What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin disease that we often hear. It is also known as eczema colloquially. It is visible and has very distinct symptoms. It is also very likely to be seen and stress is shown among the causes.

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic is one of the papulo-squamous dermatoses most commonly seen on the scalp, nose edges, eyebrows and mid-eyebrows, external auditory canal, posterior ears and mid-chest. It can also be seen in areas where skin folds such as the belly button, hips, armpits, breasts and groin. The appearance of dermatitis may vary depending on the area where it is located, but its appearance is usually in the form of oily large scales on a red / orange erythematous background.

Its frequency in the society is known as 1-3%. This disease is very common in infants (host), middle age and elderly, especially in the 3 age group. It usually occurs after adolescence and can last for many years through certain periods of increase or decrease. It is more common in men than women in all age groups. It is an inflammatory disease with an unknown cause and can cause itching. There are many types of the disease starting from the mild form to erythroderma known as the severe form. According to these types, the treatment method and treatment time may also differ.

What are the factors affecting seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis disease can be affected by many conditions. Frequent alcohol intake may increase and spread to different parts of the body in many situations where intense stress, atopy and immune system is suppressed. Apart from these situations, an increase can be seen in the winter months. Cold and dry weather are among the factors that trigger seborrheic dermatitis.

Acne, rosacea, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, epilepsy, heart attack and post-stroke period, and some diseases such as alcoholism, depression and eating disorders are among the factors that increase the risk of seborrheic dermatitis. The probability of being seen in HIV-infected patients is 85%. The use of some medications can also be considered among the factors that increase the risk of seborrheic dermatitis. Interferon, lithium and psoralen type drugs can be given as examples of these drugs.

What are the causes of seborrheic dermatitis?

Although the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, it is quite complex. In some studies, it has been seen that many factors play a role together. Some studies have also stated that seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a fungus called malassezia. Although Malassezia fungus is a type of fungus that occurs naturally in the skin, some factors can cause this fungus to take a disease-causing form.


Seborrheic dermatitis is more common in oily looking skin. While the secretion made from the sebaceous glands in the skin is called sebum, this phenomenon is called seborrhea. Seborrheic dermatitis may develop if this happens too much. The cause of the disease is usually shown as increased sebum, it is more common in the scalp and the face, ears, scalp and upper parts of the body where sebaceous glands are abundant. Parkinson’s is among the diseases that cause increased sebum secretion, and the possibility of indirect seborrheic dermatitis is higher in this disease.


There is an increase in bacteria and yeast on the skin surfaces where seborrheic dermatitis is seen. Candida albicans, Pityrosporum ovale and Staphylococcus aureus are examples of these bacteria and yeasts.


Drugs that cause seborrheic dermatitis include arsenic, gold salts, methyldopa, cimetidine, and neuroleptics. Diseases caused by some neurotransmitter abnormalities can also be considered among the causes of seborrheic dermatitis. Parkinson’s, epilepsy, facial paralysis, polymyelitis and syringomyelia can be given as examples of these diseases. Among the physical factors that cause seborrheic dermatitis, skin blood flow and environmental temperature can be said. The lack of a healthy and regular diet can cause many diseases as well as seborrheic dermatitis. Especially zinc, biotin and essential fatty acid metabolism disorders can be said among the causes of seborrheic dermatitis. Protein deficiency is also one of the causes of seborrheic dermatitis. Genetic structure is also among the factors that affect the possibility of seborrheic dermatitis. Hormonal changes are very effective on seborrheic dermatitis as well as on many diseases.

What are the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis?

Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can also vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the disease and environmental factors. Also, seborrheic dermatitis can be confused with different skin conditions.

• Dry skin and scaly lesions that appear on this skin
• Dandruff on the scalp
• Yellow or white flaking skin skin due to crusting on the skin surface and dryness of the skin
• Burning sensation
• Dry skin but has an oily appearance
• Thickening of the skin
• Water accumulation on the skin
• Redness and sometimes swelling on the skin
• Differences in skin color
• Sensation of excessive sensitivity and sensitivity on the skin
• Permanent itching and skin injuries during this itching.

How is seborrheic dermatitis diagnosed?

No blood, urinalysis or allergy tests are needed to diagnose seborrheic dermatitis. In cases where symptoms are seen, any dermatology doctor should be consulted and it is usually sufficient for the applied dermatologist to listen to the patient’s disease history by performing a physical examination. In order to make the correct diagnosis, first of all, the patient should be well monitored, evaluated and controlled. After determining the location of the symptoms on the skin, the size of the symptoms, the redness and rashes that are good or not, it is easy to tell the dermatology doctor about these conditions. Since seborrheic dermatitis can be confused with many skin diseases, these conditions are important for correct diagnosis.

If the dermatologist thinks that there is any disease besides seborrheic dermatitis after the physical examination and resting of the patient’s history, he / she may request some tests for this disease. Sometimes it can be seen that seborrheic dermatitis does not respond to treatment. Although this is a rare condition, the patient can be biopsied when encountered. In case of different diseases besides seborrheic dermatitis, the presence of these diseases is determined by blood analysis.

Correct diagnosis is very important in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis as in other diseases.


How can seborrheic dermatitis be treated?

Seborrheic dermatitis can sometimes heal spontaneously, but it can recur after recovery. In order to prevent this situation, a regular treatment should be applied as recommended by the dermatologist, but it is still not possible to completely treat seborrheic dermatitis and prevent it from recurring. The aims of the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis are to eliminate scaling and dandruff on the skin, to prevent yeast colonization that can cause disease and to develop secondary infections, and to minimize intense itching and erythema.

In this regular treatment, dermatology doctors usually treat with anti-fungal shampoo and anti-fungal cream. Drugs used in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis are divided into prescription medicines and nonprescription medicines. These drugs include local steroids, antifungals, local metranidazole, vitamin D3 analogs, isotretinoins. At the same time, one of the treatment options can be considered as phototherapy. Regular skin care is also very important in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. The dermatologist determines the treatment according to the severity of the disease, the frequency of the symptoms and the location.

Seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp of babies usually heals spontaneously.














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