Causes and Treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis and Related Hair Loss

Seborrheic Dermatitis - What is it?

This is a skin disorder that involves the sebum-rich areas of the scalp, face and trunk. This is said to be a chronic inflammatory disorder that affect the areas of the body where sebaceous glands are most prominent. Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disorder that would result for the skin to be flaky and white to yellow in appearance on the scalp or inside the ear. An infant can also be affected by this condition and is referred to as cradle cap.

In rare cases seborrheic dermatitis can produce extensive lesions. This can flare up or present dominantly during a cold, dry weather.

This condition is common to all races. It may begin even during infancy but usually clears by nine to twelve months of age. But this is widely common during puberty or to the middle aged group.

In general this condition manifests skin lesions, skin scales (white and flaking, oily), itchiness, mild tenderness and hair loss.

Seborrheic Dermatitis on Face

The face is quite affected with this condition especially the eyelid, called blepharitis. This is a chronic inflammation of the eyelid that can vary in duration and affectation. This involves the flaking of the eyelids and crusting of the lid margins. Symptoms may also occur behind the ears and areas where skin folds are prominent. The flakes are usually described as yellow, white and gray in color. In rare cases, redness and flaking are found on the forehead and around the nose.

Seborrheic Dermatitis on Scalp

This condition is most probably involved with the proliferation of a causative agent called Malassezia yeast. This species have been found in the scalp of the affected person with seborrheic dermatitis. This yeast has been found to produce toxic substances that irritate and inflame the skin. Scalp involvement is sometimes identified by common people as dandruff but it should be noted to a more than just the simply flaking of the scalp. Remember that it shouldn’t be concluded as harmful or contagious to others. Health education is really helpful to most of us especially those who aren’t medically inclined. This condition that involves the scalp has been described by the affected as itchy and scaly. It can be white or yellow scales that sometimes attach itself to the hair-shaft. Infants are affected but can disappear in months’ time, called cradle cap.

Seborrheic Dermatitis and Hair loss

As this condition progresses, hair loss is experienced as a side effect of inflammation. This is common to those who have severe outbreaks and have left the condition untreated. As to worse cases, permanent hair loss may result because of the damage of hair follicles. Permanent hair loss, according to researches, is believed to be caused by the yeast causing agent for seborrheic dermatitis. But factors have been considered to be the root for this effect such as excess oil production because of hormonal imbalance, stress, draft, and a weakened immune system.


It has been known that this condition is due to the overproduction of skin oil and an irritation from malassezia, a yeast-causing agent. Seborrheic dermatitis has been found to run in families according to studies. A family history of eczema can predispose one to this condition. Factors such as stress, fatigue, weather extremes or draft, oily skin, infrequent shampoos or skin cleaning, use of lotions that contain alcohol or skin disorders are just some of the cause seborrheic dermatitis. Men are most at risk for this condition and develop to severe cases, too. Injury to the skin and other skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and blepharitis can make one susceptible to the development of seborrheic dermatitis.

This condition can be diagnosed via physical examination of the skin or a complete medical history can be sufficient enough. So that this condition is treated promptly, advice from a doctor is a must. Skin biopsy is essential to rule out other medical conditions.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Pictures


When there is involvement of the scalp, anti-dandruff shampoos containing salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione are prescribed for a 2 times a week use. Shampoos that contain coal tar are to be used 3 times a week. Until it is controlled, these should be used for 2 to 3 times a week. Ineffective results would prompt the doctor to prescribe steroid lotion in addition to the shampoo. This steroid lotion may be used by adolescents and adults.

Infants experiencing cradle cap should be treated mildly. A thorough brushing of the baby’s scalp in a gentle manner and application of products those are not as strong as with the adults treatment is usually prescribed by the doctors. One should loosen the scales and flakes on the baby’s scalp with the use of a soft bristled toothbrush. As some of the products are found to be ineffective, the doctor would recommend a shampoo hat contains 2% ketoconazole.

Once this condition has come to point of a severe case and is unresponsive to usual topical therapy, he or she is to undergo isotretinoin therapy. This is a treatment course that involves daily doses of isotretinoin as low as 0.1 to 0.3 mg/kg. this course treatment may conclude to improvement from the condition as this has been found in studies.

Medical remedies are recommended by doctors such as the following:

Antifungals – this classification of drug has been found helpful in minimizing the severity of seborrheic dermatitis. This is made available for seborrheic dermatitis as cream, foam and shampoo forms.

Corticosteroids – this drug class is found to impede further inflammatory infection. This condition can proliferate once not treated. But with the use of corticosteroids, inflammation is suppressed thus stopping further growth of this condition. A topical betamethasone is prescribed by the doctor as well as Desonide.

Kertolytics – this drug class is known to inhibit epidermal and dermal proliferation, thus can act as an antibacterial too. These drugs have been found effective in treating dermal problems.

Immunosuppressant – common immunosuppressant ointments are Tacrolimus and Pimecrolimus for seborrheic dermatitis.

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Comments 8 comments

Payal Mishra 2 years ago

I also have this problem. There is some pimples in my scalp when i consulted the doctor he said it is seborrheoic dermatitis which i also had on my forhead.. But after using the prescribed dandruff shampoo it has become less.. But as it is showing in the pictures i never had that much in my scalp. There is like 10-15 in my scalp, it is causing of dandruff and hairloss. I am 17 years old girl. And my scalp is kind of oily.. Can you please advise me something about that.

Thank you.

Kimberly 2 years ago

I have had seborrheoic dermatitis of the scalp and flare ups on my face since I was 7yrs old and I am now 46. I went through all types of shampoos, steroids and each time they work for a short period but then stop. I grew up in the Phila area so the cold weather makes it worse. Living in Florida definitely helped, but moved back to the northeast in 2003. Ectremely frusterated I decided to see what would help naturally. I did extensive research and found many people had great success with Orgamic Apple cider Vinegar. I found a recipe for 1 part organic ACV Braggs brand is the best with the "mother", 3-5 drpps tea tree oil and 3 parts distilled or purified water. I started using it 3 yrs ago and my hair and scalp are the healthiest they have ever been. I saturate and massage my scalp about an hr before washing my hair and cover it with a plastic shower cap, I am african american so night before I use coconut oil in my hair, wrap it and the put a scarf on so the ACV doesn't dry my hair out too bad. ACV also ph balances the hair. I shampoo with a clarifying shampoo and use keracare dry itchy scalp conditioner with zinc pyrithione and leave it in for about 15 minutes. Try this it works!!!! I have recommended to several others and all have had success

lisa 2 years ago

Thank you

Stuart 2 years ago

Seasalt anyone?

Kelly 2 years ago

Yes, tea tree oil healed my son's seborrheic dermatitis inside his ear after a year of steroids not working!

Andy 2 years ago


I had this problem for months, just under my eyes and around my nose.

Doctors diagnosed it as seborrheic dermatitis but I went through their entire catalog of treatments. I pretty much have my own pharmacy at home now.

In the end i cured it with a bar of that orange transparent Neutrogena soap and a tub of Sudocrem.

At first I literally washed my face every hour to dry my skin out but used a non perfumed moisturiser and Sudocrem on the sore spots.

It took me one day to clear it now I wash every night with the same soap and apply the Sudocrem before bed and it keeps it at bay.

I'm no doctor so I'm not saying it's the cure but it worked that well for me I thought I'd share in the hope it helps someone else.

nancy 2 years ago

I did the vinger and it worked thank you so much

Danielle 13 months ago

How often should i use acv on relaxed hair

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