What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

In the simplest of terms, Seborrheic Dermatitis is a case of dandruff gone wild… the kind that goes beyond the symptoms of a dry, itchy scalp. The inflammatory skin condition is marked by flaking, itching, and redness that can also appear in almost any place on the body, particularly around the eyebrows and nose, behind the ears, and anywhere oil-producing glands are abundant.

Seborrheic Dermatitis on babies is called cradle cap. Also, it tends to show up in the diaper area, neck folds, armpits, and anywhere adorable baby fat gathers to create folds on a newborn’s body. Adults get the same redness, scaling, flaking, and irritation in the same areas as babies. Some things never change…

Symptoms Of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Flaking and itching are the two most basic symptoms. Signs of Seborrheic Dermatitis in children that tend to raise alarms for parents include 

  • Redness
  • Scaling
  • yellow crusting
  • pink patches
  • peeling skin
  • Irritated skin 

In the harshest cases, it could have an unpleasant smell, feel warm to the touch, or weep fluid. In those cases, timely care is vital because the child may be uncomfortable.

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis(Cradle Cap)?

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors.

  • Overproduction of sebum
  • Overactive sebaceous glands
  • Malassezia yeast

These are the three most common causes of seborrheic dermatitis. When the sebaceous glands present on the skin become overactive due to any reason. In the case of babies, hormones are to be blamed. 

These sebaceous glands start producing excess sebum. When the sebum comes in contact with Malassezia yeast naturally present on the skin, it creates a byproduct. This byproduct is the culprit for itchy, irritated, inflamed skin.

Is Seborrheic Dermatitis Contagious?

It’s important for parents or anyone with the condition to know that Seborrheic Dermatitis is not an allergy, is not contagious, and is not caused by poor hygiene. It is triggered by an overstimulation of oil-producing glands in the body, leading to an increased rate of the shedding of the topmost layer of the skin (the epidermis).

Who Gets Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis can strike at any age. In adults, a change of climate, hormonal changes, and stress can trigger an episode. Most adults simply grapple with an occasional bout of dandruff…annoying but manageable. But the same underlying cause, yeast, can also cause a condition known as tinea versicolor or Malassezia folliculitis (fungal acne).

Even though it can appear at any time but is most common in the following life stages

  • Infancy (2 to 12 months of age)
  • Adulthood (above 30 years)

But it may be surprising for many people to learn how common Seborrheic Dermatitis is in children. 2 in 3 babies will have skin flaking, scaling, redness, and irritation during the first year of life. That adds up to 2 million infants per year. Because the symptoms can look so alarming, it’s important to know your baby is not suffering from something rare.

In regards to adults, according to the American Academy Of Dermatology, men are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis than women. Knowledge is power, and the right skin regimen, consistently followed, can clear up even the worst cases of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis within a few weeks.

Our Cradle Cap Shampoo is a solution that is not only safe for kids but works effectively on adults as well.

Are Cradle Cap And Seborrheic Dermatitis The Same?

Seborrheic Dermatitis goes by many names. Americans call the condition in babies “Cradle Cap” because the most common version among infants is scaling that envelops a baby’s head down to her eyebrows… like a cap. In Australia, doctors call the very same condition “pityriasis capitis.”

You may also hear variations on the name… like seborrheic eczema, seborrheic psoriasis, and dandruff, the mildest form of Seborrheic Dermatitis. Because some symptoms can be similar or overlap, Seborrheic Dermatitis may be confused with or exist in conjunction with other skin conditions.

With “Cradle Cap,” symptoms typically resolve themselves in 6 to 12 months. However, in some cases, it may persist. That said, it could wax and wane.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment

Even though there is no permanent cure for seborrheic dermatitis, you can easily reduce the scaling and flaking associated with seborrheic dermatitis and prevent future build-up by using a medicated shampoo.

Use a seborrheic dermatitis shampoo at least twice a week to wash your hair and the affected area. Make sure you use lukewarm water to wash your scalp and leave no shampoo residue behind.

Use a shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis that is free from harsh chemicals, as it can further exacerbate the condition. Avoiding harsh soaps and detergents while keeping a consistent, gentle skincare regimen – including daily hair washing – will help keep any lingering symptoms at bay for you and your child. 

Seborrheic Dermatitis VS Dandruff

Even though dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis may manifest similar symptoms, most people consider them the same. But there are slight differences between both skin conditions.

Seborrheic dermatitis usually causes thick, greasy, yellow-colored scales and flakes, while dandruff causes thin, small, white-colored dandruff flakes. 

Both conditions cause itching and irritation however, dandruff appears only on the scalp, and seborrheic dermatitis can appear anywhere on the body.

Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss from Seborrheic Dermatitis and Cradle Cap is NOT permanent. In some cases, as the flakes and scales come off the scalp, hair may come with it. Sometimes, excess scratching can also lead to temporary hair loss. Don’t fret; the hair follicles are not damaged, and the hair will regrow.

Best Shampoo For Seborrheic Dermatitis

Best Shampoo For Seborrheic Dermatitis

Choosing the right shampoo and skin care products is essential for your and your baby’s well-being. If you are experiencing seborrheic dermatitis or your baby is experiencing cradle cap, choose a cradle cap shampoo and body wash free from harsh chemicals.

Make sure the shampoo is free from the following chemicals

  • Sulfate
  • Paraben
  • Dyes
  • Fragrances
  • Gluten

A shampoo that contains pyrithione zinc is great for reducing scaling, flaking, and redness associated with cradle cap, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff. 

Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo is a pediatrician developed, specially formulated shampoo, face, and body wash to manage seborrheic dermatitis and cradle cap. The best thing about this shampoo is it contains pyrithione zinc and is free from harsh chemicals. 

It is safe and effective for every age. So grab your bottle of Happy Cappy medicated shampoo and body wash at your local Walmart, Walgreens, or Amazon.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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What are the symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis in children?

The common symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis in children include flaking, scaling, redness, and yellow crusting

What are the causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis in babies?

One of the most significant elements is the hormones from the mother to the baby. These hormones may be the cause of producing too much oil in the oil glands and hair follicles.

Is cradle cap contagious?

No, cradle cap is not contagious. Overactive sebaceous glands trigger it.

Who can get Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic Dermatitis can affect people of any age, including babies, children, and adults.

Is cradle caps common in babies?

Cradle cap is relatively common in babies, affecting 1 in 3 infants during their first year.

How long does a Cradle Cap last in babies?

A Cradle Cap typically resolves itself within 6 to 12 months in babies. But sometimes, it may persist.

Can Seborrheic Dermatitis be cured?

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a chronic condition that can come and go over time. While it may not have a permanent cure, it can be effectively managed and controlled with proper care, treatment, and medicated shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis.

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