Seborrheic Dermatitis

(Dandruff)

Definition

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that causes a red, scaly, itchy rash. It can appear as a mild, white scaling or a yellowish greasy or reddish scaly rash. Most commonly affected areas are along the hairline, in and behind the ears, on the eyebrows, around the nose, and on the chest.Dandruff is a type of seborrheic dermatitis where there is a scaling of the skin on the scalp. The area can be dry or oily and is sometimes itchy.
Seborrheic Dermatitis
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Causes

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. Common skin yeast organisms may play a role in some people.

Risk Factors

Risk factors include having:
  • Oily skin or hair
  • Family members who have seborrheic dermatitis
  • Chronic conditions, including disorders of the immune system such as HIV infection
  • Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson disease or, less commonly, stroke

Symptoms

The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. They include:
  • Dry or greasy scaling of the scalp
  • Itchy scalp
  • Itchy, scaly rash with small pimples
  • Thickened, flaking skin
  • Reddened skin over the forehead and on either side of the nose
In babies less than 1 month old, seborrheic dermatitis may cause a thick, yellow, crusted scalp rash known as cradle cap.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is made by the appearance of the rash.You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (a dermatologist).

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