What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 04/08/2023

Skin conditions are becoming increasingly common these days. This can be attributed to several factors, like changing lifestyles, increasing levels of pollution, modern-day stressors, etc. Although most can be managed and often go away on their own, a few chronic conditions need consistent treatment, as patients can sometimes experience flare-ups from time to time.

For example, seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition that can affect someone at any point in their life. Depending on the severity of the condition, people can either manage it on their own or need frequent visits to the dermatologist.

Health insurance is an essential resource for anyone with any chronic condition. A good medical insurance plan will help cover these costs and help patients save money in the long run. Their benefits often extend far from just covering medical expenses

What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis? - Seborrheic Dermatitis Meaning

Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition that primarily affects the scalp, although it can also appear on other body parts. It affects people of all ages and is a chronic skin condition that varies in severity. Another name that people commonly use to refer to this condition is dandruff.

It’s a type of eczema that causes rough, scaly patches of skin to appear on the scalp, along with inflamed skin and itchiness. Other areas it can appear are parts of the body that produce a lot of oil or sebum - like the face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, and the chest.

Generally when dermatologists are diagnosing this condition they perform a seborrheic dermatitis test, where they biopsy a part of the affected area for further analysis.

This condition can be irritating to deal with, but it’s not contagious. Nor does it cause any permanent hair loss. Other names used to decide this condition are seborrheic eczema and seborrheic psoriasis and cradle’s cap when it occurs in infants.

Types Of Seborrheic Dermatitis

As stated, seborrheic dermatitis can affect all ages and can occur at any point in life. This condition can be divided into these types:

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis In Children

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis In Adults

  • Pityriasiform Seborrheic

Seborrheic Dermatitis In Children-

This is often referred to as Cradle’s Cap. It’s characterised by the greasy scaling of the skin on the infant’s scalp. This rash can also spread and affect the armpits and the groin area - or any other area on the body prone to skin folds.

This isn’t a severe condition in infants and doesn’t bother the baby much as it’s not very irritating.

Seborrheic Dermatitis In Adults-

In adults, this condition can appear on the part of the skin where there is increased sebum production. So your scalp, face, chest, sternum and other areas where the skin folds and can trap moisture.

Other Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms In Adults Can Include:

  • Red, itchy skin.

  • Flare-ups during the colder, drier winter months.

  • Dry, scaly patches of skin on the scalp that is prone to flaking.

  • Scaly pink patches on the sides of the face.

  • Swollen, itchy eyelids.

  • Visible rashes on the armpits, under the breasts, in the folds of the knees and elbows.

  • Folliculitis - Inflamed hair follicles

Pityriasiform Seborrheic-

This is a more severe form of seborrheic dermatitis, where the rashes are more widespread and generalised. The skin’s itchiness can be either absent, mild, or severe. This type of seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp, neck and torso.

Who Is Most Likely To Get This Condition? - Seborrheic Dermatitis Causes

A combination of genetics and environmental factors usually causes seborrheic dermatitis. Meaning the people that usually have this condition are genetically predisposed to it and can experience flare-ups due to external factors.

The primary cause is an overgrowth of the Malassezia yeast that is naturally present on your skin. The immune system reacts to this overgrowth, leading to a fungal infection often referred to as seborrheic dermatitis.

Some common causes that can trigger or worsen this condition are:

  • Stress.

  • Cold or dry climates.

  • Oily skin.

  • An allergic reaction to certain ingredients on some skincare or hair care products.

  • Having a history of other skin disorders like rosacea, psoriasis, or acne.

Other Illnesses That Cause Seborrheic Dermatitis

You can also develop this condition if you have other chronic health conditions like:

  • Depression.

  • HIV.

  • Adult Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

  • Adult Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

  • Parkinson’s disease.

  • Tardive Dyskinesia.

  • Epilepsy.

  • Facial nerve palsy.

  • Spinal cord injury.

  • Down syndrome.

Most health conditions that suppress or impair your immune system in any way can cause seborrheic dermatitis.

Medications That Cause Seborrheic Dermatitis

You can also get this condition if you happen to be on the following medications:

  • Lithium.

  • Buspirone.

  • Haloperidol decanoate.

  • Chlorpromazine.

This can also include organ transplant recipients, who are usually prescribed medications that suppress their immune systems.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment

or most cases of this condition, patients can use medicated shampoos, lotions and creams that help control the growth of the Malassezia yeast. However, when regular over-the-counter products don’t work, your healthcare provider may prescribe these treatments and seborrheic dermatitis medications:

Antifungal Creams, Shampoos, Lotions And Gels

Your health care provider will put you on skincare or haircare products that contain either:

  • Pyrithione zinc,

  • Selenium sulphide,

  • Ketoconazole 1%,

  • Tar, or

  • Salicylic acid.

These products are meant to be lathered or applied to the affected area. They should be allowed to sit for a few minutes before rinsing off or leaving them on - depending on the nature of the product.

Creams, Ointments, Shampoos, Or Lotions Meant To Control Inflammation

If your symptoms are causing too much distress and are becoming unmanageable, your dermatologist will prescribe prescription-strength corticosteroids. They are quick and easy to use and can significantly help to manage your symptoms. However, these should not be used long-term as they can have adverse side effects.

Antifungal Medications In Pill/Tablet Form

If your condition does not improve with topical treatments, your healthcare provider can prescribe oral medication to help combat this.


Overall seborrheic dermatitis is a manageable condition. Most people with this condition can make small lifestyle changes and use topical treatments to manage their symptoms during flare-ups. However, suppose you have any underlying health conditions causing you to develop other illnesses like seborrheic dermatitis. You should consult a doctor at the earliest.

Before buying a health insurance policy, please read the policy wording to understand if it covers dermatitis and other skin diseases. Without an in-depth understanding of the policy coverage, you cannot take advantage of the primary benefits of health insurance.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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