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Definition

Seborrhea is a form of skin inflammation. It is a common skin condition. It is already affecting millions of Americans. The condition is characterized by waxy scale and reddened skin areas. It affects approximately 3% to 5% of the population, most commonly men, and peaks in infancy and middle age. There are different kind of seborrheic dermatitis

Causes

A type of yeast that has an affinity for these glands called Pityrosporum ovale, it may be the cause, but this has not been proven yet. It is believed that the build up of yeast in these glands irritates the skin causing redness and flaking. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is not contagious or related to diet, but it may be aggravated by illness, psychological stress, fatigue, change of season and reduced general health. Those infections with HIV and with neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and stroke are particularly prone to it.

Symptoms

The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis occur gradually, usually beginning with dry skin on the scalp, which flakes off (dandruff). The skin on the face, behind the ears, and anywhere where there are folds of skin are other common areas for flaking and redness.
The most common symptoms of Seborrheic dermatitis are:

  • Skin lesions
  • Greasy, oily areas of skin
  • Skin scales
  • Mild redness
  • Hair loss

Treatment

Seborrheic dermatitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of chronic eczematous dermatitis and in that of papulosquamous disorders, particularly psoriasis. The clinical features of seborrheic dermatitis limited to the scalp and face may resemble those associated with psoriasis, giving rise to the term sebopsoriasis.

Long-term use of these products is discouraged, however, because they cause side effects, such as breaking out in acne-like lesions and thinning of the skin. Also, the skin becomes accustomed to the steroid and an intense flare may occur when the medication is stopped. Aloe vera gel can be as effective as a mild cortisone cream, without the potential side effects.

Basic treatment consists of using shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide or ketoconazole. When you use a dandruff shampoo, rub the shampoo into your hair thoroughly and let it stay on your hair and scalp for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. This will give it time to work.

If you are an adult with scalp seborrhea, your doctor may suggest a shampoo containing coal tar, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. Brand names include Selsun Blue, Exelderm, Head & Shoulders, Zincon, and DHS zinc.

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