- What is Seborrheic Dermititis?
- Is Seborrheic Dermatitis caused by dry skin?
- How do I control it?
- My natural remedies
If you’re like me and you’ve had to deal with any type of issue that might be visible to others, then you will understand the concept of having anxiety as a constant companion. It can literally sap your energy and turn you into a consummate over-thinker with tattered self-esteem.
Can they see it? I hope they know it’s not contagious. Is that why they won’t come near me? Great, it looks like there’s snow on my shirt. They probably think I have lice. If they only knew the truth.
If that is the internal conversation you find yourself having then it sounds like you may be battling a scalp condition known as Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is an ugly skin and scalp condition that affects more people than you would think. For years I thought that I had severe dandruff and would pack on the grease thinking that it would solve my problem. Guess what? It made it worse! When I was younger, my mother would always ask me why I didn’t grease my scalp.
I tried to tell her that I did every day, but she didn’t believe me because my scalp was constantly dry and flaky. After years of trying to combat this “dandruff” with grease, I realized that what I had was far more serious than dandruff. I had such huge flakes on my scalp it looked like I was trying to grow cornflakes! My hairline was red and bumpy and there were even flakes in my eyebrows and ears.
When I would remove the flakes, hair would come up with it. After having gone through this for years, I decided I’d had enough and sought expert advice. I decided I had to see a dermatologist.
It was at this point that I was diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis. Surprisingly, it is one of the top five diagnoses for African American dermatology patients and it is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects your scalp and other parts of your body. The oiliest areas of your body like your scalp, chest, ears, or forehead can be affected by seborrheic dermatitis.
Another mind-boggling revelation is that the condition doesn’t occur because your skin is dry, rather it occurs because your affected body part is too oily so putting more oil on top of your supposedly “dry” scalp will only aggravate your dermatitis more.
Dermatitis also flares up when you’re stressed or during particular seasons. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for seborrheic dermatitis so once you have the skin condition, you have it for life.
The good news however is that it can be controlled with prescription medications or with natural remedies.
When I was initially diagnosed, I accepted all the creams, lotions, and potions the doctor recommended because I just wanted to get rid of my itchy, red, and irritated scalp for good.
More importantly, I wanted to keep my hair from falling out. Now that I’ve had a few years to do the proper research on the condition, I’ve opted to go a more natural route when I have a flare-up.
Keep in mind, I still use a prescription shampoo to cleanse my scalp because it’s necessary and there’s no getting around it, but I can’t rely solely on the shampoo to combat the condition. Here are some things I’ve learned about my seborrheic dermatitis and how I keep my flare-ups at a minimum with natural remedies.
Coconut oil has been a blessing for me. I use it faithfully every week as a hot oil pre-poo treatment and I put it directly on my scalp every two days. I know that putting oil on the scalp is sort of taboo when it comes to dealing with dermatitis, but it works for me.
I make sure not to put too much on my scalp or use it too often because coconut oil* truly gets absorbed into the scalp and doesn’t just sit on the top layer, it is awesome.
The fatty acids that are in coconut oil* are great for combatting dandruff, so it only makes sense that someone with dermatitis could benefit from it as well.
Tea Tree Oil
Another natural remedy that truly helps my condition is tea tree oil. Tea tree* oil is not for the faint of heart and it isn’t as oily as you think as it’s an essential oil. It has a pungent medicinal fragrance and it’s pretty pricey for the amount that you get. However, it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties in it and since you only use a little at a time, it’s worth it.
This is great because a lot of times, seborrheic dermatitis can turn into a fungal infection along your hairline if left untreated. Tea tree oil* is used for cuts, burns, and even athlete’s foot, this stuff is strong and should be used correctly.
I mix a few drops in with my coconut* oil which I use as a carrier oil to dilute the tea tree oil* during my hot oil treatment. I find that this cools and soothes my scalp. When I rinse my treatment out, I don’t have the itches and I also apply a tiny amount to my eyebrows and my ears.
It’s important to note here that these oils are used a pre-poo treatments so I do in fact rinse them off my scalp during my wash routine. Leaving them on my scalp for long periods would be counter-productive.
Now and then, I will mix raw grade A honey into my deep conditioner*. I deep condition every week and I probably mix the honey in with it every other week. If you have been part of the hair community for a while, by now you know that much of the natural ingredients you may have in your kitchen can be adapted to deliver some type of haircare benefit.
Honey is a wonderful humectant that draws in moisture from the atmosphere to your skin. You will find that many people also battling dermatitis will testify that adding honey to their conditioner seems to be the only thing that offers some relief.
Honey also has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties so it is not surprising that it works for this purpose. It helps keep my scalp itch-free and it makes my hair super soft which is a bonus.
Some people have even claimed that honey completely cured their dermatitis. I’m not sure how true that is since it’s allegedly a condition that cannot be cured but at least we can all agree it really helps with the symptoms.
These are just a few of the natural remedies that you can try to help soothe your poor scalp in addition to going to see a good dermatologist. If you’re embarrassed about discussing it, don’t be!
Nobody’s perfect and a fair few of us have issues with our body that we need help with and it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Seek help so you can at least shed the weight of the anxiety of not knowing what exactly is wrong with you and moving on to a path of healing.
I used to be so embarrassed when I would have red and flakey skin along my hairline and eyebrows, but now I don’t worry about it. I have a good handle on how to control my flare-ups when they happen and I don’t have too many of them anyway.
However, when I do, I don’t apologize for it and you shouldn’t either. I do hope you give these natural remedies a try and see if they will help your situation.