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