View Full Version : Question for those with seborrheic dermatitis

March 15th, 2009, 02:16 PM
I'm pretty certain that I have this condition on my scalp, face, and chest. I've had the symptoms for a year or so, but I never was able to figure out what it was... I thought it was just me. :o My scalp gets itchy, oily, flaky and smelly the day after I wash it. It doesn't look that bad, but it's so stinky and uncomfortable!

Anyway, I wondered if those of you with seborrheic dermatitis would share your routines and any remedies you may have come up with. I've tried washing every day instead of every other day, and it seems to help. I hate putting my hair through that kind of damage, but I can't figure out any other way to deal with it.

Also, product recommendations would be great.

All suggestions/advice are very much appreciated! :)


Peggy E.
March 15th, 2009, 04:30 PM
I have this, too, and it's always worse in the winter. It also seems to be getting worse every year.

I have a prescription ointment for my face and areas of breakout on my skin, but don't use it on my hair - simply not cost effective, as the stuff is expensive and would be hard to use on my scalp, with all this hair in the way....

The most effective treatment I've found for my scalp has been a vinegar/water mix, which completely saturates my entire scalp, allowed to sit for a few minutes, then is rinsed out. This has been great for dealing with those crusty/itchy/flaking areas it causes on the scalp.

Hope you find something to help - this is awful to have to fight. Good luck!

March 15th, 2009, 04:36 PM
We are discussing this in many threads. I recommend Weledas Baby Wind Calendula cream~6$. It has cleared out my sd in my face and ears in three days:)

March 15th, 2009, 07:28 PM
We are discussing this in many threads. I recommend Weledas Baby Wind Calendula cream~6$. It has cleared out my sd in my face and ears in three days:)

Hi, I think my SO suffers from this as well, he has some ointment for his face and uses Nizoral shampoo for his scalp, but I don't think it helps, it just improves his condition but it never lasts clear for more than a couple of days.
I was thinking of suggesting him that Weleda cream you mention, but can't find it with that exact name, is it this one?

Weleda Baby - Calendula Weather Protection Cream 30ml

March 15th, 2009, 11:24 PM
For the sd on my scalp the only thing that works is a prescription corticosteroid foam called Luxiq. I also have to wash more frequently than I'd like (twice per week or so) but it controls the itching which an overly oily scalp exacerbates.

March 16th, 2009, 12:16 AM
For itchy dry skin, CeraVe is very nice. You can get it at CVS or maybe Walgreens. I started using it because my gf's derm told her to use it for her eczema.

If your problem is caused by a fungus, prescription antifungals can be really helpful.

March 17th, 2009, 04:14 AM
Mine was terrible when I first started natural hair care. Washing with Rhassoul (Moroccan clay) really helped at first, but it dried out my hair. Then I moved to regular SMTs, which, along with dietary changes and general better care, seem to have cured it. I do still get occasional eczema, but not as much as I used to.

Now I shampoo with sulfates a couple of times a month, do regular SMTs (once a month minimum) and feel like I have cured it. Washing less, and no more chemical treatments, seem to help.

March 17th, 2009, 05:35 AM
I've suffered with this since my teens! On my scalp, neck and face. Itchy flakes everywhere with redness and tightness. Worst in winter/spring with a slight improvement summer/fall. So embarassing and uncomfortable. Tried everything, including a dermatologist, many times! Only since I began my journey back to long hair, after many new styles and lengths, did my symptoms subside. What helped the most: switching to non-sulfate, no cones, natural shampoos and conditioners; training my scalp to tolerate washing only once per week; using only olive oil and water to cleanse my face; using mineral make-up; using as few products on my face/scalp as possible. With this type of routine, my itching and symptoms are minimal.

March 17th, 2009, 08:35 AM
I also have suffered since my teenage years, the only thing that has helped me, I have it mainly on my scalp and sometime the sides by my ears, has been a prescription called clobetasol gel. It is a steroid gel that you apply at night and wash out in the morning or vice versa. It is prescription only. I cannot use it right now since I am breatsfeeding so I am going to go back to apple cider vinegar rinses, this does help and some tea tree oil at night. Good luck!

