What is Seborrheic Alopecia?

Seborrheic Alopecia

Seventy percent of babies and about 11.6% of the overall population are affected by seborrheic dermatitis, also known as seborrheic alopecia, making it among the most common skin conditions in the world. Temporary hair loss may occur if you scratch your scalp excessively due to seborrheic dermatitis, but the disorder does not cause hair loss and has no effect on male pattern baldness.

Below are the causes and progression of seborrheic dermatitis, along with the most typical manifestations of this skin condition.

What Does It Mean to Have Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include a rash that is scaly, red, oily, and swollen. Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms can differ in severity with age. Seborrheic dermatitis typically presents itself in the following ways in both adolescents and adults:

  • Skin that begins to develop scaly patches
  • Redness and a rash under the scale
  • Symptoms of the condition include flaky, yellowed skin and white spots

Seborrheic dermatitis can cause the skin to become scaly and flaky, but it can also cause the skin to appear oily and greasy. Seborrheic dermatitis can cause severe itching and burning in affected areas.

In most cases, seborrheic dermatitis will manifest itself on oily skin. It typically manifests on the scalp, the ear canal, and the surrounding skin. Seborrheic dermatitis can also appear on your chest, back, armpits, eyebrows, and eyelids.

Cradle cap is the common name for seborrheic dermatitis in newborns and young children. In this form of seborrheic dermatitis, the most typical signs and symptoms include:

  • The skin on the scalp can break out in a greasy rash
  • Scales with a yellowish-brown color form on the skin

The scale may become flaky and dry when the infected skin is rubbed or touched, which makes it easy for it to fall off when the skin is irritated.

What are the Contributing Factors to Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic Alopecia

The exact causes of seborrheic dermatitis are unknown, even to experts. Genetics, environmental variables, stress levels, and certain yeast on the skin are all currently thought to play a role in developing seborrheic dermatitis.

According to the available research, seborrheic dermatitis does not appear to be influenced by variables like allergies or poor cleanliness.

Seborrheic dermatitis is not age-specific; it most commonly affects newborns younger than three months and those in their 30s to 60s.

Medical conditions and medications can increase your chance of acquiring seborrheic dermatitis. The following are examples of medical problems that may elevate your chances of developing seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • HIV
  • Rosacea
  • Alcoholism

After suffering a recent cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke, you may be more susceptible to acquiring seborrheic dermatitis.

Severe seborrheic dermatitis symptoms are more common in people with certain medical disorders. Itchy, flaky skin is a common symptom of many diseases and conditions, including Parkinson’s and HIV.

Interferon, psoralen, and lithium are just some of the medications that have been linked to an increased risk of seborrheic dermatitis.

Does Hair Loss Occur With Seborrheic Dermatitis?

When most folks consider male hair loss, they picture a certain type of hair loss called male pattern baldness. This is because male pattern baldness is the most common form of male hair loss. The pattern of hair loss caused by this condition can range from a receding hairline to baldness at the crown.

The hair losses that result from male pattern baldness are irreversible; thus, taking action as soon as possible is critical if you suspect you are a victim of this condition. Neither seborrheic dermatitis nor its treatments have been linked to male-pattern baldness in the research journals.

Scratching your scalp too often or harshly might cause hair loss since seborrheic dermatitis is itchy.

Scratching too much might harm your hair follicles, the small structures within your skin where strands form. Injured hair follicles might become dormant or cause bald spots because they stop generating new hairs.

The proliferation of skin fungus linked to seborrheic dermatitis has been linked to hair loss.

Sebum, the oil your skin produces, tends to be in excess on skin impacted by seborrheic dermatitis. Excess sebum on the skin is a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and other skin invaders. It is possible for a fungus called Malassezia to colonize your scalp, which will lead to hair loss.

Malassezia-related hair loss typically resolves itself within a few months. On the other hand, it has the potential to make a considerable difference in your appearance, particularly if it is not addressed.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Diagnosis and Treatment

There is currently no known cure for seborrheic dermatitis; however, there are several effective therapies that help reduce symptoms, eliminate scale, and manage flare-ups.

Medication options for seborrheic dermatitis typically include:

Antifungal Lotions

Sometimes, you may need to treat the afflicted skin with an antifungal cream. These drugs are effective because they inhibit the development of fungi that aggravate the skin and exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis.

Ketoconazole, itraconazole, and bifonazole are examples of some of the topical antifungal drugs that are frequently utilized in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis.

Oral Antifungal Drugs

Your doctor may recommend an oral antifungal drug if your seborrheic dermatitis is severe or if you don’t see improvement with topical antifungal treatments.

Corticosteroid Creams

If your skin is red and irritated, your doctor may recommend a topical corticosteroid. These drugs alleviate symptoms by decreasing inflammation, including itching, redness, and discomfort.

Several corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone and beclomethasone dipropionate, treat seborrheic dermatitis. Due to the potential for adverse effects, these drugs are usually recommended for brief periods.

You should take any medication given for seborrheic dermatitis exactly as directed and for the whole duration of treatment, even if your symptoms begin to improve early on. It’s possible that the best way to manage your symptoms and get rid of the scales on your skin is to use both medication and medicated shampoo.


Even if doctors can’t cure seborrheic dermatitis, it can be managed with medication or medicated shampoo. Once the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis have subsided, any hair that you lost should grow back. Minoxidil, a topical medicine for hair loss, has been shown to accelerate growth and hasten the rate at which hair begins to come back.

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