Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Seborrhea Anatomy

To better understand seborrheic dermatitis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the skin.

The skin contains three main layers:

  • Epidermis:
    • The superficial layer that makes up the surface of the skin
    • It is composed of skin cells and can be divided into 5 layers based on cell type.
    • The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is made of dead, flat skin cells that shed about every 2 weeks.
    • The thickness of the epidermis varies, according to location: it is very thick over the soles of the feet, and very thin over the ears.
  • Dermis:
    • Lies beneath the epidermis
    • Also varies in thickness depending on the location of the skin. It is .3 mm on the eyelid and 3.0 mm on the back.
    • The dermis is composed of 2 layers that contain a connective tissue called collagen
    • The dermis contains blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, and hair follicles.
    • The number of structures in the dermis varies, according to location.
    • The dermis under the arms contains more sweat glands and hair follicles than the dermis on the back.
  • Subcutaneous layer:
    • Mainly fat and connective tissue.
    • Contains blood vessels and nerves.

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Seborrhea References
  1. Baysal V, Yildirim M, Ozcanli C, Ceyhan AM. Itraconazole in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis: a new treatment modality. Int J Dermatol. 2004 Jan;43(1):63-6. [14693026]
  2. Faergemann J. Management of seborrheic dermatitis and pityriasis versicolor. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2000 Mar-Apr;1(2):75-80. [11702314]
  3. Gupta AK, Bluhm R, Barlow JO, Fleischer AB Jr, Feldman SR. Prescribing practices for seborrheic dermatitis vary with the physician's specialty: implications for clinical practice. J Dermatolog Treat. 2004 Jul;15(4):208-13. [15764032]
  4. Gupta AK, Nicol K, Batra R. Role of antifungal agents in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2004;5(6):417-22. [15663338]
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