Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a type of eczema that affects areas of the body where there are grease (sebaceous) glands. Typically it can include scaling and itching of the skin on the most commonly affected areas, e.g. scalp, face, in and around the ears, the front of the chest, between the shoulder blades as well as areas where the skin folds together, such as your armpits, groin and inner thighs. Its name is derived from ‘seborrhoea’ - excessive discharge of sebum from the sebaceous glands. It causes dry, red and flaky patches on the skin, often covered with greasy, yellowish scales. It is a common condition; up to 3–5% of people are affected with more having mild seborrhoeic dermatitis on the scalp which appears as dandruff1. It usually affects adults between 20 and 40 years of age, but also occurs in older people.

In babies, seborrhoeic dermatitis is called ‘cradle cap’ and normally disappears by 6 months of age. It is more common in men than in women, which is thought to be because seborrhoea and sebaceous gland activity are controlled by hormones called androgens (e.g. testosterone).

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is thought to be caused by a number of factors including stress, certain medical conditions, medicines, and external factors such as cold, dry weather and activity of the yeast that normally lives on our skin. It is not clear why some people develop seborrhoeic dermatitis when the yeast is present on everybody’s skin.

Itching and discomfort can make it difficult to sleep. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is NOT contagious and cannot be caught by even close contact with someone who suffers from it. The flaking and dandruff are NOT caused by poor hygiene or lack of personal care though this can be the perception. It is not hereditary; this means that if you have it as a child or an adult, your own children will not be more likely to develop it.

There is no cure for seborrhoeic dermatitis, but active self-management and using available treatment options effectively will help to clear redness and skin scales. Equally, if patients better understand what makes their own symptoms worse (e.g. shaving, cosmetic creams containing alcohol), they can avoid these. Routines and regular use of treatments may be important to keep symptoms at bay, but equally, individuals should avoid over-frequent dandruff shampooing.

With symptoms such as scaling of skin in parts of the body, a GP may recommend to use a cream or lotion containing ketoconazole. With flare-up of symptoms, a short course of a steroid cream or lotion (topical corticosteroids) may be prescribed. These are also used if the condition is itchy. The long-term use of topical corticosteroids is not usually recommended, as it can lead to side effects such as thinning of the skin.

SEQuaderma Red Irritated Scaly Skin is a new way to care for the symptoms of seborrhoeic dermatitis. It reduces sebum (an underlying cause of the condition), helps to maintain the normal skin environment and hydrates irritated skin. It can be used alone or alongside antifungals, antibiotics or steroids. In a clinical study, it was shown that SEQuaderma treatment for 3 weeks improved redness and flaking in patients with seborrhoeic dermatitis. Over time, SEQuaderma may also reduce re-occurrence of symptoms. Please check our life changing stories.