Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Cure for Seborrheic Dermatitis?

I have had this scalp condition, seborrheic dermatitis, for quite a few years now. It is often confused with, and even diagnosed as, psoriasis. I get scaly patches and scabby spots on my scalp, behind my ears, and even under my eyebrows. They are itchy and annoying - and embarrassing! If I would scratch my head there would be a shower of dry, white flakes falling from my hair onto my shoulders. I used to get them on my cheeks, as well, but they cleared up after a while. Finally, last year I started trying to figure out why I had these patches. I had tried prescription meds. They worked for a time, but when I would stop using them, the scaly stuff would always come back. That was when I realized that all the medication was doing was covering the symptoms, not curing the problem. I tried Head and Shoulders, T-gel and various other hopeful shampoos that smell like disgusting tar, trying to cure myself of this condition. To no avail.

So last year I started to research this condition, hoping to find out what causes is and if there is a natural cure.
It can be caused by hormones or by yeast that grows in hairy-oily areas of the body. It is also common in people with suppressed immune systems and in people who are taking, or have taken many, antibiotics. Another cause of seborrheic dermatitis? It is linked to intestinal problems. How are they related? Both conditions can be caused by a lack of biotin. Yet others believe that bad ingredients in commercial (and even in most that claim to be "natural") shampoos and conditioner can cause this scalp issue.

What ingredients are they? Well, this is a whole 'nuther topic for me. I have a passion for making soaps and bath and body supplies that are "bad stuff free". The bad ingredients in hair products, bath products, soaps, lotions, deoderants and more include: Sodium Laurel Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Ethyparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, formaldahyde and more toxic substances. (This is a bit off-topic, but run and check your bath and body supplies - you'd be suprised at the garbage commercial companies but in their products. And if you are concerned about your family, check out So, I checked my shampoo and conditioner. Bad, bad, bad. Need I say more?

I was convinced that if I only switched my shampoo and conditioner to the fancy organic stuff, my scalp would clear up instantly! It didn't. I was disappointed. But I liked how the hair products made my hair and scalp feel, so I kept buying them - plus I wasn't about to go back to the bad stuff! A few weeks ago I bought some Suave shampoo and conditioner. We were really short on funds and I needed shampoo badly. So I bought some and promised myself I would get my organic as soon as I could. I was pleased with the grapefruity smell and my hair felt nice and smooth when it was dry... for a couple of hours. Within 2-3 hours of drying, my hair next to my head started to look greasy. ALREADY??? And my seborrheic patches started to itch like crazy. Over the next day they started to get all weepy - and bloody. I know, it's gross. Sorry. I didn't connect the two right away. But the next time I washed my hair - same reaction. My dermatitis was getting worse. It had been stable since I started using the organic Tea Tree shampoo, but now it was worse. So I started using the organic shampoo again and after the FIRST TIME I USED IT my scalp and hair was instantly better. No itching, no weeping, no bloody scabs. Huh. There really was something to all of this hype about bad ingredients.

But how do I get the dermatitis to actually GO AWAY?? I had read in a couple of different places that Listerine gets rid of scalp problems. Listerine? No way. Then I got an email from a guy in one of my yahoo groups who told me that it had worked for him personally. So I decided to try it. Folks, if you use this home remedy, please buy the original yellow Listerine, not mint. I can't guarantee how that one will turn out! I thought about it - if Listerine kills germs and bacteria in your mouth, why not on your scalp! Some people believe it is a fungal infection, anyway.

So I buy the bottle of Listerine (actually, the knock-off brand - all the ingredients are exactly the same and the same percentages). I brought it home and started pouring capfuls and slowly and methodically drizzling it on my scalp. Took cotton balls and soaked the patchy skin behind my ears. I made sure my head was good and soaked. Not the hair - it's the scalp that matters. Then I massaged my scalp with my fingertips to make sure it was all in the skin and that I had gotten my whole head (yes, my whole head was full of fabulous patchiness). Then I threw my hair up in a ponytail and let it soak in. Others had said 15 minutes. But I wasn't taking chances. I left it on for over an hour. Then I washed and conditioned as usual (with organic shampoo).

