Seborrheic Dermatitis

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What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common chronic skin condition that causes inflammation of the upper layers of skin. It can lead to itching, redness and flaking on the scalp, face and sometimes chest and back.

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis and Cradle Cap?

Seborrheic dermatitis may be a hereditary condition and is often aggravated by hormonal changes and cold weather. People with oily skin or hair are more at risk for developing seborrheic dermatitis. Some possible causes include:

  • An over-secretion of sebum, or natural oil, in the skin, leading to flakiness and irritation
  • Yeast on the skin

Seborrheic dermatitis is most common during:

  • Infancy: In infants, the condition is also called cradle cap because of its characteristic scaly appearance on the scalp. However, cradle cap can also occur in the diaper area. Seborrheic dermatitis in this age group usually clears up on its own within the first year.
  • Middle age: When seborrheic dermatitis occurs at this age, the condition is usually more intermittent and called dandruff.
  • Old age: When seborrheic dermatitis occurs at this age, the condition is usually more intermittent. It becomes less common after 60 years of age.

Signs and Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis

The following are some symptoms associated with seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Itching, scaling, dandruff and redness of the scalp
  • Dry or greasy scales on the scalp
  • A yellow or red scaly rash along the hairline, behind the ears, in the ear canal, on the eyebrows, around the nose, in creases on the arms, legs, or groin, or on the chest

Treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Although seborrheic dermatitis responds to treatment, it may recur. The main treatment goal is to relieve symptoms. Treatment options may include:

  • Corticosteroid cream or lotion
  • Antifungal topical (skin-based) medications
  • Anti-yeast, medicated shampoos and creams for adults
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.