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WHAT IS SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a scaling disorder of the face, ears and scalp. Scale is noted by its yellow and greasy character. Inflammation is thought to arise as a result of yeast overgrowth (Pityrosporum orbiculare) which colonizes affected individuals. Regions such as the abdomen, under arms, breasts, groin and buttocks can be affected. Patients with oily skin and hair are more likely to contract seborrheic dermatitis.
AT WHAT AGE DOES SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS BEGIN?
Seborrheic dermatitis can develop as soon as infancy and typically returns by the third decade, when it flares, during times of stress or illness. Between three and five percent of the United States population are thought to be affected.
WHO IS PRONE TO SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS?
Infants are at risk early in life, when they develop “cradle cap”. This disorder is characterized by a symptomatic crusting of the scalp. Most of the time, it is the worried parent who brings the condition to the attention of their dermatologist. Other individuals including those with immune deficiency disorders, diabetes, malignancy or HIV are more susceptible. Finally, those with psoriasis, acne or Parkinson’s disease are prone to develop seborrheic dermatitis.
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HOW IS SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS TREATED? IS THIS DISORDER PREVENTABLE?
Seborrheic dermatitis may be treated topically with either corticosteroid creams, antifungal, topical sulfur preparations or tars. At present, there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis. Symptoms can only be controlled. In several instances tar shampoos or zinc shampoos are helpful. In instances where a secondary bacterial infection may be present, we recommend antibacterial shampoos, or even oral antibiotics. Treatments are directed to remove persistent scale and inhibit yeast from colonizing the skin. These are aimed at the control of symptoms rather than achieving a permanent cure.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL TESTS NEEDED TO DIAGNOSE THE CONDITION OF SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS?
Usually not. This diagnosis is typically made on a clinical basis. In most instances, blood, urine or biopsy samples are not performed. In cases unresponsive to treatment, skin biopsies or immune testing may be performed. Dr. Harvey can advise you on how to proceed if your condition is resistant to treatment.
DR. HARVEY MAY RECOMMEND:
Daily shampooing with the following prescription shampoos. It is important to leave the prescribed shampoo on the scalp for at least five to ten minutes.
- Zincon™ shampoo
- Nizoaral™ shampoo
- Capex™ shampoo
- Clobex™ Spray
- Head & Shoulders™ shampoo
- Selsun Blue™ shampoo
- Ionil T™ shampoo
- Capitrol™ shampoo
- Salicylic acid 6% gel under occlusion with coal tar, as directed
- Derma Smoothe FS™ oil, leave on the scalp overnight with shower cap occlusion, then wash out in the morning with Dove™ dishwashing detergent.
- Luxiq™ Mousse™, applied after shampooing.
- Olux™ Mousse™, applied after shampooing
For the face, neck or chest, one of the following creams or tablets may be recommended:
- Hytone™, 2.5% mixed 1:1 with Nizoral™ cream b.i.d. to affected areas
- Plexion™ Facial Cleanser- Wash face twice a day as directed
- Westcort™, 0.1% cream b.i.d. to the affected areas
- Texacort™ solution, twice daily to the ears, to treat ear scale.
- Nizoral™ tablets, 200 mg, as directed. Take with Coca Cola™ and exercise to induce sweating on the skin, one hour after taking the medication.
- Xolegel™ bid to the face and affected areas of seborrheic dermatitis.
We look forward to helping you and are happy to answer any questions that you may have about seborrheic dermatitis. Remember to follow through with your prescribed treatment to achieve optimal results. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, click here.