Seborrhoeic Dermatitis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Seborrhoeic Dermatitis?

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is a skin condition that causes white to yellow greasy scales (flakes) to form on the scalp, ears, and face. If it occurs on the scalp in babies, it is called “Cradle Cap.” If it appears on the scalp in adults, it is known as dandruff. Seborrhoeic Dermatitis can also affect your upper chest, back and other areas of your body that have many oil (sebaceous) glands.


Recovery Time

  • In children it may last up to one year from birth.
  • In adults it takes few weeks to years depending on the nature of skin.


  • Medical history
  • Skin biopsy
  • Physical examination

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  Is there a connection between acne and Seborrheic dermatitis?
The connection between these two skin conditions is the oil on your skin also known as sebum. Sebum lubricates and protects the hair and skin and prevents drying and irritation of membranes. Sebum may collect excessively as a result of a diet rich in fats, or accelerated glandular activity, especially during adolescence. Excessive secretions of sebum may be related to acne, certain forms of baldness, and other skin disorders such as Seborrheic dermatitis.

Q2.  Will Seborrhoeic dermatitis on my scalp cause hair loss?
Severe Seborrhoeic dermatitis on your scalp can sometimes cause temporary hair loss. Hair loss caused by severe Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a result of considerable scaling and inflammation of your skin and usually stops once the condition is under control with effective treatments. Seborrhoeic dermatitis does not tend to cause permanent hair loss.

Q3.  How is rosacea different from Seborrhic dermatitis?
Rosacea symptoms include papules similar to that you see in acne. It is also accompanied by visible thin blood vessels that manifest on the skin. Also, a very common symptom is flushing and redness of the skin which leads it to be more susceptible to stinging or burning.
On the other hand, Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms are those affecting the scalp most of the time, this can spread to other body areas which may include the face. It is itchy with scaly areas that later on appear yellowish or greasy. A common manifestation starts also with dandruffs on the scalp that affects eyebrows, forehead, ears and nose.
Its necessary to know the difference as the topical steroids used in treatment of Seborrhic dermatitis may flare the symptoms of rosacea.

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