Seborrheic Dermatitis (cont.)

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What are seborrheic dermatitis symptoms and signs?

The rash itself is characteristically red and scaling but occasionally can become weepy and oozy. The scaling can be extensive enough to be called dandruff and can be the patient's major complaint.

The distribution of this rash is often of great help in making the diagnosis. In adults areas commonly involved include the scalp, the outer ear and external auditory canal, the forehead, the brows, the eyelids, the cheeks adjacent to the nose, including the folds that extends from the nose to the sides of the mouth, and less commonly the armpits, the mid-chest, and mid-back regions. In babies, the rash causes a scalp eruption commonly called "cradle cap." It can also be more extensive and involve the diaper area as well. Although in both adults and children the rash may have no symptoms, it commonly causes itching, especially in the scalp.

How is seborrheic dermatitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of seborrheic dermatitis is almost always made clinically, meaning that the doctor knows it when he/she sees it. Occasionally, a scraping of skin under a drop of potassium hydroxide is examined under a microscope to exclude a fungal infection. It would be rare that a skin biopsy would be required for diagnosis.

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