Dermatology Community
Does Seborrheic Dermatitis come in cycles?
About This Community:

This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care.

Font Size:
Blank Blank

Does Seborrheic Dermatitis come in cycles?


I was recently diagnosed with Seborrheic Dermatitis a month ago. I have been having electrolysis on my face and this is when it first appeared and only came after my electrolysis treatement. However after my 3rd treatment my skin cleared up for a week and then the Seborrheic Dermatitis came back again without any inflammation of electrolysis. I have been prescrbibed hydrocortisone cream 1%.

I basically have 4 questions if anyone could help.

1) Does Seborrheic Dermatitis come in cycles or can it appear irratically?

2) If I use the hydrocortisone cream on my face as soon as the redness appears, will this lesson the inflammation of redness and flakiness and will my skin clear up without breaking out?

3) Will Seborrheic Dermatitis eventually go away and if so how long does it take?

4) Does alcohol effect the Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Any replies would be very much appreciated.

Related Discussions
6 Comments Post a Comment
I am not a doctor but have looked up your condition:

Your questions 1 + 3 are answered in this Mayo Clinic Text:
Seborrheic dermatitis appears to run in families. Stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin, infrequent shampoos or skin cleaning, use of lotions that contain alcohol, skin disorders (such as acne), or obesity may increase the risk.
It can be said it is permanent and gets worse in cycles when the above mentioned conditions are met.

Question No. 2:
Seborrheic dermatitis is not only treated when it looks read or very oily, it should be a permanent treatment avoiding any of the conditions mentioned above, if you are stressed it will get worse, once the stress lowers then it will become somewhat better. You need to permanently keep your skin in good health and use products that do not have perfume, a good medical soap, lots of water and clean towels on a daily basis. You can use certain common products to help your skin or scalp condition like

These are the body areas mostly affected by the Mayo Clinic:
Typically it forms where the skin is oily or greasy. Commonly affected areas include the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the external ear, and along skin folds on the middle of the body.

This is recommended as treatment by the Mayo Clinic:
You can treat flaking and dryness with over-the-counter dandruff or medicated shampoos. Shampoo the hair vigorously and frequently (preferably daily). Loosen scales with the fingers, scrub for at least 5 minutes, and rinse thoroughly. Active ingredients in these shampoos include salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcin, ketoconazole, or selenium.
Shampoos or lotions containing selenium, ketoconazole, or corticosteroids may be prescribed for severe cases. To apply shampoos, part the hair into small sections, apply to a small area at a time, and massage into the skin. If on face or chest, apply medicated lotion twice per day.
Seborrheic dermatitis may improve in the summer, especially after outdoor activities.

I hope this helps you.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes flaky,dry, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas esp under the nose or anywhere on face. People with seborrheic dermatitis produce too much sebum (the natural skin oil). Later, pityrosporum yeast grows excessively in the sebum, sometime along with bacteria, making the dermatitis more persistent.

Topical antifungals and mild steroids are the usual treatment and combination of the two can be used to treat stubborn patches. Oral antifungal drugs and immunomodulators such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are used in very severe cases. You should not use steroids on your own without consulting your doctor because of the side effects involved.

There are many triggers of seborrheic dermatitis and you need to avoid them. These include alcohol, stress and fatigue, cold dry climate and using lotions or other topicals that contain alcohol.

I hope it helps . Take care and regards.

Hi Questionplease150,

I'm not a doctor, but I've had to deal with seb derm for the last 5 or so years and have done quite a bit of research on it, (even created a website devoted to it).  Unfortunately, the condition has a lot of theories about what causes it, but the fact one knows for sure.  

In response to question 1, does seem to "wax & wane" meaning it tends to get worse then will get better.  

I don't have a good answer for question 2 except that it certainly wouldn't hurt to try what you suggest.

Question 3...again, no specific timeline that you can expect your condition to follow.  Seb derm is considered a "chronic condition".  I've dealt with it for 5 years or more and I keep hoping mine will start getting better.  Many doctors seem to feel that the condition can also be related to hormones because of the various stages in life that the symptoms appear and disappear.  I myself started noticing my symptoms around age 40 so I believe that the hormone theory could certainly have some validity.  I'm a male so you might find it interesting that I'm discussing hormones as a cause...but hey, males have hormones too! :-)

Question 4 - If you're referring to "drinking alcohol", then most people I've talked with and in the research I've done, people seem to think that alcohol "does" have an affect on their SD.  I personally have to agree, although I can't admit that I've ever given up alcohol for any great length of time to see if that made my condition better.  I think that reducing or eliminating alcohol for a period of time is certainly worth trying.

In the end...there seem to be many factors in the causes of SD.  I wish I could give you something more concrete, but I'd be lying if I said I could.  Reducing stress, eating healthy and maintaining good hygiene are some of the best suggestions I have for you.  There are a million different types of lotions, creams, prescriptions, etc, that you will bombarded with.  Sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure out which products and practices might reduce or eliminate your symptoms.  If I can help further or offer any additional advice, please feel free to send me a message.  
Best of luck!
Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your help and I will definately try some of the things mentioned. Thanks again.
Have just been reading through various forums and thought I would post this as I have had SD in eyebrows for the past two years and was going nuts trying to improve it.  I was prescribed hydrocortisone cream 1% which I used religiously but it never really improved.  I tried a coldsore cream (over the counter brand) and that seemed to help, at least the itching and redness got less.  Then I found a zinc based cream called Sudocrem (Zinc Oxide 15.25%) and now I can say happily that the SD is pretty well under control.  I am down to a very small patch in one eyebrow, no itching and no redness.  I previously had redness right across eyebrows and over the bridge of the nose.  Not a good look!!  I am 69yrs old, female.
My daily routine is this:  I shower daily and use Tea Tree Shampoo on my eyebrows, rubbing it in and leaving it in while I shower the rest.  Then I rinse thoroughly, massaging the Tea Tree Shampoo into the eybrows and across the rest of my face, then rinse again thoroughly.  After dressing etc, I apply a very small amount of Sudocrem and massage into eyebrow area.  I have given up using makeup or brow/eye makeup, it just isn't worth it.  So far, the SD has been kept at bay and I am getting the eyebrow hairs growing back again.  Oh Joy !!!!!
You just have to keep on trying different things until you find one that works for you.  I spent two years trying and so far this is the best thing for me.  Don't be fobbed off by the so-called professionals, they don't know everything.  Hydrocortisone cream is handy to have as an anti-flam, but don't use it all the time.
Best of luck, it's one of those horrid conditions that we could do without.  Oh and P.S. - I switched from whiskey to cider drinking (in moderation) and I think that has helped also.

I have found Sudocreme to be a great help to for this too. I have a patch near the nape of my neck up into my hair and it's extremely annoying, especially when you've never had any skin conditions in your life before (did have dandruff).

I've been using Nizarol and Selsun shampoo's too. I did find though that when I used the Sudocrem it did seem to get to the stage where I thought it was gone for good.

I didn't use it again and it came back, so I think I'll do what itchypoo does and keep using a little even after washing and drying my hair. Anything is worth a try with this I think.
Post a Comment
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Dermatology Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
Marathon Running Done Over Many Yea...
May 21 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
New Article on Multifocal IOL vs &q...
May 21 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
TMJ/TMJ The Connection Between Teet...
Jan 27 by Hamidreza Nassery , DMD, FICOI, FAGD, FICCMOBlank
Top Dermatology Answerers
United Kingdom