So, I have seborrheic dermatitis, which I've been trying to get rid of for at least a good ten years now. This post finally convinced me to ask this question.
Now, for a little history.
I went no 'poo back in January, and with no 'poo, went the seb derm shampoo that I was using (Head and shoulders one in the dark blue bottle). It was preventing the flaky out breaks, and my scalp/beard wasn't scratchy, but I was still shedding a lot of hair, something that I'm attributing to irritated hair follicles from the seb derm. Within a couple weeks of discontinuing it, my seb derm came back, although this time it seems to be affecting my beard and eyebrows more than before.
First I was trying white distilled vinegar rinses at 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. All that really did was to cause a build-up of what I thought were oils in my hair, that smelled like cured meat when it was wet. Kind of interesting. I then started doing a baking soda then vinegar rinse, which took care of the residue, although the seb derm remained unchanged.
I was poking around with google and managed to read about people curing their seb derm with tea tree oil, and also coconut oil. So I got some tea tree oil, and mixed a couple drops with probably a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil, I applied it topically, let it sit for an hour, rinsed with warm water, baking soda solution, and then vinegar solution. It seems to initially knock down the severity of the seb derm patches, and reduced the itch considerably, but didn't really cause it to disappear fully. I was doing these applications roughly once a week, or sometimes twice a week.
I had someone else massage coconut oil into my scalp once, and it caused a lot of hair-shed. It actually kind of freaked me out a bit, and over the course of the next week, my hair shed was higher than normal. That pretty much scared me away from using coconut oil like that.
Right now I'm in a pretty strong flare up in my beard, which I'm combating with a 1 to 1 mix of tea tree oil and olive oil. As I'm applying this, it doesn't seem to be working. Is this a reaction of my skin to tea tree oil?
Has anyone else successfully dealt with their seb derm? Reduced the rate of hair shed associated with seb derm? What am I doing wrong with tea tree oil (Use a lower concentration on my skin/scalp?)? Anyone know of any good literature regarding seb derm?
I recently reintroduced dairy (a good amount of heavy cream, some cheese, a swig or two of Kefir a day) into my diet, and roughly a week and a half or so after that I've had this more intense beard outbreak. I'm kind of hoping it's not related.
So, I'm still dealing with seb derm, and I've kind of admitted defeat and have gone back to Head and Shoulder's (blue bottle, clinical strength, selenium sulfide). It pretty much took care of the copious amounts of scales on my scalp, although I still have patches around my nose and eyebrows once in a while. I'm shampooing with that every other day, and alternate in "Grandpa's Pine Tar Shampoo" just for fun.
Although for what I did in the past year, was use a baking soda and white vinegar rinse. I added tea tree oil to this primarily for adding a scent to it, as I still think it had no therapeutic value for me. For my washing regime, I would wash my hair twice a week, Tue/Fri, where I would wet my hair, shake up 5g (1tsp?) baking soda in water, massage that into my hair, focusing on the scalp, and then rinse it out. I would then rinse with a dilute white vinegar solution, where I added some vinegar to a half pint bottle, and filled it with water. I would do a final rinse with water to make sure there wasn't that much residual vinegar.
This really didn't work, as I always waited until my hair was dry, then went through with a fine comb to loosen flakes from my scalp and brush them out. What was kind of annoying was that this was right at my hairline on my forehead, so readily visible.
