What is it?
Seborrhoeic dermatitis (also spelt seborrheic dermatitis) is a form of skin inflammation that usually occurs on the scalp, face or torso, in or around areas that naturally produce an oily substance known as sebum. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is also called dandruff, seborrhoeic eczema, seborrhoeic psoriasis, and in infants it’s often called cradle cap.
What are the symptoms?
Seborrheic dermatitis signs and symptoms may include: * Skin flakes (dandruff) on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache * Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales or crust on the scalp, face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, chest, armpits, groin area or under the breasts * Red skin * Itching The signs and symptoms may be more severe if you’re stressed, and they tend to flare in cold, dry seasons.
- Soften and remove scales from your hair. Apply mineral oil or olive oil to your scalp. Leave it in for an hour or so. Then comb or brush your hair and wash it.
- Wash your skin regularly. Rinse the soap completely off your body and scalp. Avoid harsh soaps and use a moisturizer.
- Apply a medicated cream. First try a mild corticosteroid cream on affected areas, keeping it away from the eyes. If that doesn’t work, try the antifungal cream ketoconazole.
- Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. This helps keep air circulating around your skin and reduces irritation.
- If you have a beard or mustache, shampoo facial hair regularly. Seborrheic dermatitis can be worse under mustaches and beards. Shampoo with 1 percent ketoconazole daily until your symptoms improve. Then switch to shampooing once a week. Or shaving might ease your symptoms.
- Gently clean your eyelids. If your eyelids show signs of redness or scaling, wash them each night with baby shampoo and wipe away scales with a cotton swab.
- Warm or hot compresses also may help.
- Gently wash your baby’s scalp. If your infant has cradle cap, wash the scalp with non medicated baby shampoo once a day. Gently loosen the scales with a small, soft-bristled brush before rinsing out the shampoo. If scaling persists, first apply mineral oil to the scalp for a couple of hours.
- Avoid styling products. Stop using hair sprays, gels and other styling products while you’re treating the condition.
- Avoid skin and hair products that contain alcohol. These can cause the disease to flare up.
Things to watch out for
GP should be contacted if there is persistent, recurrent or severe symptoms of dermatitis. They may refer you to a skin specialist.