Your scalp, of course, is simply skin.
Anything that helps your skin will help your scalp.
At first, I thought I had dandruff.
Then I started noticing embarrassing flakes and dreaded shoulder snow.
But the plight of my tricky condition didn’t end there.
It began to spread, moving from my scalp to my hairline, then to my nose and eyebrows.
My skin became excessively oily, inflamed and itchy.
It also became more than just a physiological condition and began affecting my mental health.
Fortunately, with a lot of trial and error, I was able to get my seborrhoeic dermatitis under control.
If you, like me, have been suffering and are looking for answers, I hope this article gives you some light at the end of the tunnel.
Because I am living proof that it is possible to cure this condition.
But first, some background:
What Exactly is Seborrhoeic Dermatitis?
Seborrhoeic dermatitis, also spelt as seborrheic dermatitis, is also referred to as “Sebo”, “adult cradle cap”, or “seborrhoeic eczema”. (1)
It can be challenging to deal with as it takes on many forms; a scaly scalp with red patches, yellow crusting, and flaking around the eyebrows and the central panel of the face.
It is a chronic skin condition that comes and goes and needs a multi-dimensional treatment approach to reduce the number of flare-ups.
Malassezia species is a type of yeast which inhabit the skin of around 90% of adults without causing any harm. (2)
However, in some people, this yeast suppresses their body’s immune response, causing skin disorders such as seborrhoeic dermatitis.
If you have combination or oily skin, this yeast loves an oil-rich environment which can cause havoc on your scalp and skin.
What will it look like on my skin?
It’s more than just dandruff; the flakes are thicker, sometimes yellow, and clustered, spreading to other areas on your face, which may become very inflamed and irritated.
Like me, you may also see an increase in severity over time.
Facial seborrhoeic dermatitis is also not uncommon; oily scaling can be found in areas rich in sebaceous glands, such as the nose, eyebrows and folds of skin on your body. (3)
This was certainly the case with me; it was in the folds around my nose, upper lip, eyelids and eyebrows, and even my upper chest.
This affected my well-being and mood; I became very depressed, which I had trouble overcoming until I got the condition under control.
What Does it Look Like on my skin?
- flaky eyebrows and thinning of eyebrow hair
- a rash around the lower part of your face
- flaking or a rash in or around your ears
- scaly, plaques in the skin fold around your nose
- flaky, inflamed patches and red pimples on your hairline
- hair follicles can become inflamed and irritated
- scaly red eyelids, which is a condition known as blepharitis
- it can occur on the body, inflamed armpits, under the breasts, groin creases and buttocks
If you’re experiencing any of these conditions, you could also suffer seborrheic dermatitis.
What is Triggering my Condition?
What was typical with me was a pattern of flaring and clearing.
Malassezia usually lives on your skin’s surface harmlessly. Still, several predisposing factors such as oily skin, hormone imbalance, humidity, sweating, acne, and the treatment of antibiotics are aggravating factors.
When cortisol, the stress hormone, rises, inflammation is triggered, causing an overproduction of oil in the skin, creating a breeding ground for the yeast to flourish.
The oil or sebum produced by the sebaceous glands is attached to hair follicles and absorbed into the flakes, making them sticky and oily and binding them together. To overcome this is a vicious cycle.
This was undoubtedly the main driver behind my seborrheic dermatitis; I was going through a very stressful time, which seemed to be causing the cycle of flare-ups.
Don’t Get Confused with Other Skin Conditions.
When treating seborrhoeic dermatitis, it is essential not to get confused with other conditions.
I recommend going to see a dermatologist who will give you a correct diagnosis, simply because it can present like either skin conditions:
Psoriasis. This condition is evident by silvery-white scales and red patches on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. (3)
Eczema: This is a complicated skin condition that becomes red and itchy when inflamed
Seborrhoeic dermatitis can be very difficult to deal with as it can take many forms.
Excessively oily patches on the scalp and face, inflammation, crusting and irritation are all key indications you may be suffering from this condition.
A question I am asked a lot is whether it possible to treat this condition permanently? Fortunately, there is hope.
I am proof that it is possible to get your seborrhoeic facial dermatitis under control.
What helped me was taking a two-pronged approach:
- I used an over-the-counter antifungal seborrheic dermatitis to lower the yeast levels, which helped to cut off their fuel supply
- I also introduced an anti-inflammatory skincare routine to calm and soothe my skin.
It is essential to mention that seborrheic dermatitis treatment does require an individual approach.
I found that tweaking my treatment plan was vital to getting my condition under control.
Join me in the following article, where I detail what I believe were the critical needle movers getting my condition under control.