Common signs and symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Inflammation (redness) of the skin
  • Patchy scaling or thick crusts on your scalp
  • Yellow or white flakes (dandruff) on your scalp or your hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache
  • Red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales on other areas of your body, including your chest, armpits, the area where your thigh meets your abdomen (groin) or the male scrotum
  • Itching or soreness

Seborrheic dermatitis most often affects your scalp, but it can occur between skin folds and on skin rich in oil glands. It can develop in and between your eyebrows, on the sides of your nose and behind your ears, over your breastbone, in your groin area, and sometimes in your armpits. In most people, it's a chronic condition. You'll likely experience periods when your signs and symptoms improve alternating with times when they worsen.

In infants, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp is known as cradle cap. The patches may be thick, yellow, crusty or greasy. In babies with cradle cap, the face and diaper area may also be affected. In most babies, seborrheic dermatitis clears up by age 1.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • You're so uncomfortable that you're losing sleep or are distracted from your daily routines
  • Your condition is causing embarrassment and anxiety
  • You suspect your skin is infected
  • You've tried self-care steps without success
Jun. 16, 2011