of factors, including:

  • An overgrowth of a type of yeast called Malassezia: This yeast is found naturally on the skin and it is believed that it can cause an immune reaction that leads to inflammation and the formation of scales and crusts on the skin.

  • An overproduction of oil (sebum) in the skin: Sebum is the natural oil produced by the skin that helps to keep it moisturized. When there is an overproduction of sebum, it can contribute to the development of seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or puberty, can contribute to the development of seborrheic dermatitis.

  • A weakened immune system: People with medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or other conditions that affect the immune system may be at a higher risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Stress: Stress can be a trigger for seborrheic dermatitis and can worsen symptoms.

  • Weather: Cold, dry weather can dry out the skin and make the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis worse.

It’s also important to note that while there’s no definitive cause of seborrheic dermatitis, there’s evidence that genetic predisposition may play a role.

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Treatment for seborrheic dermatitis typically involves the use of medicated shampoos, creams, and lotions that help to reduce inflammation and control the overgrowth of yeast on the skin. The specific treatment plan will depend on the location and severity of the condition, as well as the individual’s preference.

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatment options include:

  • Medicated shampoos: Shampoos containing active ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, or ketoconazole can help to reduce inflammation, itching, and flaking on the scalp.

  • Topical creams and lotions: Products that contain hydrocortisone or other anti-inflammatory agents can be used to relieve itching and reduce redness on the face and body.

  • Moisturizers: Keeping the skin moisturized can help to reduce itching and flaking.

If the OTC treatment options don’t provide enough relief, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication.

Prescription treatment options include:

  • Topical creams and ointments: Medications such as clobetasol, fluocinonide, and desonide can be used to reduce inflammation and itching on the face and body.

  • Oral medications: In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication to help control the overgrowth of yeast on the skin.

  • Light therapy: UV light therapy has been used to improve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis in some people.

It’s important to note that treatment for seborrheic dermatitis may need to be continued for an extended period of time, and that symptoms may recur after treatment is discontinued.

It’s also important to maintain good skincare habits such as keeping the skin clean and moisturized, avoiding harsh soaps and detergents, and using mild, fragrance-free products.

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