7 Best Ways to Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that is also known as eczema, is an inflammatory disorder that appears in areas of the body where there are many oil-producing, or sebaceous, glands. Areas most affected include the head and trunk.

When seborrheic dermatitis appears on the scalp, it can range from mild dandruff all the way to thick scales and can be either greasy or dry. When it appears on the trunk, it is characterized by a greasy or powdery scale in skin folds as well as along hairlines.

Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in adults, most often in post-puberty, but can also occur in infants and babies. When it affects little ones, it can be called seborrheic dermatitis, infant seborrheic dermatitis, or simply cradle cap.

Unless symptoms are very severe or are accompanied by illness or a fever, it can usually be treated at home. When babies get seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area, it can be mistaken for diaper rash.

Check with your doctor whenever you are unsure.

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, making it an idiopathic disorder. However, there are several triggers that can cause an outbreak.

What are the Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms might vary. For example, babies under three months frequently develop cradle caps with crusty yellow or brown scales on their scalps. It usually fades before one year old; however, it can return when they approach adolescence. Adults, however, may develop seborrheic dermatitis on their faces, particularly in the areas behind the ears, around the brows, and the nose. It can also manifest in other areas of your body. Here are some symptoms to know if you are experiencing seborrheic dermatitis.

1. It is manifested by dandruff-like skin with flakes on the eyebrows, beard, mustache, or scalp. The flakes come loose when scratched and blended with the hair or fall onto the neck and shoulders.

2. Oily skin patches may be visible on the scalp, face, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, chest, armpits, groin, or beneath the breasts, which are covered in flaky white or yellow scales or crust.

3. A rash could appear darker or lighter on individuals with brown or Black skin and redder on individuals with white skin.

4. Redness in the armpits, under the breasts, and in the genital folds and wrinkles may also appear as a sign of a person experiencing seborrheic dermatitis.

5. A visible scale of rusty yellow on infants’ heads may also appear in most babies experiencing seborrheic dermatitis. 

Although the affected area is characterized by too much itchiness, rubbing the area is not advised since it can aggravate the condition and damage the skin, which might result in bleeding or minor infections. Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms and indicators frequently worsen due to stress, exhaustion, or seasonal changes.

How to Prevent Seborrheic Dermatitis?

You can take a few things to help prevent seborrheic dermatitis or at least keep the symptoms under control.

1. Work on lowering your stress levels. Although it is sometimes easier said than done, it is best to avoid stress because stress can cause seborrheic dermatitis.

2. Stay away from things that can cause your symptoms to flare up. Individual triggers may differ, but typical triggers include chilly temperatures, greasy skin, and particular haircut styles.

3. You can use medicated shampoos or lotions to help control the itching, redness, and flaking if you have seborrheic dermatitis.

4. You can use mild soaps and avoid overly rubbing or scrubbing your skin. You could require oral medication or light therapy if your condition is severe.

5. Watch your diet and avoid food that may trigger your seborrheic dermatitis from flaring up.

Common Triggers

Things that will commonly trigger seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Harsh chemicals
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Excessive yeast
  • Antibiotics
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Nutritional deficiencies

7 Best Ways to Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis

The primary treatment for seborrheic dermatitis in adults involves using medicated shampoos, lotions, and creams. However, there are other types of treatments that include topical treatments, home remedies, and alternative therapies.

When treating infant seborrheic dermatitis, great care must be taken to treat the condition gently and as naturally as possible. This includes home remedies, supplements, essential oils, and other natural products. Always check with your doctor before trying any of these on your baby.

Additionally, while seborrheic dermatitis is not caused by improper hygiene, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene when treating it to avoid infection.

Here are the seven best ways to treat seborrheic dermatitis:

1. Apply Oil

A small amount of baby oil or olive oil is effective at softening those dry, rough flakes. Gently massage a few drops of oil into the scalp and leave it on for a few minutes so it can soak into the scales and dry skin.

Then use a soft, hygienic, and reusable brush to help loosen the dry skin or patches. When done properly and patiently, this brushing can be your most effective tool in treating your baby’s cradle cap.

Brush in one direction using short strokes, and then brush all the way through to the end of each hair shaft to remove the dead skin. 

Also, the massaging action can be very soothing to your baby and calm them down if they get fussy during treatment. Follow with a shampoo and rinse.

