Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a disease that causes flaking of the skin. It usually affects the scalp. In adolescents and adults, it is commonly called “dandruff”. In babies, it is known as “cradle cap”.


Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD -- Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis


What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a disease that causes flaking of the skin. It usually affects the scalp. In adolescents and adults, it is commonly called “dandruff”. In babies, it is known as “cradle cap”. It is not contagious.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also affect the skin on other parts of the body, such as the face and chest, and the creases of the arms, legs and groin. Seborrheic dermatitis usually causes the skin to look a little greasy and scaly or flaky.

How common is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis most often occurs in babies younger than 3 months of age and in adults older than 60 years of age. In children cradle cap usually disappears by age 3. In adults, it’s more common in men than in women.

What causes seborrheic dermatitis?

The exact cause isn’t known. A number of factors can increase the incidence of seborrheic dermatitis and it may run in families. The cause may be different in infants and adults. Seborrheic dermatitis may be related to hormones, because the disorder often appears in infancy and disappears before puberty. The cause may be a fungus, called Pityrosporum ovale. This organism is normally present on the skin in small numbers, but sometimes its numbers increase, or your body over-reacts to the fungus, resulting in skin problems.

How is seborrheic dermatitis treated?

The treatment of seborrheic dermatitis depends on its locations on the body. Treatment also depends on the person’s age. Usually a dandruff or medicated shampoo will keep seborrheic dermatitis under good control, but sometimes seborrheic dermatitis can be severe or resistant to over the counter treatments and require a prescription lotion.

Is there a cure for seborrheic dermatitis?

Unfortunately there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, but it can be successfully managed.

For more information, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Janiga to discuss seborrheic dermatitis in our Reno / Tahoe dermatology and cosmetic surgery office, please send us an email or call 775-398-4600. Appointment length varies but is usually not more than 15-30 minutes.


Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD

Dr. Janiga enjoys taking care of both adults and children. Her extensive training and years of experience in medical dermatology, lasers, and cosmetic procedures allows her to treat her patients with the comprehensive attention they deserve.

Dr. Janiga listens attentively to what patients have to say, and works with them in planning the right course of action on an individual basis. Honest talk, humility and a fresh perspective paired with years of experience and education all contribute to the effectiveness of her straightforward care.