Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disorder in which red, scaly, itchy patches of skin appear where the sebaceous (oil) glands are located in the skin—

on the scalp, eyebrows, sides of the nose, behind the ears, and in the middle of 419

the chest. The patches also can occur in the navel, under the arms, in the groin Skin and area, and on the buttocks. Extensive scratching of the itchy patches can damage Hair the skin, producing an infection that causes the skin to become crusty and drain pus.

The disorder most commonly occurs during three stages of life: infancy (when it is known as cradle cap), middle age, and old age. People with oily skin or oily hair are susceptible to seborrheic dermatitis, and infrequent shampooing can increase the likelihood of developing the disorder. People who have acne (see below) also may develop seborrheic dermatitis. The condition seems to occur in people who have other illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease or immune system problems. Some researchers think that a yeastlike organism may cause seborrheic dermatitis.

If you have seborrheic dermatitis, a dermatologist will identify the condition based on its appearance. There is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, but it usually improves with treatment. Your doctor may recommend nonprescription medicated shampoos that contain tar, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, sulfur, or salicylic acid. A corticosteroid cream or lotion applied directly to the affected areas may also be helpful. Be sure to keep the affected areas clean and dry. Seborrheic dermatitis can recur, even with appropriate treatment.

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