Seborrheic Dermatitis: Symptoms, Complications, and More (2023)

Seborrheic dermatitis, also called seborrheic eczema, is a common condition that causes red patches with overlying greasy, yellow scales to appear on the skin, especially the scalp.

When adults or adolescents have seborrheic dermatitis on their scalp it's called dandruff. When infants do, it is referred to as cradle cap.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Symptoms, Complications, and More (1)

The causes of seborrheic dermatitis are unknown, but it's believed that one of the factors is an inflammatory response to Malassezia yeast on the skin.

Seborrheic dermatitis can develop at any age but most commonly develops in infants between 2 and 12 months of age, and then later in adults between the ages of 30 and 60.

This article explores the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, common treatments, and potential complications.

What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Dermatitis means skin inflammation. Seborrheic dermatitis is a red, scaly form of dermatitis that usually affects the scalp or face.

Seborrheic dermatitis is common, affecting about 11% of people, and usually doesn't cause any harm beyond irritation.

It is not contagious, meaning that it cannot spread from person to person.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms in Adults

In adults, seborrheic dermatitis tends to be itchy and chronic, or ongoing, and may come and go for years with cycles of flare-ups.

The scaly patches on the skin are itchy, moist, and often yellowish in color.

Areas Affected by Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis develops on areas of the skin that contain a large number of sebaceous (oil-producing) glands, such as the scalp and face. This includes the ears, eyebrows, and eyelids.

Other areas that may be affected by seborrheic dermatitis include the upper chest and back, armpits, and groin.

Skin Flakes, Including Dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis causes white or yellowish flakes of dead skin.

You may first notice that flakes have formed on the scalp (dandruff) only after they fall off.

Dandruff typically sheds from the scalp into hair or onto your neck or shoulders. It can also sometimes occur in eyebrows.

Red Scales on the Skin

The inflamed skin tends to include patches of scales along with the skin flakes.

The skin underneath the the flaky, scaly patches is generally red.

Patches of Greasy Skin

Patches of greasy skin may occur beneath scaly, flaky skin.

Those with excessively oily skin may be more prone to seborrheic dermatitis.

Itching

Seborrheic dermatitis commonly causes itchiness and irritation.

Scratching can loosen flakes and also cause additional inflammation in the area.

Excessive scratching can also break the skin, leading to bleeding and increasing the risk of mild infections.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Seborrheic blepharitis can cause redness on the eyelids and dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes. It can make eyes feel itchy.

(Video) Seborrheic Dermatitis (Dandruff and Cradle Cap) Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

How Blepharitis Is Treated

Pinkish Plaques on Face

Areas of thick, pinkish skin, called plaques, can occur on both sides of the face, such as beside the nose.

Inflamed Hair Follicles

Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis can lead to inflamed hair follicles on the face or upper body.

In rare cases, seborrheic dermatitis can contribute to damaged hair follicles on the scalp and lead to temporary hair loss. The damage tends to occur from scratching.

Redness in Skin Folds

When seborrheic dermatitis occurs in skin folds and creases, it typically leads to patches of redness. This can happen in the armpits, genitals, or beneath breasts.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms in Infants

Many infants develop cradle cap. This type of seborrheic dermatitis causes crusty, scaly patches on the scalp.

It's also possible to get patches of seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area.

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap causes thick patches to form on the baby's scalp, ears, or neck.

Like with adults, these patches are greasy and yellow to brown in color. Unlike with adults, cradle cap usually does not itch.

Cradle cap is typically harmless and usually goes away on its own within a few months. It typically does not persist past 8 to 12 months of age.

How Cradle Cap Is Treated

Patches on Diaper Area

In addition to the scalp and face, seborrheic dermatitis can affect the diaper area, including in skin folds. The skin may appear red and oily with yellowish patches.

This also typically resolves on its own.

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?

The causes of seborrheic dermatitis are unclear, but researchers believe that it is likely due to several factors.

The following may contribute to the condition:

  • Overgrowth of Malassezia yeast: This yeast is part of the group of organisms that normally live on the skin. It typically doesn't cause any trouble, but can when there is too much of it.
  • Increased skin lipid levels, or natural compounds and fats
  • Increased androgen levels, a type of hormone
  • An inflammatory reaction that may happen in response to an excess of yeast, increased androgens, and/or increased skin lipids

Risk Factors for Seborrheic Dermatitis

There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis.

