Seborrheic dermatitis is a disease that causes flaking of the skin that typically affects the scalp (dandruff in adults, “cradle cap” in babies) though it can also appear on the face and chest as well as the creases of the arms and legs. For most people the onset occurs with puberty and peaks at age 40 years. Symptoms include:
- Skin flakes or dandruff
- Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
- Yellow or white scales that may attach to the hair shaft
- Red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
- Itching or soreness
The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unclear there appear to be several contributing factors including a fungus called malassezia, change of season (winter is the worst season for outbreaks) and stress. There is a higher frequency of occurrence for patients with certain medical conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and HIV/AIDS.
Common treatments include steroid solutions and creams. Over the counter and prescription shampoos may be recommended too.