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What you Should Know About Seborrheic Dermatitis

a woman pressing her head in frustration

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a non-contagious and common skin condition that mainly affects the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is also called dandruff. It causes red, flaky, itchy skin and dandruff that does not go away easily with anti-dandruff shampoos and oil. 

They are stubborn dandruff and are present near you areas of the body like the face, eyebrows, side base of the nose, ears, eyelids, chest, and even on the upper back. Seborrheic dermatitis is of many types like seborrheic eczema, seborrheic psoriasis, and dandruff. In infants, it is known as cradle cap. It causes scaly crusty patches on the scalp of the infants. 

As you know seborrheic are referred to as sebaceous glands whereas dermis is referred to as skin. This seborrheic dermatitis is nothing but a skin condition that develops on adults' scalps, on teenagers, and in infants (cradle cap). 

Seborrheic dermatitis goes away by itself but by treatment, it disappears as it's a lifelong condition. But seborrheic dermatitis can come to cause repeated until the symptoms are gone away with the proper treatment. There are many antidandruff shampoos and oil that can be used for cleansing hair and maintaining natural oil in the scalp.

Who gets seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that is much more common in infants than in adults and is more common in men than women. In adults, it causes at the age between 30 to 60 years old and children less than three months. f you have naturally oily skin, you are prone to this type of dermatitis. 


The below symptoms are usually seen during dry and cold weather. The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Red and itchy skin
  • Flaky skin with dandruff on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, beards, eyelids.
  • Greasy skin with yellow crust and flakes on your scalp, side base of the nose, chest, eyebrows, etc.
  • Cradle cap on infants' heads that yellow crust on the child's head.
  • Pink crust or flakes on the side of your cheeks.

Causes of seborrheic dermatitis

As above symptoms may relate to some other skin conditions too and hence it may be difficult for the dermatologist or skin experts to identify the root cause or main cause. Hence it may be related to:

  • Yeast or fungus infections known as Malassezia of the skin or it may be due to no proper response of the immune system in your body.
  • Due to increase hormonal level that is androgen level increased that causes acne and dry flaky skin.
  • Any past history of dermatitis in a family that is genetical
  • Stress
  • The dry and cold atmosphere
  • Oily skin.

Risk factors

Many risk factors appear if you have seborrheic dermatitis such as:

  • Neurologic and psychiatric conditions or depression 
  • The immune system becomes weaken
  • Heart Attack
  • Some other medications

When to consult a doctor?

You should consult a doctor :

  • If you feel sleepless on daily basis during night time and feel uncomfortable
  • Anxiety
  • When you notice infection on the skin even after taking self-care steps.


Seborrheic dermatitis and acne both are appeared due to oily skin and dry air in the same areas of your body parts. The person who has acne are prone to develop dandruff in different areas of their body, especially on the head.

Seborrheic dermatitis does not go on its own when develops in infants and teenagers. Hence this skin condition does not away by itself without any treatment. The treatment of this skin condition depends on the affected area of the body.

The treatment targets the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis which is redness and itching on the skin. The treatment involves different products and prescriptions given by doctors like anti-fungal creams, corticosteroids, etc.

Treatment of cradle cap/ scalp in infants

Cradle cap caused in infants goes by themselves without treatment when the child ages between eight to one year old. Their scalp is washed with a shampoo made for babies or infants or uses gentle lotions.

While shampooing or brushing the scalp of infants care must be taken that kin does not get harmed or else infection on that area of the skin.

If the problem still persists it is better to see a doctor.

Treatment of scalp in Adults

If you have mild dandruff on your head then you can use various anti-dandruff shampoos that contain selenium, zinc pyrithione, etc, and use twice a week.

If your dandruff is persistent and long-term you can use anti-fungal shampoos prescribed by a doctor that contains ciclopirox or another antibiotic ingredient shampoo.

If you face any side effects with the prescribed shampoos you should contact your healthcare specialist.

Treatment on Face and Body

For the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis on the face and body, you can use antifungal creams that can be used topically like corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors, ketoconazole, betamethasone valerate, etc. These creams, gels, and foam washes are easily available in the market containing the above ingredients in it and must be applied to the affected areas twice daily till the symptoms go away.

If you get any side effects always be in touch with your healthcare specialist and the two should monitor the symptoms of your skin diseases and have a better treatment plan for this.

Take Away

Seborrheic dermatitis is a red, itchy dandruff types skin disease that may be lifelong and requires or can also go away if taken extra cure and prevention is taken with skincare steps for yourself. If any side effects are shown with the medication consult your doctor.