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Seborrheic Dermatitis

09 August 2022

We explain you what causes this pathology, also called dandruff and cradle cap, and what precautions should be taken to prevent and treat its symptoms.


This problem affects a large part of the population to varying degrees, and can become bothersome for adults as well as for little ones. Today we tell you about the origin of seborrheic dermatitis, main symptoms, and the most appropriate care to deal with them all.

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This is an inflammatory disease that affects the areas of the skin where fat is produced most. It tends to get worse in the winter months, and is also associated with overweight, stress, sleep deprivation, as well as diseases such as diabetes or Parkinson's disease. It is also common for seborrheic dermatitis to manifest itself in people with a tendency to acne or rosacea.

In adults, this problem appears mainly in the form of dandruff on the scalp, with acute phases interspersed with other phases in which there are no symptoms at all. Often these symptoms can also cause hair loss.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Baby

In babies seborrheic dermatitis usually appears until the age of 3 months, and is also called cradle cap. It can also occur on the scalp, forehead, or even in the diaper area. 

In more severe cases seborrheic dermatitis can appear on other areas of the face, most commonly the eyebrows, behind the ears, around the nose, but also on the neck, chest, inner thighs, and armpits.

What causes seborrheic dermatitis?

For hormonal, emotional, or even genetic reasons, there are people whose sebaceous glands have a greater tendency to produce fat. This fat in turn feeds the bacteria and fungi that normally live on the surface of our skin, and which metabolize it into substances that have an irritating potential.

Seborrheic dermatitis is thought to occur because some people are more sensitive to excess fat and/or these substances produced by microorganisms, and thus develop an inflammatory reaction.

It is also known that humidity and perspiration can aggravate the symptomatology of this problem.

How to identify?

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, only white flaking can be seen on areas of the skin with high fat production, without any other manifestation. In other cases, the flaking may have a yellowish tinge, more seborrheic, and be accompanied by itching or even erythema (redness).

Can seborrheic dermatitis have complications?

In addition to affecting the well-being and self-esteem, especially of adolescents and adults, when areas of scaling are not properly cleaned, they can lead to infections. In the case of babies, this can become especially serious, which reinforces the importance of treatment.

What products should I use to prevent and treat?

After consulting a dermatologist or pediatrician for a diagnosis and to check if any pharmacological treatment is needed, it will be interesting to introduce some care into your hygiene and beauty routine:


Hair (dandruff)


You should opt for an anti-dandruff shampoo, which can be used several times a week during times of crisis.

These shampoos may contain ingredients that regulate the production of sebum by the sebaceous gland, soothe the scalp, or have an antimicrobial action; usually acting through more than one of these mechanisms. According to the indications of each product, this shampoo should be alternated with another one for frequent use in the remaining days when you need to wash your hair, as well as in the maintenance phases.

Here are some suggestions for shampoos:



Frequent use

During the treatment you should start washing your hair with a first wash, in order to remove the scales that have already formed and all the dirt accumulated on the scalp. Next, and with a clean scalp, the treatment shampoo should be reapplied, and it is important to take the time to gently massage the head with the tips of your fingers. This is followed by a pause time, which is usually around 3 minutes, but may vary between different products.

With all these steps in mind, the active ingredients penetrate more easily through the skin, allowing not only to highlight any scales that may be forming, but also to soothe the scalp and remove excess oil.


Conditioner or mask

Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis can dry and damage the hair fiber, so a long-lasting treatment will require extra care with the hair length.

However, conditioners should never be applied to the hair root since this not only makes the hair greasier, but also hinders the natural flaking of the skin, which is imperceptible, contributing to the formation of the flaking plaques seen in dandruff. So, since these products are only meant to treat the lengths and ends of the hair you can choose any product suitable for your hair type. If you haven't found your favorite yet, here are a few that you are sure to love!


Regulating lotion/emulsion

To complement the action of the shampoo, you can also choose non-rinse lotions that work in the same way, but remain longer in contact with the scalp. We have available some care products suitable for this type of use:


Fall Treatmen

You can opt for food supplements that act on seborrhea, stimulate growth, and improve the hold of your hair:




It is an essential step to remove the excessive oiliness that the sebaceous glands continuously produce, but also to remove flaking and eventual colonization by microorganisms. At SweetCare we have cleansers specially designed to remove excessive oil while also providing a mild exfoliation:


Hydration and car

The flaking areas of the face need moisturizing and a soothing care that simultaneously helps the scales to detach:


Baby (cradle cap)

Prevention and removal of flaking plaques in the baby can be done with the help of specific shampoos or with other products suitable for this purpose, and which in some cases require a pause time followed by rinsing:


What other concerns might I have on a daily basis?

In addition to care in hygiene and choice of products, it may be necessary to change some habits:

  • Avoid bathing in very hot water;
  • Dry the skin of affected areas well at the end of the bath without rubbing;
  • Protect the areas of the body affected by flaking in the colder months, using warm clothing, caps or scarves;
  • Avoid scratching the itchiest areas, aggravating inflammation or causing wounds;
  • Brush the baby's hair with a soft brush, in order to highlight the scales;
  • Wash the baby's hair every 2 to 3 days. If a crust has formed in the meantime, remove it with the help of a specific product.

At any age, if pimples appear around the plaques or whenever severe inflammation develops you should consult your attending physician.