What Is It?
(The only recommendation to this section is to change the word, "seborrhea' (throughout this section) to "seborrheic dermatitis". We dermatologists rarely use the word "seborrhea", but instead use the phrase "seborrheic dermatitis" for the condition described in this article.
See the following excerpt from the AAD website:
"Are dandruff, seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis the same? Dandruff appears as scaling on the scalp without redness. Seborrhea is excessive oiliness of the skin, especially of the scalp and face, without redness or scaling. Patients with seborrhea may later develop seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis has both redness and scaling. "
Seborrhea is a form of skin inflammation (dermatitis) that causes a red, oily, flaking skin rash in areas of the body where glands in the skin called sebaceous glands are most abundant - the scalp, face and groin. In infants, it primarily affects the scalp, where it is called cradle cap. The causes of seborrheis dermatitis are unclear.
Although doctors recognize that seborrhea occurs in skin areas that have many sebaceous glands, they still do not know exactly why it develops there. Seborrhea is a common skin disorder that affects people who have no other health problems.
In infants, seborrhea appears as a scaly redness that usually is not itchy or uncomfortable. In some babies, it affects only the scalp (cradle cap), but in others, it also involves the neck creases, armpits or groin.
In adults and adolescents, seborrhea may affect only the scalp, appearing as either patchy or diffuse areas of redness and flaking. Other skin areas commonly affected include the eyebrows, eyelids, forehead, nose creases, outer ear, chest, underarms, groin, skin creases under the breasts, or skin between the buttocks. Although some adults and adolescents feel an itchy or burning irritation in areas of seborrhea, others don't have any discomfort. In some people, seborrhea flare-ups are triggered by stress.