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Evidence Suggesting the Automimic Nervous System May Play a Role in Seborrheic Dermatitis

The relationship between the immune system and chronic skin disease is quite obvious and usually taken into consideration. The relationship between the nervous system and chronic skin disease on the other hand remains a much rarer topic and often gets much less attention.

Despite this, numerous studies suggest the autonomic component of the nervous system may in-fact play a significant role in many of the common chronic inflammation driven skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis. In the case of seborrheic dermatitis, the literature highlighting this connection remains quite sparse.

But if we dig deep enough, we can eventually find some evidence. Plus, if we consider the depth of connection between the immune system and the nervous system [1], it becomes evident that this relationship (between seborrheic dermatitis and the autonomic nervous system) has to exist to some extent.

Section Outline

This section reviews the evidence that connects autonomic nervous system function to seborrheic dermatitis and puts the potential connection into perspective. The evidence is presented in the following order:
  1. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Nerve Function
    Introduces of two unique cases in which seborrheic dermatitis was directly impacted by specific nerves
  2. Stress and Seborrheic Dermatitis Onset
    Examines the commonly reported connection between stressful events and skin issues
  3. Parkinson's and AIDS
    Evaluates the role autonomic immune function instability may play in the high rate of seborrheic dermatitis seen in AIDS and Parkinson’s
  4. Cardiovascular Disease and Seborrheic Dermatitis
    Discusses the importance of cardiovascular health in nervous system function and 16 cases in which cardiovascular events preceded seborrheic dermatitis


  1. I J Elenkov, R L Wilder, G P Chrousos, E S Vizi "The sympathetic nerve–an integrative interface between two supersystems: the brain and the immune system." Pharmacological reviews 52.4 (2001): 595-638. PubMed
Seborrheic Dermatitis the Owners Manual Book Cover

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About Michael Anders

After being affected by seborrheic dermatitis, I have made it my goal to gather and organize all the information that has helped me in my journey.

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