As a note on diet: I eat high-fat lacto-paleo. Typical day is 2lbs of ground beef cooked in a good amount of lard/butter, with 1/2 pint frozen berries and heavy cream, assorted frozen vegetables (broccoli/stir-fry mix). Taking cod liver oil, fish oil, and calcium as supplements.
asked byBristlebeard (2297)
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on January 09, 2013
at 03:31 PM
7 months ago, I started the Paleo diet at the same time as I stopped using shampoo. I also have seborrheic dermatitis. When I started, my scalp was over producing oils (always looked greasy the next day of washing) and it was flaky. My hair was so dry from using salycilic acid and all those other chemical-based products that my dermatologist prescribed. I was also losing clumps of hair. I first started with the baking soda and the apple cider vinegar for washing and rinsing once a week. My oil production normalized after a few weeks but my scalp felt very itchy all the time. So I started using essential oils directly on my scalp but with my hair still being oily (although less than at the beginning), it needed cleaning more often. My next try was Dr. Bronner's tree tea oil shampoo and a combination of Dr. Bronner's hair conditioner with apple cider vinegar. Both diluted. These 2 worked fantastic. I stopped losing hair. My hair is not dry at all. I still have a few itchy spots so I now use the Primitive Soap Company's pine bar of soap. It also has natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties but it is less drying and harsh than the tree tea oil. I also use it for my face. I only wash my hair once a week. I occasionally use a yolk, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice mix to wash my hair too. I will admit that my scalp is not perfect but it feels great after 20 years struggling with this problem. Just like I have taken on not allowing anything artificial in my diet, I don't use any chemicals on my body even for cosmetic reasons. Something that I learned is that you have to reestablish the natural balance in your scalp and that takes time (many many months). You will have to try many things until you find the right one but you will be in control and won't have to depend on artificial products the rest of your life. I don't think the coconut oil will make you lose your hair. Mineral deficiencies and not finding the right cleaner for you scalp will do that. I think the suggestions to alkalize your scalp with applying acv and honey directly sound like a great idea. I will try that too! But so far I've seen great improvements. Never using petroleum-based paraben sulfated shampoo again!
on November 04, 2011
at 12:25 PM
I have seborrheic dermatitis around the nose for about 10 yearr. Now I am using Propolis. You can buy it on a drug store. The propolis from a drug store has a lot of alcohol in it and I wonder if that is whats helping. If you can find 100% propolis from someone who has bees that might be better, I never tried it buy I would, If I could find it. Anyways, this propolis worked better than any other cream I have ever used (hydrocortizone, nizoral, La Roche-Posay, apple cider vinegar and tens of other tries and fail). Wish you all luck. And I believe that the alcohol is what is helping because at the area that I have dermatitis the skin is oily and the alcohol is what dries it out. (or perhaps is the propolis itself, not sure) I don't stop using it. I use it every day, at the beginning even 3-4 times a day. You will notice that it will dry the skin out. But don't worry about that at the beginning. I wish this helps a lot of you because I have experimented a lot, to try to find something that works. Best, Albanian - Guy
on June 02, 2011
at 01:33 PM
What worked great for me is a product called ZNP Bar. It's 2% zinc pyrithione which is stronger than the stuff on the shelves but it's easily ordered by the pharmacy if they don't stock it. I had a terrible problem but this worked wonders and I used it for years. I've stopped using it now and the dermatitis hasn't come back so far. I'm thinking that my diet (high saturated fat including lard, tallow and coconut oil) might have something to do with it but not sure. I still have one ZNP bar left in case it comes back. I should add that the the dermatitis I had was confined to my scalp.
on May 30, 2011
at 08:17 AM
I posted what I am using in that other post you mentioned. I have seborrheic dermatitis pretty darn bad but I have been clear from it for a few years thanks to what I use now, I have added pictures of my face now so that people could see the results.
It was a number of different things that cured me. And I was so bad that I would bleed from my sores.
Everyone has a method that works for them. The method I posted works PERFECT for me.
As you can see below I do not have it at the moment and have not had an outbreak for a very long time.
on May 30, 2011
at 05:04 AM
IIRC Robb Wolf said this type of stuff is sort of a low level skin cancer or at least operates on a similar mechanism. Don't know if that's precisely what I have but dumping grains and legumes back in Feb2010(Paleo + Dairy) yielded no results for me. So I finally removed dairy this past Feb and did notice a pretty large(but not total, plus I have other skin symptoms) reduction of 'lesions' within a month or so. Since IgG antibodies usually subside in 3-6 months, I'll remain hopeful until August.
on May 30, 2011
at 04:34 AM
My adult son has flaky skin which, if I recall correctly, is seborrheic dermatitis (he went to the doc a few years ago and can't remember what the doctor called it).
