Seborrheic dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin condition which may be chronic. In most cases it can be treated successfully with over-the-counter medications or prescription medications, but it tends to recur after sometime.
Prognosis of seborrheic dermatitis
Prognosis or outlook for seborrheic dermatitis is good. It may recur after treatment in many people but it does not cause any serious or life-threatening problem. Seborrheic dermatitis can affect different body parts such as the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the outer ear, and middle of the chest. But in most cases the scalp is affected.
Seborrheic dermatitis in some people may go away even without treatment, where as in others it may be a very difficult and frustrating problem to treat. It has a tendency to aggravate in colder climates but improve in warmer conditions.
The condition may be difficult to cure but can be controlled with treatment in most cases (even though it has a tendency to recur after treatment is stopped). There are many medicated shampoos (over-the-counter and prescription) available for treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. If you do not respond to medicated shampoos or the symptoms are severe your doctor may prescribe medications such as antifungal agents, corticosteroids, and calcineurin inhibitors.
In some cases, seborrheic dermatitis may become a severe condition. The whole body can be involved. In an extreme form the condition overlaps with psoriasis of the scalp and is called sebopsoriasis.
Seborrheic dermatitis does not cause any life threatening complication but can cause psychological distress, low self esteem, and embarrassment because of appearance. In some cases the scalp and patches on the body can become infected by bacteria or fungus.
In infants seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp is commonly known as cradle cap. In most infants it improves very well with treatment. Cradle cap can improve without treatment on its own as a child grows. If an infant has cradle cap it does not make him or her more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis as an adult.