Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes red skin, greasy/scaly patches, and skin flaking. Most commonly, it affects the scalp as dandruff, but it can also appear on the face, arms, legs, chest, and groin area. Seborrheic dermatitis most often affects very young infants (“cradle cap”) or adults (especially men) between age 30 and 60. Treatment can ease symptoms and improve quality of life.

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Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Dandruff or skin flakes on the scalp, hair, eyebrows, or facial hair area
  • Greasy skin patches with white or yellow scales or crusts
  • Red skin
  • Itching

Symptoms may flare in cold, dry weather.


Your dermatologist may diagnose your condition by examining your skin or with a biopsy to rule out similar conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema. Treatment options for seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Daily skin and scalp cleansing with gentle soaps and shampoos
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Medicated creams and lotions
  • Over-the-counter dandruff shampoos (daily at first, then 1-3 times per week as needed)
  • Anti-inflammatory medications, including creams, shampoos, and ointments
  • Antifungal oral medications, gels, creams, or shampoos