Seborrheic dermatitis is a
relatively common scalp condition. It is characterized by flaking skin and can
occur on other areas of the body, but is most common on the scalp. Many people
suffer from this annoying and sometimes painful condition.
Seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp may be called dandruff in its
mildest form, but it is often more severe than dandruff. In addition to flaky
skin a person with seborrheic dermatitis may experience greasy yellowish scales
that cover red inflamed skin. It is extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Most
people have a very difficult time avoiding scratching this very itchy skin.
Scratching will irritate the skin even further and only worsens the problem.
This condition is more
common for infants younger than three months old and adults between thirty and
sixty years of age. When infants suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, it is
commonly know as cradle cap. In adults it may affect other areas of the body,
such as the ears and face, chest and sometimes may even be found in the creases
of arms and legs. It is more common for men than for women.
The exact cause of
seborrheic dermatitis is not known. Hormonal shifts are one possibility. Also
a fungus called malassezia is often blamed. Malassezia is normal in small
amounts on the skin, but in larger concentrations it has been shown to create
skin problems. The cause for infant dermatitis may be different than the cause
for adult seborrheic dermatitis.