One of the main ones is having a family history of dandruff.

Additional risk factors for developing seborrheic dermatitis or experiencing flare-ups include:

(Video) Seborrhoeic dermatitis - Explained under 3 minutes. Seborrheic dermatitis Symptoms and treatment

  • Oily skin means that there is more natural oil that offers a place for yeast to grow.
  • Stress often precedes flare-ups. The reason behind this isn't fully understood, but it's possible that your body's chemical responses to stress make you more prone to an inflammatory reaction to yeast.
  • Cold, dry weather can make the scalp prone to itchiness and flaking.
  • Hormonal changes may worsen seborrheic dermatitis or contribute to flares.
  • Use of alcohol-based skin products or harsh cleansers or soaps may irritate skin.
  • History of acne, psoriasis, rosacea, or other skin disorders can mean skin inflammation, scaly skin, or excess oil.
  • Certain medications, such as psoralen used to treat skin conditions, interferon, or the mood-stabilizer lithium for bipolar disorder can make you more prone to flare-ups.

Recap

The causes of seborrheic dermatitis are unknown. It's likely due to many factors. Possible causes are an overgrowth of yeast and an inflammatory reaction to it or to increased skin lipids or hormone levels.

How Seborrheic Dermatitis Is Diagnosed

A skin specialist called a dermatologist or another healthcare provider will review your medical history and perform a physical exam. They can usually diagnose seborrheic dermatitis based on its appearance.

There are other common skin conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those seen in seborrheic dermatitis. These include:

  • Psoriasis: A skin condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, causing patches anywhere on the body
  • Rosacea, a chronic condition characterized by redness and bumps on the face
  • Allergic contact dermatitis, or an allergic skin reaction after coming in contact with an allergen
  • Tinea versicolor fungal infection, which is caused by yeast in the Malassezia family
  • Pityriasis rosea, an itchy round or oval-shaped rash that typically resolves on its own

Less commonly, a widespread rash that can mimic the patches of seborrheic dermatitis may be due to secondary syphilis. This is a worsening of primary syphilis, the sexually transmitted bacterial infection that usually begins as a sore at the infection site.

Facial seborrheic dermatitis may also resemble the classic "butterfly rash" seen in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a disorder in which the immune system damages connective tissues and the lining of blood vessels throughout the body.

To differentiate among these conditions, a dermatologist may perform the following tests:

  • Skin scraping/KOH test is used to check for fungal infections. Your healthcare provider will use a tool to scrape off a small amount of skin that then gets mixed with KOH (potassium hydroxide). The KOH destroys the skin cells so that only fungus, if present, is left.
  • Biopsy: Your healthcare provider may scrape or cut off a sample of skin to examine it under a microscope and check for conditions such as psoriasis.
  • Blood or urine tests: In addition to skin tests, blood or urine test may be used to check for signs of SLE. Blood tests can also check for syphilis.

Treatment Options

The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend on how severe the seborrheic dermatitis is, where it's located, and whether or not it responds well to common treatments.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

If seborrheic dermatitis is on the scalp and mild, OTC dandruff shampoos with one or more of the following ingredients can be helpful for both treating and preventing seborrheic dermatitis in adults:

  • OTC-strength ketoconazole, found in Nizoral shampoo
  • Zinc pyrithione, found in Head & Shoulders and DermaZinc
  • Selenium sulfide, found in Selsun Blue
  • Salicylic acid, found in Neutrogena T/Sal
  • Coal tar, found in Neutrogena T/Gel and DHS Tar

Dandruff products are designed to reduce oil and scale buildup and kill yeast that may be associated with development of the condition.

It's typically recommended that OTC dandruff shampoos be used daily or several times a week during flare-ups and at least once or twice a week afterward as a preventative. Although, it's not a cure, so flare-ups can still happen.

Cradle cap usually resolves on its own by washing the skin with gentle baby shampoo and using a soft brush or comb to gently release flakes. If it doesn't clear up, see your child's pediatrician, who can evaluate whether an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription treatment may be needed.

