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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a skin condition characterized by a secretory disorder of the sebaceous glands. Seborrhea occurs in both sexes, usually during puberty, and is undoubtedly associated with neuroendocrine disorders. It affects the scalp, face, chest, and back.

Several forms of seborrhea are distinguished: seborrhea adiposa, concrete seborrhea, and mixed seborrhea. During seborrhea adiposa, sebum is secreted in abnormal amounts and accumulates on the skin; the ducts of the sebaceous glands are enlarged and gaping. Hair on the head is greasy and shiny and falls out readily, causing thinning hair in women and permanent baldness in men. Other symptoms include an increase in nervous excitability, fluctuations in arterial pressure, and other functional disorders of the autonomic nervous system. The intensity of sebum secretion decreases by the age of 24–26 years.

Concrete seborrhea is characterized by a less abundant secretion of sebum. An increased keratinization of the openings of the hair follicles obstructs the ducts of the sebaceous glands and results in the formation of blackheads, or comedones. The skin hardens at the affected sites, is dirty gray in appearance, and tends to form blackheads, keratin cysts, and scars; desquamation is pronounced and endocrine disorders are common. Hair does not usually fall out, and the process abates by the age of 26–28 years.

During mixed seborrhea, the symptoms of seborrhea adiposa are prominent on the face and scalp, and the symptoms of concrete seborrhea are prominent on the back and chest.

The treatment of seborrhea is directed at normalizing the activity of the endocrine glands (hormone therapy) and the nervous system (bromine and bismuth preparations, vitamins B1 and B6, hydrotherapy) and stimulating metabolic processes, for example, by the administration of blood transfusions, multiple vitamins, or arsenicals. External treatments include the application of paraffin and skin disinfectants (2 percent salicyl alcohol or resorcinol), the use of ultraviolet irradiation, and the removal of comedones.


Korolev, Iu. F. Seboreia. Leningrad, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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