What is it?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin condition. It causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp, face, or inside the ear. It can occur with or without reddened skin.
Cradle cap is the term used when seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp of infants.
The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. It may be due to a combination of factors such as genetics, oil gland activity, Yeasts on your skin and changes the function of your skin barrier.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Seborrhoea
- Seborrheic Infantile Dermatitis
- Infantile eczema
- Seborrhea Capitis
- Scalp seborrheic dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis of scalp

Signs & symptoms

Seborrheic dermatitis can occur on different body areas. It often forms where the skin is oily or greasy. Common areas include the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose, lips, behind the ears, in the outer ear, and middle of the chest.
In general, affected skin areas will show lesions with scales and plaques. They tend to be itchy, red and greasy.


Diagnosis is based on appearance and location of the skin lesions. Further tests, such as skin biopsy, are rarely needed.


Flaking and dryness can be treated with over-the-counter dandruff or medicated shampoos. These products containing ingredients such as salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcinol, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide. Use the shampoo according to label instructions.
For severe cases, your health care provider will likely prescribe a shampoo, cream, ointment, or lotion containing either a stronger dose of the above medicines or contain more aggressive ingredients to treat the problem.
Phototherapy, a medical procedure in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light, may be needed.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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