Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that commonly affects the scalp, and sometimes other oily areas of the skin, such as the face and back. While this condition is uncomfortable and embarrassing for many patients, there are a number of treatment options available.
Seborrheic dermatitis can present itself in a few different ways, but the most common involves flaky, red skin, oily skin patches, and itching or stinging. If your dandruff issue seems more extreme than most, you may be suffering from this condition.
Is seborrheic dermatitis the same thing as eczema?
Seborrheic dermatitis is quite similar to eczema, which is also called atopic dermatitis. Patients can have both skin conditions at the same time, and both seborrheic dermatitis and eczema can flare up when triggered by periods of stress, seasonal changes, and sickness. Both conditions affect approximately 10% of the population.
Seborrheic dermatitis and eczema should, however, be considered two distinct conditions. The first treatment a doctor may prescribe for eczema is typically a hydrocortisone cream, while an antifungal medication is usually recommended for seborrheic dermatitis.
What causes seborrheic dermatitis?
The cause of long-term seborrheic dermatitis is currently unknown; it may flare up when seasons change, due to life stresses, or when you come into contact with an allergen. This condition is not caused by poor hygiene, and it may even flare when the scalp is washed too frequently.
If this is a new problem for you, the cause could be fungal, in which case an anti-fungal cream, shampoo, or prescription pill should clear up the problem. It is always suggested that you speak with your doctor about the use of any over-the-counter fungal creams or other treatments, as they could interact with current medical conditions or prescription drugs.
What medical prefessionals treat seborrheic dermatitis?
It is always a good idea to speak with your primary care doctor before seeing a specialist. You may find they can help you find the trigger for the issue or even prescribe a treatment that works for you. In moderate to severe cases or cases that persist for long periods of time, a dermatologist may be able to help.
Dermatologists are specially trained to handle skin-related disorders. Seborrheic dermatitis is a relatively common issue, so finding a dermatologist who is knowledgeable in the treatment of this condition is fairly easy.
How is seborrheic dermatitis treated?
Treatment will depend on many factors. Unless this has been a consistent problem, many doctors prefer you try over-the-counter treatments before trying prescription drugs. Some people can keep symptoms at bay with the regular use of dandruff shampoos. Others need to take a more aggressive approach with anti-fungal shampoos, pills, or fungal and steroid creams.
If you’ve tried all of the over-the-counter treatments you can think of, visit your doctor. You may need a prescription to treat the symptoms and discover what triggers cause your condition to flare up. Even though many people who suffer from this condition are embarrassed, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Dermatitis is a common problem, one that can be treated and held at bay with the help a dermatologist. Speak with your physician today about possible treatment options that may be able to reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of this condition.