2. Shampoo Gently

Keep the area clean by washing daily with gentle, non-irritating baby shampoo. It’s imperative to use hypoallergenic and fragrance-free shampoo and bath products to keep from further irritating the affected areas.

Once you’ve gotten seborrheic dermatitis under control, reduce washing your baby’s hair to two or three times per week. Over-washing at this time will dry out the skin and encourage another outbreak. Stick with gentle, non-irritating shampoos and eczema body washes from Civilized Health.

3. Rinse Thoroughly

Thorough rinsing is essential for removing the oil and shampoo out of your baby’s hair and scalp. Because repeated treatments may be needed to bring the condition under control, be sure to rinse thoroughly each time with warm water, ideally right around 100 degrees F (49 C), in a warm room.

4. Brush Regularly

Regular brushing to treat seborrheic dermatitis during an outbreak will aid significantly in helping to bring it under control. Use a soft brush both while he’s in the bath and out of the bath.

It is also important to continue brushing regularly after the outbreak has been brought under control to help prevent future outbreaks.

5. Get Enough Sunlight

Outdoor exposure, especially during the summer, will also improve seborrhea. Sunlight can halt the growth of yeast that may be inflaming the skin. Be sure to monitor and limit your baby’s exposure to direct sunlight, however, as a little will go a very long way with your infant.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

6. Strengthen the Immune System

Although seborrheic dermatitis is not directly linked to dietary habits, you can support your baby’s immune system by ensuring her nutritional needs are being met. Nutritional deficiencies can cause many health conditions in your growing baby, including seborrheic dermatitis. It is possible that symptoms may decrease with proper nutrition.

Check with your doctor to be sure she’s getting the nutrition she needs. 

7. Be Gentle and Persistent

Use a gentle approach with every treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Be especially careful not to tear or rip off any patches of rough skin, either accidentally or intentionally. Doing so will leave an opening for an infection to enter your baby’s system.

Any treatment for babies will always be milder than for adults as their systems are still developing and will have a more significant effect on them. Using topical antifungal cream or medicated shampoo for severe cases should only be used when explicitly recommended by your doctor.

The condition could last for months, but armed with the right information and the right tools, you can get control of the situation and begin to reverse it more rapidly. Be persistent in your efforts.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Creams and Treatments

For the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis, several types of medications have shown effectiveness when used as creams. Here are the various drugs and shampoos used to treat seborrheic dermatitis.

1. Antifungal creams – Antifungals, commonly referred to as antimycotics, can eliminate or inhibit the growth of fungi which causes seborrheic dermatitis. They work well to cure fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and candidiasis, as well as to stop the growth and reproduction of fungal cells. However, localized stinging, itching, or irritation are some of the adverse effects of topical antifungals.

2. Corticosteroids for the skin – Corticosteroids are administered to prevent inflammation, especially if seborrheic dermatitis appears on the face or in any visible body area prone to infection. They are placed in a thin layer and lightly massaged to speed up absorption because they have anti-inflammatory qualities.

3. Anti-seborrheic Drugs – Specifically used to treat seborrheic dermatitis, seborrheic medicines work by lowering skin cell formation and preventing fungus growth. Salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, and selenium sulfide are typical ant-seborrheic medications. Rash, itching, and, in rare instances, chest tightness can be experienced while using these drugs.

4. Shampoos containing Zinc Pyrithione – Itching and inflammation are reduced by the antibacterial and antifungal activities of pyrithione zinc. However, a burning session can be felt on the scalp, the skin may peel, and some may experience skin irritation; that is why it is advised to use these with a doctor’s prescription.

5. Shampoo with Coal Tar – Coal tar is a member of the keratoplastic medication class and is well known for reducing itchiness, irritation, fungal growth, and even sebum production. It makes the skin lose its top layer of skin cells and reduces skin cell formation. Meanwhile, this shampoo should be used with caution because this might cause redness, burning, and itchiness as adverse effects. Additionally, hair, nails, clothing, linens, and skin may all become stained by coal tar shampoo.

Alleviating Seborrheic Dermatitis

Keep in mind that this condition is not harming your baby, nor is it painful. It can be disturbing or embarrassing, however, and it can be successfully treated with an infant cradle cap brush.

We can help. The Bean-B-Clean brush is a unique, safe, and hygienic tool that aids in combating seborrheic dermatitis,  more commonly known as cradle cap. Regular use with our brush will keep your baby’s scalp clean and healthy. It can shorten outbreaks and help prevent future outbreaks.