Usually, you will come across Seborrheic Dermatitis referred to as seborrheic eczema. Don’t get confused as they refer to the same thing. This is a rather common condition that affects the skin, causing scaly patches, redness, and dandruff. Most of the time seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp. However, there are some cases where it can occur on other parts of the body, especially oily parts like the back, upper chest and on the face.
There are infants who also develop seborrheic dermatitis, and in their case, it’s referred to as crib cap. Infants can develop this condition during the early weeks of their life but it shouldn’t last more than a few weeks.
At the moment, there’s no known cause of seborrheic dermatitis. However, there are ideas that have been put forward by scientists in the past, identifying factors that might be responsible for this condition.
Two major theories exist to explain the development and spread of seborrheic dermatitis:
- Excess production of oil
Excess production of oil is directly responsible for seborrheic dermatitis. The reason for this is because having too much oil on the skin might be irritating. As a result of this, your skin might turn red and become greasy.
Malaysia is a fungus that exists naturally within our skin oil. For people who have seborrheic dermatitis, it might have grown abnormally, in the process forcing the skin to secrete more oil than it normally does. It is this increased production of oil that is responsible for seborrheic dermatitis.
On the other hand, crib cap in infants might develop because of hormonal changes which usually happen in the mother through the course of her pregnancy. Fluctuation in different hormone levels can stimulate the oil glands of the infant, and as a result, this might end up causing the baby’s skin to produce a lot of oil that will irritate their skin.
In adults, seborrheic dermatitis is actually a long-term condition. You will need constant treatment in order to manage this condition effectively. For such conditions, you need to focus more on management than treatment. Proper skin care and hygiene will go a long way. The earlier you recognize the problem, the easier it will be for you to start working on a regime that will help you manage your seborrheic dermatitis better.
In management, you must identify some of the triggers or stimuli in your environment that exacerbate your seborrheic dermatitis. This will make it easier for you to manage this condition better.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Symptoms
There are different symptoms that might allude to seborrheic dermatitis, though some of them are often shared commonly with other skin conditions. It is important to understand that most of the symptoms will become worse in response to things around you like a change in the season, stress, alcohol and so forth.
It is also worth mentioning that some of the symptoms might not always manifest in the same way in two different people. On the same note, the symptoms might also be visible in different parts of your body.
Seborrheic dermatitis will develop in the parts of your body that are oily. Other than your scalp, the following are some areas where seborrheic dermatitis might develop:
- On your back
- On your nose
- On the eyebrows
- On the upper section of your chest
- Around and inside your ears
How Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Look Like?
The exact appearance of seborrheic dermatitis is dependent on the symptoms that you notice on your body. The following are some of the common occurrences that might indicate that you have seborrheic dermatitis:
- Loss of hair in the affected parts
- Itchy skin on the affected area
- Red patches
- Oily and greasy skin on the affected area
- Scaly patches on the skin that flake off
The scaly patches might be yellowish or white in color. This is what we know as dandruff, and it can happen on the beard, eyebrows, scalp or your hair.
How do you know whether you are at risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis or not? Since scientists cannot convincingly explain why some people have a predisposition to developing seborrheic dermatitis while others do not, it remains a phenomenon that might be a matter of bad luck. However, you have a higher chance of developing seborrheic dermatitis in case you have a close relative who has or had it. Therefore, it might simply be down to unlucky genetic makeup.
Other than genetics playing a dirty trick on you, there are some lifestyle choices that might increase your risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis. Some of these are listed below:
- Presence of additional skin tissue, especially when you have acne
- Pollution and other environmental factors
- Improper skin hygiene
- Using alcoholic skin care products
- Medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, stroke or HIV
How is Seborrheic Dermatitis Diagnosed?
There are so many skin conditions that share the same symptoms as seborrheic dermatitis, especially psoriasis and rosacea. Therefore, unless you seek the advice of an expert, it might be impossible to tell what skin condition you are suffering from. Your doctor must physically examine your skin and inspect the parts of your body that are affected.
