This is a type of seborrheic dermatitis (seb-uh-ree-ick dur-muh-tahy-tis) that develops in infants. Scaly, greasy patches form on the baby’s scalp. The patches may become thick and crusty, but cradle cap is harmless. Cradle cap usually goes away on its own within a few months.
In infants, seborrheic dermatitis can also form on the face, usually on the baby’s eyelids, around the nose or ears. It also forms in the diaper area. In some babies, seborrheic dermatitis covers most of the body. Most babies seem undisturbed by seborrheic dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a lifelong condition that comes on, goes away with treatment, and worsens from time to time. Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease that causes a red, scaly, itchy rash, usually on the scalp, eyebrows, creases around the mouth, and ears. Seborrheic dermatitis can last for years. It tends to clear and shine without warning.
Treatment is often needed to control it. For some people, seborrheic dermatitis goes away without treatment. Seborrheic dermatitis sometimes goes away on its own. But often, it’s a lifelong problem that goes away and turns on.
It can usually be controlled with good skin care. As a last resort in refractory disease, sebosuppressive agents such as isotretinoin (Accutane) can be used to reduce the activity of the sebaceous glands. Infants most often develop this condition. Symptoms usually go away on their own without treatment when babies are between six and 12 months old.
When an adult gets seborrheic dermatitis, the condition can come and go for the rest of the person’s life. If you are concerned if you have psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, talk to your healthcare provider. Dermatologists usually begin treating mild cases with a topical antifungal cream or medicated shampoo, such as a prescription antifungal shampoo or an over-the-counter anti-dandruff product. Oral antifungal medications and a non-steroidal or antifungal barrier cream are also available with a prescription from your dermatologist.
The topical solution of terbinafine, at 1 percent, has also been shown to be effective in treating seborrhea of the scalp. Therapy for children’s seborrheic dermatitis includes frequent washing with anti-dandruff shampoo. The treatment your dermatologist prescribes will depend on your age and the part of your body where the seborrheic dermatitis is found. Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis of the face and body include topical antifungals, corticosteroids, and calcineurin inhibitors.
Treatment with daily doses of isotretinoin as low as 0.1 to 0.3 mg per kg may result in improvement in severe seborrhea after four weeks of treatment. Seborrheic dermatitis usually affects those areas of the skin where the sebaceous glands appear with high frequency and are most active. But if it’s affecting your sleep and daily activities, or if you’re afraid your skin will become infected, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the areas of the head and trunk where the sebaceous glands are most prominent.
If your baby may have seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area or elsewhere, it is better to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis. If treatment is needed, a dermatologist may prescribe a drug that can be applied to the child’s skin. Facial and trunk seborrhea is characterized by powdery or greasy scales in the folds of the skin and on the margins of the hair.