When we talk about skin diseases, seborrheic dermatitis is one of the first that comes to mind. This dermatitis is also known as seborrheic eczema and is characterized by erythema (redness), flaking and itching (itching) in various parts of the body, such as eyebrows, ears and, especially, on the scalp. In addition to the discomfort of the itchiness, it also bothers you because of changes in appearance.
Despite being a recurrent disease, seborrheic dermatitis can be very well controlled when observing some precautions that we will comment on here.
In the next few paragraphs we will explain some characteristics and curiosities of this skin pathology, some variations of the disease as well as tips to help you control this problem.
Dermatitis is a generic name for several inflammatory skin diseases. Seborrheic dermatitis is one of them. It is characterized by increased production of sebum, erythema (redness) and excessive flaking which in the head is known as dandruff .
Dandruff, simply, is a mild form of this pathology and can occur for fleeting periods in almost everyone. When the problem is prolonged or worsens it becomes considered seborrheic dermatitis.
The scales can be either dry or greasy. They can also be thin or thick. As for the coloring, they are whitish, grayish or yellowish, and may be accompanied by itching or not.
In the beginning, seborrheic dermatitis is milder, it can disappear spontaneously but often the problem gets worse and the increase in the itching and burning can cause lesions and sores on the scalp. That is why treatment should start as soon as the condition is identified.
In newborn children, cases of seborrheic dermatitis are also common, in this situation called the milk crust. This condition is temporary, unlike when presented in adults, and tends to disappear naturally over the days.
There is no specific cause of seborrheic dermatitis, which can be both genetic in origin and triggered by external agents . The most common are cosmetics, some medications and contamination by a fungus called Pityrosporum ovale .
Contrary to popular belief, seborrheic dermatitis does not happen due to poor hygiene and is not contagious. Therefore, if someone embraces, shares a bed, touches or has any kind of physical contact with a person with seborrheic dermatitis, they will not be contaminated.
Signals and symptons
Seborrheic dermatitis has a series of signs and symptoms such as:
- increased oiliness of the skin and scalp;
- presence of white scales that come off the hair leather, the popular dandruff;
- larger, yellowish scales that are usually oily, accompanied by burning;
- itching all over the head;
- redness in some areas;
- beginning of hair loss.
Despite being very common on the scalp, other parts of the body can also develop seborrheic dermatitis, such as the eyebrows, eyelids, wing of the nose, ear. All also with flaking, itching and erythema.
How is seborrheic dermatitis treated?
To treat seborrheic dermatitis, it is necessary to take into account a series of factors such as age, sex, location, frequency, intensity and extent of manifestations. Among the therapeutic arsenal there are shampoos and topical lotions with coaltar, salicylic acid, sulfur, ketoconazole, corticosteroids or calcipotriol in addition to oral and injectable medications in the most severe cases. The ideal is to listen to the opinion of a dermatologist before starting any treatment.
There is no specific way to prevent seborrheic dermatitis, but some habits can contribute to the evolution:
- avoid very hot and prolonged baths;
- do not wear synthetic fabric clothes that retain sweat;
- control stress and anxiety;
- completely remove the shampoo and conditioner used when washing hair.
One of the most efficient and current methods of treating seborrheic dermatitis is the irradiation of the scalp with a special light (photobiomodulation with 660nm LEDs).
DeepRed 660nm radiation has a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the cells of all mammals, including humans. When the cells are under some form of stress, they fail to fulfill their functions and move to a defense module or “inflammatory module”. In this phase, they start producing cytokines that totally alter their functioning. Photobiomodulation or LED therapy increases the energy production of the cells, interrupts the production of cytokines and redirects the cells to the “productive module” interrupting the inflammatory cycle.
Inflammatory skin diseases benefit greatly from LED therapy. A good example is seborrheic dermatitis and androgenetic alopecia (hair loss that affects men and women over the years)
Other forms of chronic dermatitis such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, ocher dermatitis, exfoliative dermatitis, among others, can benefit from LEDtherapy. Both by reducing the use of medications and by improving signs and symptoms.
Atopic dermatitis is characterized by the appearance of rashes in places such as the folds of the arms and the back of the knees. The lesions can be scabbed and itchy.
The cause of this type of dermatitis is also unknown, but there are indications that the wounds develop due to a combination of dry skin and malfunctioning of the immune system.
There is also an aspect of medicine that links atopic dermatitis to asthma and allergic rhinitis. Thus, people who have this clinical condition would be more likely to develop skin rashes.
This type of dermatitis is also known as Duhring’s disease and is characterized by the appearance of blisters on the skin, similar to herpes. That is why a dermatologist’s diagnosis is so important, as a lay person can confuse diseases.
Herpetiform dermatitis can develop in anyone, but especially in those who have celiac disease, that is, who are intolerant to gluten. The presence of these blisters, therefore, is one of the symptoms that cause someone to be diagnosed as celiac.
Precisely for this reason, the treatment of dermatitis herpetiformis occurs through a restrictive diet, in which there is no consumption of foods with gluten. In most cases, people with this condition need to completely eliminate gluten from their diet for the rest of their lives, as sensitivity can cause other problems more serious than dermatitis.
Ocher dermatitis, also known by some as stasis dermatitis, causes spots to appear in shades of purple and brown in individuals. Usually the changes are manifested in the ankles and legs.
Because it is very common in people who have problems with varicose veins, the treatment of ocher dermatitis is done mainly by the use of elastic stockings, recommended for those with protruding veins.
As its name suggests, allergic dermatitis happens when someone has contact with a component they are allergic to. Usually the use of certain cosmetics or jewelry, such as bracelets, rings and earrings can cause this type of dermatitis.
After having contact with the substance to which he is allergic, the person develops blisters, itching, redness of the skin, etc. To treat the problem, one should immediately stop using the items that cause the reaction and apply creams or ointments prescribed by the dermatologist.
When we talk about exfoliative dermatitis, we are referring to a severe inflammation of the skin, which can cause large injuries in several areas of the body, such as the arms, legs and feet, chest and other areas of the body.
This is undoubtedly one of the most serious classifications of dermatitis and can be caused by the overuse of some medications such as penicillin, phenytoin and barbiturate medications.
In order to have an idea of the severity of exfoliative dermatitis, hospitalization may be necessary to treat this disease. This is necessary because it is necessary to constantly apply medications such as betamethasone or dexamethasone, directly into the vein.
These are the main types of dermatitis. In addition to them there are also other classifications, such as diaper dermatitis, which is an irritation caused in the babies’ bum due to the skin covering by the disposable diaper, and perioral dermatitis, which causes spots to appear around the mouth.