My hair hasn't felt this soft and silky and healthy in years! Normally my hair is greasy by the second day after washing, but this time I let it go just to see. It wasn't greasy until DAY 4! And the best part? No itching and a lot less scaly patches. My scalp feels almost normal. But I decided to keep using the Listerine until it is totally gone. I used it again yesterday and today it is even better than before.

So - here's to the skeptics who think that the only thing that fixes medical issues is prescriptions for toxic meds. HA HA!!! I used a home remedy instead. LISTERINE.


Anonymous said...

Sodium laureth sulfate free shampoo and cold water. To simple? After 20 years of suffering I found this out by mistake after relocating to nevada (Dry Climate) from Florida (Humid Climate) Try it now after 2 to 4 weeks you'll be cured.

seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp said...

Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition that makes the skin look greasy, scaly and flaky. It is a scalp condition wherein it consists of loose white flakes that fall off and may be noticed on the shoulders, back or scalp. Sometimes the flakes may be yellowish in color. In adolescents and adults, seborrheic dermatitis is commonly called "dandruff." To remove this dandruff and to avoid it from coming back, a good herbal dandruff shampoo is recommended and was proven to eliminate the disease.

Joy said...

Its a plain fact that sodium laureth sulfate harms the scalp! I won't even go to methylparabens, ethylparabens, butlyparabens etc., and we only have to notice many companies are going to the expense of marking their products 'paraben-free' to understand that finally they themselves recognize the harm these chemicals do to us. What is disgusting is that even baby shampoos and products contain harmful substances! Check them out! My friend and I both suffer from itchy scalps, nasty patches in our eyebrows, which tend to be bushy, and around the backs of our ears. Scratching starts off our days! It's horrible and feels like we are unclean. I am going to try LISTERINE today and if we can rinse out mouths with it then it cannot harm our exteriors. I am grateful for this Blog and congratulate this young lady for bringing this to our attention. Mayday

Erin said...

I have had seborrheic dermatitis for 3 years, and 2 years on my scalp. My scalp always itches, bleeds, and hurts very badly. I can't focus in school due to the compulsive itching of my head.
I have used a ketoconozale shampoo and a foam for a couple years. A few months ago, the shampoo stopped being effective and my insurance doesn't cover the foam anymore (which is around $300.) My dermatitis has spread to my forehead. I have been looking for a remedy for some time now, and your listerene cure might just work! I just applied it to my spots and hoping for the best.
Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for article. I was diagnosed with this condition. However, I have dry patches along with soreness and redness. Did you have these problems along with others you mentioned?


Anonymous said...

Ive been diagnosed with sebhorreic dermatitis and have tried Listerine as well. The high alcohol content dried out my hair and reduced the flaking and scabbing but returned in a few days.

Marjorie said...

Hi I have been diagnosed with Seborrheic Dermatitis.I have very red itchy sore patches all over my body. The worst patch is on my neck and breast. They are 'burns' due to the excessive, greasy flakes from my scalp.
Thank you so much for sharing that Sarah,tried the Listerine yesterday and today.I also bought Dr Organic tea tree shampoo and used that.It has reduced the flakes considerably and I actually slept all night!!I was using Nizoral for weeks and it has been getting worse.Fingers crossed it keeps improving. Catty.

Samantha said...

Thank you for your advice, I am going to give the Listerine a try. I have been suffering from this condition for more than 11 years and struggling to find a solution.

Like you, I noticed my scalp improves by using sulfate-free shampoos. It would improve but not go away and would aggravate and come back once I switch back to sulfate shampoos.

I am hopeful now that the Listerine treatment will help me to get rid of this problem once and for all.

Thank you again.

KoopaTroopa said...

I too have been suffering from this condition and have tried everything exactly as the blogger mentions in the article. As a last resort I tried Listerine and although it seemed to somewhat help, it seemed messy and too "strong" for my head.

I have discovered this shampoo:

It is my saviour!! I used it every other day, and within a month my scalp was free of the nasty scaly flakes I had. I'm so happy I found it, I am finally flake-free!

Hope this can help you guys too :)

Anonymous said...

