All about seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition that affects men and women of all ages. It consists of a very annoying disorder that is visible in parts of the face, especially in oily areas and on the scalp, and even in the outer ear and eyelids. This type of dermatitis has several probable causes, but exactly what causes seborrheic dermatitis has not yet been determined. Likewise, there are several effective treatments and it is also convenient to know the risk factors to avoid regeneration, although we have already said that once this dermatitis appears, it is very rare for it to disappear.

Once we notice the first symptoms, we must go to a dermatologist to nip this dermatitis at its roots, otherwise, it could spread to other areas and complicate the treatment of the disease.

Seborrheic dermatitis has a variety of causes, but none have been proven to be the main trigger. In addition, although there are many treatments, there is no miracle cure that will make those scabs and peeling that this silent disease causes disappear.

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

It is a fairly common disorder that appears mainly on the scalp, but it can also appear in other areas of the body, especially where there is hair, such as the chest, beard, eyebrows, eyelids, etc. Apart from directly affecting the scalp, it also affects the oily parts of the face, such as the sides of the nose, the frown, the ears, the eyebrows, the eyelids, the chest, etc.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes inflammation where it appears and causes burning, irritation and itching. The skin peels off, releasing hard, yellowish or white skins , as if they were scabs. It is a chronic and recurrent disease that appears more in winter than in summer and that is rarely completely eliminated.

This dermatitis can appear at any time and is or is not related to the causes that we will discuss in the following sections. What is clear is that people with oily skin are more likely to suffer from this disease, in addition to those with little facial care or an inappropriate use of facial products together with oily and sensitive skin.

Clear symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis

This skin condition has a series of very characteristic features that will help us to identify the disease, thus being able to act as soon as possible and eradicate it quickly.

  • Scales on the scalp.
  • Scabs or scabs on the scalp or in some areas of the face and body.
  • Scabs that when raised have infection.
  • Dandruff and skin on the scalp, outer ear, eyebrows, beard or mustache.
  • Areas of the face covered with fat and scales.
  • Seborrheic blepharitis (the skin of the eyelids becomes inflamed).
  • Reddened skin
  • Inflamed skin
  • Cradle cap formation on the scalp (in babies).
  • Itching and pain in inflamed areas.

This type of symptoms tends to be accentuated with the arrival of the cold and dry seasons or with times of great stress. It is important to recognize the symptoms to act quickly, but that does not ensure that they will disappear, since it goes hand in hand with several causes that should be addressed to see what causes seborrheic dermatitis.

Piel enrojecida por la dermatitis seborreica

Main causes of this condition

As we have already advanced before, there are a series of probable causes that trigger the appearance of this skin condition. But we must not lose sight of the fact that none of these causes has been proven as the only triggers, but rather that they are related or could be. There are even cases in which the trigger for seborrheic dermatitis is several of the causes that we say below.

  • Genetic heritage. A cause that cannot be attacked, therefore, our case of dermatitis will be recurrent and will never disappear completely.
  • Times of stress.
  • Hormonal imbalance In the case of women, it is recommended to start here with a visit to the gynecologist.
  • Being in treatment of corticosteroid-based medications.
  • Having an autoimmune disease.
  • Poor hygiene and use of aggressive products.
  • Manipulate hair excessively.
  • Live in a place where there is a hot and humid climate.
  • The appearance of a fungus called Malassezia furfur that arises after skin inflammation and where its habitat is the sebaceous glands of the scalp.

Primary diagnosis of dermatitis

Before closing to a single diagnosis, the professional should carefully evaluate us, since there are other conditions and diseases that closely resemble seborrheic dermatitis. The dermatologist is the doctor we must go to to put an end to this annoying condition. A disease that can cause alopecia if not treated properly, as the scabs suffocate the hair follicles and the hair falls out and new hairs no longer grow.

The dermatologist will examine our skin and take samples to rule out other diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, rosacea or pityriasis versicolor . What you should do is check the scalp, the skin of the face, or the skin of other parts of the body where we have some symptoms and ask ourselves questions to determine if it is something specific, if it is a hormonal change, if there is a risk of alopecia, if we are using inappropriate beauty products, etc.

After the biopsy and even a blood test in some cases, it will be determined if we have this or another condition and will refer us to other professionals or recommend the best treatment for our case.

Risk factor’s

We have already anticipated that seborrheic dermatitis once it reaches our lives, it is very difficult to get rid of it, so it is convenient to be informed about the main risk factors that are going to cause outbreaks with their respective consequences, such as pain, irritability, itching, marks, etc.

  • Some medications above all those that have corticosteroids.
  • Neurological and psychiatric disorders such as depression or Parkinson’s.
  • Weak immune system
  • Sun exposure.
  • In a postoperative period or recovery from a serious illness.

These are just some of the risk factors, but there is more like sweating a lot, poor hygiene, living in hot and humid climates, not taking proper care of ourselves, etc. The best thing is to take the main causes that we have exposed and try not to comply with them.

Una mujer con dermatitis seborreica lavándose el pelo

Treatments to cure seborrheic dermatitis

We return to the same thing, there is no miracle cure, but if we manage to attack the main roots, we can make them disappear or that the seborrheic dermatitis is under control for life or until another imbalance or stressful episode arises and so on.

It will be the dermatologist who indicates the treatment, but to get an idea, there are special shampoos, facial creams, bath gels, even pills. Shampoos are suitable to counteract the actions of the fungus and prevent swelling and other consequences.

Creams, gels and lotions normally include hydrocortisone, fluocinolone (Capex, Synalar), clobetasol (Clobex, Cormax) and desonide (Desowen, Desonate), as well as calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus ( Elidel), but the latter are related to the development of cancer.

Oral medications are antifungal pills that are used as a last resort because they have significant side effects and can interact negatively with other medications.

Prevention is the key, and whether we already have it or not, there are some aspects of our life that we must improve to reduce the condition or prevent its appearance:

  • Wear 100% cotton clothing and wash with mild detergents.
  • Have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not touch your hair excessively or rub the affected areas.
  • Do not scratch or lift the scabs, as this proliferates infections.
  • Do not eat fried, spicy, or ultra-processed, or aged cheeses, and no alcohol or soft drinks.