March 17th, 2009, 08:45 AM
Ive had itchiness, just on my scalp, for a long time. Im currently trying to wash just my scalp three times a week with baking soda then doing a tea tree, lavender and vinegar rinse. Well see. Nothing Ive tried has worked so far, but the tee tree at least seems to speed healing with the little red scabs and the lavender over powers the vinegar smell, which my hubby hates. LOL. Now if I can just stop scratching it! So hard to do when it itches so badly.

We should start a support group for this. What do you guys think? :eyebrows:

March 17th, 2009, 10:28 AM
I wanted to clarify that honey has helped both my SD and eczema immensely - SMTs, honey face masks, honey scalp scrubs. Honey is a humectant and antibacterial, and since I'd been using it for years before LHC, it made sense to use it for scalp and skin.

OCM (the oil cleansing method) has also mostly cured my facial and hand eczema, too.

Taking Omegas (fish oil) also helps a lot.

December 15th, 2010, 05:26 PM
Hi, I have had problems with SD since I was 13 years. I have it in my hair and behind the years. My doctor said me that I can have problems in a pool, if is rainy weather and if I use perfumed shampoo from drugstore.

All its true. I cant find the right shampoo. Its itchy and I must scratch and peeling skin fall down on my shoulders. When I was younger I haircuted and it didnt help :(

December 15th, 2010, 07:42 PM
I suffer from this too, and it gets worse in the winter. My derm put me on Sebcur shampoo (non-prescription salicylic acid shampoo, but you usually have to ask the pharmacist for it). It helps with the oil, itchiness and flaking... but doesn't completely get rid of the smell.

Would love to hear what other people have tried to manage this.

December 15th, 2010, 10:02 PM
I have SD on my face, scalp, ears and nape near the hairline. Responses to different treatments seems to vary quite a bit, so if there's something that doesn't work for you, move on to something else and keep trying. Here's what has worked for me.

Honey is my miracle for areas other than the scalp. I used a single honey mask, and have been washing with honey since. The SD on my face, ears, and nape is completely under control. For more information and a scientific study using honey as a treatment, see this thread: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=59649. Also, coconut oil is great for stopping a flare-up in its tracks.

I have not been successful in getting honey to work on my scalp. I think the problem is getting it applied well. Mixing it with a non-sulfate shampoo sounds like it might be worth a try. Maybe I'll try that next. Conditioner on my scalp is a sure trigger for a flare-up, so I don't think an SMT would help me.

Coconut oil as a pre-wash scalp treatment is great for gently loosening the scales. Ketoconazole (Nizoral) and selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue, Head and Shoulders Intensive Treatment) have been shown to be the most effective over-the-counter medications for SD. Nizoral did not work for me, but works for many others. Selsun Blue worked well, but I had to wash my hair every other day. I now use a prescription shampoo with ciclopirox. I only need to use it once a week to keep the SD on my scalp under control, and I no longer need to use coconut oil on my scalp. I'd like to move away from the drug, but I haven't found anything that lets me do that, yet.

I wish you luck in finding a routine that works for you. I recommend you see a dermatologist to expand your treatment options.

December 15th, 2010, 10:39 PM
I have suffered from this since my teenage years, and have had bad flares-stress and weather and diet can affect SD.

For me, I use head and shoulders--it's saved me from the itching, as well as that horrific smell---SD is a fungus that lives below the scalp. This is why you have to leave the product on your scalp to sink in. For bad cases, I used Nizoral, but it is NOT safe for color treated hair. Head and Shoulders is.

I'm currently using A/G brand dandruff shampoo from the beauty supply outlet, but I think that is a canadian brand. It's amazing!! The smell is very nice and keeps hair looking shiny/soft/silky.

Nizoral is horrid in regards to odor, and can also cause itchy as that's the medication that's working to kill the fungus, but it DOES work.

If those don't help, you need to get a prescription shampoo from your doctor.

