What is Seborrhea?
Seborrhea involves the inflammation of the skin in localized parts of the body. Seborrhea typically occurs in areas of high oil production like the scalp, the face – especially alongside the nose and on the eyebrows – the chest, the underarms and within folds of loose, hanging skin. Although seborrhea is most commonly manifested as dandruff on the scalp, it’s not unusual for people to experience it in their abdominal folds or even on their ears.
Seborrhea is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting up to five percent of the population. Men are more likely to suffer from seborrhea, as are the elderly, but it occurs in people of all ages. In fact, many newborns exhibit the symptoms of seborrhea – a form of skin eczema that results in dry, flaky scales and patches – on their scalps; when this happens, the condition is known as “cradle cap.”
Seborrhea can manifest itself in several different ways. Because it makes the skin appear dry, sufferers often mistakenly believe it is dry skin. This condition most commonly appears as:
- reddish-brown, dry or thick, greasy scales and patches on various parts of the face
- thick, flaky patches and scales on the scalp – known as dandruff – which often leave telltale white flakes in the hair and even on the shoulders
- reddish, scaly patches in the folds of the body – especially the underarms and the abdominal folds
What Causes Seborrhea?
The precise cause or causes of seborrhea are unknown, which is why the condition cannot be cured and can only be managed or treated. Some researchers believe that the main culprit behind outbreaks of seborrhea may be excessive levels of certain yeasts in the skin. It should be noted, however, that seborrhea is not a yeast infection and should not be treated as such. Others believe that seborrhea may be some sort of immune system response, especially since it often occurs in patients with immune systems that have been weakened by disease or by certain treatments.