Well known as dandruff, seborrhea is a condition that affects aesthetics and can cause skin damage.
The condition is an inflammation that causes the skin to peel off.
Therefore, it is common for patients to have dry, fragile and itchy-looking skin
Also known as seborrhea and dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis is a skin inflammation characterized by the presence of white and yellowish scales with an oily aspect. It is more common in the scalp, but it can affect the face, trunk, eyebrow, corners of the nose, among others.
In seborrhea, there is a greater accumulation of sebum in certain parts of the body, where flaking occurs. It is more common in men than in women and its appearance appears to be related to problems such as stress and hormonal problems.
It usually appears after adolescence, but it can also manifest itself in newborn babies. It is believed that seborrhea is present in about 18% of the world population, being a concern of many people on a daily basis.
The condition is very stigmatized, since the release of scales is associated with dirty hair in common sense. Therefore, people who suffer from this disease do everything to get rid of the problem, for fear of suffering prejudice. However, seborrhea is not a lack of hygiene , being more related to each organism itself than to external factors.
In most cases, seborrheic dermatitis causes dandruff and a slight itch, but there are also cases where there is the formation of large inflammatory plaques under the hair strands that generate intense itching and need treatment.
Read more: Dermatitis: what it is and treatments
It is not known, for sure, what causes seborrhea. The flaking and eruptions occur in areas where there is a high concentration of oil, but this is not a dysfunction of the sebaceous glands themselves.
The fact that it is more recurrent in men leads one to believe that androgen, a hormone that increases sebum production, is related to the problem.
Another factor found in cases of seborrheic dermatitis is the presence of the fungus Malassezia ( Pityrosporum ovale ), which, however, is also present on the skin of people who do not suffer from seborrhea. This fungus is simply part of the natural beneficial flora of our skin.
Well, if all people produce sebum and have the fungus in their skins, something else must be the cause of the problem.
Many experts believe, then, that seborrheic dermatitis is triggered by a combination of factors, the most determinant being the way the body reacts to the presence of the fungus.
Different organisms view things in different ways and, for some people, the simple presence of the fungus can already be irritating to the skin, which triggers an inflammatory response responsible for the symptoms.
Evidence of this theory is the fact that antifungal treatments usually improve the condition considerably.
There are some factors that trigger seborrheic dermatitis attacks. Are they:
- Psychological stress;
- Hormonal problems;
- Low temperatures;
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Because it is closely related to the sebum secreted by the skin, basically everything that interferes with the body’s sebum production and cooling system is a risk factor for the problem.
Dandruff is characterized by scaling of the scalp, which may or may not be accompanied by itching. However, there is no real inflammation of the skin, nor even the rashes and plaques characteristic of seborrheic dermatitis.
It is worth remembering that the mechanism of dandruff formation is the same as that of seborrhea. However, dandruff tends to be milder and can be classified as an initial symptom of seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp.
A very common question is whether seborrhea is transmissible. The answer is no. Malassezia, a fungus related to the appearance of the condition, is transmissible, but the presence of this microorganism alone is not enough to trigger seborrhea.
The problem is more related to the skin of each person, and there may be an inherited genetic component, but there is no certainty of any of this.
Everyone already knows dandruff, which is a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. However, there are other signs that may appear depending on the severity of the case. Are they:
- Scalp oiliness;
- Release of white scales (dandruff);
- Release of yellowish oily scales;
- Itching and burning;
- Loss of hair.
It is worth remembering that these symptoms do not appear only on the scalp, but also on the face, trunk, corners of the nose, eyebrows, among others.
Many parents are concerned when their babies start to show yellowish oily scales on the scalp, as if the baby has dandruff. It is the milky crust , a practically harmless condition that appears in newborns and usually disappears during the first year of life. The condition affects the scalp, the face and sometimes the folds of the body.
The milky crust is believed to be caused by a high activity of the baby’s sebaceous glands, triggered by the mother’s hormones shortly before delivery. This exaggerated production of sebum ends up creating a crust that “covers” the glands, which stimulates the renewal of the skin and causes more sebum to be produced to try to get rid of the blockage. This generates a junction of the dead cells with the old ones, forming the scales.
This condition does not cause any discomfort to the baby: it does not itch or hurt. However, it still needs to be treated, as it creates an environment conducive to infections.
Did you know that puppies can also suffer from seborrhea? Most of the time, the problem is secondary, that is, it is the result of some other disease.
Already in primary form – it happens by itself, without the presence of another disease -, seborrhea is more common in some breeds. Some examples are the Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Shar Pei, German Shepherd, West Highland White Terrier, among others.
Depending on the intensity, the dog may itch too much and cause injury and bleeding on the skin itself. Treatment is usually aimed at the disease that causes secondary seborrhea and, in the primary, there are anti-seborrheic soaps in several pet stores.
Many believe that seborrhea is related to hair loss and, in many cases, are right. This is because the oiliness of the scalp harms the “glue” that keeps the hair from sticking to the head. People who have seborrheic dermatitis with a considerable increase in oiliness may suffer from frequent falls.
