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Home » Dermatology » Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis

is an inflammatory skin disease that typically appears predominantly on the scalp but can also appear on skin folds and oily areas of your skin such as eyebrows, nose, upper lip, chest, and behind the ears.

In infants, the condition is called “Cradle cap” and is a harmless, temporary condition that is not contagious.

In normal conditions, the oil glands produce oil (sebum) as required to lubricate skin.

However, when sebum is secreted in larger quantities and gets infected with yeast called Malessizia, you may suffer from seborrheic dermatitis.

Some factors may increase your risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis and they include:

Extreme weather changes


Use of cosmetics containing alcohol

Oily skin


Poor skin hygiene

Existing disease conditions  obesity, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke

Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may worsen the condition

Seborrheic dermatitis is a treatable skin condition and is not a communicable disease.

Areas affected by seborrheic dermatitis may appear red with scaly white or yellow patches.

Affected areas may also be sore and itchy. It may cause hair loss and bleeding if the condition is severe.

You should wash your hair daily in cases of oily scalp with the shampoos prescribed by your dermatologist that contain compounds like zinc, coal tar, and salicyclic acid. Antifungal creams or lotions may also be recommended. Hair sprays should not be used during this condition.

Considering the severity of disease, dermatologists may prescribe certain medications such as immunosuppressants, ketoconazole topical preparation, corticosteroids, desonide, keratolytics, tacrolimus ointment, or pimecrolimus (Elidel cream 1%).

Some of these drugs are anti-inflammatory which reduces the swelling of the affected areas and some of these should be taken orally. The ointments and creams are applied on the infected places 1 to 2 times a day with a gentle massage. If you have severe itchiness and bleeding, you may be advised to apply these creams orlotions more than twice a day.

Consult your doctor to learn more about seborrheic dermatitis and other treatment options available.


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