To treat it I spread raw honey on all the relevant spots. We left it on for 5 minutes (not sure that it's part of the treatment protocol, but he spent the 5 minutes making jokes at the expense of his mother :) ) then washed it off.
It immediately looked better. A few hours later, even better - almost no sign of it. He doesn't do this regularly, but we have repeated it when he comes to visit me and it helps. Don't know if it could cure it once and for all because he hasn't tried using it on any regular basis, but it definitely helps.
on January 28, 2013
at 02:09 AM
Thanks so much! Honey seems to be working, finally... My face is 90% back to normal. I will keep doing the masks often to keep it under control...
I do not use any chemicals on my body whatsoever, so Cetaphil is not an option for me. I appreciate your answer, though.
This disease is a constant nightmare. I got humiliated on a job interview the other day because of my SD. The guy said he would never hire me with this face. I went back home crying.
I wrote my last message out of desperation. I feel much better now even though I still don't have a job.
This world is too cruel sometimes.
I recommend the honey masks and the coconut oil treatment (although I've been using tea tree oil instead since I didn't have the other one).
Good luck to all of you.
on August 08, 2012
at 05:17 PM
I have the condition more then 30 years. Around nose, eyebrows, scalp,chest, ears... (so far)
Usually when it flares up it can be bacterial as well as fungal infection When it flares up what really works for me is combination of antifungal cream (tiokonazol) and tropical steroid (prednisolone) application for 3-4 days.
Meantime regular use of E45 cream as emollient. Keeping the skin clean with soap free washes.
Recently using just olive oil fells better. does not cure. still comes up. I am on gluten free diet, does not seem to solve the problem.
I will try vitaminC+Zink tables. (keeping fingers cross)
on May 30, 2011
at 01:08 AM
In looking around the internet, this site seems to have some good comments from users of their product. But you never know about positive comments on sites that sell products.
Good luck with your search.
on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM
I also have seb derm on my forehead, eyebrows & scalp. It comes and goes. I live in a wetter climate (PacNW) but visit relatives in dry climates (AZ & NV). I noticed on extended trips to visits to said relatives my seb derm will clear up. I've been able to extend the clearing once coming home by applying isopropyl alcohol.
There's an element to seb derm outbeaks that includes microbial infection or irritation. The drying effect of iso alcohol kills the germs and any microscopic parasites like mites. Then I can add back a suitable lotion or emolient (eg, coconut oil) to keep my skin supple.
Another tactic I've had good results with is applying packing tape to larger areas (forehead) or scotch tape to smaller areas (nose folds) to remove excess flakes. I've found this method entirely gentle, effective and cheap! After cleansing in this way, follow with the alcohol and later the lotion. Avoid scraping, scratching or scrubbing the skin as that will just increase redness and irritation.
As for seb derm in hairy areas like scalp and eyebrows, I'd say gently loosen the flakes with a comb (outright removal will be too abrasive) follow with a wash and then the isopropyl alcohol.
on July 18, 2013
at 03:28 PM
Everyone is posting different solutions...Don't really know what to try..:( i am suffering from SD for last 3 years on scalp,
oil builds up on side of nose,chest and ears..but can be negotiated very easily by just wiping it off..
my skin is not red...i have one problem which is flakes and oil on my scalp...but this is very bad..
my hair shed a lot due to this..whole scalp area is affected by it..
it gets very bad when i sweat, for me, whenever i sweat it really gets very bad... i live in a hot country..so its a constant problem for me, i haven't played any sport/camping/trip for 3 years due to this because i don't want to spend my next week just itching and doing nothing.
