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What is Seborrhoeic Dermatitis?
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory rash that occurs on areas of skin where sebaceous (oil) glands are prevalent. It generally occurs in the following zones:
- the front area of the scalp
- below the forehead
- behind the ears
- the nape of the neck
- random patches over the scalp
- nose area
- centre of the chest
In seborrhoeic dermatitis, the skin becomes inflamed, with large, tightly-packed flakes covering a reddened area of the scalp. These flakes or scales are usually (but not always) accompanied by itching. Heavy scales often cause less itching than milder, lighter scales.
Many people believe that flakes resulting from seborrhoeic dermatitis are dry, and so rub in oil to remove them. However, the flakes are in fact greasy, and rubbing in oil will simply make them more adherent and oily. This will also make your hair feel and look lanker.
Symptoms of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
- Patchy yellowish flakes on your scalp
- Redness and soreness of your scalp
- Obvious oily flakes throughout the length of your hair
- Flakes around your eyebrows
- Redness around your nose
Causes of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
Seborrhoeic dermatitis tends to run in families. However, variations in the severity of flaking occur with stress, menstruation, hormonal fluctuations, illness, certain foods and sometimes the type of shampoo you are using. Seborrhoeic Dermatitis can affect babies in the form of cradle cap.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Seborrhoeic dermatitis can look very similar to other skin conditions, such as psoriasis. To make matters more confusing, it can sometimes occur at the same time as other conditions. It is important you see your GP or Trichologist for a correct diagnosis, so you can be prescribed the proper treatment.
Treatments usually involve creams or masks containing sulphur and/or salicylic acid.