Seborrheic Dermatitis – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disorder that usually affects the head, face, and trunk of the body. In infants, it is known as cradle cap. While it is not harmful or a contagious it can be itchy  and uncomfortable or unsightly for the person with it. Seborrheic dermatitis can even lead to permanent hair loss if not properly treated.

Common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include flaking of the skin on the scalp, face, behind the ears, and on the trunk of the body. Seborrheic dermatitis can occur anywhere there are enough hair follicles that can become inflamed, including eyebrows, near eyelashes, and in the ear canal. Often time the flakes will be red, but can also range in color from white to yellow to gray. Seborrheic dermatitis can cause the skin to become scaly and itchy. Scratching can damage the hair follicle and lead to hair loss.  

The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not fully understood, but factors that contribute to it have been identified. The malassezia yeast that grows in oily secretions on the skin is believed to play an important role in causing seborrheic dermatitis. Using antifungal treatments has been proven to reduce the amount of malassezia and the inflammation caused by it. Other factors, such as stress, environment, and neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, have also been identified in the outbreak of seborrheic dermatitis.

There is no known treatment to cure seborrheic dermatitis, but there are many ways to control the appearance and discomfort caused by it. For seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, medicated shampoos specifically for seborrheic dermatitis can be effective in managing it. If a shampoo does not work, or stops working overtime, a doctor can prescribe a shampoo with a higher concentration of medicine in it.

Treatment on the face and scalp can involve over-the-counter anti-itch and anti-fungal creams or prescription-strength creams if the seborrheic dermatitis is severe. Seborrheic dermatitis can be an uncomfortable condition, but can be easily managed with treatment. It is important to not let seborrheic dermatitis continue without care as it can lead to hair loss and infection.

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  1. I have sufferd from Seborrheic Dermatitis on my scalp for over 35 years. My condition was very bad, covering my entire scalp.Years ago I was given a presciption for a product called Barseb Thera Spray – I believe this is the correct spelling. It worked extremely well but was taken off of the market. My condition went away for a few years but it returned and I have had it ever since.
    Once week I had to treat my scalp by keeping my scalp wet for over an hour – this would make the scales softer and then I could scape my scalp clean with my fingernails. This would work for a few days but the scales would form again in a couple of days and then I would start all over again.

    Since December of 2010 I have been treated for an enlarged prostate – my intial PSA was a little high but I was also experiencing symptoms of Prostatitis so my urologist put me on Flomax (Tamsulosin) and the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin. I took the Ciprofloxacin for 4 weeks, went back for an appointment and my urologist put me on another 3 weeks of Ciprofloxacin while continuing with the Flomax because my Prostititis symptoms were improving but had not been fully eliminated.

    It was during the scond round of Ciprofloxacin that I noticed my sccalp was beginning to clear up. I have been off of the antibiotic for over 5 weeks but I still take Flomax.. I took another PSA test 2 weeks ago and I go back for the results tomorrow but my scalp has been 100% clear for over 5 weeks. I asked my urologist if he could explain the scalp issue but he could not.

    I have also asked my pharmacist if he knew of either Flomax or Ciprofloxacin helping to treat Seborrheic Dermatitis but he said he hadn’t heard of either of these being used to treatr the condition.

    So I was wondering if taking these medicines are the reason that my scalp has cleared up and has stayed that way. I know that stress can be a determining factor in causing the condition but my stress level has increased due to the PSA test and a possible prostate biopsy in the near future.

    I would certainly be interested in anything you may have to offer.

    Thank you

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