Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic, superficial skin disorder causing scaly, itchy, red skin on the scalp, face, upper chest, back and other oily areas in the body. Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the leading causes of stubborn dandruff and occurs in all age groups. This condition primarily affects the sebaceous cysts present in the skin.
The sebaceous glands are present nearly everywhere in our skin except on the palms and soles. These glands secrete an oily substance (sebum) which consists of fat, and dead fat-producing cells.
People with this condition seem to have increased production of sebum.
SYMPTOMS OF SEBORRHEIC DERMITITIS
- Patchy scaling and thick crusts on scalp
- Plaques may include the scalp, eyebrows, nose, forehead or ears.
- Sometimes it may affect the breastbone,groin area, and armpits.
- Scales may be white or yellowish and attach themselves to the body of the hair
- Greasy, red skin with white or yellowish, flaky scales
- Skin flakes or dandruff
- Small red-brown bumps on skin
- Itch or soreness
- Hair loss: this occurs in very long-standing cases having repeated inflammations of the sebaceous gland.
- Dandruff is thought to be closely related to seborrheic dermatitis, but is less severe.
CAUSES OF SEBORRHEIC DERMITITIS
Seborrheic dermatitis is thought to be due to a combination of an over production of skin oil and irritation from a yeast called malessizia.
Recent studies have attributed seborrheic dermatitis to the presence and perhaps over-abundance of malessizia furfur, a naturally-occurring yeast on the surface of the skin. (4-8) Other researchers consider seborrheic dermatitis to be an inherited primary inflammatory process and malessizia furfur to cause only a secondary aggravation of the condition.
Persons prone to seborrheic dermatitis respond unfavorable to an infection with malessizia furfur resulting in itchy, flaky, red, irritated skin.
- Affection of a close family member
- Oily skin
- Infrequent shampooing and use of hair-care products containing alcohol
- Skin disorders like acne.
- HIV infections
DIGNOSIS OF SEBORRHEIC DERMITITIS
The diagnosis can be established by talking to our physician and letting him examine our skin and scalp. Occasionally the physician may insist on a biopsy. This helps in excluding other medical conditions that resemble seborrheic dermatitis. Common conditions that need exclusion are:
- Atopic dermatitis: This form of dermatitis is a chronic condition that causes itchy, inflamed skin. Most often, it occurs in the folds of the elbows, backs of the knees or the front of the neck. It tends to flare periodically and then subside for a time, even up to several years.
- Psoriasis: A skin disorder characterized by dry, red, skin covered with silvery scales. Like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis can affect the scalp and cause flaky dandruff. Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas of the body.
- Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis): Ringworm of the scalp is a type of fungal infection that is most common in toddlers and school-age children. It causes red, itchy, bald-looking patches on the scalp.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR SEBORRHEIC DERMITITIS
KALI SULPH : Usefull for prominent yellow flakes on the scalp.Given for sticky scales with moist scalp with itching.Given when Heat worsens the itching in some cases.
THUJA : Usefull for prominent white flakes on the scalp.Useful for dry hair with split ends.Also there is falling of hair
GRAPHITES : Usefull for the scales on the scalp with intense itching.Given when scales reduce after washing but reappear.There is fetid odor on the scalp with moist and humid scalp.Also given when there is matting together of the hair or falling of hair. Also useful when the scales may also be present on the eyelid margins and behind the ears along with scalp.
NATRUM MUR : Most effective medicine for seborrheic dermatitis with a greasy, oily scalp with redness and flakiness.Useful when the scalp is covered with white scurfs.There is burning sensation on the scalp with oily and red face.
PHOSPHORUS : Useful for seborrheic dermatitis where flakiness on the scalp is attended with excessive hair fall.Helpful when hair fall in bunches.Also in some cases, the hair may fall off in spots which is accompanied by a severe burning sensation.