Seborrheic dermatitis is a red, scaly rash that chronically affects the skin on areas such as the scalp, cheeks, ears, eyebrows, and forehead. Sometimes, it may itch or burn. The scaly areas may be white or yellowish and flaky. On the scalp, this condition looks like thick dandruff (rather than dry scalp). This skin condition is the same one that causes cradle cap in infants. It tends to occur on areas of the body where sebaceous glands produce lots of oil. The overproduction of oil is thought to be a reaction to yeast on the skin. This is a normal microbe that everyone has on their skin. People with are apparently just hypersensitive to naturally occurring fungus.

Potential Treatments

  • Anti-fungal shampoos can be used to reduce the presence of yeast and minimize flare-ups of this itchy scalp rash. Anti-fungal creams can be used for the same purpose on other areas of the body.
  • Salicylic acid shampoos may be used to reduce oil on the scalp
  • Tar shampoos (such as Neutrogena T-Gel) may be used to control itching, inflammation, and flaking

Note: These dandruff shampoos should be massaged gently into the scalp. Don’t scratch or pick at flaky areas since this may simply increase irritation.

  • Oral anti-fungal medications, topical steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed for severe cases.

Since this skin condition is not a significant health concern, treating the symptoms conservatively is recommended. The side effects of aggressive therapies may worsen with the initial problem.

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