Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis involves pink or red skin with greasy, flaky scales. It often occurs where there are more oil (sebaceous) glands. This condition is also known as dandruff. When this condition affects a baby's scalp, it is called cradle cap. It may come and go for no known reason. It can occur at any time of life from infancy to old age.


  • Cortisone (steroid) ointments, creams, and lotions can help decrease inflammation.

  • Babies can be treated with baby oil to soften the scales, then they may be washed with baby shampoo. If this does not help, a prescription topical steroid medicine may work.

  • Adults can use medicated shampoos.

  • Your caregiver may prescribe corticosteroid cream and shampoo containing an antifungal or yeast medicine (ketoconazole). Hydrocortisone or anti-yeast cream can be rubbed directly into seborrheic dermatitis patches. Yeast does not cause seborrheic dermatitis, but it seems to add to the problem.

  • In infants, do not aggressively remove the scales or flakes on the scalp with a comb or by other means. This may lead to hair loss.


  • The problem does not improve from the medicated shampoos, lotions, or other medicines given by your caregiver.

  • You have any other questions or concerns.