Articles - Got Dandruff? On your face! Seborrheic Dermatitis

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GOT DANDRUFF? On your face!
"You may have Seborrheic Dermatitis"

Jeanne M. Ellern, PA-C
Physician Assistant Certified
Advanced Dermatology Skin and Surgery Center

Jeanne Ellern, PA-C

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin process.  Similar to dandruff but with redness, irritation, dry or greasy scale, occasionally itching or burning. Typically most common in areas with the largest concentration of sebaceous glands: scalp, face, chest, upper back, eyebrows, ears, men’s facial hair and body folds.

The cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis is not completely understood. Probable causes include Malassezia yeasts, sebum production and hereditary. Often worse in the winter months with improvement in the summer. It is more common in men and often begins after puberty. "Cradle cap" can be seen in babies and young children. Even though this is a chronic condition, relief is possible. Treatment options are available depending on the location of the lesions.

Scalp: Mild scalp seborrheic dermatitis typically responds to shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione, coal tar, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or sulfur. Prescription shampoos include ciclopirox and ketoconazole. OTC options include Head and Shoulders medicated, T-gel and Selsum Blue medicated shampoos. Severe scalp seborrheic dermatitis often needs to be managed similarly to scalp psoriasis. Potent steroids such as fluocinoinide solution.

Face: Seborrheic dermatitis responds well to low potency topical steroids as well as antifungals creams and gels. Recommend washing face with a prescription or OTC antifungal/ dandruff shampoo. OTC options would include Head and Shoulders medicated, T-gel and Selsum Blue medicated.

Even though Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition, it can be managed well. If you feel like this is something you are suffering from, please contact our office and we will be happy to help you.

by Jeanne M. Ellern, PA-C
Physician Assistant Certified