Seborrheic Dermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Treatments

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as seborrhea or seborrheic eczema, is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It is a chronic disease that often progresses slowly and recurs frequently, accompanied by symptoms such as warmth, itching, discomfort, and constant flaking, which can make the skin look unattractive. In particular, the severity of the disease is much worse when the weather changes from autumn to winter, seriously affecting the aesthetics and psychology of patients. What is seborrheic dermatitis? What are the causes, symptoms, and treatments? Please read on for detailed answers.

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as seborrhea or seborrheic eczema, is a chronic skin disease that causes the appearance of many red patches of skin along with the sensation of warmth and peeling skin that ranges from mild to severe. Typically, the condition does not cause itching, but in some cases, it can cause itching and cause damage to the skin.

Seborrheic dermatitis can occur at different stages and ages, specifically as follows:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis in children: Infants are susceptible to seborrheic dermatitis from 2 to 10 months old. Parents can observe red skin patches on the face, around the eyes, and in the folds of the thighs. There are also scaly patches on the scalp.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis in adults: The disease can occur in people aged 18 to 40, with men being more likely to be affected than women. Some people recover after treatment and never experience a recurrence. However, many people experience recurring symptoms.
What is seborrheic dermatitis?

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Affected areas of seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis affects the skin and can appear anywhere on the body.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis on the face: The skin appears dry and scaly, and flaky. It can easily be mistaken for regular dry skin. Seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp: The scalp is often covered with white or yellowish scales, and hair is sticky due to increased sebum production. The scalp may also be red and itchy.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis on the fingers: The skin on the fingertips, especially in the spaces between the fingers and the palm, often becomes dry, cracked, and flaky. Many red and itchy bumps can appear, causing discomfort.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis on the nose: The area around the nose is a common site for seborrheic dermatitis due to the high activity of the oil glands. Symptoms may include greasy and shiny skin around the nose, redness, swelling, and itching.

Moreover, seborrheic dermatitis can also occur in areas where there are strong oil or sebum glands, such as the chest, back, and skin folds.

Signs and Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis

The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis usually progress slowly and gradually, rather than suddenly. Patients can easily identify the disease by external symptoms such as:

  • Itching: Normally, the disease does not cause itching, but many people feel itchy and uncomfortable in the affected areas. The severity of itching will increase when patients engage in activities that cause excessive sweating
  • The appearance of red patches: Due to seborrheic dermatitis, the skin will become dry and have red, irritated patches, especially on the sides of the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead.
  • Peeling skin: If you pay close attention, you will notice peeling and flaking of the skin, particularly in areas with a lot of oil production. Many people mistake this for dandruff or another condition, leading to incorrect treatment.
  • These are common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. However, different individuals may experience different indicators of the condition. To ensure safety, if you notice any unusual signs on your skin, it is best to seek medical attention from a specialized hospital to determine your health status, receive a proper diagnosis, and get timely treatment.
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Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis

According to modern scientific research, seborrheic dermatitis is caused by the attack of certain bacteria and fungi, particularly malassezia yeast, when excessive oil is produced on the scalp or skin, leading to inflammation and external symptoms.

Some factors are considered to be the main causes leading to this condition such as:

  • The influence of weather, climate: According to statistics, seborrheic dermatitis tends to increase rapidly on dry days, during the transition from summer to fall and from fall to winter. The low humidity makes the skin lose moisture easily. In addition, on hot days, the sebaceous glands work more actively, producing an excess of oil, creating favorable conditions for malassezia fungus and many other types of bacteria to thrive.
  • Side effects of medication: The use of certain antibiotics and overuse of medications can also cause seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Neurological problems: Regularly experiencing stress, fatigue, tension leading to emotional imbalances or Parkinson’s disease can create favorable conditions for the formation of seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Genetics: If either parent has seborrheic dermatitis, the chances are higher for their children to inherit the disease through their genes.
  • Other causes: Some other causes of the disease include skin type, overall health condition, improper skin hygiene, malnutrition, and HIV infection in patients.

Does seborrheic dermatitis spread? Is it dangerous?

Firstly, regarding the question of whether seborrheic dermatitis is contagious, according to dermatologists, it is a non-infectious skin condition that cannot be spread to others. Therefore, you should not avoid individuals with this condition as it can cause psychological distress for the affected individual and have negative impacts on their daily life and overall health.

However, seborrheic dermatitis has a genetic factor that can be passed down from parents to children. Therefore, when a child is born with unusual skin conditions, parents should take the initiative to have the baby examined to determine the appropriate and timely treatment. If left untreated, the disease will recur many times, and the condition will become more severe, which is not good for the health of young children.

Regarding the question of whether seborrheic dermatitis is dangerous, many experts also state that the disease does not threaten life, but if it persists, it will cause inconvenience to daily life and affect the mental health of the patient. Seborrheic dermatitis causes many flaky red patches, accompanied by a hot, uncomfortable sensation. If the condition persists, it can cause superinfection. Especially in sensitive areas of the skin, these red, flaky patches will cause a loss of aesthetics and have a negative impact on the mental health of the patient.

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Therefore, when seborrheic dermatitis develops with symptoms, you should actively seek treatment methods as soon as possible to achieve the best results.

Diagnosing seborrheic dermatitis

Diagnosing seborrheic dermatitis.

Diagnosing seborrheic dermatitis

Checking the clinical symptoms on the skin is the main way to diagnose seborrheic dermatitis, such as skin lesions, the onset of the disease, and the location of the inflammation.

