Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that typically affects the face, scalp, ears and central chest. These areas tend to develop persistent pink scaly patches and dandruff. In dark skinned individuals, these patches can heal with loss of pigment. The cause for this condition is unknown, but allergic reaction to a type of yeast that grows naturally within the oil glands may play a role. Seborrheic dermatitis can begin early in infancy (known as `cradle cap'), disappear in childhood, and then recur with puberty and sometimes persist throughout life.
Since seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition, treatment needs to be continued indefinitely. The skin can be washed daily with ZNP bar soap (by Steiffel). The scalp can be treated with antifungal shampoos (Nizoral, Selsun). Prescription cortisone creams and solutions can be used 2 or 3 times weekly to resolve the itching, redness and scaling. However, prolonged daily use of these products should be avoided because they can thin the skin over time.
There is no known permanent cure for seborrheic dermatits, but with regular use of appropriate medications, the condition is controllable.
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