Seborrhoeic Dermatitis – Causes
Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is a non-contagious skin condition. It causes scaly patches of skin with oily, dandruff-like flakes. It generally occurs on the areas of the body where there are a lot of oil-producing (sebaceous) glands, such as the scalp, face and upper back. When it occurs in infants during the first few months of their life, it usually goes away on its own within one year and generally does not recur. However, if someone experiences Seborrhoeic Dermatitis for the first time as a teenager or adult, it almost always tends to recur during their lifetime.
Reasons for Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
The exact reason for Seborrheic Dermatitis is not known as of yet. However, different factors may play a role in increasing the risk of developing Seborrhoeic Dermatitis.
- Overgrowth of Malassezia Yeast
One of the main Seborrheic Dermatitis causes involves a yeast (fungal infection species) called Malassezia. This fungal organism generally lives on the skin. But for some unexplained reason, people with Seborrhoeic Dermatitis exhibit an abnormal, inflammatory response to its presence. The abnormal growth of Malassezia may cause the skin cells to secrete more sebum (oil) than normal. The increased production of oil can become a reason for Seborrheic Dermatitis.
- Gender and Age
The gender and age of a person may make him/her more susceptible to developing Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is most commonly seen in infants and in adults between the age of 30 years and 60 years. As per the Journal of Clinical and Investigative Dermatology, when it comes to adolescents and adults, the condition is more commonly seen in men.
- Underlying Medical Conditions
Certain underlying medical conditions may act as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis causes in some individuals. Some of these medical conditions are as listed below:
- Parkinson's disease
- Other neurological conditions such as epilepsy and traumatic spinal cord or brain injury
- Recovering from a heart attack or a stroke
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Hepatitis C virus
- Chronic alcoholic pancreatitis
- Certain psychiatric conditions like eating disorder or depression
- Down syndrome
- Zinc deficiency
- Reaction to Medications
Similar to certain medical conditions, certain psychotropic medications may also act as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis causes:
- Haloperidol decanoate
- Family history
According to an article in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, eleven gene mutations or protein deficiencies appear to be more common in individuals with Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. Most of these genes and proteins play a role in determining the functioning of the immune system or how the cells in the outer layer of the skin mature (epidermal differentiation).
Lifestyle and environmental factors
Apart from your gender, age, genes and health-related factors; different lifestyle and environmental factors can also become Seborrheic Dermatitis reasons. These factors include:
- Living in a region with cold, dry climate
- Sleep deprivation
- Excessive stress