Seborrheic dermatitis

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2004 Jan;18(1):13-26; quiz 19-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2004.00693.x.


Seborrheic dermatitis is a common inflammation of the skin, occurring most often on the face, scalp and chest. It is closely related to infantile seborrheic dermatitis, or diaper rash. Seborrheic dermatitis is particularly common in patients with Parkinson's disease or with HIV/AIDS. The recent resurgence of interest in Malassezia yeasts has revived the old hypothesis that seborrheic dermatitis is caused by an altered relationship between these skin commensals and the host. Moreover, the success of antifungal medications in treating seborrheic dermatitis provides new evidence for this view.

Learning objective: Upon completing this paper, the reader should be aware of the clinical presentation of seborrheic dermatitis and which populations are at particular risk of developing this disorder. In addition, s/he will be aware of the role of Malassezia yeasts in seborrheic dermatitis and the way in which knowledge of the importance of these yeasts has altered the treatment of this disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / microbiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Malassezia / isolation & purification*


  • Antifungal Agents