You will also need to answer some questions about the symptoms that you are noticing, especially about how often you experience the symptoms, and when they started. This gives the doctor an easy time in an attempt to tell apart seborrheic dermatitis from the other skin conditions.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend biopsy before they can make an accurate diagnosis. For this to happen, the doctor will scrape off some skin cells from the part of your skin that is affected. These will then be sent to the lab to be analyzed. This analysis helps the doctor rule out the possibility of any other skin condition that might be responsible for the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment
More often, doctors recommend home remedies for seborrheic dermatitis. This has to be done under close supervision, and they will request you to keep checking in with them from time to time so that they can monitor progress. In case these remedies do not succeed, the doctor can then consider medical treatment.
Home Remedies for Seborrheic Dermatitis
Given that more than 6 million are currently suffering from seborrheic dermatitis in the US, it is understandable that home remedies would be the first line of defense. In fact, most doctors do recommend home remedies first before switching to medical treatment if that fails. The following are some of the best home treatment alternatives that you have to help you deal with seborrheic dermatitis.
When it comes to conditions that affect the skin, the aloe plant is always a magical plant. There are so many conditions that can be managed with this plant, and it does not come as a surprise that seborrheic dermatitis is one of them.
In terms of natural remedies, this plant is one of the best, given the fact that its ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties. This will ease the irritation you might be suffering, and also soothe your skin. For seborrheic dermatitis, you can choose a fresh leaf of Aloe Vera, extract the gel and apply on the affected part of your skin, or alternatively, you can purchase Aloe Vera gel from the stores and apply on your skin. This should provide relief over time.
When you have seborrheic dermatitis, you need to pay attention to your diet above anything else. You should be careful and know the foods that make your condition worse, and the ones that usually make things easier.
You should include in your diet anti-inflammatory products like garlic, ginger, turmeric, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Other than that, try and include a lot of healthy fruits in the diet. Some of the fruits you should consider include avocado, apples, and berries.
Where possible, get some fish oil too. Fish oil is one of the best options you have in terms of suppressing the seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups. Other than that, fish oil is a good source of nutrients for the body. In this oil, you have quality Omega-3 fatty acids. Besides fish oil protects your heart and boosts your immune system, whether you get it directly from fish or from supplements.
You also need to watch what you eat. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, you should try and keep processed foods away from your diet. Processed foods make the situation worse by increasing inflammation and as a result, the immune responses to the inflammation is worsened. If you cannot quit processed foods altogether, reduce them significantly. This includes snacks, sugar, and sweetened drinks. Do the same for fried foods too.
You will need to make some lifestyle changes if you are to manage seborrheic dermatitis better. Conditions like this become worse when you lose control of your life. During periods of stress, the flare-ups will become worse. You, therefore, need to try and relax more often. If you work or live in a stressful environment, you should look into ways of dealing with that, or it will make your condition worse.
Some of the things that you can do to manage stressful situations better include:
Try as much as you can to get a lot of sleep. Most people today are stressed up in life because they cannot allow their bodies enough time to rest and rejuvenate. This becomes a big problem over time. All your body organs will be under intense pressure, and this makes your seborrheic dermatitis worse.
Exercise is not just about staying fit and losing weight, it is also about reducing stress. By working out, the body also gets to remove toxins that might cause you to harm in the long run. When we talk about exercise, you do not necessarily have to engage in a vigorous exercise routine. You simply need to do something that keeps you active each day. Besides, you will sleep better.
Meditation and Yoga
You can start meditation and yoga classes. Such classes will go a long way in helping you relax better. You can also spare time in your day to sit quietly and pray. Finding that inner peace is what makes the difference for a lot of people.
One of the most important things you can ever do for your body is to stay hydrated. This is important not just for proper skincare, but for your health in general. Try to drink as much water as possible through the day. When you are going through a rough time, this is even more important.
At the same time, you should also stay away from caffeine and alcohol because these usually dehydrate the body. The same applies to salty food. In case you realize you are struggling to get sufficient amount of water in the day, you can work around your diet. Substitute soda and coffee dates with green tea, herbal tea, homemade juice or coconut water.
Essential oils are held in high regard in most circles where alternative medicine is prominent. These plant oils can help you treat a lot of conditions that affect the skin, including seborrheic dermatitis.
Over the years, a lot of studies have been done to understand the essential oils. You can take them with certainty that you will not suffer adverse side effects or any side effects at all. These oils contain anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it possible to treat a lot of chronic conditions that affect the skin, including seborrheic dermatitis.
In the case of seborrheic dermatitis, you can specifically choose lavender, tea tree oil, or borage. However, there are a lot of other options that your physician can recommend, depending on ease of availability.
