Professionals argue that the condition is a type of eczema that manifests in the body through the broken skin and erythema. According to health reports, Seborrheic Dermatitis affects over six million adults and children in United States. Without professional help, however, it is hard to make a proper diagnosis of the condition since its symptoms tend to imitate those of other skin conditions like:
- Allergic reactions, especially if you have a sensitive skin.
- Various other types of eczema
Unlike most people’s belief, Seborrheic Dermatitis is non-contagious. However, it is important to recognize that a skin disease could greatly affect the quality of a person’s lifestyle. This is because most people are likely to feel distressed about the condition.
If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with Seborrheic Dermatitis, this article will provide you with details about the skin condition and help you to manage it better. It also features some natural remedies of the skin condition.
Who Gets Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Skin specialists have not been able to pinpoint the specific reason behind the occurrence of Seborrheic Dermatitis. However, it is clear that this skin condition is related to:
- What the sebaceous gland secretion is made of.
- Amplification of Malassezia
- Abnormal responses of your immune system
Since sebum is responsible for reducing skin dryness, any changes in its composition could affect the state of your skin. This may develop into Seborrheic Dermatitis if your immune system is hyperactive as your skin may begin to react abnormally against any microbes on the surface.
Malassezia yeast is present on the surface of oily skins, and its level appears elevated on skins affected by seborrheic dermatitis. This is because the immune system is responding aggressively to all microorganisms that are lipid-dependent. This then results into cases of inflammation and irritation on the skin.
Seborrheic dermatitis has also come to be associated with people who have health conditions that affect their immunity negatively. Examples of such conditions include food allergies, HIV/AIDS, and neurological and psychological disorders.
Seborrheic dermatitis has been found to be persistent in 85 to 95 percent of the people living with HIV. Unlike other people with less compromised immunity, these patients do not respond well to treatments administered.
Seborrheic dermatitis is also common in people living with trauma and those in stressful situations. If you do not get enough sunlight exposure, you might also be at risk of this skin condition due to vitamin D deficiency. It is also a common thing among people going through various hormonal changes like adolescence, menopause, or pregnancy. Rosacea and alcoholism are other factors that could lead to cases of Seborrheic dermatitis.
If you expose yourself to dry weather for long, it may also trigger a flare-up of this skin condition. Although scientists have been able to conclude confidently that hormonal and genetic factors are responsible for Seborrheic dermatitis, they have not been able to identify the specific genes or hormones.
Based on reliable research data, between 1 and 5 percent of the US population exhibits signs of seborrheic dermatitis. In addition to that, over 70 percent of the infants born in this country experience cradle cap for at least three months after birth, which is a form of dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is common in adults aged between 30 and 50 years. Facial symptoms of this skin disease are the most common.
What does Seborrheic Dermatitis Look Like?
Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) can be characterized by various symptoms with itchiness being the most common. This skin condition is common when the weather is cold and dry or when the patient is in a stressful situation. Since there are other skin diseases associated with similar symptoms, a biopsy of the skin is done when one goes for a medical checkup. The biopsy helps to rule out the other conditions.
Some of the symptoms you may experience when you have SD include:
- Dandruff on your scalp, moustache, eyebrows, or beard
- Itchy skin
- Having an inflamed, red skin
- Patches of greasy skin on sensitive body parts like the face, neck, chest, groins, armpits, under your breasts, ears, and nose
- Peeling of the skin
What are the Triggers?
Like most skin conditions, dermatitis is periodic, meaning that it occurs at certain times. It could be triggered by:
- Taking some medications
- Psychological disorders like distress and depression
- Fatigue and getting insufficient sleep
- Being around dry or damp environments
- Systemic infections
- Various factors that may disrupt your immune system
How Can You Lessen it?
To lessen SD, it is important that you embrace various self-care and medicated procedures. It is essential that you apply the preferred treatment frequently to get rid of the skin disease completely.
Conventional Treatment Methods
- Medicated shampoo
You can obtain a medicated shampoo to treat your nuisance dandruff over-the-counter (OTC). You, however, need to know that there exist four different types of medicated shampoos:
- Tea tree oil shampoo
This shampoo has tea tree oil as the main ingredient, since it contains antifungal and antibacterial qualities. This is an effective way of naturally conditioning your skin if your scalp has mild to moderate dandruff. Regardless of its high efficacy, some users have claimed that they experienced skin irritations after using it, especially if they have a sensitive skin.
- Selenium sulfide shampoo
Although using this shampoo may result in hair loss, discoloration, and skin irritation, it is an effective treatment that reduces itchiness and removes the dandruff. It is also good for protecting your skin against further infections that could worsen your skin condition.
- Zinc pyrithione shampoo
This type of shampoo will cause a skin irritation after application. However, it has a high effectiveness, since it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is widely prescribed to people with SD skin conditions because it is cost effective and efficient.
