Seborrheic Dermatitis: When to seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
Sep 25, 2012

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic skin condition which responds well to treatment. It causes formation of scales and flakes (white to yellowish) on oily areas such as the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the outer ear, and middle of the chest.

Consult your doctor for seborrheic dermatitis if:

  • you have extensive involvement of scalp and skin.
  • the condition is worsening (that is increasing, spreading or area looks to be red or infected) even after use of medicated shampoos, proper skin care and hair hygiene.
  • it you find it bothersome such as the appearance affects your social life, sleep, work, or other daily activities.
  • the affected patches of seborrheic dermatitis ooze fluid or pus, there are crusts, or become very red or painful.
  • it is causing hair loss.
  • your infant has extensive cradle cap.
  • if you think the scales and flakes are caused by some other medical problem and not seborrheic dermatitis.

Symptoms suggestive of serious condition: Symptoms similar to seborrheic dermatitis can be caused by several other medical conditions such as severe seborrheic eczema, severe psoriasis, or blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids). Consult a doctor immediately if you have any of following symptoms:

  • burning sensation or irritation in the eye
  • eye pain or itchy eyes
  • loss of eyelashes or eyelashes that grow abnormally
  • flaking or crusting on eyelids
  • hives
  • sensitivity to light
  • inflammation of lip any par to the face
  • oozing, wet skin
  • red, sore eyes (bloodshot eyes).

Who to consult

Seborrheic dermatitis can be diagnosed by the affected person and in many cases it responds well to treatment with over the counter medicated shampoos. It does not cause any serious problem or medical emergency.

Some health professionals who can be consulted for seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • paediatrician
  • family physician
  • internist
  • physician assistant
  • dermatologist



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