Sebaceous dermatitis is a skin condition that typically affects the scalp and face although it may sometimes affect the trunk area of the body as well. This skin condition often causes itching and red, scaly skin. The direct cause of sebaceous dermatitis is not known, but many patients who suffer from this condition appear to have an overgrowth of a specific type of yeast living on the body. Sebaceous dermatitis treatment options typically include the use of medicated shampoos, lotions, or creams. These items used in treating sebaceous dermatitis are available both in over-the-counter and prescription strengths.
In most cases, sebaceous dermatitis creates itching and flaking of the skin on the scalp known as dandruff. This irritation may also affect the eyebrows and other areas of the face. In more severe cases, small bumps that resemble pimples may develop, especially along the hairline. Mild to moderate hair loss may occur in the more serious cases, and pain may begin to accompany the itching.
The most commonly used sebaceous dermatitis treatment involves the use of an over-the-counter medicated shampoo. There are several ingredients, such as salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione which may be listed as the active ingredient in these shampoos. This type of treatment is typically used twice per week until symptoms disappear. Shampoos containing coal tar are also available and can be used up to three times per week. It should be noted that the use of coal tar is a bit controversial, as it is believed by many to potentially cause cancer.
If an over-the-counter remedy does not provide adequate symptom relief, a doctor may be able to prescribe a stronger medicated shampoo. In some cases, a steroid lotion or cream may also be prescribed. These two treatment methods tend to work well together, though it is important to follow the doctor's orders precisely.
Some patients may prefer to use more natural sebaceous dermatitis treatment options instead of using chemicals. Adding a zinc supplement to the diet is believed to help treat this type of skin condition. Tea tree oil is known to be effective in treating many different types of skin irritation. The tea tree oil can be applied directly to the affected areas, though many complain about the strong odor. If this is a concern, tea tree oil can be added to a favorite shampoo in order to help mask the odor.