Seborrheic dermatitis, which considered a chronic form of eczema, appears on the body where there are a lot of oil-producing, glands like scalp. The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown; however, genes and hormones play a role. Microorganisms that live on the skin naturally can contribute to seborrheic dermatitis.
Anyone of any age can develop seborrheic dermatitis on scalp including infants , it is also known as “cradle cap”. The triggers for seborrheic dermatitis may include:
- Hormonal changes or illness
- Cold, dry weather
- Harsh detergents, solvents, chemicals and soaps
Seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious. Generally, seborrheic dermatitis is more common in men than in women. Patients with certain diseases which affect the immune system and the nervous system are also at increased risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis.
What’s Causing Seborrheic Dermatitis on Scalp?
As we mentioned, doctors don’t yet know the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis on scalp. But it may be related to:
- A yeast, which is called malassezia, that is in the oil secretion on the skin
- An inflammatory response related to psoriasis
- The season, with episodes tending to be worse in early spring and winter
What are the symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis on Scalp?
Seborrheic dermatitis appears on the scalp, where symptoms may range from dry flakes to yellow, greasy scales with reddened skin. You can also develop seborrheic dermatitis on other oily areas of your body, such as the face, upper chest and back.
Common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis on Scalp include:
- Greasy, swollen skin
- White or yellowish crusty flakes
- itchy or burning skin
What are the factors that increase the Risk of Developing Seborrheic Dermatitis on Scalp?
There is a number of factors that increase your risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis on scalp which include:
- Neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and depression
- A weakened immune system, such as seen in organ transplant recipients and people with HIV/AIDS, alcoholic pancreatitis and some cancers
- Congestive heart failure
- Endocrine disease that leads to obesity, such as diabetes
- Scratching or otherwise damaging the skin on your face
- Some medications
How to Diagnose Seborrheic Dermatitis on Scalp?
Seborrheic dermatitis may seem like other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. There is no test for diagnosing seborrheic dermatitis. Your doctor may ask you about your medical history and perform a physical examination of your skin. Also, the doctor with scrape a bit of skin, mix it with a chemical and look at it under a microscope to determine if there is a fungal infection. A skin biopsy may be required to rule out the other conditions that look like seborrheic dermatitis. If you are experiencing symptoms, see your doctor to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
How to Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis on Scalp?
In mild cases, it may be enough to control symptoms using a topical antifungal cream or medicated shampoo. In more severe cases, you can receive a prescription for a mild corticosteroid medication to calm the inflammation. Use topical corticosteroids only as directed when the seborrheic dermatitis is actively flaring.
When corticosteroids are not appropriate, or when they have been used for a prolonged period, a non-corticosteroid topical medication may be prescribed. These medications are known as topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) and are approved for use by adults and children two years of age or older. You can also use oral antifungal agents in very severe cases.
What to Worry?
See a doctor if:
- Your condition is causing embarrassment and anxiety
- You’re so uncomfortable and you’re losing sleep or being distracted from your daily routines
- You suspect your skin is infected
- self-care steps don’t make any improvement.