Seborrheic eczema

(Seborrheic Dermatitis)


Seborrheic eczema is an inflammation of the skin on the scalp and face in adults. Since the eczema component is sometimes absent or only weakly pronounced, it is often referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. Redness and often fine scaling in the area of the nasolabial fold, chin, forehead, eyebrows, ears and on the hairy head area are typical. In some cases, severe itching can also occur.

Why do you get seborrheic eczema?

The exact circumstances have not been fully clarified to this day. In the development of seborrheic eczema, a connection between a hereditary overproduction of sebum (seborrheic component) in combination with an increased occurrence of yeast fungi, which basically occur naturally on the skin ( Malassezia furfur, Candida albicans), but bacteria are also accepted.

In infants, it can already occur in the first months of life, mainly in the head area (“head gneiss”), but also in the torso or diaper area (diaper dermatitis).

Seborrheic eczema in newborns usually appears as so-called “cranial gneiss” a week after birth and heals spontaneously after a few months at the latest.

In adults (usually from the 3rd decade of life) there is usually an infestation of the seborrheic areas – i.e. those with a high density of sebaceous glands – such as hairy scalp, forehead, eyebrows, nasolabial folds or behind the ears.
Scalp involvement, in contrast to scalp psoriasis, which looks very similar, usually does not extend beyond the hairline, which sometimes serves as a helpful distinguishing feature between the two diseases.

How Do You Treat Seborrheic Eczema?

In adults, the disease is successfully treated with modern local therapy.
This includes the regular use of antimycotic, i.e. antifungal, shampoos and washing solutions (ketoconazole, ciclopirox) for the head area, or ointments and washing solutions for the body area.
In the case of inflammatory manifestations with redness and itching, glucocorticoids can also be used for a short time or at intervals.
Only in rare severe cases is the use of systemic oral antifungals necessary.

Salicylic acid or anti-inflammatory additives when bathing are usually sufficient. Zinc-containing ointments are used in the area of body folds. Furthermore, care should be taken to avoid damp and warm conditions in clothing (diaper dermatitis), especially in the warm season.

Individual consultation

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