If you’re unfortunate enough to experience scaly patches of dry skin on your body or face, you could be showing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Don’t panic, though, as this skin condition is fairly common. Some visible symptoms including having a rash and having areas of your skin that are scaling in a white or yellow color. While it isn’t biologically related, it’s been known for those who have Seborrheic Dermatitis to often have Rosacea too.
The rash that presents itself may or may not be itchy. Seborrheic Dermatitis is reasonably disfiguring if left untreated and can be very annoying. If you have symptoms showing themselves on your head, then this is known as dandruff.
Table of Contents
Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms
Cradle cap and dandruff are the more common names for seborrheic dermatitis, although this only refers to having it on your head. Babies quite often get cradle cap, although this usually clears up before their first birthday.
Although seborrheic dermatitis is mostly found on your face, it can also present itself in any of the following places:
- In any skin folders under the arms or legs
- Center of your chest or under the breasts
- Around your navel
- Anywhere on your buttocks
- Around the groin area
The skin can look red, burn and even itch. The skin scales that will flake off will look oily and will either be white or yellow. As this condition can look like many other skin conditions, it’s imperative that you visit your family’s doctor and get a proper diagnosis.
Causes for seborrheic dermatitis
Oddly, the leading cause of seborrheic dermatitis has not been confirmed as of yet, although there are a few strong theories, where the majority relate to bad skin hygiene.
Genetics and hormone imbalances
These play a role in a multitude of different illnesses and diseases, and skin problems are no exception. Seborrheic dermatitis is often found several times within a family and is more prominent in men. It’s also a lot more common in those who suffer from specific medical conditions such as central nervous system diseases and immunodeficiency problems. This doesn’t mean that perfectly healthy people are immune from getting it, though,
This is a type of yeast that the majority of people have on their skin, and it is believed that those who have seborrheic dermatitis are overly sensitive to this yeast. The inflammatory response that the body provides is responsible for the rash, itch and other symptoms. It is thought that this can be a cause due to anti-fungal cream helping out the symptoms.
Scaling and rashes that appear are often found in groups near areas where there are a lot of sebaceous glands present. Some of these areas include eyelashes and eyebrows, sides of the nose and the scalp. These glands are responsible for producing a skin lubricant called sebum. Those who suffer from seborrheic dermatitis usually are producing excessive amounts of sebum, which allows the Malassezia to thrive uncontrollably.
Like with everything health related, outside factors can significantly influence your body. Things like high levels of stress, fatigue, and even certain foods can make you more susceptible to seborrheic dermatitis. What’s important is that you try and keep a healthy lifestyle.
How can I treat seborrheic dermatitis?
Maintaining a high level of personal hygiene is essential in tackling this condition. By allowing the sebum and oils from your skin to build up, it will allow the Malassezia to thrive and will result in aggravating the skin. It’s imperative that you cleanse your skin, whether that’s your face, or your whole body, with a mild soap twice daily. Changing your pillowcases and bed sheets as often as you can also is beneficial as they collect dead skins cells and dust, which will help in making your skin clogged up.
By keeping a stable and regular washing regime, you will not only stop yourself from getting this pesky condition but if you are showing symptoms, you’ll be able to get rid of them as soon as possible. There are quite a few methods that people have had success with over the years, but we’ve outlined the best and most popular, below.
Apple cider vinegar
This method definitely has the most reported successes on the internet and many people swear that this alone cured their seborrheic dermatitis. This method is pretty straightforward; you dilute apple cider vinegar with water, in a 1:1 ratio. You then apply this solution to the affected parts of the skin for up to 15 minutes. After rinsing, your skin should be bright pink. Most results are visible after 4-5 washes, from doing one wash per day.
Sea salt soak
Another similar remedy to the apple cider vinegar is to use sea salt water. Again, like before, soak the affected skin for up to 15 minutes at a time. There will be a mild stinging sensation on the skin and once washed off, your skin will be bright pink. The salt can make your skin a little dry, so apply a small amount of oil-free moisturizer afterward.
A lot of people manage to cure their seborrheic dermatitis simply by changing their soap to a glycerin-based brand, aimed for those with sensitive skin. If you’re starting to develop seborrheic dermatitis symptoms, this should be the first thing you go out and buy. The success rate on this clearing up your skin varies, though, as it’s likely only to help if the reason you got seborrheic dermatitis was due to you already having sensitive skin.
Honey is an absolutely wonderful thing and is helpful for many different ailments as well as being an antiseptic. Make a solution by adding boiling water to the honey in a 5:1 ratio, then applying it to the face when it’s cooled down a little. Keep this on your face for at least 3 hours, then wash off with warm water. No soap is needed and your skin will feel moisturized and clean. Although this method takes a long time, it’s one of the best.
When applied to the skin, baking soda can help cleanse and remove any unwanted micro-organisms that may be present. Use no more than a teaspoon and add it to a cup of water. Then apply this solution to the face and let it soak for approximately 5 minutes. It’s been noticed by some that it’s beneficial to rinse the skin with the apple cider vinegar that we mentioned previously, to help restore skin PH levels.
Baking soda can leave your skin feeling very dry, so apply suitable ointments afterward.
There have been a few pretty amazing success stories from using hydrogen peroxide, but it’s definitely not one of the safest options. A 1:1 ratio with water is usually best for when using this substance, and should be applied to the affected areas of skin for no more than 5 minutes. If you feel a burning sensation when using this, wash it off immediately.
As we’ve spoken about previously, the medical community has made a strong correlation between those who have seborrheic dermatitis and those who have an abnormal amount of Malassezia present. Because of this, there are a large number of commercially made products specifically designed to cleanse the skin of all fungi. Once all the fungi have been killed off, your skin will start to clear up the seborrheic dermatitis.
The biggest problem with using these products is that it’s essentially destroying the balance and ecosystem of your skin. Using these products too much can leave your skin vulnerable to other problems.
The best course of action is to use a commercially made product initially, then to follow up with some of the home-made natural methods.
Green tea bags
A fairly old and traditional approach to combating seborrheic dermatitis is by dabbing used green tea bags onto the affected areas of your skin and allowing it to dry by itself. Do this every morning and night will be required but it’s fairly effective. The only problem with this method is that it isn’t much use to those who have late-stage seborrheic dermatitis. If you can catch it early, or wait a week or so after using some stronger products, then using this method will certainly be beneficial.
Hygiene is the most important thing
Regardless of the reason why you have or are showing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, it’s important to understand that the only way to get rid of it is to have excellent skin hygiene. Concerning the methods listed above, what works for one person, may not work for another. What will be unanimous, though, is that every person who conquers their seborrheic dermatitis will have done so by washing and exfoliating their skin properly twice a day and cleaning their sheets as often as they can. Try some of the commercially available products first, then start to add in the home-made remedies once your skin starts to improve slightly, and you’ll be enjoying clear skin in no time at all.