What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition and is also commonly referred to as dandruff or dermatitis. This condition occurs when the sebaceous glands are overactive, and produce too much oil on the skin. The skin looks dry, inflamed and turns red.
It is also covered with a yellowish, greasy scale. It usually affects the scalp and this is called dandruff. Other areas of the body such as the face including the forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, folds of the nose and the nose may be affected. Dandruff may also appear under the breasts, the underarms, groin, navel and buttock area.
What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?
The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known but factors such as hormone and stress as well as yeast-like organism may contribute to this condition. Although seborrheic dermatitis cannot be cured, symptoms are treatable. Seborrheic dermatitis may go into remission at times but has a tendency to recur.
It is especially common in infants and when this condition affects them, it is known as cradle cap. Cradle cap also affects the diaper area and may look like diaper rash. With treatment, cradle cap disappears after six months. Children during their first year of life as well as teenage boys may develop seborrheic dermatitis.
It also affects adults, middle aged and elderly people, and is generally more common in men than women. Seborrheic dermatitis also tends to occur in adults who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, stress, psoriasis, immune system disorders such as AIDS and are in long-term nursing home care.
In infants, seborrheic dermatitis appears on the scalp – cradle cap. During childhood the most distinctive feature is red skin covered with greasy, crusty scales in the diaper area, behind the ears, on the face, neck and under the arms. In teens, seborrheic dermatitis occurs as dry flakes of dandruff in the beard area, on the eyelids, ear canals or in the navel.
Help for Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis can be kept under control with treatment and good hygiene. However, seborrheic dermatitis cannot be prevented, and may recur. To reduce the symptoms of dandruff, shampoos containing selenium sulfide or tea tree oil such as Selsun, Tegrin, T-Gel or Ionil-T are recommended. Seborrheic dermatitis that develops on the face and body should be washed with soap and water daily. If Seborrheic dermatitis affects facial hair such as mustache or beard, shaving the area usually helps. Other treatments that may be prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist include medicated shampoos, antifungal drugs, topical corticosteroids and sulfur products.
If infants have developed cradle cap, shampooing their hair with a mild non-medicated or dandruff shampoo daily helps. Sometimes, if the patch of cradle cap is large and thick, it may be softened by rubbing on warm mineral oil. Afterwards, brush gently with a baby hairbrush and shampoo.
Good skincare habits such as eating healthily, getting enough rest and exercising regularly are important for the skin. In addition, sunlight also benefits the skin but remember to wear sunscreen at all times.
More and more people are opting for natural approaches to treat skin conditions. Treatments such as herbal remedies and tissue salts have been used for centuries to optimize skin health with some amazing results. Using herbs are safe and effective for the skin and do not contain harsh synthetic ingredients and chemicals like so many skincare and cosmetic products.
Herbs such as Galium aperine (Cleavers) and Trifolium pratense (red clover) have a wide range of therapeutic effects that acts as a cleansing tonic, blood purifier and lymphatic cleanser. Tissue salts such as Natrium muriaticum, Kalium muriaticum and Kalium sulphate help to maintain skin health and promote well-hydrated skin.