How to Diagnose and Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis?

How to diagnose and treat seborrheic dermatitis?


Your doctor will examine your skin by scraping off skin cells to differentiate seborrheic dermatitis from other similar skin inflammation conditions such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), tinea versicolor, and rosacea.


Medicated shampoos, creams and lotions are the main treatments for seborrheic dermatitis. There are over-the-counter dandruff shampoos, before considering prescription remedies that you can try at home. If those do not work, you should talk to your doctor to try other options:

  • Creams, shampoos or ointments that control inflammation. Prescription-strength hydrocortisone, fluocinolone (Capex, Synalar), clobetasol (Clobex, Cormax) and desonide (Desowen, Desonate) are effective corticosteroids you apply to the scalp or other affected area. They cannot be used constantly without a break due to side effects.
  • Antifungal gels, creams or shampoos alternated with another medication. A product with 2 percent ketoconazole (Nizoral) or 1 percent ciclopirox, or both to be used alternately, will be prescribed.
  • Antifungal medication you take as a pill. These aren’t a first choice for treatment because of possible side effects and drug interactions.

Lifestyle and home remedies

You may also be able to control seborrheic dermatitis with lifestyle changes and home remedies:

  • Wash your scalp regularly.
  • Soften scales by applying mineral oil or olive oil and remove them from your hair.
  • Wash your skin regularly. Avoid harsh soaps and use a moisturizer.
  • Apply a medicated cream.
  • Avoid styling products.
  • Avoid skin and hair products that contain alcohol.
  • Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing.
  • If you have a beard or mustache, shampoo facial hair regularly.
  • Gently clean your eyelids.
  • Gently wash your baby’s scalp.
  • Try alternative therapies such as tea tree oil, fish oil supplements, and aloe vera after checking with your doctor.

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