Seborrheic dermatitis also referred to as dandruff, is a common skin disease that mainly affects the scalp and usually some other oil-secreting areas of the skin like the face chest. While this condition is fairly unpleasant for most patients, many treatment options are available.
Seborrheic dermatitis can arise in a number of ways, but it is most commonly characterized by red, flaky, and greasy patches of skin that are also inflamed and itchy. If your case of seborrheic dermatitis feels more severe than it should be in that it begins to impact your everyday life, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Are Eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis the Same Conditions?
Seborrheic dermatitis is not unlike eczema, which is also known as atopic dermatitis. People can also develop both seborrheic and atopic dermatitis simultaneously, which can be both triggered by factors such as stress, seasonal effects, and other conditions. Nearly 10% of the population suffer from either seborrheic or atopic dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are two entirely separate skin conditions, nonetheless. The most common method of treatment for atopic dermatitis involves the use of a hydrocortisone cream, whereas seborrheic dermatitis typically requires the use of an antifungal medicine.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Causes
Medical experts are still unsure as to what causes chronic seborrheic dermatitis. However, we do know that exposure to allergens, seasonal effects, and too much stress play important roles in triggering symptoms. Despite the common misconception, seborrheic dermatitis is not a result of poor personal hygiene; in fact, over-washing the scalp can be a cause of flare-ups.
If you suspect that you may have seborrheic dermatitis, consult your doctor about using antifungal medicines or products such as ointments or shampoos. Discussing your symptoms with your physician prior to trying any OTC medicines is highly recommended as if you are already on other medications for any pre-existing conditions, you may experience adverse side effects due to drug interactions of which you are unaware.
Seeing a Specialist
While it may be ideal to consult your family doctor about your complaints first, if needed, you may get a referral to a specialist about your symptoms. The type of doctor that specializes in skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis is known as a dermatologist who can assist you in determining triggers as well as prescribe you the appropriate medications for your particular case, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a considerably prevalent skin condition, so there are many expert dermatologists who are well-versed in treating this condition.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment
Treatment varies depending on your particular case and various factors. Unless you have been experiencing symptoms for an extended period, most physicians and dermatologists initially recommend you use over-the-counter medication options before leveling up to prescription-strength medicines. For some patients, simply using an effective dandruff shampoo on a daily basis is enough to prevent seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. However, others may require more potent treatment methods that involve the use of drugs, antifungal shampoos, or steroid ointments.
If most over-the-counter options have proven to be ineffective, your primary physician or dermatologist can begin considering prescription-strength options. However, pinpointing your triggers is ultimately the most effective way to avoid flare-ups.
Although most patients with seborrheic dermatitis suffer from embarrassment in addition to other symptoms of this condition, seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition and nothing to be embarrassed about. If your symptoms are a source of anxiety and embarrassment, however, consult with your doctor as soon as possible to learn more about your treatment options as seborrheic dermatitis is really nothing to lose sleep over.
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