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Seborrheic dermatitis in Child
See also in: Anogenital,Hair and Scalp
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Seborrheic dermatitis in Child

See also in: Anogenital,Hair and Scalp
Contributors: Kimberley R. Zakka MD, MSc, Nnenna Agim MD, FAAD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Seborrheic dermatitis is an idiopathic, chronic inflammatory disease that affects areas of the skin rich in sebaceous glands such as the scalp, nasolabial folds, eyebrows, ears, and presternal and intertriginous areas. It has a bimodal distribution, with peaks in infancy and adolescence / early adulthood. Although seborrheic dermatitis has been associated with HIV infection and neurologic disease, it typically presents in healthy individuals.

The yeast Malassezia has long been regarded as the central predisposing factor to disease development. Malassezia is a normal component of skin flora, but in individuals with seborrheic dermatitis, the yeast invades the stratum corneum, resulting in free fatty acid formation and the activation of the inflammatory cascade. Changes in the skin microbiome have also been implicated in pathogenesis. Additional factors related to the environment such as low temperatures and humidity have been identified as potential triggers.


L21.9 – Seborrheic dermatitis, unspecified

50563003 – Seborrheic dermatitis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Perioral dermatitis of childhood
  • Tinea versicolor
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis – The distinction between psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis may be difficult at times, and there may be an overlap condition, sometimes referred to as sebo-psoriasis, particularly when "greasy" scale is present in the scalp.
  • Candidiasis
  • Intertrigo
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Nummular dermatitis (nummular eczema)
  • Tinea corporis, Tinea cruris
  • Pityriasis rosea
  • Lichen simplex chronicus
  • Nonbullous impetigo
  • Darier disease
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis – The eyelid erythema seen in this condition has a more violaceous hue. The scalp is pink, scaly, and extremely pruritic.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus
  • Acquired acrodermatitis enteropathica
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus
  • Sarcoidosis

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:03/07/2023
Last Updated:04/06/2023
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Patient Information for Seborrheic dermatitis in Child
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Seborrheic dermatitis in Child
See also in: Anogenital,Hair and Scalp
A medical illustration showing key findings of Seborrheic dermatitis : Erythema, Fine scaly plaque, Pruritus
Clinical image of Seborrheic dermatitis - imageId=144205. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Thin scaly plaque in the post-auricular fold.'
Thin scaly plaque in the post-auricular fold.
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