What is seborrheic dermatitis?

‘Seborrheic Dermatitis’ is a red, itchy, flaky skin complaint that affects greasy (sebaceous) skin zones such as the face, scalp and centre of the chest. Seborrheic dermatitis is very common and many people don’t even know they have it. Overall it has been reported to affect about 4% of the population, and dandruff (which is mild seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp) can affect almost half of all adults.

It can start at any time after puberty and is slightly commoner in men. Babies can also get a short lived type of seborrheic dermatitis in the scalp (cradle cap) and nappy area, which usually clears after a few months.

What causes it?

It is thought that seborrheic dermatitis is triggered by an overgrowth of a harmless yeast called Malassezia that lives on the skin, or an overreaction by the skin’s immune system to this yeast.

These are not the same as the yeasts that cause thrush or those that are present in foods.

How is it treated?

Seborrheic dermatitis is managed with treatment that reduces the level of skin yeast – these include creams and shampoo, which can be used safely on a long-term basis. Mild steroid creams can be used for short periods to settle any irritation, and the newer non-steroid anti-inflammatory eczema creams (calcineurin inhibitors) are also effective though not licensed for this complaint.

Your dermatologists, Dr. Del Campo and Dr. Danny, are the experts in the diagnosis and treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Make a consultation today for your personalized treatment with our doctors. If you have any questions, call us at (773) 286-8111. Dr. Del Campo and Dr. Danny can be your specialist today.