Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms

Featured Article, Other Skin Conditions, Skin Center
on January 26, 2012
Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis.

Seborrheic dermatitis is often mistaken for psoriasis, eczema or any number of other common skin conditions. Though it can be unsightly and uncomfortable, seborrheic dermatitis is generally considered to be a relatively mild condition. However, it is important to get a confirmed diagnosis of the condition in order to ensure that it’s not something potentially serious, as well as to monitor symptoms and complications.

Common symptoms. Most often, seborrheic dermatitis appears as red, flaky patches on the scalp. These patches may feel oily to the touch and may itch. Dandruff is extremely common, and in many cases, it’s the most visible of all seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. The condition can also appear in folds in the skin, in your underarm, on the chest or rib cage, and underneath facial or bodily hair.

Symptom duration. Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can appear at any time and may last anywhere from days to months during any given flare-up. The Mayo Clinic states, “In most people, it's a chronic condition. You'll likely experience periods when your signs and symptoms improve alternating with times when they worsen.” Symptom duration depends on a number of factors, including your personal care routines and lifestyle during a flare-up. Anything that can irritate your skin may prolong the duration of symptoms, while successfully employing stress management techniques may shorten them.

Warning signs. Though it is rare, seborrheic dermatitis can occasionally lead to serious complications. It is important to know when your symptoms are considered abnormal, requiring a doctor’s assessment and intervention. If you’ve tried at-home remedies, lifestyle changes and over-the-counter products without success, it may be time to seek medical attention. Any condition that interferes with daily activities and social function should be managed medically so that you can return to your normal everyday life as quickly as possible. In addition, seborrheic dermatitis can become infected, so be alert for increased pain and redness in the area. Infected patches of dermatitis must be dealt with by your doctor immediately in order to prevent further complications.