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Seborrheic Dermatitis & Cardio Exercise

By Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D. ; Updated June 12, 2018

Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of eczema, or inflammation of the skin. According to the National Rosacea Society, one out of 20 people in the United States has seborrheic dermatitis.

The act of performing cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking, walking or swimming might not affect your seborrheic dermatitis, sweating during exercise could.


Seborrheic dermatitis shows up as yellowish, scaly and oily patches of skin, usually appears on your face or scalp, although it can also appear on other parts of your body.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also appear as redness, powdery scales, greasy scales, dandruff, and thickened scaly patches on the scalp. It might cause an itching or burning sensation.


Causes of seborrheic dermatitis are usually not directly related to cardiovascular exercise. According to the National Rosacea Society, the causes of seborrheic dermatitis might include stress, change of seasons, fatigue, a yeast fungus, hormones or an abnormality of hair follicles or oil glands.

Other causes of seborrheic dermatitis may include oily skin, use of alcohol-containing lotions, skin disorders, infrequent skin cleaning, infrequent shampoos and obesity.

Read more: Foods to Avoid If You Have Eczema

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Benefits of Exercise

Because obesity and high stress levels can increase your risk for seborrheic dermatitis, achieving a healthful body weight and reducing stress levels might help lower your risk.

Regular aerobic or cardiovascular exercise can help reduce stress levels and your risk for developing other types of dermatitis, so it might also have a positive effect on seborrheic dermatitis.


In general, you should still participate in cardiovascular exercise if you have seborrheic dermatitis. However, the National Eczema Association reports that sweating during exercise may cause people with certain types of dermatitis to itch, and strenuous exercise should be avoided when dermatitis flare-ups occur.

Over-exercising that makes you exceptionally tired may also increase your risk for seborrheic dermatitis.

Read more: Heat Rashes After Exercise

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