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Definition: Seborrhea

Seborrhea ( seb-uh-ree-uh) is a functional disease of the sebaceous glands. It is characterized by an excessive secretion of sebum (oils) and a yeast that collect on the face, body or the scalp (commonly known as dandruff). It usually looks flaky, crusty, scaly and can be red or white. Nice, huh?

Seborrhea is caused by stress, hormones and/or heredity and it usually effects those with oily skin. In infants it is widely referred to as "cradle cap," which subsides after six months. Symptoms include itching and burning as well as shiny skin follicles and pores.

The good news is that sebhorrea can be treated. Keep your body clean. If it affects your scalp, use a medicated shampoo; if it effects your face and body, use a medicated soap every day.

Keep your skin dry, and consider a little exposure to sunlight, which often helps as well. If the problem persists, you may want to consider a topical corticosteroid cream, tar, zinc pyrithione, exfoliation, an anti-fungal cream or immunomodulators as means of treatment. However, these methods require that you visit a dermatologist, so don't try to heal yourself solo.


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