December 16th, 2010, 07:13 AM
Nizoral is the only thing that works for me. Starts to clear it up in one to two washes. For me, it very quickly helps with itching. Do follow the instructions to the T, because it makes all the difference. (First wash with another shampoo as this loosens scales and clears your scalp, rinse well, then apply 2 small puddles of Nizoral shampoo, gently massage in, leave on for 5 minutes, rinse, then apply conditioner - not before so no CWC.)

December 16th, 2010, 10:40 AM
I've suffered this for years. Here firstly is what didn't work for me, but has worked for others:

1. coconut oil
2. vinegar
3. tea tree oil

Here are the best things I've found:

1. Vegetable glycerine, put on the skin/scalp neat
2. Gluten free (or low gluten at least) diet. Dairy can be a problem to me too.
3. Fish oil (internally)
4. Washing as often as the scalp needs it, whether my hair needs it or not.

heidi w.
December 16th, 2010, 12:17 PM
I've had SD for a long time.
These are some out-loud quick thoughts that may or may not be helpful.

Cutting hair length has nothingto do with scalp health. It might make the need to wash more frequently easier, but really it's just not necessary.

Be SURE that each time you wash your hair you really clean your detangling combs and brushes. One CAN re-introduce a bad outbreak back to scalp skin via these tools. I wash my comb every single time, without fail. I use a bit of my shampoo warm water and a nail scrub brush to ensure the sides of the teeth and in between that comb is CLEAN.

To loosen scales that can clump up and dry in this oily residue on the scalp skin I highly recommend what's known as Scritching by a long hair care professional.

Use a fine tooth comb. I buy from a supplier a horn comb that is quite small, kind of the size of a doll comb for a large doll.....The teeth are very close together.

Then I draw all my hair back, away from the face, all in the same direction.

Then starting one side of my center part, starting at the hairline in front, move towards the back using small back&forth motions (like scratching almost), holding the comb at a near 45 degree angle (careful not to overly dig into the scalp skin), and loosen the scaliness or almost dandruffy bits. I even do my forehead a bit. I really focus behind the ears, flipping my ear tip down, placing the comb almost upside down and flip the comb to go into the hair. The back I divide the hair in half, and from the hairline go from the center back towards the ears at a slight downward angle.

This will not tangle your hair nor harm your hair yet it makes a hair wash way more successful. For that oiliness, you may have to apply shampoo a minimum of 2 times....maybe 3 or 4 applications, in ever smaller dots of shampoo. The second or third application, allow the shampoo to sit on the hair to really help lift the flakes and dead hair cells.

For almost a decade my only routine was to wash with a shampoo that had SLS in it and then ACV rinse, yet need to do so again about 2-3 days later. The help didn't last long. My itchiness was quite intense and only for a short duration did the most recent shampooing helped. I had to shop intensely for SLS-free shampoo. I later switched to lemon juice which seemed to aggravate my condition less. I used NIZORAL prescription strength shampoo, with the best results from this shampoo. The Over The Counter version had less efficacy. I always received compliments from the smell. I tried all kinds of products. Pretty much nothing has been successful, but finally I went with a brand outside the US and this supplier has a conditioner that does the trick for me, to the point I can almost go a week without washing.

I also had to Baking Soda wash a bit more than I might like, at least once per quarter (in a year) because the buildup was more intense. Nizoral shampoo does leave the hair a tad oilier faster.

Unfortunately, even in PMs I'm not allowed to say who my supplier is according to LHC regulations. But it has worked.

I will also add it's really important to keep that pillowcase clean too. That can assist with spreading to the face more. I find my face gets more scaly the longer I go without hair washing.

I also found that I got a better clean factor when I increased the water temperature for a hair wash.

I also cannot condition scalp skin, nor oil. It just makes it worse. Some have had some success with Tea Tree Oil, but I have heard some declare that using too much increased hair loss. This condition can create more hair loss for some, depending on degree. Mine is pretty serious.

It's never gone away, but I've managed the symptoms more successfully with about 2 hair washes per week (one scalp, one full length); the new products I have had success with; and definitely scritching, and keeping those hair tools really clean.

