Seborrheic Dermatitis got its name from the sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum on your body. Sebum prevents infections and looks after the flexibility and moisture of your skin. However, as the saying goes, too much of anything is wrong. The same applies to such a case. When due to multiple reasons, excess of sebum secretion may have an inflammatory reaction resulting in a red, itchy, flaky skin condition called Seborrheic Dermatitis.
It is quite common and can affect a person of any age and at any time. It is a long-term recurring eczema that is easy to control through self-care or clinical treatment.
The forehead, eyelids, eyelashes, beard, laugh lines, chin, and cheeks are the most commonly affected areas.
According to the National Eczema Association, there is no one cause for Seborrheic Dermatitis yet, but some possible contributors could be
● Medical conditions
You may be wondering if there are perse possible causes, are there various treatments as well?
YES! Seborrhea is so common that it has been easy to identify medical treatments that work, and their level of efficacy has been clocked. Seborrheic dermatitis is 87.7% prevalent in and around the face area. Recurrence of the situation is possible even after long term clinical therapy, so it requires a lifetime commitment.
Some of the well known seborrheic dermatitis treatment focus on clearance or possible reduction of the symptoms like redness, itching, flares, and scaling.
Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis on the face
#1 Antifungal Treatments
Antifungals are the first steps to seborrheic dermatitis treatment used either on its own or in conjunction with other remedies. According to studies by NCBI, antifungals like ciclopirox and ‘azoles’ such as ketoconazole, bifonazole, itraconazole have the same effect as steroids in its treatment but with a considerably lower risk of side effects.
How does it work? Antifungals interact with the membrane of microorganisms and prevent further growth.
How to use it? Topical antifungal creams can be directly applied to the skin. Antifungals can also be consumed orally. Studies have concluded that pills have a good efficacy level than topical treatments in severe cases.
Topical steroids such as corticosteroids are used in severe cases of active flaring. They show rapid improvement within 1-4 weeks but may have some side effects such as skin atrophy, so you must use them for the shortest time possible. According to NCBI, some daily use corticosteroids are Hydrocortisone, Desonide, Fluocinolone, and Betamethasone disproportionate.
How does it work? Corticosteroids stimulate hormones to reduce inflammation and helps repair the tissues.
How to use it? They come as lotions, creams, and ointments for direct application.
#3 Skin barrier creams
Changes in the composition of the outer layer of the epidermis may make the skin barrier permeable and prone to bacteria and infections. There is yeast-like Malassezia globosa that destroys the wall and eats away the oil, resulting in flaky and itchy skin. Some skin barrier creams include glycerol, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil that restores the barrier and keeps it moisturized.
How does it work? Skin barrier creams act as a physical barrier from contaminating agents. It keeps the integrity of the barrier and prevents water depletion in the skin to maintain moisture.
How to use it? Directly apply on the skin.
Antihistamines are oral medications that help in reducing itching and flares. Diphenhydramine and loratadine are well known oral antihistamines.
How do they work? Antihistamines work against the histamines in the body that are responsible for symptoms like itching, redness, and flares.
How to use it? They are available for oral consumption as capsules, chewable tablets, and syrups.
Seborrheic dermatitis is usually characterized by scaly or flaky skin formation. Gently removing the scales by using coal tar, sulfur, or salicylic acid can help reduce the symptoms.
How does it work? Keratolytics soften the skin by promoting the shedding of the hoarse upper layer and allows medications to work better. They also reduce cell formation and sebum secretion.
How to use it? Gently rub the infected area and clean it.
SD patients may also opt for phototherapy in which the skin is exposed to narrowband ultraviolet light.
How does it work? It causes the skin to produce vitamin D that promotes skin repair and reduces itching and inflammation. Patients may also opt for a low dose of oral isotretinoin therapy, which is a type of vitamin A that helps in speeding up the renewal process of the skin.
How does it work? Isotretinoin reduces the size of the sebum glands and sebum secretion.
You can use olive oil or mineral oil to remove flaky skin gently. There is also the option of fish oil supplements. According to the Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Centre, fish oil intake may reduce the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Aloe vera is the most common home remedy for skin. SD patients often find relief from itching and flares by using aloe vera gel.
You may adopt the following preventive measures for a quality life:
● Set up a good skincare routine with daily use antifungal creams, moisturizers, and face wash.
● Wash the affected area regularly.
● Avoid products that may include alcohol.
● Avoid hot baths.
● Use mild cleansing agents like baby shampoo for sensitive areas like the eyelids.
● Keep your skin moisturized.
● Wear clothes made of natural fiber that provide you with good circulation.
● Spend more time under the sun.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is a lifelong condition that will come and go over time. However, recent medical advancements and affordable home remedies have made SD quite manageable. Make sure to follow the treatment mentioned above methods to get rid of seborrheic dermatitis from your facial area and boost your confidence!