Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff, is a disease that causes flaking of the skin. Normally it is found in the scalp but can appear on other areas of the body as well. This condition is often referred to as cradle cap when found on a baby’s scalp. Most babies that suffer from this condition can outgrow it by the age of 3-4 months. This condition typically leaves the skin looking scaly and flaky, along with appearing a little greasy at times. This is found more often in men than women and usually affects adults ranging from ages 30-60.

Although the cause hasn’t been determined, it is believed that in adults the seborrheic dermatitis may have something to do with hormones or yeast on the body. The yeast is called malassezia and is normally found on the skin in small numbers. When the numbers increase for any reason it can result in skin problems. Dandruff can cause flaking of skin, redness, hair loss and itching. If scratching causes skin irritation then it is possible to develop a secondary bacterial infection as well.

This condition can normally be treated with a dandruff shampoo containing salicylic acid or selenium sulfide. It is recommended that these shampoos be used twice a week. For those that have a severe case of dandruff it may be necessary to use the medicated shampoos more often or even daily until the dandruff is under control. Once you notice a difference and the dandruff seems to be improving, you can go back to the recommended dosage in order to maintain the results. When using these shampoos, make sure you apply them to the hair and scalp and allow at least 5 minutes before rinsing, giving the medicine in the shampoo time to do its job. If you notice that the problem does not start to go away with the use of shampoos after a couple weeks, then you may need to see your doctor and get a steroid lotion to use once or twice a day along with the shampoo.

When dealing with seborrheic dermatitis or cradle cap in babies, you will need to use a product that is not as strong as those used for adults. Often using a mild baby shampoo, along with brushing the baby’s scalp with a soft brush, can help loosen and remove the flakes. If you do not notice an improvement over time then you will want to talk to your pediatrician about getting a prescription shampoo that is safe for baby. Also switching to a shampoo containing tar may do the trick but even this is important to run by your doctor first. If your baby is suffering from seborrheic dermatitis in the folds of his or her skin your doctor should be able to prescribe some gentle steroid lotions or creams to treat it.

For babies, this condition is usually temporary and may not ever return. However in adults the condition is considered chronic and may need treatment for life. Although it is possible for the condition to fade it usually returns as flare-ups periodically throughout a lifetime. Some people feel embarrassed by their condition and some may even become depressed by it. It is important to start treating the dandruff as soon as it is first detected to avoid a major flare-up from occurring. By using your dandruff shampoo as directed and on a regular basis it is possible to keep your dandruff under control. When dandruff gets unable to be controlled by your shampoo then it is time to see your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a stronger medication for you.

Last updated on Jun 2nd, 2009 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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