Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition that causes dryness and scaling of the face and scalp, as well as dandruff. It can occur at any point during one’s life and is also known to continuously recur. The cause is a fungal organism on the skin, and though it cannot be cured there is a range of topical creams, solutions, foams, and shampoos that will control symptoms. Seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious.
In small children, the rash may be itchy and cause dandruff and eczema of the scalp, eyebrows and near the diaper area. This rash is known as cradle cap, and is marked by slightly yellowish scales.
Seborrheic dermatitis in adults is a condition that can come and go for the rest of their lives. Flare-ups are common when the weather is cold and dry or when the patient is stressed. Treatment can reduce flare-ups and bring relief.
While seborrheic dermatitis usually heals on its own, airing out the affected area and getting a safe amount of sun exposure can help alleviate symptoms. Avoiding stress can also help to prevent the condition from worsening.
Unfortunately, there is no test for diagnosing seborrheic dermatitis. To diagnose, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a routine exam of your skin. Your doctor may choose to scrape a bit of skin and mix it with a chemical to determine if there is a fungal infection. Similarly, a skin biopsy may be required in order to rule out other conditions that look like seborrheic dermatitis.
If you have severe symptoms or it appears on a small child, come into Golden State Dermatology to seek medical advice.