I didn’t know there was a fancy medical name for my dandruff or for the flaky skin on my nose and forehead. It was after more than ten years of itchy-red-yucky-hideous-unomfortable skin problems that I finally heard the words, Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Huh? What is seborrheic dermatitis? This sounds serious. Am I dying?!
Turns out, seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder that is usually characterized by redness, flakiness, itchiness and all-around discomfort. It is often greasy scales, though it also seems dry at the same time, which is confusing when you are trying to self-treat. The most common places to suffer from seborrheic dermatitis is the scalp, face and torso or any area that has sebaceous glands.
What causes seborrheic dermatitis? It’s probably genetic and can be brought on by stress, hormones, other health problems or environmental triggers. The rash itself is caused by a over-production of sebum, which then turns into an infection . . . which then causes inflammation. There’s a widely-embraed, though unproven, theory that seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory response to yeast. More on that in another blog post.
Seborrheic dermatitis can really vary in appearance from one person to the next. Some people have yellow flakes, others gray or white. It can happen on your nose, nose folds, cheeks, forehead, chin, behind your ears, eyebrows, eyelashes, arm pitts, genital area, back, stomach, chest . . .it’s not fun, people! Oh, and probably the most common of all: the scalp! If only flakes could be the hottest hair accessory.
There are lots of solutions out there to help with seborrheic dermatitis, but no actual cure.
So that’s Seborrheic Dermatitis 101. I’ve covered the basics here, but if you are like me, you’re still left with LOTS of questions. Please feel free to ask questions or contribute to the conversation in the comments.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical expert. I’m just a regular ‘ol twentysomething (ok, thirtysomething) mom who has deat with acne and seborrheic dermatitis for almost twenty years. I want to write what I learn and what I experience as a sufferer of skin problems. PLEASE talk to a general practitioner or dermatologist before trying a new skin care regime.