Seborrheic dermatitis (sehb-oh-REE-ihk der-muh-TIGH-tihs) is a skin inflammation marked by red, oily, flaking skin, especially on the scalp. Other areas commonly affected are the eyebrows, eyelids, sides of the nose, the mid-chest, and the skin behind the ears. Seborrheic dermatitis may also appear in the creases under the arms, buttocks, breasts, and groin. The cause is unknown, though doctors suspect that oil gland abnormalities and some type of fungal infection may be to blame. Typically, seborrheic dermatitis occurs in three age groups: infants, the middle-aged, and the elderly. In babies, the condition is called ""cradle cap"" and usually resolves on its own by age one. In adulthood, the problem may come and go. Often, there are no side effects, but when present, they may include itching or soreness. There's no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, though symptoms can be improved with treatment. In adults with scalp problems, a doctor may recommend a shampoo containing coal tar, zinc pyrithione (peer-ih-THIGH-own), selenium sulfide (suh-LIHN-ee-uhm SUHL-fyde), sulfur or salicylic
(sal-uh-SIHL-ihk) acid. A prescription anti-fungal shampoo may also be suggested. When the dermatitis affects the body, steroid creams can be used. These creams can also be used for stubborn scalp conditions. In babies, treatment is similar but much milder products are used.
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