There is no specific type of test for the diagnosis of seborrheic dermatitis. In fact, the dermatologist will most likely identify the problem with a visual assessment and the patient’s history.
In some cases, when there is no certainty just with this, he can send one of these scales for laboratory analysis, in order to understand the composition of it and to detect possible microorganisms that may be causing the irritation.
Although there are no drugs that permanently eliminate seborrhea and dandruff, there are cases of remission of symptoms that are very similar to a cure, since the condition does not come back.
The treatment of seborrhea is focused on controlling the condition, not on curing it. This is because there are cases in which there is total remission of symptoms, while in others you need to take care of your whole life.
In any case, there are many products on the market designed to relieve symptoms. Some come in the form of shampoos and hair tonics, others are ointments and creams more suitable for use on other parts of the body.
How to treat children?
Although it does not cause itching or unpleasant symptoms in the baby, the milky crust makes the skin susceptible to infections and, therefore, must be treated. In general, this treatment is done at home, with some adaptations in the baby’s routine. Are they:
- Dry the baby’s skin thoroughly whenever he takes a shower or cleans it;
- Avoid wearing caps, caps, caps, among other types of hats unless it is cold;
- If you need to use something to cover the baby’s head, remove the device whenever you are in an environment with heating on;
- Try to dress the baby in clothes that let the skin breathe;
- On cold days, avoid putting too many clothes on the baby. In general, it is recommended to place only one piece more than adults to keep it warm;
- Do not try to remove the scales with your hands or the tip of your nails , as this increases the risk of infections. Let the scales fall over time;
- Approximately 30 minutes before the baby’s bath, apply an emollient vegetable oil (such as sweet almond oil) to the skin to soften the crust. In the bath, remove all the oil applied gently;
- Keep your baby’s scalp hydrated and protected with an emollient cream.
It is worth remembering that the dairy crust is not an infection and should not look like one. If the baby’s scalp becomes red and itchy, take the baby to the pediatrician quickly .
Seborrhea is usually treated with shampoos, creams and ointments that contain any of the following ingredients:
- Salicylic acid ;
- Selenium sulfide ;
- Zinc pyrithione;
- Ketoconazole ;
In general, shampoos are applied twice a week, for 4 to 8 weeks. The product must act on the scalp for 5 minutes before rinsing. Otherwise, its effectiveness may be impaired.
In more severe cases, medications with corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone can be administered .
NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.
In the case of seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, the use of anti-dandruff shampoos is common. Many contain the substances mentioned above, but can be found easily in pharmacies and even supermarkets. Some examples are:
- Shampoo Anticaspa Clear Men;
- Kerium DS La Roche-Posay Intensive Anti-Spring Shampoo ;
- Doctar Shampoo Anticaspa Darrow;
- Head & Shoulders Oil Removal Shampoo ;
- Shampoo Anticaspa Pielus .
Some people prefer to use substances found in nature to combat seborrheic dermatitis. It is worth remembering that these methods are not scientifically proven and that there is no guarantee of their safety. It is extremely important to consult your dermatologist before trying any of the methods below!
Because it has an antimicrobial action, it is believed that apple cider vinegar helps in the fight against dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. To use it, just mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and distilled water in a spray bottle to facilitate application.
Apply to the affected areas and wait for a while for it to take effect. If you feel a sting or burning, wash the area immediately . If you prefer, try again later with three parts of water for each part of apple cider vinegar.
Garlic with coconut oil
Equipped with antifungal action, garlic and coconut oil can be good allies to combat seborrhea. Simply crush a clove of garlic and mix it with a tablespoon of coconut oil, applying to the affected area. If there is burning or burning, wash the area with running water as soon as possible.
If you prefer, using only garlic can also be effective in combating dandruff and seborrhea. Extract the juice of a whole garlic and mix with water. Then apply to the affected areas and leave on for 20 minutes. After that time, wash with plenty of running water and dry well.
Peppermint oil is also promising in the treatment. To use it, drop two drops of oil in a glass of water and apply the mixture on the scalp. Leave to act for a few minutes and then rinse with plenty of water.
Coconut oils and sweet almonds have antifungal properties, in addition to keeping the scalp hydrated.
Giving preference to extra-virgin oils – which retain the medicinal properties of the product -, apply the warm oil on the scalp, massaging, and leave it on the hair overnight. The next day, wash with a shampoo indicated for the removal of oil.
In addition to being antifungal, honey also has anti-inflammatory and healing properties, which help in the treatment of scalp skin.
To use, mix two tablespoons of honey in a glass with warm water and apply to the scalp. After 30 minutes, rinse with plenty of water.
In general, seborrhea does not usually cause many complications. However, when it is very severe, severe itching can cause the patient to end up damaging the skin, causing sores and bleeding , especially on the scalp.
Another problem is that the greater amount of sebum creates an environment conducive to the proliferation of bacteria and microorganisms, which can easily result in a skin infection . Mixing this with possible wounds, a door opens for these harmful microorganisms in the bloodstream.
