Frequently Asked Questions About Seborrheic Dermatitis

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  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition that usually affects a patient’s scalp and causes redness, dandruff and the appearance of scaly patches
  • While seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious or infectious, it can prompt complications if left untreated, such as secondary bacterial or fungal infections, hair loss and low self-esteem or embarrassment

Q: What is seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp?

A: Seborrheic dermatitis — also called seborrheic eczema, seborrheic psoriasis or crib/cradle cap (when it affects an infant) — is a condition that usually affects a patient’s scalp and causes redness, dandruff and the appearance of scaly patches.1 These symptoms may also manifest on the face, upper chest or back.2

Q: What is the cause of seborrheic dermatitis? Is seborrheic dermatitis contagious?

A: While the main cause of seborrheic dermatitis still remains unknown, researchers have discovered that this disease may be triggered by the overproduction of oil or the increased presence of the Malassezia fungus on the skin that can lead to oil overproduction and, consequently, seborrheic dermatitis.3

While seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious or infectious,4 it can prompt complications if left untreated, such as secondary bacterial or fungal infections, hair loss and low self-esteem or embarrassment.5,6

Q: Is seborrheic dermatitis itchy?

A: Yes, itching is one of the major symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Patients with this condition may also notice white or yellow scaly patches on the skin called dandruff, areas of oily or greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales and even hair loss in the affected area.7,8

Q: Is seborrheic dermatitis a fungus?

A: Seborrheic dermatitis is not a fungus, but the condition itself may be caused by one. As mentioned earlier, this condition may be prompted by a type of fungus called Malassezia that’s naturally found in the skin’s oil.9

Q: Is seborrheic dermatitis the same as psoriasis?

A: No. Although both conditions usually affect a person’s scalp and trigger development of red patches on the skin and even itching, there are major differences between these conditions. You can tell seborrheic dermatitis apart from psoriasis by checking what the skin patches look like, where they appear and what other symptoms the patient experiences.10,11

Q: Are there natural treatments to alleviate seborrheic dermatitis?

A: Yes. You can utilize aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, krill oil supplements and high-quality probiotic supplements to help treat seborrheic dermatitis.12,13 Olive oil,14 coconut oil, tea tree oil or primrose, black currant seed and borage essential oils may also help bring relief to patients suffering from this condition by improving their scalp or skin.15

MORE ABOUT SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Introduction

What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms

Seborrheic Dermatitis Causes

Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment

Seborrheic Dermatitis Prevention

Seborrheic Dermatitis Diet

Seborrheic Dermatitis FAQ


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[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1, 3, 9 Kelbach and O’Connell, “Seborrheic Eczema and Crib Cap,” Healthline, January 28, 2016
  • 2 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Seborrheic Dermatitis Definition,” Mayo Clinic, May 30, 2014
  • 4 Davis and Stöppler, “Is Dandruff (Seborrhea) Contagious?” MedicineNet, November 7, 2016
  • 5, 7 Berman, Zieve and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team, “Seborrheic Dermatitis,” University of Maryland Medical Center, April 14, 2015
  • 6 “Infectious Agents,” American Hair Loss Association
  • 8 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms,” Mayo Clinic, May 30, 2014
  • 10 Railton and Sullivan, “Psoriasis Vs. Seborrheic Dermatitis: How To Tell the Difference,” Medical News Today, April 12, 2017
  • 11 Pietrangelo and Kim, “Psoriasis Vs. Seborrheic Dermatitis: What You Should Know,” Healthline, January 21, 2016
  • 12 Biggers and Sarcone, “Natural or Alternative Supplements,” Healthline, March 15, 2017
  • 13 Biggers and Sarcone, “Home Remedies,” Healthline, March 15, 2017
  • 14 “6 Home Remedies for Seborrheic Dermatitis,” Find Home Remedy
  • 15 Biggers and Sarcone, “Essential Oils,” Healthline, March 15, 2017