For mild flare-ups on other skin areas, such as your neck or chest, OTC-strength hydrocortisone creams or gels may be helpful.

Prescription Medications

If you have severe flare-ups, the seborrheic dermatitis is on your face, or if OTC treatments weren't effective, your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following types of medications:

  • Antifungal shampoos, lotions, foams, or gels, such as Loprox (ciclopirax) or Nizoral (ketoconazole), to help reduce yeast
  • Topical corticosteroids, such as Capex (fluocinolone), which are applied to the skin or scalp or used as a shampoo to reduce inflammation
  • Calcineurin inhibitors, such as Protopic (tacrolimus) or Elidel (pimecrolimus), which can be used temporarily to reduce inflammation caused by certain types of immune cells

Antifungal treatments are typically tried first. Topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors may be added on a short-term basis, if needed. For example, you may take them for a week or two during a flare-up.

Antifungals may be used several times a week or daily during a flare-up. Your healthcare provider may recommend some continued use, such as once or twice a week, to help prevent flare-ups.

How to Safely Use Topical Steroids

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Try to shower soon after you exercise so that excess sweat and oil won't have a chance to build up and potentially contribute to your seborrheic dermatitis.

It may also be helpful to get plenty of sleep and eat an overall healthy diet.

A 2019 study found that eating a Western-style diet that is high in processed foods was associated with more seborrheic dermatitis, whereas eating eating more fruit was associated with less seborrheic dermatitis.

Processed foods include processed meats, such as hot dogs and deli meats, and fried foods like French fries.

You may also want to focus on healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon.

(Video) Seborrhoeic Dermatitis - Causes, Triggers & Treatment Options

Omega-3s may have anti-inflammatory properties that preliminary research suggests may be helpful for inflammatory skin conditions. Although, the research focused on another type of dermatitis and not seborrheic dermatitis specifically.

Natural Treatments

Research on natural treatments for seborrheic dermatitis is lacking, but there are some supplements and topical options that some people use:

  • Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, making them a possible option.
  • Tea tree oil can have antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. You can find it in some shampoos or facial washes, or you can add the essential oil to your existing products or a carrier oil like coconut oil. Use about 3 drops per 1 ounce of shampoo or carrier oil. Always test a small amount on your skin first.
  • Aloe vera gel may have some anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties.
  • Apple cider vinegar that's diluted in water is also sometimes used as a scalp treatment due to its potential anti-itch and antifungal benefits.

Recap

For babies with cradle cap, treatment is usually not necessary. For adults, OTC dandruff shampoos or prescription medications and lifestyle changes, such as showering when sweaty, can help manage and prevent flare-ups.

Complications of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Infants do not usually develop complications from cradle cap. Complications from seborrheic dermatitis in adults are uncommon, but possible.

In adults, especially those with more severe cases, a secondary bacterial or fungal infection may occur if seborrheic dermatitis is left untreated. This is because the skin tends to be open or damaged, which invites germs in.

These infections can cause increased redness, tenderness, and oozing or weeping of the patch and the surrounding skin.

Another potential complication of seborrheic dermatitis is related to the side effects of treatment. In adults, seborrheic dermatitis is often a chronic condition that requires on-and-off treatment to reduce inflammation and symptoms.

While low-dose topical corticosteroid therapy is an effective medication for treating seborrheic dermatitis, long-term use can cause side effects like thinning of the skin and dilated blood vessels, or telangiectasias.

This is why healthcare providers generally prefer milder agents to start, such as antifungal creams or medicated shampoos.

The psychological impact of seborrheic dermatitis can also be profound in some people. Adolescents and adults, in particular, may feel distress or embarrassment about the appearance of their skin, leading to low self-esteem.

Recap

Complications of seborrheic dermatitis in adults are uncommon. When they occur, they are usually related to side effects of treatment or a secondary infection.

Coping

Maintaining a consistent treatment and self-care plan can help you successfully manage the condition and feel more in control during flare-ups.

Experiment with different routines to see what works best for your scalp and skin, and what fits well with your day-to-day life.

If you are feeling really anxious or distressed about your skin, discuss it with your healthcare provider. You may need a more aggressive treatment for the seborrheic dermatitis to help improve your quality of life.

