Seborrheic Dermatitis: Quick Guide + Home Treatment Tips


Oily. Flaky. Itchy. 

Now isn’t that a wonderful trio. 

Nope? Don’t agree? Neither do we! 

However when it comes to seborrheic dermatitis, some of us don’t have a choice. This concoction of wonderful symptoms is something we’ve simply learnt to accept, and do our best to try and live with. 

So even though we can’t provide you with that magical cure (we really wish we could), we can provide some hopefully useful advice that might help ease your symptoms. 

In this article, you’ll find: 

1. What is seborrheic dermatitis?

2. Symptoms

3. Common causes

4. 5 top home treatment tips

5. When should you see a doctor?

6. Final thoughts 

So, what is seborrheic dermatitis? 

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic form of eczema that causes irritation, itchiness and dandruff. 

It usually appears on the scalp, however can also be found on other oily areas of the body. So your back, upper chest, eyebrows and nose are also prime targets. 

It can affect people of any age, although infants and adults between the ages of 30 and 60 are most susceptible.  


As always when it comes to eczema, there’s no one set of symptoms that will apply to everyone. You may have just one, or the whole bunch. 

- Itchy skin

- Inflammation or sensitive patches

- Redness

- Scaly patches of skin that may flake off. This is what is commonly known as ‘dandruff’ and may be white or yellowish in colour. Often people mistakenly believe this can only happen on your scalp, however your eyebrows and beard are also prime targets. 

What does seborrheic dermatitis look like on different parts of the body? 

 - On the scalp: usually appears as flaky skin (dandruff) but in more severe cases the scalp can appear red with a weeping rash. 

- In the skin folds: here we’re looking at under the breasts, the groin or in folds of skin on the stomach. The surface may appear shiny, with small cracks.

- On the face: eyebrows, nose and creases in the cheeks are the most common spots. Skin will become red, inflamed and flaky. 

- Chest and upper back: shows up as red patches with mild scaling. 

Common causes

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, however there are two main factors which are believed to contribute. 

Number 1 -  the overproduction of oil. When this is the case, the skin can become greasy and irritated. 

Number 2 - an inflammatory reaction to excess Malassezia yeast, a type of fungus that’s naturally found in the skin’s oils. When this grows abnormally and more oil is produced, it can spark a number of other symptoms associated with seborrheic dermatitis. 

Beyond this, there are also a number of ‘triggers’ that can exacerbate symptoms and be responsible for flare ups: 

- Cold, dry weather

- Stress or anxiety

- Hormonal changes

- Harsh detergents 

5 top home treatment tips

1. Stop the need to itch! 

As with every type of eczema, the need to itch is one of the most frustrating parts of the condition. And you’ve probably tried 100 and 1 different options already to try and stop yourself scratching. 

But luckily our very own calming spray is exactly what you’ve been missing! 

Enriched with a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs used for 1000’s of years in Asian medicine, our unique plant-based formula has been especially designed to combat the symptoms of eczema-prone skin. 

Anti-fungal and anti-itch by nature, it’s great at nourishing dry skin and fighting back the symptoms of a flare up

2. Use hypo-allergenic soap and washing detergent 

This one should come as no surprise. Any product you’re using on your skin, especially your scalp, has to be non-fragranced and hypo-allergenic. 

This is far kinder to your body and won’t irritate your skin like usual soap products. 

3. Shave! 

Seems so simple, but one that is often ignored. If you have a large amount of facial hair that is causing you problems, shave it off! We KNOW how great you look with a beard, but is it really worth the itchy skin? 

Whip out the razor and take your looks back to school boy days, you’ll thank us! 

4. Wear loose fitting clothing 

This can help especially in summer, when tight clothes might cause you to sweat more and irritate your skin. The answer? Opt for the baggy jeans instead of the skin tight lycra. 

5. De-stress 

Critical for all types of eczema, and just as much so for seborrheic dermatitis. 

When you’re stressed, your body releases a number of hormones that can lead to inflammation and exacerbate eczema symptoms. 

We like to preach meditation and mindfulness to help here, as they can be great strategies to ease anxiety and help improve your emotional well being. Head over to our social channels @yanyeeskincare to find out more. 

For the scalp

Look out for anti-dandruff shampoos (they can be really effective when used regularly) alongside products that contain coal tar and salicylic acid. 

When should you see a doctor? 

Unfortunately not all cases of seborrheic dermatitis can be treated with anti-dandruff shampoos. Sometimes, the symptoms are just too severe. 

If this is the case, you must seek direction from a medical professional if any of the following is true: 

- You have areas that are producing puss or crusting

- You have very sore areas that are especially red or inflamed

- Your skin is no longer reacting to over the counter shampoo products

Final thoughts 

Seborrheic dermatitis can be a lot more than just some embarrassing flaky skin. It can be stressful and emotionally draining, especially when symptoms don’t want to budge.

Hopefully the points we’ve laid out above will provide you with some welcome relief :) 

What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know! 

With care, 

The yan-yee team


- Dandruff. (2019). Link

- Skin conditions associated with malassezia. (2004). Link

- Borda LJ, et al. (2016). Seborrheic dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive review. Link

- Berk T, et al. (2010). Seborrheic Dermatitis. (2010). Link

- Seborrheic Dermatitis. (2021). Link

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