Seborrheic Dermatitis

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are complications of seborrheic dermatitis?

There are few complications attributable to this condition. Most problems seem to be related to misdiagnosis or mistreatment. Rarely, certain superficial cutaneous (dermatophyte) fungal infections of the face and scalp can resemble seborrheic dermatitis. If dermatophyte infections are mistakenly treated with anti-inflammatory medications (topical steroids), more extensive involvement could be encouraged. The overuse of potent topical steroids in an ill-conceived attempt to cure this condition, especially on the face and armpits, can result in many undesirable skin changes including skin thinning.

What is the prognosis of seborrheic dermatitis?

Since seborrheic dermatitis generally is not associated with any serious problems, one way of looking at prognosis would be optimistically. On the other hand, although treatment almost always results in an excellent response, it is unlikely to result in any durable, permanent resolution of the disease.

Can seborrheic dermatitis be prevented?

Seborrheic dermatitis is not preventable.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

REFERENCE:

Stefanaki, I., and A. Katsambas. "Therapeutic Update on Seborrheic Dermatitis." Skin Therapy Lett. 15.5 May 2010: 1-4.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2016
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