Hope this is helpful. Note that there are different medicine percents in Nizoral depending if you have prescription strength or not.

heidi w.

heidi w.
December 16th, 2010, 12:20 PM
I have been told that going gluten free would help, reducing sugar would help....I tried gluten free and it just never worked. It's too hard to find products; I found finally some gluten-free flour and cooked with it, particularly baked, and hated the outcome. It was just plain nasty. (I made banana bread.)

PLUS whenever my income dips, as in right now being on unemployment, I just can't afford the upkeep of this kind of diet. I have reduced sugar intake.

I think I have rosacea too.....reddish skin, this kind of surface outbreak, bumpiness that never quite goes away.

I will agree that eating a lot of veggies helped a bit with the facial skin. Mostly, for me, it's to keep everything on my skin clean.

heidi w.

December 16th, 2010, 01:55 PM
Note that there are different medicine percents in Nizoral depending if you have prescription strength or not.

Good that you pointed that out, Heidi!

I just discovered there is a difference in the US between prescription strength (2%) and over the counter Nizoral (1%). Where I live, we only have the 2% version and it is over the counter, so in my post I was talking about my experiences with Nizoral 2%.

heidi w.
December 16th, 2010, 01:57 PM
Good that you pointed that out, Heidi!

I just discovered there is a difference in the US between prescription strength (2%) and over the counter Nizoral (1%). Where I live, we only have the 2% version and it is over the counter, so in my post I was talking about my experiences with Nizoral 2%.

IN future I will note that. Thanks for sharing!
heidi w.

December 16th, 2010, 04:01 PM
We are discussing this in many threads. I recommend Weledas Baby Wind Calendula cream~6$. It has cleared out my sd in my face and ears in three days:)

Thanks! I have to try this. SD on my eyebrows is very annoying (on my scalp and ears too, but less visible)

I tried coconut oil, my scalp is less itchy for a couple of days.. ACV rinses don't help my scalp at all. I always had SD and always had a weak immunity system, so I guess the fungus will always come back. I tried a shampoo for oily scalp and SD, it helps, but my scalp becomes very oily faster, it's costly, it contains SLS and my hair doesn't like it. It says ''Perform a first washing and rinsing, renew the application, letting 3 minutes and then rinse toroughly''. So I was CWCWC, it takes so much time and condish!

How is your health in general?

December 16th, 2010, 05:15 PM
Thank you for this thread. This is what I have! I had no idea what it was. I have flare ups now and then just on the sides of my nose and just chalked it some sort of reaction to my soap or lotion. But it has come back this time with a vengeance. Used to be just a little on my nose. This time around it is on my entire nose, cheeks, forehead and my chin! I have been doing some research and am going to try a yogurt mask in addition to the ACV diluted and applied topically. Interestingly my scalp is not acting up. Could it be the catnip? Hmmm. More research. More testing.

December 16th, 2010, 05:42 PM
I don't know if you've heard of this yet but here it is: Treating seborrheic dermatitis with raw honey and virgin coconut oil. (http://www.rosaceagroup.org/The_Rosacea_Forum/showthread.php?20789-Seb-derm-Treating-seborrheic-dermatitis-with-raw-honey-and-virgin-coconut-oil.)

December 16th, 2010, 07:56 PM
I don't have dermatitis or eczema so don't have personal experiences to share.

However, I've used Chagrin Valley soap (http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com) for five years now and see that in the descriptions, many of the different soaps have ingredients that are thought to treat these conditions.

It seems expensive to pay seven bucks for a bar of soap but if you wet hands, lather up with the bar, and keep the bar out of water, it lasts for months. In fact, some of them last so long it gets boring!

If you click on the various product categories and then do a search for eczema you'll find the different soaps, salves and such that have ingredients that may treat these conditions.

One thought--for anyone who is allergic to latex, you may also react to shea butter.

Something I like about Chagrin Valley Soaps is supporting a small business run by a knowledgeable and reputable person. Service has always been excellent.

December 16th, 2010, 08:22 PM
Daily (or near-daily) CO-washing with a good scalp scrub (pads of fingers, not fingernails!) combined with ACV rinses has helped me tremendously. I've gone from several scabs per week to 1-2 scabs per month! I think that coconut oil helps me, too.