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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 22, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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It is a chronic problem of the skin in which sweat producing glands called sebaceous glands becomes hyperactive. As a result of production of excess sweat, the skin becomes too oily, gets inflamed and looks red. These conditions may also make it look dry and itchy and results in appearance of slight yellow scales which are greasy.

The problem can occur on any part of the skin on the body. When it develops on the scalp, it is known as dandruff. Other than this, it can also occur on face, anywhere on the nose, curves of the nose, on forehead, eyebrows and even eyelids. Greasy scales start to appear and are easily transferred on the fingers when scratched. Area under the breast, near groin, arm pits, navel and buttocks may also have seborrhea.


The exact cause seborrhea is unknown but they tend to develop and increase with stress and changing levels of hormones in the body. Infection from some yeast like microorganisms can also cause seborrhea. Such an infection can easily pass from one person to another. Hence precaution should be taken not to share hair care tools and hair accessories with other people, as this can spread the infection.

It is found in young children as cradle cap and diaper rash and is common in teenagers too. It can also occur in middle aged people and elderly. Generally men are found more prone to seborrhea than women.

People who suffer from disease like psoriasis, stress, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS may also suffer from seborrhea. People whose immune system is not functioning properly and also those who live in long term nursing homes also commonly suffer from dandruff and other forms of seborrhea.

Signs and Symptoms

It appears as yellowish flaky skin on any part of the body. The skin becomes red and inflamed. It also commonly occurs in infants and new born on the scalp and is known as cradle cap; with due care it may disappear in six months. In infants it may also occur in the buttock area as red scaly skin. This is known as diaper rash. This can heal by application of treatment lotions and needed care.

With changing hormonal levels, teenagers also commonly suffer from this. In these young people, it develops as scaly dry flakes on scalp, beard, eye lids, navel and also the canals of the ear.

Treatment Options

There are no complete treatment options for seborrhea dermatitis, though its symptoms can be kept under control, mitigated and treated. For extreme problems the dermatologist may recommend crèmes like topical corticosteroids and products containing sulfur. He may also prescribe the use of medicated shampoos daily and also taking in of antifungal d r u g s. The medicated shampoos may contain tea tree oil or selenium sulphide. For this reason Selsun, Tegrin, T-Gel or Ionil-T are generally used.

Holistic Treatments

The symptoms of seborrhea can go off with treatment but may recur with time. Hence it is necessary, to practice good hygiene to prevent and keep the problem from advancing or recurring. Eating healthy foods for skin, regular exercise, rest and enough sunlight exposure helps to keep the problem at bay. Homeopathic ingredient likeKalium muriaticum, Natrium muriaticum and Kalium sulphate are excellent tonic for better skin health. Herbs like red clover and Galium aperine act as blood purifiers and aid in clearing and cleaning the skin. Use of such natural remedies can prevent seborrhea.

Read also: Scars

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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