Understanding Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition, can be both frustrating and confusing for those who experience it. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is the first step towards managing it effectively. Here’s what to do, what to avoid, how to deal with its challenges, and what to wear to minimize discomfort.


Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin disorder that primarily affects areas rich in oil glands. It often manifests as red, itchy, and scaly patches on the scalp, face, chest, and other oily regions of the body. 

According to the National Eczema Association, seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic form of eczema that can impact individuals across all age groups, encompassing both infants and adults between the ages of 30 and 60. 

Although this skin condition typically resolves spontaneously and does not recur in infants, the prevalence of seborrheic dermatitis tends to exhibit a cyclical pattern of flaring and clearing that may persist for several years in adults.

“Some research suggests 3-10 out of every 100 people will experience seborrheic dermatitis in their lifetime. Many folks who get seborrheic dermatitis as a young adult or after 50 suffer from chronic seborrheic dermatitis and they experience flare-ups throughout their life,” it said, saying that males get the skin condition more often. 

“For many infants and some adults, seborrheic dermatitis goes away on its own. If symptoms don’t go away, there are many effective treatments to manage symptoms and stop seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups in the future,” it said. 

While the exact cause is not fully understood, factors such as genetics, hormonal fluctuations, immune system irregularities, stress, weather conditions, oily skin, and the presence of yeast are believed to contribute to its development.


Depending on the severity of a flare-up, age, and race, seborrheic dermatitis can be the cause of a wide range of symptoms. While seborrheic dermatitis can resolve on its own or with changes to your hair and skincare regimen, it is important to recognize the symptoms in order to treat the condition promptly and effectively. 

No matter where on the body they occur, people with seborrheic dermatitis typically have a common set of symptoms, which include:

  • Dandruff or flaking skin;
  • Patches of flaky white or yellow scales on top of oily skin;
  • An irritated rash, appearing darker in brown and Black skin and lighter in white skin;
  • A ring-shaped rash for individuals with petaloid seborrheic dermatitis;
  • Itchiness.

The affected skin may develop crusts, and lesions containing sebum can emerge. Additionally, inflammation-induced erythema, characterized by redness of the skin, may be observed. In instances where flare-ups occur in hairline creases, excessive itching of the affected areas can potentially lead to hair loss.


Use the right medicated shampoos: For scalp involvement, use medicated shampoos containing ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or coal tar. Regular use can help control symptoms.

Establish a consistent skincare routine: According to NEA, following a skincare routine can help keep symptoms under control. Wash affected areas daily with a gentle cleanser, and follow up with a lotion or moisturizer. Always avoid harsh products that may exacerbate irritation.

Use topical treatments: Apply prescribed topical treatments, such as antifungal creams or corticosteroids, to affected areas on the face and body.

Make some lifestyle changes: Healthy lifestyle habits, like managing stress and getting plenty of sleep, can also improve skin. Stress relief is often the lifestyle change that will have the biggest impact on seborrheic dermatitis. Some particularly effective stress relief techniques include:

  • Engage in mild physical activity, like yoga or brisk walking;
  • Keep a journal about your tension and bad emotions;
  • Create a breathing or meditation routine;
  • Even five minutes spent in nature can make a big difference.

You can lower your stress in a lot of other ways. Finding a fun method that enables you to take it slow and give yourself some time for self-care is what really counts.


Harsh cleansers: Avoid harsh cleansers and abrasive scrubs, as these can strip the skin of natural oils and worsen symptoms.

Frequent hair washing: While maintaining scalp hygiene is essential, excessively washing the hair can lead to dryness and irritation. Find a balance that works for you.

Stress: Stress is a known trigger for seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups. Practice stress-management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.


At Cottonique, we always believe that choosing breathable and comfortable fabrics, such as cotton, minimizes irritation. Since synthetic materials may trap heat and exacerbate symptoms, clothing pieces made from natural fabrics reduces friction and promotes air circulation, helping to alleviate discomfort.

Wearing hats or caps can be a good choice for some individuals with seborrheic dermatitis. Our Allergy-Free Sleep Head Warmer, made with 100% organic cotton, may offer some benefits for individuals with seborrheic dermatitis. This hypoallergenic headgear:

  • Minimizes the risk of irritation during sleep, and is a comfortable choice for individuals with sensitivities or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
  • Helps in regulating temperature and reducing the likelihood of excessive moisture and sweat, which are factors that exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis. 

TAKEAWAY: Navigating seborrheic dermatitis requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing proper skincare, lifestyle adjustments, and a thoughtful choice of clothing. It's important to consider other factors such as proper skincare, avoidance of irritants, and consultation with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not, and will never be, intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, from text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. 

Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health providers with any questions they may have regarding a medical condition.