We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Dermatologists do not know the precise cause of seborrheic dermatitis, but many of them point to several contributing factors to this skin condition. Emotional stress, seasonal skin dryness, and the presence of certain fungi in the skin's oil secretions are frequently listed as possible causes of seborrheic dermatitis. Some sufferers with these symptoms can be more susceptible to dermatitis rash outbreaks than others. People with seborrheic dermatitis often receive a definite diagnosis only after doctors have ruled out the possibility of other skin infections that exhibit similar symptoms. Physicians treating individuals with chronic conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, sometimes report that these patients can have higher instances of seborrheic dermatitis.

Common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include itchy, red, and tender patches on the skin's surface. Despite the itching, these skin patches can also sometimes have an oily texture, particularly in areas of the body that are not normally exposed to the open air. The scalp, armpits, hip joint areas, and groin are especially prone to seborrheic dermatitis outbreaks. While dry and cold winter air itself is not considered a definitive cause of seborrheic dermatitis, it can make rash flare-ups worse in some individuals. People who experience outbreaks along with heightened stress levels can often manage their seborrheic dermatitis with regular anxiety-reducing techniques.

Some dermatologists point to the presence of a fungus called malassezia as a possible cause of seborrheic dermatitis. When this yeast mixes with the normal bacteria in the skin's sebum secretions, it can potentially lead to seborrheic dermatitis in people who have existing sensitivities to malassezia yeast. Although this fungus may be a cause of seborrheic dermatitis, medical researchers usually point out that in clinical tests, it does not spread from person to person as do other types of fungal infections. Some researchers also suggest that certain hormone fluctuations can be an additional cause of seborrheic dermatitis.

Methods of treating seborrheic dermatitis often include the application of topical antifungal medicines that can decrease the number and severity of the rashes. Sufferers with patches of dermatitis on their scalps are usually prescribed shampoos and conditioners that contain medicines, such as ciclopirox or ketoconazole. Some patients can have allergies to these substances, so most dermatologists will only prescribe these treatments to patients who have tested negative for these skin sensitivities. These doctors will also usually prescribe oral medications, such as terbinafine, for some severe cases of seborrheic dermatitis.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.