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Seborrheic Dermatitis: Dandruff Causes & Treatment


Seborrheic dermatitis is a common type of eczema that affects the oil glands of the scalp and face. It is a benign condition that can be treated. Many people refer to this condition as “dandruff.” Seborrheic dermatitis affects around 3-12% of the population, including adults and children.


The etiology is not completely understood. Conditions that are associated with seborrheic dermatitis include hormone levels, family history of psoriasis, and fungal infections. The yeast called Malassezia is believed to play a role in the cause.

Clinical Features:

Dry, scaly patches in the eyebrows, around the nose, and on the scalp. Scalp can have greasy and scaly plaques. The scalp can be pruritic.


There are few complications of seborrheic dermatitis. One known complication includes bacterial or fungal infections.


Many providers can diagnose this condition by its appearance. If the diagnosis is uncertain, a biopsy can be performed.


Treatment may include antifungal shampoos and topical antifungal creams. This condition can be self-limiting but may take a long time to resolve.

Differential Diagnosis:

This condition can resemble atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, and tinea capitis.

Citation: Seborrheic dermatitis: Causes and treatment — DermNet. (n.d.).

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