An estimated 11.6% of the general population is affected by seborrheic dermatitis on the face. The skin condition is also known as dandruff, when it occurs in the scalp, and is common in infants, teens, and adults. When the skin on the face, back, chest, or axilla changes its appearance and texture, you must seek your doctor and obtain the correct diagnosis. How should you treat it? Read the facts about seborrheic dermatitis face treatment.
Table of contents
Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis
The inflammatory skin condition manifests with flaky scales in white or yellow color on various parts of the body. When it appears on the scalp of infants, the disorder is referred to as cradle cap. Sometimes, the skin turns red, and the discolored bits of skin are unaesthetically highlighted. Is your scalp itchy and the face dry? Here are several other signs of seborrheic dermatitis:
- Oily areas of skin
- Mild redness
- Skin scales – yellowish and greasy, white and flaky, or resembling sticky dandruff
- Skin lesions with scales
- One or several extended plaques
The symptoms occur in intermittent and active phases, characterized by the appearance of burning, itching, and scaling. These periods alternate with inactive days, when the symptoms alleviate on themselves. Usually, the activity increases in winter and early spring, while the remissions take place during summer. What’s the explanation? Exposure to sunlight keeps Malassezia under control.
In the active phases, it’s likely to experience infections on the eyelids and in intertriginous areas. Furthermore, candida overgrows on the skin, and the symptoms can get worse. In rare cases, the patient will develop generalized seborrheic erythroderma, which is an intense and widespread reddening of the skin. Why does the inflammatory condition appear?
Possible causes of seborrheic dermatitis
The exact trigger of the health problem is unknown. However, according to the specialists from MedlinePlus, several factors might be to blame:
- Your genes
- Changes in the skin barrier function
- Oil gland activity
- Oily skin
- Yeasts – Malassezia
- Heavy alcohol use (using too often disinfectant gels)
- Weather extremes
- Compromised immunity (HIV/AIDS)
- Nervous system disorders (stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson disease)
When an adult gets seborrheic dermatitis on the face, the health problem can activate and remise for the rest of their life. The flare-ups can occur more often if the patient lives in a cold and dry environment. What you should remember is that stress can worsen the signs of the health problem and you can keep it under control with proper treatment.
Medical prescription for dermatitis on face
Maybe the condition causes anxiety and embarrassment. Plus, it could keep you awake at night or disrupt your daily routines. If the self-care remedies do not provide positive results, you must pay a visit to your doctor.
First, they will examine the skin on your face. In case the visual inspection is not conclusive, the doctor will scrap of several skin cells and request their examination (biopsy). Then, they will diagnose seborrheic dermatitis and recommend you the best treatment. If some options require a medical prescription, other creams can be acquired over the counter. The most commonly prescribed medicines for this condition are:
- Ointments, creams, or lotions that keep inflammation under control – Fluocinolone (Synalar, Capex), Hydrocortisone (Gly-Cort, Ala-Cort, Cortizone-10 Plus, Cortaid, Dermarest), Desonide (Desonate, Desowen), Clobetasol (Cormax, Clobex). The active ingredients are corticosteroids and work by reducing the swelling, redness, and inflammation of the skin. According to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4228634/, these substances can trigger the occurrence of side effects, including blurred vision, tiredness, sleep problems, hives, and swelling of the tongue, face, lips, or throat.
- Antifungal pills – Ketoconazole (Nizoral, Ketoconazole), Fluconazole (Diflucan), or Itraconazole (Sporanox). They are recommended in more severe cases of seborrheic dermatitis. They aren’t entirely safe for the health of the consumers; several side effects caused by the oral drugs with antifungal ingredients include nausea, dizziness, easy bleeding, stomach, pain, severe depression, numbness, low fever.
- Antifungal creams, solutions, or gels – are applied topically on the face to reduce the symptoms, kill the fungus, and accelerate the healing of the tissues. Your doctor will prescribe you Ketoconazole, Ciclopirox, Ciclodan, Ertaczo, Nizoral, Clotrimazole, and Miconazole. Follow the instructions carefully and keep away from the unpleasant adverse effects – severe itching, headaches, dryness, irritation, eye redness, burning, or the reddening of the skin.
