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Spot These Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms Right Away

Story at-a-glance

  • Seborrheic dermatitis can be triggered by factors like stress, weather and seasonal changes, hormonal changes or illness
  • Signs of seborrheic dermatitis can vary from one person to another

Seborrheic dermatitis can be triggered by factors like stress, weather and seasonal changes, hormonal changes or illness. Heavy alcohol consumption and/or use of harsh detergents, solvents, chemicals and soaps may also cause this condition.1,2 Signs of seborrheic dermatitis can vary from one person to another. Some of the most common symptoms that are seen in adults include:3,4

Development of white or yellowish scaly patches on the skin, or dandruff, that eventually flake off

Patches of oily or greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales, or crust

Itching or redness of the affected area/s

Plaques that develop over a large area of skin

Hair loss in the affected area/s

Redness or crusting of the eyelids (blepharitis)

Oftentimes, symptoms can appear on the following body parts:5,6



Beard or moustache

Nose or other parts of the face

In and around the ears

Upper portion of the chest





Take note that seborrheic dermatitis can also affect newborns and children up to 3 years old,7 a disease known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis. Look for these indicators on a child who might have the condition:8,9

Salmon-pink patches that can peel off

Cradle cap (diffuse, greasy scaling on scalp)

Rashes that can spread to affect the armpit and groin folds, although these aren’t itchy

Consult a dermatologist or a physician if any of these symptoms appear. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you should make an appointment if you already:10

Feel extreme discomfort that causes you to lose sleep or distracts you from everyday routines

Notice that the condition is causing anxiety and embarrassment

Suspect that there is a skin infection

Tried self-care steps without any success

Diagnosing Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis’ symptoms are similar to those of other skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis. A dermatologist or physician performs a physical examination and inspects affected areas first. The physician will also inquire about the symptoms experienced, particularly when they began, how severely they affect the patient and if there are initial treatments that have already been utilized.11,12

A biopsy may also be undertaken prior to a final diagnosis. The dermatologist or physician will scrape off skin cells from an affected area, and the samples will be delivered to a laboratory for analysis. The results can help rule out other conditions that may be causing symptoms.13


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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What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

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Seborrheic Dermatitis Causes

Sources and References

  • 1, 5 Kelbach and O’Connell, “What Are the Symptoms of Seborrheic Eczema?” Healthline, January 28, 2016
  • 2 “Seborrheic Dermatitis,” National Eczema Association
  • 3 Berman, Zieve and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team, “Seborrheic Dermatitis,” University of Maryland Medical Center, April 14, 2015
  • 4, 6, 10 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms,” Mayo Clinic, May 30, 2014
  • 7 “Cradle Cap (Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis),” Kids Health
  • 8 Oakley, “Dermatitis,” DermNet New Zealand, 2008
  • 9 Oakley, “Seborrheic Dermatitis,” DermNet New Zealand, July 2014
  • 11, 13 Kelbach and O’Connell, “How Is Seborrheic Eczema Diagnosed?,” Healthline, January 28, 2016
  • 12 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Seborrheic Dermatitis Preparing for Your Appointment,” Mayo Clinic, May 30, 2014
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