Dermatitis (dur-muh-TYE-tis) is inflammation of the skin
that causes itching and discomfort. Infantile seborrheic dermatitis, also known as
cradle cap, can be caused
by oily skin or hair.
More to Know
There are many types of dermatitis. Dermatitis can be the result of contact with
an allergen or substance like poison ivy or detergents (contact dermatitis). Atopic
dermatitis, or eczema,
is a type of dermatitis that runs in families and often is associated with allergies
Symptoms of dermatitis include itching, burning, or swelling on the surface of
the skin. Blisters, scaly, dry or thick skin, and a red rash may also develop. The
condition is not contagious.
Treatment depends on the type of dermatitis and what caused it. The doctor may
recommend thoroughly washing the area with water or applying moisturizers, corticosteroid
skin creams, or other ointments to the affected area. Corticosteroid pills may be
prescribed to treat severe cases. Sometimes doctors will recommend leaving it alone.
Most cases of cradle cap don't require treatment, but parents may want to
loosen and remove the scales by gently massaging the baby's scalp with a washcloth
and washing the baby's hair once a day with mild baby shampoo. After the scales are
gone, shampooing can be reduced to twice a week to help control symptoms.
Keep in Mind
Dermatitis is a nuisance but usually not a serious health problem. It can, however,
turn into a bacterial skin infection if not treated properly, so always contact your
doctor is you see signs of dermatitis.
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