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Seborrheic Dermatitis

About Seborrheic dermatitis:

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition which results in irritation reaction mainly affecting scalp causing red scaly patches and severe dandruff.



  • Increased count of Malassezia, a fungus normally present on the skin and scalp.

  • Genetic tendency


Aggravating factors:

A number of factors increase your risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis, including:


  • Neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and depression

  • A weakened immune system, such as seen in organ transplant recipients and people with HIV/AIDS, alcoholic pancreatitis and some cancers

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Endocrine disease that leads to obesity, such as diabetes

  • Some medications

  • Scratching or otherwise damaging the skin on your face



  • Most common age: 20-30 years

  • Worsens in winter

  • Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white/yellow scales/crusts with or without itching on scalp, ears, chest, armpits and nose.

  • Scalp: red patches of skin

  • Scalp, beard/moustache: white flakes

  • Eyelashes: redness, itching, white flakes

  • Cradle cap: form of seborrheic dermatitis seen in babies with thick yellow crusts.


  • Infants: Cradle cap

Many babies develop this rash on their scalps. Cradle cap normally goes away by 6 to 12 months of age. Until the rash disappears, the following can help:

  1. Shampoo the baby’s scalp daily with a baby shampoo. This helps soften the scale.

  2. Once the scale starts to soften, gently brush it away.

  • Infants: Diaper area and elsewhere

If your baby may have seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area or elsewhere, it is best to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis.

  • Adults and adolescents: Scalp

When using a dandruff shampoo, always read and follow the directions on the bottle. Some shampoos you need to leave on scalp for a few minutes.

  1. On day 1, use the dandruff shampoo, and continue to use it every other day.

  2. On day 2, use your regular shampoo, using it every other day. 

As the seborrheic dermatitis lessens, you can decrease how often you use the dandruff shampoo, using it only 1 or 2 times a week. 

Myths v/s reality

  • Seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious, doesn’t spread by touching.

  • Lack of personal hygiene is not responsible for causing seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Excess washing of body parts can result in loss of moisture which turn may result in more flakes.

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