- Coal tar shampoo
This shampoo will help remove all the dandruff and dead cells from your scalp using the keratolytic agent that softens your skin. This agent is composed of sulfur and salicylic acid with the latter being oil-soluble and able to reduce the inflammatory effect on your skin. Contact dermatitis, photosensitivity, and folliculitis are some of the negative effects that you can expect when you use this shampoo.
- Tropical SD Treatment Agents
There are various gels, shampoos, and creams that are commonly prescribed to the seborrheic dermatitis patients by dermatologists. These treatment options can be categorized further into:
- Antifungal shampoos
- Topical antifungal
- Topical corticosteroids
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors- These treatments are used to prevent immune system actions that could trigger skin inflammation without any fear of atrophy.
Although all these classes of tropical treatment agents are effective and could help the SD condition, it is important to avoid using them for long-term basis since they have associated risks like respiratory infections.
Natural Treatments for Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Treating Scalp Dryness
Dandruff is a common skin problem that results from the accumulation of dead cells. It occurs when you use hair product made from heavy chemicals, in a dry weather, or due to some immune dysfunctions. Malassezia yeasts are a common cause of excess dandruff because they occur on the sebum. When in excess, they tend to cause dead cells.
To be able to treat this condition effectively, you can use coconut oil or other essential oils to keep your scalp hydrated. You could also DIY a shampoo for the dry skin and use it to cover the area with inflammation. Limit your usage of shampoos to twice or thrice in a week as a way of getting rid of the dandruff to allow the accumulation of normal natural oil levels. This will keep your skin a bit oily and not too dry to grow dead cells.
What you eat could also affect the health of your skin. This is why SD has been associated with eating disorders. As a treatment option, you should make sure your diet features foods with antioxidants like leafy vegetables or berries. Dandruffs tend to be common during fall and winter when the weather is dry. In such incidences, you should use a humidifier to keep your skin moisturized.
- Avoid Consuming Foods with Inflammatory Responses
As a way of reducing autoimmune responses and allergic effects, it is essential for you to adopt a healthy eating habit that accommodates more natural whole foods and eliminates the processed foods. Some of the processed foods you should avoid to evade inflammation or allergies include:
- Those with added sugars
- Sweetened foods
- Trans fat
- Fried foods
- Oils that have been processed
- Grain foods that have been refined such as peanuts
- Boosting Your Immunity
As discussed above, a low immune response is one of the risk factors that could cause SD skin condition. It, therefore, is important to adopt ways that will help improve your immune functions like:
- Undertake activities that will naturally relieve your stress such as physical fitness, praying, meditating, yoga classes etc.
- Take supplements designed for immune boosting such as omega-3 fatty acids and calmag.
- Take a nature walk frequently.
- Ensure that you sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours each night.
- Maintain healthy relationships and hobbies to ensure that you relax and have the feeling of connection.
- You may use adaptogen herbs that will help maintain healthy levels of cortisol while controlling your stress.
- Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in your diet like garlic, ginger, avocado, banana etc.
- Avoid Chemical-Based Beauty Products
Chemical-based beauty products are not good for your skin since they may result into dermatitis problems. To reduce risk levels, you should always opt for natural organic products like those made of aloe vera, Shea butter, tea tree, or apple cider vinegar. This will not only keep your skin healthy but also replenish the lost essential components.
- Use Honey and Water
With this homemade remedy, all you have to do is identify the areas affected by the dermatitis and apply honey water on them. You should then allow a 3-hour period for the honey to treat the affected area before washing it off with warm water. The skin will stay moisturized and supple. The skin microbes causing infections will also be treated since the honey water will be acting as an antifungal and antibacterial agent.
- Stay Hydrated
It is important that you consider the important role that water plays in keeping your skin healthy. In promoting general health and wellness, experts recommend that you drink at least eight glasses of water each day. This will help keep your skin hydrated, which allows the accumulation of microbes that could cause dermatitis.
Avoid taking unhealthy drinks like coffee, sodas, and alcohol or salted foods and other products that may lead to increased dehydration. Consider taking coconut water, smoothies, or green tea to help your body retain and increase water levels.
- Use Zinc Supplements
Like most other elements, the deficiency of zinc has a myriad of negative effects to your health. Developing a rash and having a skin irritation are some of the effects of inadequate zinc levels in your body. In fact, some medical experts will suggest that you be tested for zinc deficiency if you portray symptoms like those of seborrheic dermatitis. It is, therefore, essential that you consider taking zinc supplements to help it build up internally.
Besides using zinc supplements, you could also use various tropical skin and beauty products that include zinc as one of the active ingredients. These products, however, are used on your external body and will have no effect on your internal zinc levels. To maintain a healthy skin, you will need to meet the required internal zinc levels.