A common skin condition that causes redness, scaly patches, and dandruff is seh-bah-ree-ick der-muh-tie-tis.

It is a chronic form of eczema that most often affects the scalp. It can also develop on oily areas of the body, like your face, upper chest, and back.

Doctors call it cradle cap when infants develop this condition. This develops within the first few weeks of birth and gradually disappears over time.

In this article, we will discuss what seborrheic dermatitis is, how to manage it, and what symptoms it has.

“Doctors don’t know what causes seborrheic dermatitis. They believe there are two main factors that contribute to the condition.”

The first factor is the overproduction of oil. An excess amount of oil in the skin might act as an irritant, causing your skin to become red and greasy. This may relate to hormone production.

The second contributing factor is Malassezia, a type of yeast that naturally occurs in the skin’s oils. It can sometimes multiply more than usual, causing an inflammatory response in the skin. This triggers increased oil production, and excessive oil can lead to seborrheic dermatitis.

The condition might also develop in infants due to The hormones change. that occur in the birthing parent during pregnancy. The fluctuating hormone levels might stimulate the infant’s oil glands, leading to an overproduction of oil that can irritate the skin.

“Some people develop seborrheic dermatitis while others don’t. It appears that your risk of developing the condition increases if a close family member has it.”

Other factors are thought to increase risk.

Seborrheic dermatitis commonly affects the scalp and hairline, with symptoms ranging from mild dandruff to thick, dense patches of dried skin.

Dandruff is a common characteristic of seborrheic dermatitis and can appear as fine, powdery pieces of dead skin. It might be visible in your hair or on dark clothing.

If you have more severe seborrheic dermatitis, you may experience plaques. These patches of skin are thick and are around the head.

The plaque could become greasy if left unattended. A secondary infection could occur.

Your doctor will probably recommend home remedies before you consider medical treatments.

People frequently use dandruff shampoos to treat seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. Daily use is often necessary for optimal results. Make sure to follow all instructions on the bottle carefully.

Other home treatments may help you manage seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of OTC antifungal and anti-itch creams.
  • using hypoallergenic soap and detergent
  • thoroughly rinsing soap and shampoo off the skin and scalp
  • shaving off a mustache or beard
  • It is advisable to wear loose cotton clothing to avoid skin irritation.

Long-term skin condition seroorrheic dermatitis requires ongoing treatment. You can manage the condition effectively.

  • working with a doctor
  • A good skin care routine is something to be developed.
  • Learning to eliminate and recognize Triggers.

If your symptoms don’t improve with these home remedies, talk with your doctor about trying the following treatments.

Prescription-strength shampoos and ointments for seborrheic dermatitis

These contain hydrocortisone, fluocinolone, or desonide.

You can apply the medications to the area. They are very effective in treating seborrheic dermatitis, but they can cause side effects when used for an extended period.

Antifungal medication

In rare instances, your doctor might prescribe an antifungal medication. But they don’t often recommend this drug, since it can cause serious side effects, including allergic reactions and liver problems.

The antifungal medication might be available in the form of a shampoo, topical solution, or cream that causes fewer side effects than oral treatment, according to the National Eczema Association.


Metronidazole is another type of treatment that can relieve symptoms by fighting bacteria. It comes in both cream and gel forms. Apply the medication to the skin once or twice daily until your symptoms improve.

Combination psoralen and light therapy

Your doctor can use a combination of psoralen and light therapy to help manage your seborrheic dermatitis symptoms.

You can take psoralen by mouth or apply it directly onto the skin. After ingesting or applying psoralen, your doctor exposes the affected skin area to ultraviolet light for a short period.

Treating cradle cap

Cradle cap usually doesn’t require medical treatment. It often resolves within 6 months.

“You can try the following daily routine to help manage your child’s symptoms.”

  • “Use a soft bristled brush to massage your baby’s hair.”
  • “You can wash your baby’s hair.”
  • The hair and the skin should be washed.
  • “A soft bristled brush is the best way to brush your baby’s hair.”

If it’s difficult to loosen and wash off scales, massage your baby’s scalp with olive oil before shampooing.

A caution about skin cream use for infants

Make sure to check with your child’s doctor before using any OTC cortisone or antifungal creams. Some can be toxic for infants after absorption through the skin. Dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid aren’t always safe for infants either.

The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can be worsened by a number of factors.

  • Stress.
  • Change of seasons.
  • Heavy alcohol use.

The types of symptoms can be different for each person. It is possible for symptoms to occur in different parts of the body.

Areas affected

Seborrheic dermatitis is usually found in oily areas of the body. It can affect the following areas:

  • In and around the ears.
  • on the eyebrows.
  • on the nose
  • on the back
  • The upper portion of the chest is on the other side.


There is a distinct appearance and set of symptoms for sberrheic dermatitis.

  • Skin develops scaly patches that flake off. The patches may be white or yellowish in color. This problem is commonly known as dandruff. It can occur in the scalp, hair, eyebrows, or beard.
  • The skin develops plaques. These plaques are elevated, solid patches of thick-crusted skin that can turn yellow and greasy in severe cases.
  • The skin in the affected area is greasy.
  • The skin may be red.
  • The skin in the affected area may be itchy.
  • Hair loss may occur in the area.

The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are similar to those of other skin conditions, including rosacea and psoriasis.

Condition Symptoms
dandruff white, oily, itchy flakes on the scalp that worsen during fall and winter months when air is dry
psoriasis thick patches of dry, red, inflamed skin covered in silvery-white scales. Patches are often itchy
atopic dermatitis (eczema) dry, itchy skin that turns into a red rash
rosacea small, red, pus-filled bumps on the skin appearing in cycles of flare-ups
tinea versicolor small, discolored, flaky patches of skin ranging in color from white to tan to brown to pink

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and inspect the affected areas to make a diagnosis. They will ask you about your symptoms, including when they started and how often.

Your doctor may also want to perform a biopsy before making a diagnosis. During this procedure, your doctor will scrape off skin cells from the affected area.

The samples will be sent to the lab for analysis. The results will help to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

Some cases of seborrheic dermatitis can be managed with other methods. For severe symptoms and more serious cases, oral medications, prescription shampoos, and gels can be used.

If you do, you should reach out to your doctor.

  • aren’t getting relief from a regular dandruff shampoo
  • There are areas that are very red.
  • There are areas that are very painful.
  • have areas that are producing pus, draining fluid, or crusting
  • They are experiencing significant pain and think medical intervention is needed.

If your child has cradle cap symptoms, you should contact their doctor. They may recommend a certain type of treatment.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition, so you may need to manage it on some level for the rest of your life. You may go through extended periods where there are little to no symptoms. You’ll also likely experience flare-ups, which are episodes when symptoms become more severe.

“You can find a skin care routine that works for you over time. Learning to recognize and eliminate triggers can help you manage seborrheic dermatitis effectively. It doesn’t cause any serious medical conditions or problems.”

The cap usually resolves within 6 months.