Seborrhoeic dermatitis in infants

'Cradle cap' is the commonest form of seborrhoeic dermatitis and affects infants under a year old. The greasy yellow scales look unpleasant but they are not uncomfortable or itchy and will resolve in a number of months. The reason for this is due the continuing secretion of the greases seen on babies straight after birth. When this dries up, the scalp will clear. In the meantime, gentle shampooing and massage with warm olive oil will help. There are several preparations available without prescription from the local pharmacy that are very effective in removing cradle cap.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis can appear quite suddenly in a small infant and principally affects the nappy area and scalp. However, it may look worse than it actually is and does not cause itching. If it is mild it is unlikely to cause problems. However, sometimes the area may become infected with either bacteria or fungi. Such infection causes deterioration in the dermatitis and usually requires the prescription of an antibiotic or antifungal cream depending on the nature of the inflecting organism. Seborrhoeic eczema, cradle cap and psoriasis can look quite similar in the infant. If the baby has any accompanying symptoms or you have any concerns, this warrants a visit to the doctor.

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