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These appear to be more often prescribed by non-dermatologists for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis [1]. This is likely due to a poor understanding of cutaneous fungal disease.

When compared to antifungal solutions, the effectiveness of hydrocortisone cream appears to be only marginally better [2]. However, potential issues exist with prolonged use of hydrocortisone, mainly development of atrophy or telangiectasia (dilation of the capillaries) [3]. However, some studies suggest that their relative danger is rather small and has been blown out of proportion [4]. Regardless of this, seborrheic dermatitis is believed to be a long term condition, and thus, corticosteroids are likely not the best option.

Overall though, corticosteroids are effective for quickly getting rid of seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. However, issues tend to quickly return after application is stopped (based on communications with readers).


  1. Edward S. Smith, Alan B. Fleischer, Steven R. Feldman "Nondermatologists are more likely than dermatologists to prescribe antifungal/corticosteroid products: An analysis of office visits for cutaneous fungal infections, 1990–1994" Elsevier BV 39.1 (2005): 43-47.
  2. A Katsambas, C Antoniou, E Frangouli, G Avgerinou, D Michailidis, J Stratigos "A double-blind trial of treatment of seborrhoeic dermatitis with 2% ketoconazole cream compared with 1% hydrocortisone cream." The British journal of dermatology 121.3 (1989): 353-7. PubMed
  3. Aditya K Gupta, Robyn Bluhm, Elizabeth A Cooper, Richard C Summerbell, Roma Batra "Seborrheic dermatitis." Dermatologic clinics 21.3 (2003): 401-12. PubMed
  4. C R Charman, A D Morris, H C Williams "Topical corticosteroid phobia in patients with atopic eczema." The British journal of dermatology 142.5 (2000): 931-6. PubMed
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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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