It's also important to remember that this is a common condition and you are not alone. You may want to consider joining a support group through organizations such as theNational Eczema Association.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Coping, Support, and Living Well

When to See a Doctor

It's usually not necessary to see a healthcare provider for mild seborrheic dermatitis, but severe or persistent symptoms are worth getting checked out.

If the redness and irritation persists and doesn't improve with treatment, it may be a different condition.

If you have any signs of a secondary infection, like increased pain, redness, drainage or fever, contact a healthcare provider right away.

When to Take Your Infant to the Doctor

Infants should see a healthcare provider if they have a widespread rash that isn't improving, or if they have any of the signs of infection, like pain, fever, drainage, or swelling.

In addition, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that infants see a dermatologist for persistent rashes on the body or in the diaper area.

Recap

Infants should see the doctor if cradle cap or a rash anywhere on the body isn't improving.

Seek urgent medical care if there are any symptoms of infection such as pain, fever, drainage, or swelling.

(Video) Seborrheic dermatitis Q&A with a dermatologist 🙆🤔

Summary

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes red patches with overlying greasy, yellow scales and flaky skin.

It usually occurs on the scalp as dandruff or cradle cap, but it can occur in many other areas such as the face or skin folds.

Seborrheic dermatitis usually clears up on its own for infants.

In adolescents and adults, it tends to be chronic and itchy with periods of flare-ups. There's no cure, but it's usually easy to manage with treatments, such as OTC dandruff shampoos or prescription medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

What are the complications of seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis usually takes a benign course, and serious complications are very rare. The intertriginous areas and eyelids are prone to secondary bacterial infections, especially during acute flares, and the diaper region is particularly prone to overgrowth with Candida spp.

What is the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis signs and symptoms may include: Flaking skin (dandruff) on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache. Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales or crust on the scalp, face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, chest, armpits, groin area or under the breasts.

Can seborrheic dermatitis affect the whole body? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common form of eczema that usually affects the scalp, though it can affect other parts of the body as well. While it rarely causes severe harm to the body, it can be uncomfortable to live with the constant itch, rash and other symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.

What medical conditions cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Some underlying conditions can raise your risk for seborrheic dermatitis, such as HIV, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, eating disorders, and alcoholism. Triggers of the condition range from stress and hormonal changes to the use of certain detergents or medications.

What happens if seborrheic dermatitis is left untreated? ›

If left untreated, the scale may become thick, yellow and greasy and, occasionally, secondary bacterial infection may occur.

Can seborrheic dermatitis spread? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis may also spread to other parts of the body, most commonly above the breastbone and on the back near the thoracic spine. Fold of skin may be affected too – for example, under the breasts, or in the armpits or groin area. In men, the patches may also occur in the genital region.

What is the best treatment for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

First try a mild corticosteroid cream, foam, ointment or oil (Scalpicin Scalp Itch) on affected areas, keeping it away from the eyes. If that doesn't work, try the antifungal cream ketoconazole. Don't use styling products. Stop using hair sprays, gels and other styling products while you're treating the condition.

Is seborrheic dermatitis a disease? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease that causes an itchy rash with flaky scales. It causes redness on light skin and light patches on darker skin. It's also called dandruff, cradle cap, seborrhea, seborrheic eczema, and seborrheic psoriasis.

Can seborrheic dermatitis be cured? ›

Although treatment cannot cure seborrheic dermatitis, treatment has benefits. Treatment can loosen and remove scale, prevent a skin infection, and reduce swelling and itch. The type of treatment a dermatologist prescribes varies with age and where the seborrheic dermatitis appears on the skin.

What autoimmune disease causes seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. That means your immune system is sending out faulty messages, and your body responds by growing skin cells too quickly. Psoriasis plaques are itchy like seborrheic dermatitis, but they can also be painful.

Is seborrheic dermatitis serious? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis causes no serious harm to the body, including the hair. It appears as red, dry, flaky, itchy skin on the scalp and other parts of the body and is common but not contagious. Its presence doesn't mean the skin is unclean or infected. Medications manage the symptoms.

