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Seborrhea (seborrheic dermatitis)

Where did these greasy and itchy spots in my scalp come from?

Seborrhea is a skin condition that typically affects the scalp, face, and even chest, arms pits, and groin areas on the body.  Anyone can get this skin disease.  Typically, patient’s will tell me their scalp itches and they notice red greasy scales that tend to flake off if they pick at the area.  These red greasy scales can also occur in front of and behind the ears, the nasolabial folds (by the nose), and even in the eyebrow areas on the face.  We don’t know exactly the cause of seborrhea but believe a form of yeast called Malassezia furfur or M. furfur for short might be the culprit.  This yeast is common to everyone’s skin and not contagious.

Treatment Options

The good news is there are many treatment options available for this skin disease.  Treatment tends to calm down the symptoms and for some patients completely resolve the symptoms.  Because this M. furfur yeast lives on our skin all the time it is possible for the seborrhea to come back.  It’s not uncommon for this disease to wax and wane.

Treatments typically include antifungal shampoos, creams and topical steroids.  Remember that seborrhea is not contagious and can usually be controlled with proper medications.

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