A common and mild skin condition, Seborheic Dermatitis (sometimes spelled as Sebhorreic dermatitis or sebborheic dermatitis ) is also a type of cradle cap in infants.
But it's not limited to babies, sebborheic dermatitis also affects adults on the sebum rich areas of the skin (sebum rich means places of the skin that contain many oil glands) like the scalp, face, and back.
Symptoms seem to flair up more so during hot humid weather, seasonal changes (extreme hot to cold), scratching, or stress.
The effects of Sebhorreic dermatitis are often more alarming in appearance than impact. It forms flaky, scaly skin that may have red skin under and around it, causing many new parents worry.
The good news is that you haven’t done anything wrong.
But because it can sometimes the symptoms show large red pimple like eruptions, many people begin looking for help for acne and can over irritate this very sensitive condition.
If you're not sure what you have - please see a dermatologist first to make sure you understand your condition.
The causes of Sebborheic Dermatitis are somewhat complicated. Some say it's due to an abnormal immune response.
For example, certain helper T cells and antibody titers are not as active or do not function properly when compared with those who do not suffer from this skin condition.
One common myth is that Seborheic Dermatitis is infectious or caused by poor hygiene. Where did this myth begin?
I believe people think this because sebborheic dermatitis is more common on the sebaceous parts of the body - meaning the parts of the body that produce more oils.
So the old myth was that you probably didn't wash those areas well -- the combination of excess yeast and oil caused symptoms.
While it's true that oily skin combined with mild skin yeast called malessizia are the most common culprits.
The condition also tends to run along family lines and stress in adults can facilitate the production of more oil, which (in turn) causes the flaking and irritation.
Despite the fact that poor hygiene is not the cause, what you clean the skin with is very important for reducing symptoms.
Secondary infections are often more of a problem than the seborrheic dermatitis itself.
You need to make sure your skin cleansers – never use regular soap - and moisturizers are free from fragrance, and contain no petroleum, no color, no scents, and no irritants.
The most important thing to do is understand that in adults the presence of Seborheic Dermatitis is something that can be treated easily.
Even so, prepare yourself for the potential of a continuing situation.
Simple avoidance of increasing oil produced by the skin, careful and regular washing and moisturizing with eczema specific soaps and cleansers will reduce the appearance of the condition as well as its irritation.
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Photo Courtesy Dr. Hardin MD - http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/md/dermnet/seborrheicdermatitis72.html
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