What is seborrheic eczema?

April 28, 2017

Seborrheic eczema is a form of dermatitis that affects the greasy (or sebaceous) areas of the body, such as the scalp, face, chest and back. It looks like scaly patches of dry skin, which can appear brown, reddish or yellow in colour.

What causes it?

Although the exact cause of seborrheic eczema isn’t known, health experts have found that an over production of oil or sebum in the skin may contribute to its development.

Unlike atopic eczema, seborrheic eczema isn’t itchy. However, it can feel sore and sensitive as well as look unsightly.

Cradle cap

The most common form of seborrheic eczema in babies is called cradle cap. This is a harmless skin condition that makes the scalp appear scaly, greasy and yellow. Though usually confined to the scalp, it can also affect the cheeks, eyebrow area, nose, eyelids and skin folds, such as the back of the knees. Cradle cap tends to clear up on its own and most babies grow out of it by the age of two. However, applying a moisturising oil to the affected areas can help the process to move along faster by loosening the scales and making it easier to gently remove them.

Another common form of seborrheic eczema that most of us have heard of is dandruff. This can easily be treated with anti-dandruff shampoos or, in severe cases, with medicated scalp gels.


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