Sebaceous dermatitis is a skin condition that affects the sebaceous glands. It usually affects sebaceous-rich zones of the body like the scalp, neck and trunk. The skin condition also occurs on the face. The characteristics of this skin disease are redness in the infected area, severe itching, scaling and flakiness. The most common form of Sebaceous Dermatitis is dandruff, which affects millions of people all over the world.
The skin infection is primarily caused by fungus with the name Malassezia, which is a kind of yeast. This fungus penetrates into the skin and attacks the sebaceous glands. The sebum or oil that is secreted by the sebaceous glands is hydrolyzed by the fungus into saturated and unsaturated fats. The fungus requires saturated fatty acids to grow. Unsaturated fats are left over in the skin, which rise to the surface and aggravate the condition on the surface of the skin. Sebaceous dermatitis can also be caused due to hormonal changes and genetic factors in the body.
Dandruff is one of the first symptoms of sebaceous dermatitis. While dandruff develops on the scalp, the infection spreads to other parts of the body like the back, neck, face and trunk. Upper back is the most susceptible for contracting the skin infection. Severe itching follows the incidence of dandruff, which causes the infection to spread further. Hair loss is a major side effect of sebaceous dermatitis.
The most widely used treatment for sebaceous dermatitis is anti-dandruff shampoos. Shampoos containing an enzyme called ketoconazole help in containing the spread of the infection and reduce fungal growth. Ketoconazole is available in the form of intake medicine and can be used only when prescribed by a doctor.
Vitamin B6 ointment has proved to be an effective remedy for sebaceous dermatitis. Application of medicinal herbs like Indian gooseberry that help in curtailment of dandruff can bring the condition under control. Other natural treatments for sebaceous dermatitis are application of aloe vera gels, warm coconut oil, honey mixed with concentrated limejuice and tea tree oil.
The best way to avoid the attack of sebaceous dermatitis is to maintain good scalp hygiene. Regular washing of the scalp goes a long way in helping keep this disease off. Treatment in the initial stages in much easier and the results are quicker. Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun also helps in preventing the attack of this skin infection.