Treatment i am trying:
ACV mixed with equal part of warm water and let it sit on scalp for around 30-45 min.. and wash it off with shampoo(i use ketoconazole). i don't know using ketoconazole has side effects or not..but i can't help without using it..
some days..i use tea tree oil mixed with coconut oil and let it sit for around 1 hr and wash it off.
Also i eat multivitamin/mineral tablets, i also drink amla juice, skip any dairy product..also avoid any kind of fast food(pizza etc)..
i don't know what else to do..i have recently read about flax seed(for omega-3 fatty acid)..i will also give it a try..
All this solution just about help me if i somehow avoid excessive sweating(very difficult in hot country)..flakes come back daily...
All these solutions mentioned above help me in clearing the flakes but it is temporary..it comes back daily..
so its a daily struggle..
Sometimes when i get out of patience, i just get my head shaved..best solution i have found so far..:D
on March 01, 2013
at 04:50 PM
My SD flares up when I eat saturated fats. The link is so clear now. I have a severe case of it, and can only control it with diet. When I eliminate dairy and animal fats, the SD goes away. Completely. Topicals have controlled the symptoms to some extent, but the diet is the cause of the problem, and the cure to the problem in my case.
on January 26, 2013
at 12:48 AM
Nothing works well on my scalp, but for sd on the face try this- it worked for me. Do these steps EXACTLY!!!!! 1. splash face 8-10 times with warm water. 2. Use cetaphil BAR soap (not the liquid) for SENSITIVE skin and a washcloth and rub gently all over face. 3. Rinse off soap with warm water, then rinse 8-10 times with cool water. 4. Leave face 100% wet and put ONE drop of jojoba oil in your hands and rub them together and then smooth over your face. 5. LET FACE AIR DRY Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of tap water (not bottled) a day. Good luck!
on January 24, 2013
at 12:47 AM
I am doing the raw honey mask treatment with no results yet, after two weeks. I've suffered this disease for 20 years. It disappeared for quite some time (about two years) and then came back even stronger. I'm exhausted. I've tried it all.
I have been losing too much hair. It's the first time that I can't get rid of the SD on my face and it's been two months of constant flare-up.
I am closer than ever to putting an end to my life.
on October 15, 2012
at 02:36 AM
Cleanser and moisturizer with salycilic acid. Alpha Hydroxy and AVEDA Acne relief lotion are what I use.
on April 15, 2012
at 09:35 AM
My daughter had it a few years back, I treated it using a good quality apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg's. I used cotton wool balls soaked in the vinegar, then went over her whole scalp with it till every part had been soaked in it. Left it on for a hour or so then shampooed it out. I did this 3 to 4 times a week for about two to three weeks. Totally cleared it up, great to take internally also. Helps to alkalise the body.
on November 04, 2011
at 12:33 PM
I have scalp psoriasis and have just found this http://www.proz92.com/psoriasis/testimonials/ it's a bit pricey but actually seems to be working! It claims to CURE the psoriasis (and other skin conditions) not just treat the symptoms, so far so good, I shall keep you informed. Check the website out though, this seems like the real deal. Good luck.
on September 15, 2011
at 01:32 AM
Anyone tried GSE for sub derm? If it's a bacterial problem I've heard that GSE is great.
In general my sub derm has been great with no-poo, though with travelling I've had to do bs/acv washes more and it doesn't seem to like that. It doesn't like it after regular shampoo (drying I suppose) but it doesn't like going too long without washing either (more bacterial growth). I put the acv directly on my affected area.
on June 02, 2011
at 02:21 PM
for me selenium-disulfide is what really works (selsun brand in most countries - there's also a 2.5% version which is prescription in the US, but not in Canada and Europe). don't see why that should be worse than any of the alternatives, never gave me any problems. cutting starch/grains and fixing the gut with probiotics also helped. based on that i'd guess that seb.derm. is partially caused by an auto-immune reaction related to funghi or bacteria, not necessarily just at the site of inflammation.