“Seborrheic dermatitis is chronic inflammation of unknown causes that causes scales on the scalp and face and occasionally on other areas. . . . Seborrheic dermatitis usually begins gradually, causing dry or greasy scaling of the scalp (dandruff), sometimes with itching but without hair loss" .
Common treatments for seborrhea include cortisone ointment or special dandruff shampoos containing chemicals such as tar, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide or salicylic acid. For those wishing to try alternative therapies rather than, or in addition to these strong chemicals, there are some natural therapies involving diet, exercise, nutrients, herbs and homeopathic options.
- Try to rule out allergens as possible related causes.
- Avoid citrus, fried foods, sugar and white flour.
- Never eat foods belonging to the Nightshade family, which includes red and green bell peppers, chili peppers, paprika, eggplant, white potatoes and tomatoes.
- Stay away from shellfish, red meat as well as dairy products high in fat.
- Stop use of caffeine and alcohol.
- Take fish oil supplements, which will reduce the production of arachidonic acid, part of an inflammatory response.
Exercise and Lifestyle
- Include aerobic exercises of at least 30 minutes duration in each day’s workout.
- Use deodorants rather than antiperspirants.
- Do not smoke. Tobacco, also in the Nightshade family, will reduce oxygen to the cell tissues and increase inflammatory possibilities.
- Vitamin A: 25,000 IU a day to protect the skin. Don’t take more than 8,000 IU a day if pregnant.
- Vitamin B Complex: 50 mg three times a day to keep the skin healthy.
- Vitamin C: 2,000 to 5,000 mg a day to help collagen formation.
- Vitamin D3: As recommended on the supplement.
- Glutathione: 500 mg two times a day before meals.
- Lecithin granules: 1 tablespoon three times a day.
Topical Herbal Remedies
- Apply a poultice of chaparral, dandelion and yellow dock to reduce inflammation.
- Apply goldenseal extract made without alcohol to the skin after you brush scales off with a loofah.
- If a sauna or steam bath is available, use lavender in it. This will fight inflammation and soothe the skin.
It is best to consult a homeopathic practitioner for specific treatments for seborrhea. However, depending on associated symptoms, you can try these remedies:
- Arsenicum for upper limb lesions, red spots covered with gray-white scales, violent itching.
- Graphites for lesions on the head and scalp that improve a bit with washing, hard and cracked skin, itching worse at night.
- Petroleum for occurrences between the fingers, skin cracks that bleed, symptoms worsen in cold or dry weather.
- Sepia for shiny, thick white plaques, usually no itching unless severe, which may occur in bed.
- Sulphur for skin problems may be combined with asthma, psoriasis that lasts a long time, itching gets much worse at night.
For other approaches to seborrhea treatment, take lukewarm baths to which is added a cup of apple cider vinegar, a one cup mixture of two-thirds rolled oats and one third cornstarch, and a pound of baking soda. If cornstarch is an allergen for you, then leave out the cornstarch. Alternatively, add 2 teaspoons ginger to lukewarm bathwater.
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The Merck Manual of Medical Information, 2nd home edition. (Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories, 2003), p. 1196.