Does my baby have topic eczema or seborrheic dermatitis?

Although it also presents as itchy patches and a scaly rash, seborrheic dermatitis is different from atopic eczema.

 Seborrheic dermatitis can be confused with eczema.

Your baby’s skin is prone to rashes of all sorts. Fortunately, most of these rashes are harmless and go away on their own. In this article, we discuss the differences between atopic eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.

What is atopic eczema?

Atopic eczema is very common in babies, and usually occurs when they’re about four months old. This type of eczema is an inherited familial condition associated with hay fever and asthma, and is thought to affect one in every five children. Wearing clothes that have been washed in harsh detergents can also aggravate this condition.


  • Extremely itchy rash on the baby’s face, the inner creases of her elbows, and behind her knees.
  • Scales and small red pimples may also be present in these areas.

Treating Atopic Eczema

  • Avoid letting your baby come into contact with potentially irritating substances like chlorine, bubble baths, strong soaps, and dust.
  • Use non-perfumed skincare products on your baby’s skin.
  • Keep your baby’s skin moisturised to protect the barrier of her skin.
  • Consult a doctor if the above measures don’t seem to help.

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Very small babies sometimes get seborrheic dermatitis, but this usually resolves when a baby is about four months old.


  • This condition doesn’t itch and doesn’t appear to trouble babies. It can be identified by a red, scaly rash on your baby’s scalp, face, behind her ears, and in the nappy area, as well as in the creases of her neck, armpits and umbilicus.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis often causes pigment loss in darker-skinned babies.

Treating seborrheic dermatitis

  • Bath your baby with non-scented emollients and bath oils, and avoid soap!
  • Weak cortisone and antifungal creams can be applied to the affected areas after your baby has had a bath.