What is seborrhea?
Seborrhea (dandruff) is a situation in which there is hyper action of the lactic glands of the skin. This is mainly dominant in the scalp skin, cheeks, and forehead. Due to that, we may see what we call an “oily scalp” and dandruff in the hair followed by redness and dry skin. The phenomenon is called seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis. This dandruff may show in other areas like the chest or seen as “flakes” in the scalp – in children and adults alike. There are a number of factors related to the problem, such as hormonal changes, situations of emotional stress or weather changes. It is important to note that the phenomenon is a chronic condition that has ups and downs.
In children and babies up to one year old, we may see the phenomenon as dry skin with redness on the face, sometimes with dandruff and flakes in the hair. It is important to note that the phenomenon does not bother the baby, but usually visually bothers the parents. This usually passes on its own around the first year even without treatment.
In adults, a social aspect is added to the phenomenon. People fear to go out in public when their faces are red and peeling. The problem might become severe without early detection. Seborrhea has a roller coaster effect, with alternating improvements and deteriorations, and it is important to remember that when a deterioration of this sort happens, it is hard to know when will it eventually improve.
Treatment of seborrhea
The best treatment is preventive treatment, which means attempting to avoid, as much as possible, the factors that escalate the problem. In children and babies, it is recommended to try treatment with bath oil or various ointments. In adults, it may be advisable to use products that have tar or anti-fungal products, which may bring improvement due to the existence of a fungi in the process.
It is best to try and avoid treatment using steroid medications as much as possible in adults and especially in children and babies, for many reasons. First, treatment with steroids usually brings quick improvement, but as soon as the treatment stops (in steroid treatment it is best to not continue for long) there is usually a “rebound” effect – the reoccurrence of the problem in a more severe way. In addition, applying steroids over a long time and vast areas of the skin may have damaging effects on the skin and sometimes on the body’s systems. Last, because the process is chronic with alternating improvements and deteriorations, the best way is to find a path forward to prevent deterioration and if they occur, to treat them effectively, quickly, and in the least damaging form since the patient is most likely to require this treatment in the future.