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What Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Look Like?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic, complex skin condition that causes inflammation of the upper layers of skin. Red skin that scales and itches is a classic presentation of the condition. Patients who have oily skin are at a higher risk for seborrheic dermatitis, and because symptoms may vary from person to person, individualized care is vital.

At Hines Dermatology, board-certified dermatologist Yvonne Hines, MD, and our highly skilled team of clinicians specialize in the diagnosis and management of conditions that affect the skin.

Where you have common acne or difficult-to-treat forms of dermatitis, our team uses the latest dermatology research and technology to get your symptoms under control.

Evaluation and diagnosis

The path to appropriate treatment starts with an evaluation to diagnose your skin condition. Dr. Hines performs comprehensive evaluations to reach a diagnostic conclusion. A thorough examination of your skin, in some cases including a biopsy of your skin cells, confirms a seborrheic diagnosis and rules out other conditions.

Several skin conditions cause similar symptoms, making expert evaluation vital. Along the way to a diagnosis of seborrheic dermatitis, Dr. Hines rules out:

Who gets seborrheic dermatitis?

Anyone can develop seborrheic dermatitis. However, it is most common during three life stages:


In infants, seborrheic dermatitis causes a characteristic scaly appearance on the scalp and may also appear in the diaper area. The condition often clears up on its own within the first year.

Middle age

Seborrheic dermatitis often occurs in middle-aged adults and may come and go.

Older age

Seborrheic dermatitis is more common in older adults up to age 60. After that, it becomes less common.

Seborrheic dermatitis appearance

Our experts stress that seborrheic dermatitis affects each person differently. No two cases are identical. However, the most common symptoms include:

The arms, legs, groin, and chest may also be affected, and the rash is typically red and scaly. Sometimes the rash may appear yellow.

Seborrheic dermatitis treatment

By forming a collaborative relationship with a dermatology specialist, you can ease your symptoms and adequately manage seborrheic dermatitis. Following a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Hines recommends the most appropriate treatment plan, depending on such factors as your:

Seborrheic dermatitis often improves with the right treatment. Still, it may recur, making regular follow-up with Dr. Hines vital. 

For more information on how our expert team of dermatology specialists can help you combat seborrheic dermatitis, contact our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office at 508-222-1976 or book online to schedule an appointment. Another option is to send a message to Dr. Hines and the team here on our website.

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