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Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that is easily treated, according to the American Academy of Dermatology 123. This skin condition causes crusty red spots on the scalp. The spots may be itchy and uncomfortable. Although this condition isn’t harmful, it can be irritating and a source of embarrassment. Treatment options may assist in keeping seborrheic dermatitis under control 23.
Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a variety of factors 123. Malassezia, a type of yeast, may be responsible for developing crusty spots on the scalp, according to MayoClinic.com. Stress and fatigue can also increase the likelihood of developing this condition. Outbreaks are typically worse in the winter time, when skin is more likely to be dry.
- Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a variety of factors 1.
- Outbreaks are typically worse in the winter time, when skin is more likely to be dry.
How to Get Rid of White Spots on the Scalp
Nonprescription lotions containing corticosteroid can be applied to the crusty spots to minimize inflammation. An anti-fungal topical cream that includes the active ingredients ketoconazole or ciclopirox can also be applied to the affected skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology 1. A medicated shampoo that contains tar, ketoconazole or salicylic acid can also assist in treating seborrheic dermatitis 23.
If skin isn’t responding to nonprescription treatments, your doctor may recommend a stronger prescription version of over-the-counter products.
Avoid using shampoos that contain fragrances and irritants, recommends MayoClinic.com. If skin is itchy, take a warm bath with a little bit of oatmeal to soothe the scalp. When taking showers, prevent excessive scalp dryness by using warm water instead of hot water. It’s also important to avoid scratching the scalp, which increases your risk for scarring and infection.
- Avoid using shampoos that contain fragrances and irritants, recommends MayoClinic.com.
- It’s also important to avoid scratching the scalp, which increases your risk for scarring and infection.
Some people think that seborrheic dermatitis is most likely to occur in adults 23. Babies can also develop this condition, however. It is then referred to as cradle cap. Use a mild baby shampoo or your baby’s hair. Loosen dry patches of skin by applying baby oil to the scalp and rinsing with a gentle cleanser. Brush the hair after the treatment to further slough off dry skin.
- Some people think that seborrheic dermatitis is most likely to occur in adults 2.
- Brush the hair after the treatment to further slough off dry skin.
Patients struggling with seborrheic dermatitis should contact a doctor 23. This condition may occur in patients with underlying health issues in the nervous system, according to the American Academy of Dermatology 1. Patients with immune system disorders may also be at higher risk for developing this condition. Your doctor can evaluate your overall health to determine if an underlying cause is to blame.
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- American Academy of Dermatology: Seborrheic Dermatitis
- MayoClinic.com: Seborrheic Dermatitis
- MedlinePlus: Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Tucker D, Masood S. Seborrheic dermatitis. In: StatPearls Publishing. Updated December 28, 2019.
- Borda LJ, Wikramanayake TC. Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff: A comprehensive review. J Clin Investig Dermatol. 2015;3(2):10.13188/2373-1044.1000019. doi:10.13188/2373-1044.1000019
- Thayikkannu AB, Kindo AJ, Veeraraghavan M. Malassezia—Can it be ignored?. Indian J Dermatol. 2015;60(4):332-9. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.160475
- Tamer F, Yuksel ME, Sarifakioglu E, Karabag Y. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common bacterial agent of the skin flora of patients with seborrheic dermatitis. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2018 Apr;8(2):80-4. doi:10.5826/dpc.0802a04
- Karakadze MA, Hirt PA, Wikramanayake TC. The genetic basis of seborrhoeic dermatitis: a review. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018;32(4):529-36. doi:10.1111/jdv.14704
- Motswaledi MH, Visser W. The spectrum of HIV-associated infective and inflammatory dermatoses in pigmented skin. Dermatol Clin. 2014;32:211-25. doi:10.1016/j.det.2013.12.006
- Savoia P, Cavaliere G, Zavattaro E, Veronese F, Fava P. Inflammatory cutaneous diseases in renal transplant recipients. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(8):1362. doi:10.3390/ijms17081362
- Clark GW, Pope SM, Jaboori KA. Diagnosis and treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Feb 1;91(3):185-90.
- McLoone P, Warnock M, Fyfe L. Honey: A realistic antimicrobial for disorders of the skin. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2016 Apr;49(2):161-7. doi:10.1016/j.jmii.2015.01.009
- Takagi Y, Ning X, Takahashi A, et al. The efficacy of a pseudo-ceramide and eucalyptus extract containing lotion on dry scalp skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:141-8. doi:10.2147/CCID.S158428
- Dobler D, Schmidts T, Wildenhain S, Seewald I, Merzhäuser M, Runkel F. Impact of selected cosmetic ingredients on common microorganisms on healthy human skin. Cosmetics. 2019;6(45):1-13. doi:10.3390/cosmetics6030045
- National Psoriasis Foundation. What's tops in topical steroid treatments?. Updated August 14, 2019.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves updated labeling with boxed warning and medication guide for two eczema drugs, Elidel and Protopic. January 19, 2006.
- De Souza Leão Kamamoto C, Sanudo A, Hassun KM, Bagatin E. Low-dose oral isotretinoin for moderate to severe seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis: a randomized comparative trial. Int J Dermatol. 2017;56(1):80-5. doi:10.1111/ijd.13408
- Altman K, Vanness E, Westergaard RP. Cutaneous manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus: a clinical update. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2015;17(3):464. doi:10.1007/s11908-015-0464-y
- Suárez AL, Feramisco JD, Koo J, Steinhoff M. Psychoneuroimmunology of psychological stress and atopic dermatitis: Pathophysiologic and therapeutic updates. Acta Derm Venereol. 2012;92(1):7–15. doi:10.2340/00015555-1188
Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.