Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that can affect scalp or other parts of the body. It is associated with increased activity of the sebaceous glands, which are glands located in the skin secreting sebum. Sebum is a natural oily substance that crates a thin coat on the skin, protecting it and lubricating it.
This inflammatory skin condition, characterized by redness, dryness, scaling and flaking, can occur due to several possible factors. Fungal causes have been identified in many cases as those responsible for seborrheic dermatitis. In this case, the symptoms are in fact an inflammatory reaction to a fungal species, usually those of Malassezia type. Other factors are associated with genetics, environment, overall health and the nature of the immune system.
Seborrheic dermatitis of the body
As it is explained above, seborrheic dermatitis is usually found in sebum-rich areas of the body. This condition mainly affects the scalp, causing dandruff. However, it can affect other parts of the body as well, like the face, the chest and the back, shoulders and upper arms. Basically any skin fold or any part of the body that is particularly oily due to too much sebum can be affected. Seborrheic dermatitis is also commonly seen on hairy parts of the body, where it affects hair follicles and causes inflammation. In those parts of the body, this skin condition can cause hair loss, which is usually temporary, although in severe or recurring cases it can be permanent too.
Treatment for seborrheic dermatitis of the body
Being a condition that primarily affects the scalp, most medications for seborrheic dermatitis are designed to treat the skin inflammation of the scalp, or dandruff. However, there are also very effective solutions for seborrheic dermatitis on the other parts of the body too.
The active ingredients used in most topical solutions for seborrheic dermatitis are antifungal agents, corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors. They are usually in form of shampoos, body washes, lotions and ointments. Some of them are mild and suitable for everyone, and those are available over the counter, while others are more concentrated and stronger and those are only available upon prescription.
Other products for seborrheic dermatitis may also include salycilic acid, coal tar, selenium sulfine and zinc pyrithione.
Natural therapy for seborrheic dermatitis of the body may involve aloe vera, tea tree oil, coconut oil, honey and avocado. There is some evidence that phototherapy may also help, especially with recurring outbreaks of seborrheic dermatitis.