I have had a patch in my nose crease for the last 3 months. It started out as a pimple that got infected. The doxycycline I took resulted in yeast taking over. I'm using oxistat and desiden creams and now am on 400 mg diflucan/day. I'm also using concentrated oil of oregano (antifungal/biotic/parasite) from the health food store. Supposedly yeast needs water to spread and the thymol (which may also be what is in Listerine)keeps water from getting to it. I also put some under my tongue but then read that you can get kidney problems from taking too much thymol. I am getting it CO2 lasered next week and hope that works. Hurts SO bad. I wonder if I should try the hard core antifungal oral medication where they have to monitor your kidney before the laser. Scraping the yeast build up off every evening just to relieve pressure and keep it from spreading is exhausting.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am Paul, from the Philippines. I have been experiencing on and off episodes of itching-flaking-patching all over my head eversince I was in grade school. It just felt so horrible when I wanted a clean cut hairdo but I can't because the scars and stuff become so visible that I begin to lose self confidence. Earlier this year, I got convinced to see a dermatologist as the patches started appearing on my body. She prescribed a cream that has Bethamethasone and Miconazole combined. It works for some parts of my body where I there is flaking and patching but haven't tried it with my scalp. So yeah, this post is somewhat helpful and I'll get my own bottle of listerine tomorrow! Hopefully it works for me. Thanks!

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Anonymous said...

My dermatitis started about a month after taking a double dose of antibiotics. They kill your good gut Flora which then leads to the over abundance of candida which then causes dermatitis and rosacea. While these external options might offer relief, an internal healing and return to balance has to take place. Try taking probiotics, drink Keifer or eat yogurt and think about taking apple cider vinegar diluted in water once a day.

Clark said...

This is really an awesome article. Thank you for sharing this.It is worth reading for everyone.

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Rizvi Chy said...

I have oily hair . For oily hair gives dandruff it more of a problem. Boys are more dandruff in the head. Using shampoo or conditioner occurs Dandruff after 3-4 days. However, what should we do to get better results?

TAZZ said...

I had dandruff for more than 7 years, which I tried to get rid off by using normal shampoos like Head&Shoulders etc. It never occurred to me that the persistent dandruff and itching could be a symptom of an underlying cause. Now, when it dawned on me that I have a disease which is responsible for the flaky skin on my scalp and side of my nose I quickly started googling for the treatment etc. I wasn't really sure what I had. dermatitis, eczema, tinea etc were some of the guesses. First, the doctor gave me corticosteroid. Needless to say, it didn't cure me. Then I tried Nizral which is 2% ketoconazole shampoo. I had high expectations for it, but alas, it didn't work either. Finally, my dad recommended me the Candid shampoo. Here is the link I used Candid after every 3 days and it cured all the dandruff and flaky skin on my nose in a month. If you have the same problems I highly recommend you to try this shampoo once.
I don't know if this information is helpful but I will write it anyway. I have oily skin. I lived in areas with very hot and humid climate. My symptoms were flaky skin on scalp and side of nose. My scalp used to itch a lot when I was outside in hot weather and sunlight.

Gera Merix said...

Hello fellow Seb Dem sufferers - I was diagnosed in December of 2015 with SD and prescribed a topical/steroid cream - after 5 or 6 rx's, Derm Doc cut OFF the rx stating "too much of it will tax your immune system" .. leaving me with ...nothing !!

To every MD reading this: YOU ALL AND YOUR 'PROFESSION' are both a damn disgrace !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Add 4-5 tablespoons Arm&Hammer BAKING SODA to ICECOLD WATER/ADD A TRAY OF ICECUBES TO half-full kitchen sink filled with water .... THE C O T T O N WASHCLOTH IS THE SECRET ! saturate it, hold it against your face/arm/legs, head, SQUEEZE and let the cold baking soda water run all over your skin, do this to your back and legs and face and SCALP .. might wanna use the bathtub for it cuz it gets everything around you wet, NO TOWEL !!!! but blow dryer drying the skin ..... name brand VASELINE application after blowdrying off - very important: GET LOTS OF SLEEP ... every extra hour / napping you do is a serious death threat to the fungus .. so s l e e p ... by the way: the sleep BEFORE midnite is the most effective and deadly to the damned SD !

Everyone reading this BE BLESSED and GOOD LUCK !

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