Itchy scalp, flaky skin, dandruff, redness—these represent just a few of the embarrassing and annoying skin conditions many people deal with on a daily basis. They may not be severe enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, but can impair day-to-day living and sap a person’s self-esteem. If you have one or more of these symptoms, there’s a good chance you may be suffering from Seborrheic Dermatitis.
What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic Dermatitis refers to a non-contagious skin disorder that affects around 3% of the population. It’s more common in men than in women. According to the American Family Physician Journal, seborrheic dermatitis is “a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting areas of the head and trunk where sebaceous glands are most prominent.”
Mild symptoms include dandruff, itchy scalp, and redness while more severe cases may produce white and yellow scales and patchiness caused by overproduction of skin oils. The condition most often affects the scalp, eyebrows, forehead and ears. However, the navel and groin areas may also show evidence of the disorder.
Contributing Factors for Seborrheic Dermatitis
Several factors may contribute to the development of seborrheic dermatitis. If you have a family history of dermatitis, you may have a predisposition for the disorder. Environmental factors, such as fluctuating weather conditions in your area, can trigger symptoms and cause occasional flare-ups.
Hormonal stimulation, stress, fatigue, and obesity may all contribute to the condition as well. Interestingly, people with central nervous system disorders (stroke, head injury, Parkinson’s, etc.) are more susceptible to the disorder.
Infants are prone to developing dermatitis in the first few months of life, a condition commonly referred to as cradle cap. Neo-natal dermatitis is harmless and usually disappears between 6-12 months of age.
Treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis
There are several ways to effectively combat dermatitis and practicing good hygiene is perhaps the most important. Frequent cleansing with soap helps remove skin oils that contribute to the disorder. Ironically, olive, mineral or peanut oil can also help diminish the effects of more severe cases of dermatitis involving scales and patchiness.
Other treatment options for dermatitis include over-the-counter dandruff shampoos containing zinc, salicylic acid, coal tar and selenium. Head & Shoulders and Selsun are popular examples available at your local grocery or drugstore. More severe cases may require prescription based medicated shampoos and topical creams containing ketoconazole and even corticosteroids.
If you’ve tried over-the-counter dandruff shampoos and creams, but continue to suffer from symptoms associated with dermatitis, make an appointment to discuss the issue with your primary care physician. You might require stronger prescription shampoos and creams.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a life-long condition that doesn’t have to impair your daily living or cause embarrassment. Fortunately, researchers and experts have developed many products to alleviate the symptoms and offer relief. Although there is no cure, you can continue living a healthy, happy life even with seborrheic dermatitis.
About the Author: Michael Taulier is a freelance writer specializing in healthcare, resume editing, and the freelance lifestyle. You can learn more about the various services Michael offers by visiting his website, Refined Writer. You can also connect with Michael onLinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @RefinedWriter.