Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition which can make hair look oily and flaky, but should you wash it as much as possible?
The answer, annoyingly, is that it depends.
What does it depend on? Well, there are a lot of variables with seborrheic dermatitis! Let’s look at some of them; have a think about what applies to you.
1. Your hair
Whether it’s thick, straight, fine, curly, long or short will make a difference to how often it needs washing. Washing your hair over-frequently can strip the natural oils from the skin and lead to more problems, so it's important to strike a balance.
TIP: go with what works for you, not what the side of a bottle suggests!
2. Your skin
Some people's skin is more sensitive to the kind of ingredients in shampoo that can irritate or damage your scalp. Sulphates, perfumes, preservatives, dyes and other ingredients can act as irritants and trigger a flare-up, and are best avoided.
TIP: switch to a natural, SLS-free shampoo and take the frequency down a notch.
3. Your shampoo
If you’re washing with a prescribed medicated shampoo that is tackling the yeast infection associated with seborrheic dermatitis then you will be asked to wash your hair daily at first, to prevent a regrowth of yeast. Unfortunately these shampoos can themselves irritate the scalp, and perpetuate the cycle of itchiness and damage.
TIP: if you’re trying to combat a yeast infection but the shampoo you’ve been prescribed is making things worse, try an oil treatment (see below) instead.
4. Your triggers
Seborrheic dermatitis has various triggers, as well as yeast infections on the scalp! It could be stress, hormones, your toiletries, even the weather that is causing a flare-up! Washing your hair frequently won't make a difference to your scalp if it's being aggravated by another product or environmental triggers.
TIP: identify your triggers first and work on them; it may not be necessary to wash with a medicated shampoo if yeast is not a problem.
To sum up, it’s always worth picking out the regime that works for you, because your skin and your hair won’t need the same treatment as everyone else’s. Generally speaking, hair doesn’t need as much washing as usually thought; a wash every other day, or every few days is usually fine. In some cultures, hair washing is done much less frequently than daily, and other methods of keeping hair clean and fresh are used. So you don’t necessarily need to wash daily, unless you’re following the instructions that go with medicated shampoo.
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash with calendula & honeysuckle (£19 for 200ml)
Balmonds Scalp Oil with tea tree, rosemary & nettle (£14.99 for 50ml)
Balmonds Skin Salvation with beeswax & hemp (from £7.99 for 30ml)
Skin Salvation ointment is a good emollient to keep itchy or flaky skin soft and hydrated, and contains nourishing oils to support the skin’s natural cycle of repair and regeneration. It's a good choice for when seborrheic dermatitis flares up around the hairline, on the chin, back and chest.
Leaving Balmonds Scalp Oil on overnight will soften scaly scalps, 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.