What foods make seborrheic dermatitis worse? ›

While there are no good clinical studies, yeast and mold elimination diets may be helpful for people who have a difficult time controlling their seborrheic dermatitis. This entails eliminating breads, cheeses, wine, beer, excessive carbohydrates, and other foods made by yeast or fungi.

What vitamin deficiency causes seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Considering the role of inflammatory cascade in the pathogenesis of seborrheic dermatitis and the inhibitory effect of VDR and vitamin D on immune system, vitamin D deficiency can be suggested as a risk factor for developing seborrheic dermatitis.

Can stress cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Background: It is widely accepted that episodes of seborrheic dermatitis are frequently induced by stress, as stated in all general reviews of the subject.

Is seborrhea a fungal infection? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis is a superficial fungal disease of the skin, occurring in areas rich in sebaceous glands. It is thought that an association exists between Malassezia yeasts and seborrheic dermatitis.

What Moisturiser is best for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Eucerin's DermoCapillaire range is especially designed for Seborrheic Dermatitis. Use DermoCapillaire Anti-Dandruff Intensive Scalp Treatment, proven to combat dry and greasy scalp and seborrheic eczema.

What does infected seborrheic dermatitis look like? ›

You might notice red or dark, scaly or crusty yellow patches on their scalp. Or it could start in the face or diaper area and spread elsewhere. It's usually not serious and often goes away on its own in a few weeks. Talk to your doctor if symptoms worsen or lead to other problems like infection.

Which oil is best for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant seed oil also contain properties that may help treat SD symptoms. They can help reduce itching and redness. These oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before application.

Where do you get seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis can occur on different body areas. It often forms where the skin is oily or greasy. Common areas include the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the outer ear, and middle of the chest.

Is there an oral medication for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Is there an oral medication for seborrheic dermatitis? Most medications for seborrheic dermatitis are creams or ointments, but oral Sporanox (itraconazole) has been used to treat severe seborrhoeic dermatitis cases.

How long does it take seborrheic dermatitis to go away? ›

Infant: Seborrheic dermatitis often completely disappears by 6 months to 1 year of age. It can return when the child reaches puberty. Adolescent or adult: A few people see seborrheic dermatitis clear without treatment. More often, seborrheic dermatitis lasts for years.

What should I eat if I have seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Diet
  • plenty of green, leafy vegetables.
  • tomatoes.
  • olive oil.
  • fruits that contain antioxidants, such as cherries, strawberries, and blueberries.
  • foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus and bell peppers.
  • almonds.
  • sweet potatoes.
  • foods with plenty of vitamin E, like wheat germ and avocados.
19 Feb 2020

What is the best antifungal cream for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

In case of mild to moderate SD involving face and other sites (other than scalp), the topical antifungal of choice is ketoconazole 1% cream or terbinafine 1% cream.

Should I wash my hair everyday if I have seborrheic dermatitis? ›

This may be a problem for many people, but daily hair washing is important if seborrhea is to be controlled. There are some people who shampoo once per week or once per month and never get seborrhea. Unfortunately, if you're the one who suffers with seborrhea, you will need to wash your hair every day.

Does liver disease cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Fatty liver disease is often associated with diseases that are concomitant with seborrheic dermatitis and also metabolic syndrome markers such as (particularly) diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.

Does poor hygiene cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis: Despite its appearance, this skin disease is not caused by poor hygiene. This is a very common skin disease that causes a rash.

Can seborrheic dermatitis cause headaches? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis can take the head. This disease certainly does not cause migraines or neuralgia, rather it is a source of itching, irritation and pain of the scalp. These manifestations are very common symptoms in men and women suffering from seborrheic dermatitis.

Does Vitamin D Help seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Conclusion. This study suggests that low vitamin D levels have a potential role in seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. These data do not tell us that taking vitamin D is a good treatment for SD. That's often a leap that often incorrectly gets made but this is not a conclusion from this study.

Can too much sugar cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

We all know that too much sugar is bad, although it can be delicious, and that it can lead to (or worsen) problems like seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. If you want to get rid of dandruff, you'll need to address your scalp health from both inside and outside your body.

