Seborrhea: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment


Seborrhea also known as seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disorder. It causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff mainly on the scalp, but it is also possible to occur in other parts of the body, especially the oil areas. People of any age can develop it. It is vital to keep your body clean with a gentle soap and shampoo.


The exact reasons are not clear. Common triggers are listed below.

  • Seborrhea might be caused by a yeast which is in the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands.
  • A weakened immune system can lead to seborrhea.
  • Weather changes can also cause the occurrence of seborrhea, such as cold or dry weather.
  • Hormone change is another possibility.

Risk Factors

Although it is found that people who have seborrhea are healthy, some factors can increase the risk of getting it, such as HIV/AIDS, alcoholic pancreatitis, some medications, or diseases of the central nervous system like Parkinson’s disease.


Seborrhea often appears on the scalp, and it can also affect other oil-producing areas, such as sides of the nose, eyelids, upper chest, ears. The common symptoms of seborrhea include:

  • Redness
  • Greasy, swollen skin
  • White or yellowish crusty flakes
  • Itch and burning
  • Pink-colored patches, most prominent in people with dark skin

When babies get seborrhea, it is often called as cradle cap and the signs in babies’ scalp are crusty yellow or brown scales.


Doctors often diagnose seborrhea by examining the skin. Because the symptoms of seborrhea may be similar to other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, tinea versicolor or rosacea, doctors may apply a skin biopsy whose procedure is to take a small sample of skin to rule out other conditions.


Seborrhea will not go away on its own and may come back seasonally. You can remove seborrhea based on the following treatments. The goal of treatment is to loose scale, reduce inflammation, swelling and curb itch.

  • In mild cases, a topical antifungal cream or medicated shampoo can help control the symptoms.
  • In severe cases, that is, when seborrhea is actively flaring, a prescription for a mild corticosteroid can be used to calm the inflammation.

Home Remedies

Before prescription remedies, you can consider some home remedies. It is available for you to use over-the-counter creams or shampoos, if one type of the shampoo works for a time and then loses its effectiveness, you can alternate between two or more types. In daily life, you have to wash you skin regularly, avoid skin and hair products with alcohol. It is also better to apply mineral oil or olive oil to your scalp to soften and remove scales from your hair.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.