Seborrheic Eczema - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Seborrheic eczema, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a condition in which red scaly patches with dandruff arise on your body. Mostly it occurs on the scalp, but it can also affect other oily areas like the chest, back, and face. When it occurs in infants, it is termed a crib cap. Sometimes, it goes away on its own, while sometimes, it may need repeated treatment. According to experts, the exact cause of it is unknown. But they believe the two main causative agents are oil and fungus. Therefore, the reduction of oil on the skin can help get rid of it. If you have this condition cleanse with gentle soap and anti dandruff shampoo. 


Symptoms 


The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis may differ from person to person. Usually, it occurs on the scalp, but it can also affect the following regions. 


  • on the nose

  • on the back

  • in and around the ears

  • on the eyebrows

  • on the upper portion of the chest


The patches of seborrheic dermatitis usually have the following characteristics. 



  • Scaly patches develop on the skin that flake off, being white or yellowish in color- a problem known as dandruff

  • Dandruff can occur in the scalp, hair, eyebrows, or beard

  • Skin in the affected area tends to be a greasy, red itch, and oily

  • The affected area may also suffer hair loss


The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis may exacerbate upon triggers like stress and increased oil secretion. 



Causes 


According to experts, the exact cause of it is unknown. But they believe the two main causative agents are oil and fungus. Increased oil production can become an irritant for the skin, causing it to turn red and greasy. Moreover, a fungus called Malassezia is found normally on the skin. However, if it grows more than usual, it can secrete more oil, which in turn, can lead to seborrheic dermatitis. 



Risk factors 


It is still unknown why do some people develop seborrheic dermatitis and some do not. According to experts, having a family history of it may increase the tendency to have it. 


Some other risk factor for it can be; 


  • Obesity 

  • Fatigue 

  • Cold and dry weather

  • Poor skincare

  • Stress 

  • Exposure to environmental pollution like dust, smoke, and dirt

  • Coexistence of other skin condition like acne, psoriasis, and rosacea

  • Using certain skincare products, particularly those containing high content of alcohol

  • Certain neurological conditions, such as a stroke, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease


Conditions that lower immunity like:


  • Malignancies and chemotherapy for their treatment

  • Having a disease that lowers immunity like AIDS

  • Children because their immune system is not well developed as compared to adults

  • Having a recent organ transplant

  • Taking immunosuppressants for a long time like prednisolone or azathioprine. 


Some other risk factors for seborrheic dermatitis are:


  • Eating disorders

  • Alcoholism

  • Depression

  • Heart attack or stroke recovery


Lastly, allergy and being unclean are not the risk factors for seborrheic dermatitis.



Prevention 


To prevent seborrheic dermatitis, you must identify the triggers that worsen it. The more you avoid them, the more protected you will remain against them. Other tips to prevent are;


Use an over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal and anti-itch creams that help lower down the symptoms.


  • Use a hypoallergenic soap or detergent

  • Thoroughly rinse soap and shampoo off the skin and scalp. Make sure nothing remains on your skin or head. 

  • Shave off a mustache or beard. So that dandruff can not occur there. 

  • Wear loose cotton clothing to avoid skin irritation


Conclusion 


Seborrheic eczema, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a condition in which red scaly patches with dandruff arise on your body. Mostly, it occurs on the scalp, but it can also affect other oily areas like the chest, back, and face. When it occurs in infants, it is termed a crib cap. Sometimes, it goes away on its own, while sometimes it may need repeated treatment.


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