As much as most treatments for seborrhea work well, you will hardly be free of the problem for good. Therefore, some tips to improve your living with the condition are:
Remove scales from the scalp frequently
Having your hair always free of scales can help a lot in self-esteem. To do this, apply mineral or olive oil to the scalp, let it act for half an hour and comb. Wash thoroughly under running water. This technique softens the crust, allowing the removal and prevention of the appearance of new scales without damaging the skin.
Keep your skin and hair clean and dry
Although seborrhea is not related to poor hygiene, keeping your skin clean always helps to fight it. This is because cleansing removes excess sebum, which helps to reduce flaking by not accumulating a crust on the skin.
In addition, drying hair and skin well hampers the proliferation of fungi and microorganisms that can cause infections.
Use moisturizers to combat greasiness
It sounds strange, but it works: keeping your skin well hydrated prevents it from producing too much sebum. As the main function of sebum is to hydrate and maintain the skin’s defenses, if this work is already done, the body understands that it does not need to produce that much.
Consult your dermatologist so that he can recommend the ideal type of moisturizer for your skin.
Eliminate product waste
Some products widely used in daily life can worsen seborrhea if its residues are not disposed of correctly. Examples of these products are moisturizing creams, shower gels, styling creams, sprays, among others.
The use of such products is not totally prohibited because they are often good for the skin. However, their poor removal after use can lead to worsening of the condition.
Avoid hairstyle finishers
Creams, gels and sprays for fixing or styling hairstyles can be triggers for the reappearance of dandruff. So, avoid using them and, if necessary, apply away from the hair root and scalp.
Do not cover your head unnecessarily
The use of hats, caps and caps raises the temperature on the scalp, which increases sebum production. So, unless necessary, avoid using these devices. Keep your caps for really cold days and hats and caps for sunny days.
Avoid products that contain alcohol
Alcohol is very damaging to the skin and, to compensate, it can increase sebum production, which worsens seborrhea.
Wash facial hair thoroughly
Men who bear a beard and mustache should take proper care to cleanse facial hair, as seborrheic dermatitis can be even worse in these areas.
In the market, there are several products focused on the cleansing of the beard and mustache. They can be a good choice to keep these areas clean and free from seborrhea.
Keep your eyelids and eyelashes clean
Eyelashes are also susceptible to peeling, so keeping your eyelids clean is a good alternative, especially when they show signs like redness and peeling. To do this, gently swab a small amount of children’s shampoo on your eyelids every night. Hot and cold compresses can also help.
Watch the temperature
Avoid taking very hot baths, as high temperatures increase sebum production.
Take care of the food
Decrease your intake of fatty foods such as fried foods, sausages and chocolates. Excessive consumption of fats worsens sebum production and hinders renewal processes.
Choose well what to wear
Synthetic fabrics usually retain sweat, worsening the condition of seborrheic dermatitis. Therefore, it is recommended to use natural breathable fabrics, such as cotton.
Because of its relationship to periods of stress, staying calm can help fight seborrhea. A tip for this is to avoid stressful environments and situations, as well as using relaxation techniques to deal with unavoidable situations. Meditating and taking a deep breath are good options.
There is no way to prevent seborrhea, as it is a disease that is not very clear. However, people who already suffer from the problem can take some of the following steps to keep it under control. To learn more, read the section “Living together”.
What is good for capillary seborrhea?
The scaling of the scalp can cause those white spots, called dandruff. Like seborrheic dermatitis that affects other regions of the dermis, the capillary can cause irritation, itching, redness and bumps.
The indicated treatment consists of suspending the use of irritating products, such as gel or hair creams, in addition to the use of specific shampoos with salicylic acid, tar, selenium, sulfur and zinc.
Some cases require antifungal shampoos or topical medications.
Is there a remedy to cure seborrheic dermatitis?
There are remedies to control the condition and prevent new manifestations. Therefore, there is no mention of absolute cure, as the symptoms and crises of dermatitis may return, due to genetic or environmental factors.
Dandruff remedy treats seborrheic dermatitis?
Dandruff can be due to seborrheic dermatitis. Therefore, the use of anti-dandruff medications may be the same for seborrhea.
There are shampoos or other products, for example, that promote hydration and relieve dandruff, but do not address the source of the problem. In such cases, it is necessary that the dandruff medication is oriented towards seborrheic dermatitis.
Is scalp dermatitis severe?
As in other regions, seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp needs treatment to control symptoms.
The condition, in general, does not present severe risks to the patient, but it can cause great discomfort and can harm the health of the hair strands.
What is scaling on the scalp?
The scaling of the scalp is the famous dandruff. It causes an accelerated exchange of the dermis, causing fragments of tissue to come loose. The peeling can be triggered or aggravated by dry weather, food or stress.
What are the cares with seborrheic dermatitis on the face?
The face region is, in general, quite sensitive. Therefore, all treatment must be guided by professionals, avoiding risks or allergies.
Some fundamental face care should involve those basic protective measures. For that, using sunscreen and moisturizers suitable for the face and skin type, avoiding aggressive products to the dermis and consulting dermatologists is essential for the health of the skin and the correct treatment of seborrheic dermatitis on the face.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a problem that bothers many people, but not everyone knows how it is formed and what are the means of combating it. So, share this text so that more people have access to this information!