Seborrheic dermatitis (Seborrheic eczema) is a mild skin disorder that mainly affects scalp, causing scaly, itchy, red skin and stubborn dandruff. In adults it can also affect face, upper chest, back and other areas of body that have many oil glands. Some kids develop a similar condition and it usually clears within a few months. Such condition is called “Cradle Cap”. It is harmless temporary condition. This thick, crusty, yellow or brown scale over the kid’s scalp is not dangerous or contagious.

The common signs and symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include: Redness or bumps on the skin, Itch or soreness, Patchy scaling or thick crusts on scalp, Yellow or white flakes or dandruff on scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache, nose, forehead, or ears and hair loss. Sometimes it may affect breastbone, groin area, and armpits.

The main causes of Seborrheic dermatitis are not known yet. It is believed to be due to a combination of an over production of skin oil and irritation from a yeast (malessizia). Some major noted facts behind this condition is; Stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin, infrequent shampoos or skin cleaning, use of lotions that contain dandruff shampooalcohol (makes the skin dry), skin disorders like acne and obesity. Some Neurologic conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, head injury, and stroke are also associated with seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic (life-long) condition. With the help of proper treatment and care this condition can be controlled. There is usually no strategy that stops it permanently. The extreme form of this condition is called sebopsoriasis.

Your health care provider can give you the best approach after determining your skin type, the severity of your condition, and whether your symptoms affect your scalp or other areas of your body. They usually diagnose seborrheic dermatitis by taking a thorough medical history, your words about the symptoms and examining the affected skin areas.

In many cases, Antidandruff shampoos containing 2.5 percent selenium sulfide or 1 to 2 percent pyrithione zinc are found to be very useful for effective treatment of seborrheic dermatitis.

Other treatments are available in various forms such as solutions, lotions, creams and ointments. Which treatment to use is often determined by the dermatologist after checking patient’s condition. As a first step of treatment your health care provider may advise you with different combinations of the usual agents: a dandruff shampoo like Jason’s Tea Tree Shampoo, an antifungal agent and a topical steroid. In very severe cases, he may prescribe oral medications with whole-body effects. Patient with severe seborrhea that is unresponsive to the usual topical therapy may be referred for isotretinoin therapy.