Natural treatments for seborrheic dermatitis
Sometimes, using home remedies is safer than taking or applying prescription-based drugs. In most of the cases, they work quickly and without irritating the skin. The herbal extracts and natural ingredients promoted by alternative medicines nourish skin, boost up the repairing of the tissues, and improve the overall appearance of the face. The best part about it? The homemade recipes are affordable and do not require a lot of effort to eliminate seborrheic dermatitis.
- Tea tree oil – only a few drops are enough to kill the bacteria that causes the dermatitis symptoms. The herbal extract has anti-inflammatory effects and the potential to eliminate the yeast infection.
- Coconut oil – reduces the inflammation naturally and soothes and nourishes the skin, based on recent studies. When regularly applied on the areas with seborrheic dermatitis, the virgin coconut oil will alleviate the symptoms effectively.
- Rosemary oil + tea tree oil + cedarwood – is a recipe you can do it yourself to minimize the discomfort caused by the skin condition. Pour several drops of each of these essential oils and spread it onto the face to treat dermatitis.
- Aloe vera – is a popular remedy for inflammatory problems. It can be used systemically or topically to provide the health benefits expected. Whether you deal with seborrheic dermatitis on the face, on your scalp, or in the groin area, the aloe vera juice will provide immediate relief.
- Borage oil – helps to reduce the dermatitis flare-ups. It is rich in nutrients such as omega-6 essential fatty acid and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which are mandatory for keeping the skin hydrated. The vegetable oil was proven to reduce the signs of various inflammatory skin problems.
- Lavender oil – has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful against seborrheic dermatitis on the face. Plus, the scent has relaxing effects and helps patients deal with stress – hence, reducing the re-occurrence of the skin issue.
- Apple cider vinegar – is one of the most popular and affordable remedies to cure seborrheic dermatitis. It might have a pungent smell, but its health benefits are countless – ACV reduces acne, improves skin complexion, eliminates dandruff, kills candida, removes warts and skin fungus, and soothes irritation.
- Chamomile tea – brew some to drink it, then use the bag to reduce the discomfort caused by seborrheic dermatitis. The versatile therapeutic plant contains antioxidants, essential oils, and anti-inflammatory agents that work wonders against wounds, skin conditions, and gastrointestinal problems, among many others.
Apart from applying these natural cures for seborrheic dermatitis, you are advised to drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated. Reduce stress and eat a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods – apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, turmeric, garlic, tomatoes, blueberries, and ginger. Avoid self-medicating with over-the-counter products and consider that several diseases can resemble seborrheic dermatitis.
Health problems that could be mistaken for seborrheic dermatitis
If the skin becomes red and covered with scales and flaky, it could be psoriasis. The condition is characterized by a more significant number of scales that are silvery white. In case the backs of the knees, the folds of the elbows, or the front of the neck is itchy and inflamed, you could have eczema – or atopic dermatitis. The skin problem is recurrent and demands a visit to the doctor.
Another condition that is often mistaken for seborrheic dermatitis is rosacea. The disease occurs on the face skin – the tissues appear red, with little to no scaling. As for tinea versicolor, it is a type of rash that occurs on the trunk but lacks in the redness that commonly happens in case of seborrheic dermatitis.
Can you prevent seborrheic dermatitis?
The treatments prescribed by doctors cannot cure seborrheic dermatitis completely. The condition will reoccur every once in a while. As the evidence suggests, you can successfully prevent the fungal infection if you follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Keep a good skin and hair hygiene at home and control the sebum production on your face.
- Avoid using oily cosmetics on your face or body. It can clog the pores and promote the overgrowth of bacteria and fungus.
- Scrub and wash the lashes with baby shampoo if you have seborrheic dermatitis on eyelids. According to dermatologists, washing and cleaning the area regularly will help to control the symptoms and prevent the flare-ups.
- Change the gym clothes right after a workout session; sweaty equipment is the perfect environment for fungi, bacteria, and other germs to thrive and cause an infection.
- Keep stress under control. It is negative for the progression of the condition and could provoke or worsen the symptoms of the inflammatory skin condition.
- Avoid extreme environmental changes. Excessive heat, dryness in the air, and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures will worsen
Using the right treatment for seborrheic dermatitis on the face will reduce the irritation, repair the skin, and eliminate the redness and scaling. Take proper care of your face and get the assistance of your doctor whenever your skin changes its color or texture!