Causes of seborrheic dermatitis are generally unknown but the skin condition seems to run in families. Seborrhea is an inflammatory rash that normally appears on the face, scalp, and ears. The onset may appear as dry scalp and eventually will start flaking off as dandruff. Treatment for seborrheic dermatitis includes using a dandruff shampoo for the scalp and a mild topical steroid cream for the face and ears. Breakouts are more common in men than women, in people who have epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, and vitamin deficiencies. Seborrhea may also occur in people who are experiencing hormonal changes and undergoing stress. A physician can normally make a diagnosis by just looking at the rash but if there is any doubt a test can be done to check for fungus or other skin disorders. Another way to deal with skin problems is to pray everyday and read God’s Word. Research has shown that people who turn to their faith during illness do better than those who do not. “And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” (Exodus 23:25)
Although the exact cause of seborrhea is generally unknown there is a link between excessive oil production and a fungus called malessizia. Other possible causes of seborrheic dermatitis can be attributed to stress, fatigue, obesity, infrequent bathing and shampooing, extreme weather, and using cosmetic products that contain alcohol. Products that contain alcohol can be very drying to the skin; using them everyday can lead to excessive dryness and excessive oil production. Choose products that aren’t irritating to the skin by avoiding ones that contain alcohol, lanolin, mineral oil, harsh chemicals, and preservatives.
People who suffer from immune system disorders and neurological disorders seem to be more susceptible to skin problems especially if they have a hormonal imbalance and oily skin. Seborrhea can appear at any age and in infants it is known as cradle cap. The treatment for seborrheic dermatitis in an infant can be successful if a parent uses a soft toothbrush and a little baby oil. When removing the cradle cap don’t overdo by trying to remove all of it at once but instead try applying the baby oil once or twice a day. Trying to remove the cradle cap in one application could cause the baby distress. Dandruff in an adult can be treated by using a shampoo that contains salicylic acid, coal tar, or zinc.
Steroid creams and ointments can be applied to the face, ears and other surfaces on the body as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, but only a mild steroid should be used on the face because the skin is very thin. When the skin is very thin there is a greater chance that the medication will be absorbed into the blood stream. Too much of a good thing can be bad, especially in the case of using steroids. Steroids over time will thin the skin, cause stretch marks, and possible infection. When too much is absorbed into the blood stream health problems such as stunting the growth of children, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, kidney failure, liver tumors, and psychological problems can occur.
When a person suspects that he or she has dandruff there are many over-the-counter products that can be helpful. In order to have success a person needs to be consistent with using the right shampoos and creams. When the condition doesn’t seem to respond to over-the-counter treatments then go and see a doctor. The rash may not be seborrhea but instead could be psoriasis, eczema or some other form of dermatitis. Oftentimes people who have mild rashes aren’t concerned because they think it will probably go away and this could be true. However, some rashes can indicate a serious health condition such as lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. With lupus a rash may appear on the face and if the rash turns out to be psoriasis a doctor may want to run tests for rheumatoid arthritis.
Dandruff is not contagious but if left untreated can turn into psoriasis. The causes of seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis are not generally known but research indicates that the skin conditions may be linked to immune system dysfunction. This might explain why some people who have HIV are prone to skin disorders. HIV is a virus that damages cells of the immune system and is common for someone who has it to have autoimmune disease and connective tissue disorder. However, some people are just prone to get seborrheic due to their genetic disposition so just because a person has a rash doesn’t mean that they have HIV. That is why a doctor should be seen whenever over-the-counter remedies do not seem to be working so all possible causes can be ruled out and a good treatment for seborrheic dermatitis can be found.
Stress experienced over a long period of time can take its toll on the human body and mind. Sometimes causes of seborrheic dermatitis and other skin conditions can be linked to stress overload. When a person is under stress for long periods of time negative things start happening to the body. Conditions to look for when trying to determine if stress is the underlying cause include frequent headaches, jaw clenching and pain, grinding teeth, insomnia, neck pain, frequent colds, ears ringing, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, stomach pain, chest pain, frequently urinating, heartburn, depression, nervous habits, irritability, and so on. After determining if stress is probably the culprit then a person should talk to their doctor for treatment and get counseling to learn coping skills for managing stress.