You must follow instructions when using essential oils to treat seborrheic dermatitis. Take tea tree oil, for example. You have to dilute it before you use it on your skin or scalp. To treat seborrheic dermatitis, you can dilute this oil with olive oil or coconut oil. They do not just dilute the essential oil, but they also have a number of health benefits that you can benefit from.
When treating dandruff, add some drops of the essential oil you prefer to your shampoo in the morning then massage it into your scalp. Even without shampoo, you can still massage the diluted oil into your scalp.
A lot of chronic skin conditions can be treated with probiotics. There is not much research into their effect, however, but they have helped a lot of people ease their symptoms, especially for seborrheic dermatitis.
Probiotics are helpful because they relieve inflammation all through the body. Other than that, they are also good for your digestion.
You can either choose to take probiotics as supplements or you can choose a variety of probiotic foods that you can add to your diet. Some of the best sources of probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, and kefir.
Virgin coconut oil always has a soothing effect especially for someone who is struggling with seborrheic dermatitis. It will not just help you ease the condition but will keep your skin moisturized and soft. The reason behind this is because coconut oil has unique anti-inflammatory properties and it is also a strong antibacterial agent, which combined, are good for your skin.
You can use coconut oil alone, or you can combine it with an essential oil and massage it into your scalp to provide relief for dandruff. Besides, coconut oil keeps your hair healthy and looking shiny, which is an added bonus.
Honey and Water
This is one of the best remedies for managing seborrheic dermatitis. One problem you might encounter with this, however, is that honey is sticky, and might give you a difficult time. It is simple. Apply the honey-water mixture to the parts that are affected and then leave it on for around 3 hours. Once time is up, wash off the honey and go about your schedule.
Of course, it is important to mention that you might want to do this when you are not planning to leave the house. When the treatment is done, rinse off the honey with boiled water instead of using normal tap water. However, if you cannot boil water, tap water will also work well.
How does this blend work? Honey is an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Therefore, it kills the fungi or bacteria that might be responsible for your bout of seborrheic dermatitis. This mixture will also help you manage dandruff better than before.
One of the other benefits of honey is that it draws moisture from your skin and locks it in. When you keep using this treatment, you will realize your skin becomes supple.
Baking soda is another ingredient that has been useful in fighting fungi for a long time. A lot of people always use baking soda to manage a number of skin conditions. Two of the main reasons why people also prefer baking soda when treating seborrheic dermatitis is because it does not have a smell, and the treatment time is very short.
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in half a cup of water then apply it to the part of the skin affected. Let it sit for around 10 minutes. After that, rinse off with cold fresh water. Alternatively, you can rinse off with apple cider vinegar, diluted in water. This will help restore the normal acidic state of your skin, which boosts your protection.
While products like apple cider vinegar use their acidity to kill the fungus affecting your skin, in baking soda it is the opposite. The alkaline nature of baking soda fights the fungus. By introducing an alkaline environment around the fungus, they break down and die. Soon after the treatment, you should notice the redness fading, the flakes, and scales on your skin will also disappear. One problem that you might have with baking soda, however, is that your skin will become dry, and in most cases, seborrheic dermatitis might recur.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used in so many skin care products on the market at the moment. Because of this reason, it follows that you can also use it as a home remedy for seborrheic dermatitis. It is an antifungal and antibacterial essential oil that can help you ease the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. In recent research, however, tea tree oil has been proven to work well for some people but in some cases, it does not.
You can either prepare your own concoction of tea tree oil or you can buy a shampoo. For shampoos, just find a shampoo product that has tea tree oil. Read the label well and choose the product that has the fewest number of ingredients.
Read the instructions carefully before use.
If you choose to prepare your own tea tree oil mix, you must first consult your doctor. The reason for this is because, on its own, tea tree oil is too strong to be applied on your skin. In fact, it might even damage your skin. Instead, mix it with olive oil, coconut oil or sesame seed oil.
You will only need around 4 drops of tea tree oil for every teaspoon of the carrier oil you choose to use. To determine whether this will work for you, try it on a small section of the skin that is affected by seborrheic dermatitis. Allow it to sit for almost an hour, then soak in cold water and rinse.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If someone asks you to soak your hair in apple cider vinegar, you might think he or she is not serious. The idea does not even sound plausible. However, this is one of the simplest ways to get relief from inflammation. Wash your hair as you always do, then dilute apple cider vinegar with some water and apply on your hair and scalp. Allow the solution to sit still for 10 minutes then rinse properly with fresh water. You can do this as often as you want in a week.
