Health Condition

Seborrheic Dermatitis

About This Condition

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common inflammatory condition of the skin. Cradle cap is a type of seborrheic dermatitis found in infants; it is usually self-limiting and subsides by the age of six months. 

A qualified physician should diagnose these conditions. It is not clear whether research on cradle cap is applicable to the type of seborrheic dermatitis that occurs in adults.


A dry, flaky scalp is typical of mild cases of seborrheic dermatitis. More severe cases have itching, burning, greasy scales overlying red patches on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis may be confused with severe dandruff. However, seborrheic dermatitis may also be found on the eyebrows, eyelids, forehead, ears, chest, armpits, groin, and the skin folds beneath the breasts or between the buttocks.


1. Vardy DA, Cohen AD, Tchetov T, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. J Dermatol Treat 1999;10:7-11.

2. Nisenson A. Seborrheic dermatitis of infants: treatment with biotin injections for the nursing mother. Pediatrics 1969;44:1014-6.

3. Messaritakis J, Kattamis C, Karabula C, Matsaniotis N. Generalized seborrheic dermatitis: clinical and therapeutic data of 25 patients. Arch Dis Child 1975;50:871-4.

4. Nisenson A. Seborrheic dermatits of infants and Leiner's disease: a biotin deficiency. J Pediatr 1957;51:537-48.

5. Keipert JA. Oral use of biotin in seborrheic dermatitis of infancy: a controlled trial. Med J Aust 1976;1:584-5.

6. Erlichman M, Goldstein R, Levi E, et al. Infantile flexural seborrheic dermatitis. Neither biotin nor essential fatty acid deficiency. Arch Dis Child 1981;56:560-2.

7. Tollesson A, Frithz A, Berg A, Karlman G. Essential fatty acids in infantile seborrheic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1993;28:957-61.

8. Tollesson A, Frithz A. Borage oil, an effective new treatment for infantile seborrheic dermatitis. Br J Dermatol 1993;129:95 [letter].

9. Nisenson A. Treatment of seborrheic dermatitis with biotin and vitamin B complex. J Pediatr 1972;81:630-1 [letter].

10. Callaghan TJ. The effect of folic acid on seborrheic dermatitis. Cutis 1967;3:583-8.

11. Schreiner AW, Rockwell E, Vilter RW. A local defect in the metabolism of pyridoxine in the skin of persons with seborrheic dermatitis of the “sicca” type. J Invest Derm 1952;19:95-6.

12. Andrews GC, Post CF, Domnkos AN. Seborrheic dermatitis: supplemental treatment with vitamin B12. NY State Med J 1950;50:1921-5.

13. Gyorgy P. Dietary treatment of scaly desquamative dermatoses of the seborrheic type. Arch Derm Syph 1941;43:230-47.

14. Eppig JJ. Seborrhea capitis in infants: a clinical experience in allergy therapy. Ann Allergy 1971;29:323-4.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.