What is seborrhoeic dermatitis?

The cause of this condition is unknown. It presents with a red rash covered with greasy, sticky scales, especially over the face, behind the ears, the scalp, and the nappy area. It usually does not itch. The rash is most common in infants and usually disappears after a few months. Seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp in infants is called ‘cradle cap’.

The skin and scalp rash can be treated with 1% hydrocortisone ointment. Use baby oil or olive oil or 2% salicylic acid in vaseline to loosen the thick, yellow scales in severe cradle cap. They can then be washed off with shampoo.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is becoming more common as it is associated with HIV-infected children.

As with atopic eczema, severe seborrhoeic dermatitis may need to be treated with a dilute steroid cream under a covered dressing.

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