Seborrheic dermatitis can be a tricky problem to get the better of: it's a particularly persistent, distressing and uncomfortable condition. The best way of beating seborrheic dermatitis for good is knowing your enemy: what is it, what causes it, and what you can do to treat it.
What are the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis?
- Sore, dry skin
- Oily yellowish pustules that sometimes weep fluid
- Scaly, flaking or crusty skin
- On dark skin, it can appear as areas of discolouration, lighter than surrounding areas, and pink/ashen grey rather than red.
- On pale skin, seborrheic dermatitis tends to show up as red and inflamed.
- On the scalp, it appears as dandruff or cradle cap, with mild cases just being light flakes in the hair, but severe cases being seriously affected with scaling, oozing, and intensely itchy patches.
What causes seborrheic dermatitis?
Seborrheic dermatitis (also known as seborrhoeic eczema) is an inflammatory skin condition which occurs on parts of the body where there are sebaceous glands, whether that's the scalp, the chin, the neck or the chest. The reasons it flares up can be complicated, with one or more causes interacting to tip the body out of balance. Causes include:
- inherited predisposition towards inflammatory conditions
- life circumstances (stress; diet; mental illness; bad health)
- environmental triggers (skin irritants; hot or dry weather; medications)
- overgrowth of a common yeast (Malassezia) on the skin, which can trigger an inflammatory response
How do you treat seborrheic dermatitis?
The aim in treating seborrheic dermatitis is to reduce inflammation and to keep flare-ups under control as far as possible. You can do this in several ways, including the following:
- Identify and avoid your triggers, whether they're dietary, skin irritants in toiletries such as perfumes or detergents, or environmental.
- Change your shampoo and shower gel to a natural, scent-free alternative like Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash.
- Shampoo less frequently: You only need to wash hair every two or three days; more often and you run the risk of drying out the scalp and increasing sensitivity.
- Treat yourself from the inside out: boost your diet with leafy greens, fresh food, antioxidants and EFAs such as found in oily fish and seeds.
- Look after your overall health and well-being: reduce stress, sleep more, exercise, try to unwind and do fun things.
- Avoid dryness: use a humidifier if you have central heating or air con (dehydration causes the skin to dry out and become more fragile and sensitive to irritants).
- Try an overnight oil treatment: this will feed the skin with nutritious and anti-microbial oils, and give it a chance to repair itself.
Leaving an oil (such as Balmonds Scalp Oil) on overnight will soften scaly skin, and give the skin an intensive moisturising treatment. In the morning, you can use a fine tooth comb to remove flakes and then finish off with a natural, fragrance and SLS-free shampoo, such as Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.