This is a common condition characterized by the red, itchy rashes and white scales on the skin. One of the common forms of seborrhea affecting the scalp is dandruff. Seborrhea is the ‘oily secretion of the sebaceous glands whose ducts open into the hair follicles’. The yeast also thrives on the oily secretion and when the oil glands become over-productive, this red scaly condition occurs. Seborrhea affects infants, also known as ‘cradle cap’ which tends to go away on its own after 6 months. It appears as the diaper rash among infants and with adults it is more common in men than the women. It can also be triggered by various factors such as stress, hormonal changes, harsh detergents, chemicals, soaps, certain medications, cold and dry weather.

What are the indications of seborrhea? The signs and symptoms can include;

  • Skin flakes on the scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard and mustache
  • Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or crust on the scalp
  • It can develop on parts of the face including the folds around the nose, the eyebrows, the eyelids and behind the ears
  • When it affects the body, it occurs in the middle part of the chest and the skin folds under the arm, in the groin and buttocks area
  • Itch and burning
  • Redness

Diagnosis and Standard Therapies It can often appear with other skin conditions and there are no tests to detect seborrhea. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be conducted to rule out other conditions that are similar to seborrhea such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, tinea versicolor and rosacea. The tendency of the treatment is to remove the yeast as that appears to be the source of the problem but as it is all over the body, it can be hard to completely remove it. Although there are many products such as shampoos to reduce the yeast, these are not always effective as the symptoms can continue to persist. One of the effective ways to control seborrhea is with the management of the inflammation which can be treated with topical steroids to reduce redness and itchiness. Alternatively, medicated shampoos, sulfur products and topical antifungal products could help control the problem. In the case of a cradle cap that is large and thick in infants, rubbing on warm mineral oil and then brushing with a baby hairbrush could help.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies It is possible to control the condition, particularly seborrheic dermatitis with lifestyle changes and home remedies. Some of the tips to help control the condition include;

  • Soften and remove scales from your hair
  • Avoid styling products
  • Wash your skin regularly
  • Apply a medicated cream
  • Avoid skin care products containing alcohol
  • Shampoo facial hair regularly if you have a beard or mustache
  • Tea tree oil either alone or in a shampoo
  • Application of Aloe Vera gel in the affected area