Is seborrheic dermatitis genetic? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis may be a hereditary condition. It is often aggravated by hormonal changes and cold weather conditions. Seborrheic dermatitis is most common during: Infancy.

Can seborrheic dermatitis affect eyes? ›

Seborrhoeic dermatitis affects the face, ears, eyebrows, eyes, and scalp. It is often swollen and greasy with a white or yellowish crust.

Why does seborrheic dermatitis keep coming back? ›

Key points about seborrheic dermatitis

It tends to last a long time, or go away and come back. It is often made worse by cold weather, hormonal changes, and stress. Symptoms can include skin that is bumpy, scaly, greasy, and itchy. Treatment such as medicine in shampoo, body wash, and lotion can reduce symptoms.

What is lupus dermatitis? ›

It causes a red, scaly rash on the skin. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack healthy tissues. Three types of cutaneous lupus cause different rashes to appear. The rashes often result from sun exposure. There's no cure for skin lupus.

Does diet affect seborrheic dermatitis? ›

The study concluded that “a high fruit intake was associated with less seborrheic dermatitis, whereas high adherence to a 'Western' dietary pattern in females was associated with more seborrheic dermatitis.” A western diet is one that is rich in fats.

What causes seborrheic dermatitis flare up? ›

It is often made worse by cold weather, hormonal changes, and stress. Symptoms can include skin that is bumpy, scaly, greasy, and itchy. Treatment such as medicine in shampoo, body wash, and lotion can reduce symptoms. Seborrheic dermatitis is an ongoing (chronic) condition.

What is dermatitis caused from? ›

A common cause of dermatitis is contact with something that irritates your skin or triggers an allergic reaction — for example, poison ivy, perfume, lotion and jewelry containing nickel.

Is milk good for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

"Oats and milk both can act as anti-inflammatory agents reducing symptoms of dermatitis/dandruff on your scalp. They also help in moisturising your scalp preventing dryness."

Is yogurt good for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Slathering Greek yogurt on a flaky face and scalp can help stop the itching and irritation of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.

Does seborrhea cause hair loss? ›

Hair loss is closely associated with seborrheic dermatitis because increased sebum production can create irritation and inflammation on the scalp, which can cause intense itchiness. Scratching the scalp can damage hair follicles, which obstructs natural hair growth, causing hair to fall out.

What foods to avoid if you have dermatitis? ›

Possible food triggers for skin flares are:
  • Milk and other dairy products, including baby formula.
  • Eggs.
  • Soy.
  • Wheat.
  • Peanuts or tree nuts.
  • Fish or shellfish.
  • Rice.
  • Sesame seeds or oil.

Does B12 help with seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Injections of vitamin B12 were reported to improve in 86% of adults with seborrheic dermatitis in a preliminary trial.

Can zinc deficiency cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Moreover, SD-like dermatitis has also been reported to be associated with zinc deficiency [9,10]. Among many functions, zinc also plays a role in some of the biological processes that contribute to the development of SD. However, no reports are available investigating serum zinc levels in patients with SD.

What is the difference between seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis? ›

Most often, the scales of psoriasis look thicker and drier than the scales of seborrheic dermatitis. Psoriasis tends to extend beyond the hairline. And psoriasis usually affects more than one area of the body. If you have scalp psoriasis, you may have mild psoriasis on your elbows, knees or lower back too.

Should you moisturise seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Seborrhoeic dermatitis can't be totally cured, but often symptoms can be controlled almost completely. Once daily use of a facial moisturizer, and use of a hair conditioner after shampooing may be very helpful.

What causes dermatitis on scalp? ›

Contact Dermatitis on the scalp is caused by a reaction to the chemicals in some shampoos, hair dyes and other hair grooming products. It may be that you are allergic to those ingredients or that they just irritate your skin. Another common cause of itchy scalps in children aged 3-12 years old is head lice.

What bacteria causes seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Staphylococcus aureus is the most common bacterial agent of the skin flora of patients with seborrheic dermatitis.

Is seborrheic dermatitis an autoimmune? ›

Some researchers believe that seborrheic dermatitis is an autoimmune disease of sorts (where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body), while others consider it an allergy. It is largely regarded as the body's overactive immune response to general conditions.

