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Seborrhoeic dermatitis is also called dandruff

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is also called dandruff
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Seborrhoeic dermatitis (dandruff)

Seborrhoeic dermatitis (also spelt seborrheic dermatitis) is a form of skin inflammation that usually occurs on the scalp, face or torso, in or around areas that naturally produce an oily substance known as sebum.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is also called dandruff, seborrhoeic eczema, seborrhoeic psoriasis, and in infants it’s often called cradle cap.

What causes seborrhoeic dermatitis?

Seborrhoeic dermatitis may be caused by an immune reaction to a fungal microbe called Malassezia.

Malassezia is normally present on healthy skin, around the areas where oil is produced, but some people develop an immune reaction to Malassezia for reasons that remain unknown. It is not contagious, nor a sign of poor hygiene.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis may be recognised by patches of oily, flaking or scaly skin. Crusting yellow sores may develop on the scalp, particularly in infants with cradle cap. Affected areas may also be red and itchy, or may sting.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis treatment and self-care

In infants, cradle cap usually clears naturally within 6-12 months, but seborrhoeic dermatitis that appears during adolescence or adulthood can be a long-term condition, which may flare up from time to time.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis can often be managed effectively at home with over-the-counter treatments, including anti-dandruff shampoos when the scalp is affected. Crusting yellow sores, often found on infants with cradle cap, can be removed by softening them with olive oil and warm water, and then gently wiping with a cotton bud or soft cloth. Sometimes the skin underneath the cradle cap can become infected. If the cradle cap isn’t getting better or spreads to other parts of the body, speak to your doctor, local chemist or Maternal and Child Health Nurse.

For other areas, anti-fungal or corticosteroid creams may relieve symptoms. An exfoliating body or face wash containing salicylic acid may also help remove flaking skin. Treatments may need to be used frequently initially, and then occasionally when symptoms reappear.

Ask for help if symptoms persist, or if you experience a sudden increase in the severity of your symptoms, increased discomfort, or if your condition is causing anxiety or embarrassment, or if it’s interfering with your daily routine.

You can speak to your pharmacist or your doctor who may in a few cases refer you to a dermatologist.

Last reviewed: October 2016

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Itching scalp can be caused by a number of conditions, including dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis and psoriasis.

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Kids' Health - Topics - Dandruff - does your head feel itchy?

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Dandruff - myDr.com.au

Dandruff is when your scalp sheds excessive amounts of larger-than-normal skin flakes. These flakes stick to the hair shafts, eventually falling on the collars and shoulders of clothes.

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Dandruff in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Dandruff is common and normal in children and teens. You can usually treat it with anti-dandruff shampoo. Read more about dandruff treatment and causes.

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Seborrhoeic Dermatitis and Cradle Cap - ACD

Seborrhoeic dermatitis and Cradle Cap is inflammation of the skin that usually occurs on areas of the body such as the head and trunk where there are a greater number of oil glands.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation - ACD

Damage to the skin from trauma or inflammation may result in discolouration of the affected area. Compared with normal skin, these areas may appear slightly lighter (hypopigmentation).

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Cradle cap treatment

Cradle cap also known as seborrheic dermatitis makes the skin on babys scalp dry, red and flaky. It is harmless, not contagious and usually cures itself.

Read more on Parenthub website

Cradle cap treatment: babies | Raising Children Network

Cradle cap is the oily, scaly crust that babies get on scalps and torsos and in body folds. It usually doesnt need treatment and goes away by itself.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Cradle cap

Cradle cap is a very common condition in babies affecting the scalp (the skin on the head). It can happen anytime from birth, but usually develops within the first 6 weeks of life. More often than not, it is gone by the time the baby reaches one year of age.

Read more on myDr website

Cradle cap

Trusted information on cradle cap including what it is, how to spot it, causes, treatment, plus links to trusted resources.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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