In addition, the doctor may take a small sample of your skin cells (called a skin biopsy) and mix it with a chemical to examine it under a microscope to see if there is the presence of fungi.

Moreover, a skin biopsy can also help the doctor rule out some skin problems with similar symptoms to seborrheic dermatitis, including:

  • Psoriasis: White or silver scales appear on the skin, usually on the elbows and knees.
  • Eczema (allergic dermatitis): This condition causes itching and skin inflammation, usually appearing in the folds of the elbows, behind the knees, on the front of the neck, or on the scalp. The disease tends to recur.
  • Pityriasis rosea: This condition often appears on the face and less commonly on the scalp, but a skin biopsy is necessary.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus: Skin lesions appear in various shapes, such as discoid or butterfly-shaped rashes. During the acute stage, skin lesions are mainly red butterfly-shaped rashes in the middle of the face.

Effective treatments for oily skin inflammation

Oily skin inflammation does not resolve on its own without any treatment. Therefore, instead of waiting for the symptoms to disappear on their own, you should choose an appropriate treatment method to eliminate the condition.

Currently, there are many methods for treating oily skin inflammation, such as:

Treating oily skin inflammation at home

Choosing traditional folk remedies is a popular way that many people choose. With this method, you can use natural ingredients available at home to help alleviate symptoms after a period of use.

Some popular home remedies for treating oily skin inflammation include:

Treating excess sebum secretion with coconut oil: For the scalp, after washing your hair, you can apply coconut oil and leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing with clean water. For oily skin on the face, feet, or hands, you can use a moderate amount of oil and gently massage for about 2 minutes, then clean it off after 30 minutes.

Advantages: This method is easy to implement, the ingredients are easy to find, safe, no side effects, and low cost, so everyone is eligible to perform it.

Disadvantages: The impact is slow, and the effectiveness and degree of success will depend heavily on each individual’s body condition. Therefore, if you apply it several times without good results, you should proactively change the method to avoid the condition worsening and becoming more difficult to treat.

Using shampoo to treat oily scalp

This is also a method to relieve the symptoms of oily scalp that many people choose. Currently, there are many types of shampoos on the market that not only clean the scalp but also act as a medicine to effectively treat oily scalp.

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Advantages: Easy to use, quickly reduce symptoms, low cost, and can replace regular shampoo.

Disadvantages: The product can only be used for oily scalp on the head. In addition, if you choose an unsuitable or low-quality product, it can make the condition worse.

Treating seborrheic dermatitis with Western medicine

In cases of severe seborrheic dermatitis, patients should visit the hospital for examination and treatment. Here, doctors will conduct tests and build a suitable treatment plan based on the results.

The common Western medicine treatment for seborrheic dermatitis is to use topical or systemic medications to effectively suppress the disease. Some medications include:

Topical medications such as Ketoconazole, Zinc Pyrithione, salicylic 5%, Hydrocortisone, Desonide, etc. are used to apply to the skin, with anti-inflammatory effects, able to destroy bacteria, and quickly reduce skin symptoms.

Systemic medications such as corticoids: are prescribed for patients with severe seborrheic dermatitis and should only be used for a short time as directed by the doctor.

Advantages: Easy to use, fast-acting, and affordable.

Disadvantages: The disease may recur after stopping medication. In addition, using antibiotics to treat the disease can cause many side effects such as dizziness, nausea, acne breakouts, arrhythmias, stomach pain, etc. Therefore, patients should not use medication without the guidance of a specialist doctor.

Treating seborrheic dermatitis with Western medicine

Treating seborrheic dermatitis with Western medicine.

What to eat and avoid for oily skin inflammation?

According to nutrition experts, diet plays a crucial role in supporting the treatment of diseases. Therefore, regardless of the chosen method, you should also pay attention to a scientific and appropriate diet.

You should increase the intake of nutritious foods, fiber, vitamins such as vegetables, fruits, foods rich in omega-3, and drink plenty of water to enhance the detoxification process, prevent skin dehydration, and reduce peeling caused by the disease.

In addition, you should avoid spicy, oily foods, fast food, alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, and allergenic foods such as snails, crabs, oysters, and shrimp. These are one of the factors that make the disease progress severely, hindering the treatment process.

How to prevent and avoid recurrence of oily skin inflammation

In addition to applying the above treatments, to prevent and support the treatment of the disease, you need to pay attention to the following issues:

  • Get enough sleep, avoid staying up late to maintain good health and prevent immune system from being weakened.
  • Always keep a relaxed mindset, avoid stress and tension.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene, do not use soap or shampoo with high detergents.
  • Do not scratch the affected area as it can cause further damage to the skin and worsen the condition.
  • Limit the use of styling products such as hair spray, gel or other styling products during the treatment period.
  • Avoid using skin and hair care products that contain alcohol as they can trigger the disease.
  • Wear appropriate clothing, choose clothes made from cotton to reduce irritation.
  • Choose suitable skin care products to prevent dryness or peeling of the skin.
  • Follow the treatment instructions of a specialist doctor, and have regular dermatological check-ups to detect problems early and ensure the best skin care.

Therefore, it can be seen that oily skin inflammation is a non-dangerous skin disease, but it can have many negative effects on mental health and aesthetics. Patients should take proactive measures to prevent and treat the disease early for quick and effective results.

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