Is seborrheic dermatitis from yeast? ›

What causes seborrheic dermatitis? Allergy and skin irritation are sometimes implicated as a cause of seborrheic dermatitis. The most common cause, however, is a reaction to a yeast form called Malassezia. This yeast is a normal inhabitant of our skin's oil glands.

Can seborrheic dermatitis make you sick? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis causes no serious harm to the body, including the hair. It appears as red, dry, flaky, itchy skin on the scalp and other parts of the body and is common but not contagious. Its presence doesn't mean the skin is unclean or infected.

What should I avoid if I have seborrheic dermatitis? ›

While there are no good clinical studies, yeast and mold elimination diets may be helpful for people who have a difficult time controlling their seborrheic dermatitis. This entails eliminating breads, cheeses, wine, beer, excessive carbohydrates, and other foods made by yeast or fungi.

Is seborrheic dermatitis an autoimmune condition? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) is caused by an autoimmune response or allergy, and it is not contagious. It is also not curable but can be managed with treatment. Treatment of SD is not always necessary, as symptoms can clear up naturally.

What is the most effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

First try a mild corticosteroid cream, foam, ointment or oil (Scalpicin Scalp Itch) on affected areas, keeping it away from the eyes. If that doesn't work, try the antifungal cream ketoconazole. Don't use styling products. Stop using hair sprays, gels and other styling products while you're treating the condition.

Can stress cause seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Background: It is widely accepted that episodes of seborrheic dermatitis are frequently induced by stress, as stated in all general reviews of the subject.

Is seborrheic dermatitis a bacterial infection? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease that affects 1–3% of the general population. The Malassezia species has been implicated as the main causative agent; however, the bacterial flora of the skin may also play role in the etiopathogenesis.

Is there an oral medication for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Is there an oral medication for seborrheic dermatitis? Most medications for seborrheic dermatitis are creams or ointments, but oral Sporanox (itraconazole) has been used to treat severe seborrhoeic dermatitis cases.

What foods get rid of seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Diet
  • plenty of green, leafy vegetables.
  • tomatoes.
  • olive oil.
  • fruits that contain antioxidants, such as cherries, strawberries, and blueberries.
  • foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus and bell peppers.
  • almonds.
  • sweet potatoes.
  • foods with plenty of vitamin E, like wheat germ and avocados.
19 Feb 2020

Does sugar affect seborrheic dermatitis? ›

We all know that too much sugar is bad, although it can be delicious, and that it can lead to (or worsen) problems like seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. If you want to get rid of dandruff, you'll need to address your scalp health from both inside and outside your body.

Does Vitamin D Help seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Conclusion. This study suggests that low vitamin D levels have a potential role in seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. These data do not tell us that taking vitamin D is a good treatment for SD. That's often a leap that often incorrectly gets made but this is not a conclusion from this study.

What autoimmune disease is linked to seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. That means your immune system is sending out faulty messages, and your body responds by growing skin cells too quickly. Psoriasis plaques are itchy like seborrheic dermatitis, but they can also be painful.

Where do you get seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis can occur on different body areas. It often forms where the skin is oily or greasy. Common areas include the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the outer ear, and middle of the chest.

Is seborrheic dermatitis a fungus? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis is a superficial fungal disease of the skin, occurring in areas rich in sebaceous glands. It is thought that an association exists between Malassezia yeasts and seborrheic dermatitis. This may, in part, be due to an abnormal or inflammatory immune response to these yeasts.

What Moisturiser is best for seborrheic dermatitis? ›

Eucerin's DermoCapillaire range is especially designed for Seborrheic Dermatitis. Use DermoCapillaire Anti-Dandruff Intensive Scalp Treatment, proven to combat dry and greasy scalp and seborrheic eczema.

Can seborrheic dermatitis be cured permanently? ›

Although treatment cannot cure seborrheic dermatitis, treatment has benefits. Treatment can loosen and remove scale, prevent a skin infection, and reduce swelling and itch.

What triggers seborrheic dermatitis flare ups? ›

Seborrheic dermatitis is long-lasting in adults

Flare-ups are common when the weather turns cold and dry. Stress also can trigger a flare-up. The good news is that treatment can reduce flare-ups and bring relief.

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