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Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • A common and chronic papulosquamous inflammatory skin disorder
  • Affects all age groups and varies from mild dandruff to extensive adherent scale
  • Found in areas with high concentrations of sebaceous follicles and glands
  • Sharply demarcated yellow to red to brown, greasy, scaling, crusting patches/plaques
  • Periods of remission and exacerbation frequent in adults


  • Exact pathogenesis not fully understood
  • Multifactorial with environmental, genetic, hormonal, immunologic, microbial, and nutritional influences
  • Strong association with Malassezia yeasts
  • Complex physiologic response:
    • Immunologic
    • Inflammatory
    • Hyperproliferation
  • Disease flares are common with physical and emotional stresses or illness
  • Factors predisposing patients to develop seborrheic dermatitis and more severe or refractory disease:
    • Parkinson disease
    • Paralysis
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Mood disorders including depression
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Immunosuppression in premature infants
  • Medications known to induce or aggravate seborrheic dermatitis include:


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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Seborrheic Dermatitis." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307189/all/Seborrheic_Dermatitis.
Seborrheic Dermatitis. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307189/all/Seborrheic_Dermatitis. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Seborrheic Dermatitis. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307189/all/Seborrheic_Dermatitis
Seborrheic Dermatitis [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 22]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307189/all/Seborrheic_Dermatitis.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Seborrheic Dermatitis ID - 307189 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307189/all/Seborrheic_Dermatitis PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -