Seborrheic dermatitis

Synonyms: Cradle cap, Scalp itch

Medical Specialties: Dermatology, Internal medicine, Pediatrics

Clinical Definition

Seborrheic dermatitis can present similarly to psoriasis, eczema or an allergic reaction, with reddish patches overlaid by greasy-looking scales. Treatment can include dandruff shampoo, topical medication and prescription creams that repair the skin’s barrier function. 

In Our Own Words

Seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition, can flare up during cold, dry weather or in periods of stress. Researchers are still studying the cause but believe it may be a combination of events, including yeast living on the skin’s surface; genetics; a cold, dry climate; and stress as potential triggers. The risk increases with certain medications, such as interferon, lithium and psoralen. Seborrheic dermatitis does not stem from poor hygiene, but the active ingredient in dandruff shampoo is helpful to many with this condition.

Common Types
  • Cradle cap
  • Dandruff
Side Effects
  • White or yellowish scales or flakes on skin’s surface
  • Swollen or red greasy-looking skin
  • Itchy or burning skin (i.e., rash)
Share this article
  • American Academy of Dermatology. “Seborrheic Dermatitis: Diseases and Treatments.” Accessed August 2013.
  • National Institutes of Health. “Sebhorreic dermatitis.” Accessed August 2013.
Keep Reading

Investigate your bodys signs and signals.
Try Symptom Checker