Why did I suddenly get seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes an itchy, flaky rash. It’s most common in adults over the age of 30, but can affect children and young adults as well. What causes it and why do some people get it and others don’t? There are many theories about the cause of seborrheic dermatitis, but scientists aren’t sure yet. Some possible causes include genetics, the environment, and stress.

You might feel that you got seborrheic dermatitis suddenly. However, if you look back at your history, you were probably struggling with a milder form of it for years. Left untreated the condition got worse and now that something has triggered it, your seborrheic dermatitis flared up.

Let’s take a deep dive:

Can you suddenly get seborrheic dermatitis?

Yes, if can feel that your seborrheic dermatitis suddenly appeared. This is probably because it started affecting an area of your body that caused you a lot of distress. I only sat up and took notice when my SD flared severely on my face. I initially thought it was a sudden allergy to foods but realized after almost 6 months of struggling with it, that it was actually seborrheic dermatitis.

For the record, seborrheic dermatitis can be triggered by foods but it doesn’t work the same way as food allergies.

When I looked back at my past, I realized that I’ve had seborrheic dermatitis of the back of the neck for years. It came and went. I always thought of it as a heat rash and even treated it as a Candida infection sometimes with antifungal cream (antifungal creams are effective for SD too). Looking back even further, I had a severe flare in my late 20s (more than 10 years ago!) and thought it was an allergy. And I’ve been struggling with dandruff since my teenage years.

So, even though you might think that your SD occured suddenly, I bet my hat that if you look back at your life, you were dealing with a milder form SD for years.

Check out my video on the one thing you can do to nip a Seb Derm flare in the bud:

Who gets seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis can affect people of all ages. However, it is most commonly seen in infants aged three months or younger and adults over the age of 30. Cradle cap (SD in infants) is extremely common and it doesn’t mean you’re at risk of developing SD as an adult.

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You are more likely to get seborrheic dermatitis if:

  • You’re a man
  • You are struggling with or have struggled with bad acne
  • You have oily skin
  • There is a history of psoriasis in the family or you have underlying psoriasis
  • You have immune suppression e.g HIV
  • You have psychiatric disorders e.g schizophrenia
  • You have neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
  • People on certain medications like lithium and haloperidol decanoate

Having said that, not everyone with these conditions develop seborrheic dermatitis. We don’t know why SD can rear its ugly head in some but not in others.

What causes seborrheic dermatitis to worsen?

There are many factors that can contribute to the worsening of seborrheic dermatitis. In fact, you might think everything and anything you do can flare your SD. We know that stress or fatigue can make the symptoms worse. A weakened immune system, for example after a viral infection, can also leave you more susceptible to having a seborrheic dermatitis flare.

In addition, certain environmental factors may aggravate the condition. Hot weather or humidity can cause seborrheic dermatitis to flare up, as can dry air or cold weather. Certain chemicals or cosmetics may also trigger an outbreak of seborrheic dermatitis.

How can you prevent seborrheic dermatitis from occurring again?

Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk. In the winter, using a humidifier can help keep your skin hydrated. In the summer, when the humidity is high, using a dehumidifier can help. Manage stress and get enough good quality sleep. Take care of your skin, keeping it clean and hydrated. Avoid your personal SD triggers.

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After doing all that, you might still be getting SD flares. It feels like you can’t win. Everywhere you turn, anything you do can flare your SD. This is because you’re focusing on dealing with SD externally. Don’t get me wrong. Avoiding SD triggers is very important, especially in the short term. However, to prevent seborrheic dermatitis from occurring again, it is important to identify the root cause of the condition and address it.

What’s the root cause? There are actually 5 factors at play. I take a deep dive into these issues and how to prevent seb derm in this article

Can you develop seborrheic dermatitis later in life?

Yes, seborrheic dermatitis can develop later in life. In fact, in adults, it most commonly occurs in people who are between 30 and 60 years old. Some people may only experience a few symptoms, while others may have more severe cases.

If you are experiencing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, make sure to see your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. There are a number of different types of eczema, so it is important to determine which type you have in order to receive the most appropriate treatment.

Does seborrheic dermatitis go away with age?

Seborrheic dermatitis can come and go. There might be long periods in between flares where you have no symptoms of SD at all. However, most adults who suffer from SD find that it doesn’t go away permanently. In fact, if you don’t change your lifestyle, you might find your SD getting worse.

Having said that, as you get older, your skin becomes drier and you produce less sebum. This reduces the number of Malassezia on your skin so there is less byproducts to react to. It doesn’t mean you have fixed the problem, it only means that your immune system has less reason to fight.

To wrap up

It is not entirely clear why seborrheic dermatitis can suddenly worsen. However, there are a few potential causes that could have contributed to the condition. Some of these include major stressors in your life, a bad diet and immunosuppression. If you are experiencing symptoms of SD, it is important to see a dermatologist in order to receive an accurate diagnosis.

3 thoughts on “Why did I suddenly get seborrheic dermatitis?”

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