Despite the fact that there is still no known cure for seborrheic dermatitis, these remedies can help you ease the symptoms a great deal. Follow them keenly and take note of any changes. As a precautionary measure, always discuss with your doctor before you start using any alternative remedy to treat a condition like seborrheic dermatitis, or any other condition. Other than that, pay attention to the symptoms and how your body responds to the treatments. If you encounter any problem or adverse effect, discontinue the treatment immediately.
What You Shouldn’t Do When You Have Seborrheic Dermatitis
Let’s face it, things might be very difficult when you have seborrheic dermatitis. This skin condition can make your life a living hell, especially if you interact with people often. For most social folks, it can have a damning effect on your esteem. However, management is always the best course of action.
Even with all your struggles with seborrheic dermatitis, there are some things that you should never do. Let’s look at 5 of the most important points, which will help you stay on course with your treatment and live a normal life once again.
Skip Shampooing or Showering. One of the recommendations for managing seborrheic dermatitis is proper skincare and hygiene in general. Therefore, it goes without saying that you have to shower. At the moment there are so many people who are rallying behind not using shampoos. There are others who, for some reason, advise that you need to shower less frequently than you always do.
People have different beliefs and routines. However, remember that when you skip these important routines, you are making things worse. There is the argument that some of the soaps and shampoos contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. While this might be the case, it is not always true. What you need to do is find a product that is safe for use and will help you fight seborrheic dermatitis.
Your dermatologist can recommend some products that you might consider. With seborrheic dermatitis, you need to wash your hair, shower frequently. However, you should also not go overboard with this because when you do you will be getting rid of all the oil from your skin, which might not be such a good idea after all.
Assume Your Skin is Dry. This is another misconception that most people have when they start experiencing the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Flaky and reddish skin does not always mean that you have dry skin. Therefore, go easy on the rush to buy products for dry skin.
A lot of people will run to get creams, moisturizes and special oils for dry skin the very moment they notice symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. This is not the best thing you can do. There are specific oils that are recommended for seborrheic dermatitis which you can get to help you manage the condition better.
In fact, before your doctor confirms it is seborrheic dermatitis, what are you really treating? Go see a doctor first, then discuss how to proceed with them after that. This will save you from spending so much on products for dry skin that you should never have purchased in the first place. It gets worse, some of these products might even make your seborrheic dermatitis worse.
Improper Handling of Wet Hair. Many are the times when you will tie your hair up or put on a hat over your hair before it dries up. This is a big mistake. When you do this, it becomes difficult to get rid of dandruff. The humid environment you create will make your hair itchier. If you want to overcome seborrheic dermatitis, allow your hair to dry well especially after swimming or engaging in any other activity that involves water.
Flaking. However much you will get the urge to flake off the patches on your skin, do not go through with it. If you start peeling off the flakes from your skin, you are never going to stop. Before you know it, you will be red all over. The irritation will get worse, and your skin appearance will be so bad you might not leave the house for a while
The problem with irritation is that the body secretes more oil from the pores. As a result, things become worse than what you were planning to achieve by flaking the patches off. To deal with seborrheic dermatitis, you need to stop treating the symptoms, and instead, deal with the problem.
Give Up. We get it, seborrheic dermatitis is giving you a hard time. The patches are so irritating at times you feel like jumping out of your skin. However, this is not a death sentence. There is no cure, of course, but that does not mean that this is the end.
You might be dealing with seborrheic dermatitis for some years. However, what you can do is improve the symptoms. You can make life easier. You can work with remedies that will give you better, lovely skin again. Sit down with your doctor and discuss a plan for skin care.
The shame and embarrassment that you might be feeling right now are not going to last forever. Never give up hope. Do not allow seborrheic dermatitis to take control of your life. Go out on dates, live your life to the fullest. Attend parties and so forth.
The most important thing you can do is learn. Keep reading about seborrheic dermatitis. Discuss new developments with your doctor from time to time. This makes it easy for you to understand your current predicament and consider treatment options that are available.
Besides, when you make peace with this, you will stop stressing over it. Stress is one of the reasons why a lot of people have struggled to manage their seborrheic dermatitis, making it worse in the process.