What is Seborrheic Dermatitis (Yellow Dandruff) and How to Deal with It

By Skin & Hair Academy | March 16, 2018
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Isha Agrawal

- Skin & Hair Care Consultant

itchy, rash on your scalpNoticed a red, itchy, rash on your scalp accompanied by flaky scales? That could be seborrheic dermatitis! It appears similar to common skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, and can appear anywhere on your body, especially the scalp.

When an individual gets affected by seborrheic dermatitis, they’re likely to see red skin and stubborn yellow-ish dandruff on their scalp. An absolute cause of the condition is unknown, however, it affects oily areas of the body. If your scalp produces more oil than usual, you’re more likely to experience this condition.

Seborrheic dermatitis: Causes

Seborrheic dermatitis: CausesAs mentioned before, the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. However, doctors associate the condition with a yeast “malassezia” found in the oil secretion of the skin. Other factors include an irregular immune system, eating disorders, stress, cold weather, and genetics.

Seborrheic dermatitis can affect anyone – from infants to adults aged 30-60 years who have comparatively oilier skin, the condition is quite prominent, regardless of the age group.

Seborrheic dermatitis: Symptoms

Seborrheic dermatitis: SymptomsThe symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can be seen primarily on your scalp, nose, eyelids, behind your ears, and skin folds under arms and legs. It starts with an itch or burn, followed by redness. On your scalp, hair, eyebrows and beard, the scales that flake off can appear yellow and moist.

The condition manifests itself in patches of greasy skin covered with crust on the affected areas. See a dermatologist as soon as you notice any signs of infection.

Seborrheic dermatitis: Treatment

Seborrheic dermatitis: TreatmentIf you’re wondering how to get rid of seborrheic dermatitis on face, scalp, and other parts of the body, first start with home-based cures. Sometimes, the condition gets cleared up on its own, which is why, over-the-counter shampoos and oils are recommended before professional treatments.

Home-based treatment

As soon as you develop symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis on your scalp, switch to a medicated shampoo that contains ketoconazole, salicylic acid, corticosteroids, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. For your face and body, pick a cleanser/body wash with salicylic acid that aids in taming the yeast organisms.

As an additional measure, wear sunscreen when stepping out, and keep your body covered from the sunlight as it can inflame the affected skin further.

Professional treatment

Your doctor may prescribe you medicated creams and lotions that contain tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, depending upon the area that’s affected. Another option that they may recommend is oral medication that contains anti-fungal agents to curb the growth of the yeast. However, they’re limited to extreme cases, and shouldn’t be the first course of action.

It is only after a proper examination that your doctor will be likely to determine how extreme the condition is. In some cases, they may scrape off some skin cells for biopsy to rule out symptoms that may be identical to seborrheic dermatitis.

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