Treatment Options for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Updated at: Jan 18, 2013
Treatment Options for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is usually a chronic condition. Symptoms improve with treatment but in many people they recur after some time. Medicated over- the-counter or prescription shampoos are used most often for treatment of seborrheic dermatitis of

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Fashion & BeautyWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Sep 25, 2012

Seborrheic dermatitis is usually a chronic condition and there is usually no permanent cure for it. Treatment improves the symptoms but in many people the symptoms recur after some time. Treatments of seborrheic dermatitis include both self care at and if needed medications in case of flare-up signs and symptoms. Treatment also depends on your skin type, the severity of your problem, and the parts of body that are affected, i.e. scalp or other areas of your body.

Home Treatment of seborrheic dermatitis

Shampoos: Many medicated over- the-counter shampoos for treatment of seborrheic dermatitis of scalp are available. These shampoos may contain one or more of the following active ingredients to control the seborrhoea. These are:

  • tar
  • salicylic acid
  • zinc pyrithione
  • selenium sulfide
  • ketoconazole.

Follow the recommendations on the package for application of shampoo or do as directed by your doctor. Most medicated shampoos can be applied to wash the scalp just once or twice a week or more frequently, depending on severity of problem. After the seborrhoea improves you can stop using the medicated shampoo. If the shampoo you use does not seem to be effective after sometime, switch to another. If you have bad or resistant seborrheic dermatitis you may need to alternate two different types of shampoo. If washing your hair often and use of over-the-counter medicated shampoo does not improve your symptoms (such as itching, flaky scalp) consult a doctor.

Medications and medicated shampoo

In most cases creams and lotions for local application on the affected body areas and medicated shampoos are effective for treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. People with severe seborrheic dermatitis may be given oral medications which have whole-body effects.

Antifungal agents:
These medications are effective in controlling the yeast, Malassezia, in the affected areas of your body. Some of the commonly prescribed anti-fungal agents for seborrheic dermatitis have been listed below.

  • Ketoconazole: used in most cases as shampoos, foams, gels and creams. The over-the-counter products are available as 1 percent concentration and prescription product has 2 percent strength. Prescription strength medication is probably is more effective.
  • Ciclopirox is available as prescription shampoos and skin products.
  • Terbinafine is available as tablet form. It is rarely prescribed to treat condition.

Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids have good anti-inflammatory effects and they are effective in controlling inflammation, itch and related discomfort. Some of the corticosteroids prescribed for this condition are hydrocortisone, desonide, and betamethasone. They're not advised for long-term use to be applied over large areas of your body as they can cause significant side-effects.

Calcineurin inhibitors:
The calcineurin inhibitors prescribed for seborrheic dermatitis include tacrolimus and pimecrolimus. They are prescribed if other treatments don’t work or if you can't tolerate other treatments.

Your doctor will recommend treatment that is best for you based on the severity of symptoms, and extent of body affected.




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