Infantile Seborrhoeic Eczema

It does not have an apparent cause. It usually happens in the first 2 months of life, affecting mainly the scalp, and occasionally the flexures of arms and legs.


There are some greasy looking scales on the scalp. In the arms and legs the affected areas look red but smooth. This is usually not itchy and the baby does not normally feel disturbed by this.

Management & Treatment

This problem usually settles by itself within a few months, and does not normally recurs. Therefore the parents can try to manage this with, for example olive oil to speed up the sloughing of the scales on the scalp, and simple moisturisers on the flexures on the arms and legs.

If the situation is more severe, it is better to see the doctor, who may prescribe a very mild steroid cream, for example 0.5% Hydrocortisone. If there is infection on top, it is necessary to add in antibiotics or anti-fungals.

Parents may feel reluctant to put on steroid cream for the baby. However, it needs to emphasise that a little mild steroid such as 0.5% Hydrocortisone is pretty safe to use for just a few days.

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