Seborrheic dermatitis: symptoms and treatment

Seborrheic dermatitis: symptoms and treatment

Seborrheic dermatitis can affect different areas of the body such as the scalp, face, the mid-thoracic region. We talked about it with the expert

Itching, redness, peeling of the skin are some of the alarm bells that indicate the presence of seborrheic dermatitis, which is a rather frequent rash in the population. It can affect different areas of the body such as the scalp and chest, but it can also occur around the nose, eyebrows or behind the ears. In general, it prefers those areas where there is a high concentration of sebaceous glands.

Since this is a chronic inflammation with a recurring character that can affect adults and children alike, it must be treated in a personalized way by carefully considering the patient's clinical history and the type of symptoms.

To further explore this topic, we asked for a consultation with Dr. Grazia Ettorre, Specialist in Dermatology and Venereology.


  • What is that
  • What are the causes
  • How to tell if you have seborrheic dermatitis
  • What are the possible treatments
  • What are the average healing times

What is that

«Seborrheic dermatitis is a dermatosis that affects areas with the highest density of sebaceous glands such as the face, hair and mid-thoracic region. It has a chronic-relapsing trend punctuated by phases of quiescence mainly in the summer and exacerbations in autumn. In this sense, the sun acts as a real immunomodulating agent, moderating all skin manifestations »explains the dermatologist.

Always an ally of the body's well-being, the sun in addition to having a beneficial impact on mood is also essential for the absorption of vitamin D. In fact, sun exposure is the main source of intake of this precious vitamin capable of making stronger and healthier bones, protecting them from fractures or the development of diseases such as osteoporosis. On the other hand, in the case of seborrheic dermatitis, as pointed out by the doctor, it acts as an immunomodulating agent so this skin rash can manifest itself with more determination in the autumn season and subside in the summer.

What are the causes

«Seborrheic dermatitis is referable in the first hypothesis to a yeast that normally lives on our skin, Malassezia Furfur. This, in conditions of weakening of the immune system, stress and consequent increase in cortisol, transforms into its pathogenic variant. Feeding on our own sebum and releasing waste materials on the skin, Malassezia generates inflammation, seborrhea, itching and erythema and desquamation is a manifestation of this ».

In fact, our skin hosts fungi and sebum (which is naturally produced by the body): a potentially insidious mix precisely because it can easily cause itching, redness, flaking, setting in motion a real vicious circle. In addition, stress and anxiety do not make things easier, indeed, as in this case, they can represent a risk factor.

How to tell if you have seborrheic dermatitis

It is true, a consultation with a specialist is crucial to having a diagnosis of the actual presence of seborrheic dermatitis. However, there are obvious symptoms that can make us understand if we are dealing with this rash.

«Seborrheic dermatitis manifests itself with increased sebum and fine scaling localized at the edges of the hair, in the corners of the nose, eyebrows and chest. The skin surface appears greasy, graying, sometimes itchy and strongly irritated. In men, even the beard region appears to be remarkably flaky until it splits, thus favoring the penetration of bacteria ».

What are the possible treatments

«In a first phase, lasting about 10 days, it is preferable to use steroid anti-inflammatory lotions and shampoos. Subsequently, shampoo formulations with antifungals, sebum-regulating substances, or lotions and detergents with a high content of alukine are recommended, an excellent non-cortisone anti-inflammatory – explains the expert – Skin seborrhea is controlled with emulsions containing cyclopirox olamine and boosters of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances. To obtain more lasting therapeutic effects, it is essential to combine topical therapy with supplements with a high content of biotin and zinc and probiotics that restore the normal skin bacterial flora ».

What are the average healing times

One of the most frequently asked questions after receiving an actual diagnosis of seborrheic dermatitis and related treatment is: what are the healing times? Also in this case, the doctor explains to us what are the results that can be obtained with a personalized therapy.

«There is no definitive cure for seborrheic dermatitis: it can in fact be controlled but not eliminated. This is the first awareness that the patient must achieve. With the treatments indicated, a clear improvement is observed already one week after the start of therapy. The maximum benefit is reached after one month "concludes the expert.

Therefore, as we have seen, seborrheic dermatitis, while presenting clear (but also annoying) symptoms, can be treated effectively with anti-inflammatory and antifungal products. In this way it acts directly on the fungus and in general on the causes and symptoms, reducing irritation and regulating the excessive production of sebum.

Category: Health
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