Ask your doctor that question and you'll probably hear something along the lines of "the exact cause is still unknown." The doctor will then usually prescribe you an expensive topical steroid - which at best might temporarily mask your symptoms. At worst it can cause horrible side effects. More and more it seems that modern medicine is really only good for emergency situations or life threatening conditions...and even then you're taking your chances.
Recent research points to a common type of yeast (Malassezia globosa) as the culprit. Everyone harbors this particular yeast on their scalp and skin, yet not everyone has Seborrheic Dermatitis now do they? No doubt this yeast is connected to Seborrheic Dermatitis, but is it really the cause? I don't think so. My theory is that the Malassezia yeast is simply one of many "triggers" that cause some people's bodies to overreact - in the form of inflammation. For you, this inflammation presents itself as Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Scientists are now discovering that almost all chronic diseases (e.g. arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) are directly tied to inflammation. And Seborrheic Dermatitis is no exception. Inflammation is a normal bodily response to injury, allergens, infection, etc. It's part of the healing process. But sometimes this healing mechanism doesn't know when to turn itself off. The result is chronic inflammation. So in other words...your body is trying to heal itself, but creates a new problem (Seborrheic Dermatitis) in the process.
But even chronic inflammation isn't the root cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis. It's merely responsible for the symptoms (redness, scales, flakes, itching, etc.). To find the root cause, we need to figure out why you have runaway inflammation in the first place. And that all leads back to diet...
Some nutrients are pro-inflammatory and some are anti-inflammatory. Your body needs both to function properly. Until recently, people ate a relatively balanced diet. These days the typical diet is grossly unbalanced, containing at least 30 times more pro-inflammatory nutrients than just a century ago. There's also food intolerances, vitamin & mineral deficiencies, prescription medication side-effects, yeast overgrowth, stress, obesity, and hormonal imbalances to contend with. As a result, most people have become "primed" for severe out-of-control inflammatory reactions.
The good news is with proper diet and lifestyle changes, we can turn off this runaway inflammation. It's a little more complicated than that, but for now you get the general idea. This special report briefly outlines a 3 step program to (hopefully) cure your Seborrheic Dermatitis for good.
I imagine the first thing you want to do is relieve your symptoms as quickly as possible. To do that we need to neutralize or eliminate the "triggers" that cause Seborrheic Dermatitis outbreaks in the first place, as well as alleviate the inflammation and other symptoms.
One easy change you can make is to install a chlorine filter in your shower, or better yet, the whole house. Chlorine is a harsh chemical that aggravates Seborrheic Dermatitis by drying out your skin. A water softening system can help too if your tap water is unusually hard. Another cheaper (yet not so convenient) option is to use distilled water to wash/rinse your hair and face.
Avoid traditional dandruff shampoos - specifically anything with coal tar in the ingredients. Coal tar is a known human carcinogen (causes cancer). These shampoos may provide temporary relief, but the dangers and side-effects just aren't worth it - especially when there are so many natural remedies to choose from. It's up to you to protect yourself from these awful man-made chemicals - because unfortunately no one else will.
Switch to an all natural soap and shampoo - free from harsh chemicals found in most skin care products. Try to avoid anything you can't pronounce - and especially sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, propylene glycol, PEG, DEA, TEA, parabens, and fragrance. These chemicals only irritate your scalp and skin even more. Dr. Bronner's is a good safe choice for soap. Even better would be Derm-Essentials Therapeutic Soap - all-natural/organic bar soaps formulated for chronic skin issues like Seborrheic Dermatitis, Eczema, and Psoriasis. For shampoo and conditioner, I recommend 100% Pure or Organic Excellence - the only brands I've found that are truly all-natural and chemical free.
Make sure you are washing your hair correctly. Use your fingertips and nails to really massage the shampoo deep into your scalp. You need to loosen the scales and flakes so that they will wash away. Perhaps even use a comb or shampoo brush to gently exfoliate your scalp. Be sure to let the shampoo sit for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. And when you rinse, rinse really well! Don't worry about losing hair while washing. Whatever hair falls out would have fallen out anyway. It's much more important for the health of your hair to get rid of the scales. Don't get carried away and scratch your scalp though, especially if it's already red and inflamed. A light but thorough massage is all that is needed.
Traditional treatments for Seborrheic Dermatitis mainly consist of harsh dandruff shampoos and dangerous topical steroids. The problem with these conventional treatments is that they're usually ineffective, unsafe, only treat one symptom, have severe side effects, and the results don't last.
A slightly better solution would be one of the few natural home remedies that seem to get results...like apple cider vinegar, raw organic honey, and aloe vera. The problem with these simple home remedies is that they're only marginally effective, and the results rarely last. But even so, they can still be helpful for some people.
In my experience, the best way to get quick and lasting relief from Seborrheic Dermatitis is with certain essential oils. You may have read that Tea Tree oil is effective against Seborrheic Dermatitis. Well that's true, Tea Tree oil works great. But if you stop there, you're missing out on a whole array of different oils that can greatly amplify that effectiveness.
For example Neem oil, Cedarwood oil, Patchouli oil, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil, Oregano oil, Peppermint oil, and Eucalyptus oil all have proven properties that can quickly relieve Seborrheic Dermatitis symptoms. In fact Oregano oil is one of the most powerful antifungals (kills yeast) available - and it's all natural with no side effects.
You can create your own blend at home by mixing these essential oils with a carrier oil like Coconut or Jojoba. I recommend limiting the total amount of essential oils to no more than 5-10%. You should never apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin as they are quite potent and can cause irritation. It might be a little hard to find some of these oils locally, so I recommend checking online.
If you're not quite ready to turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab, I've developed a product based on my extremely successful oil blend. It's called Derm-Essentials for Seborrheic Dermatitis. This is the same oil that really helped my wife get rid of her Seborrheic Dermatitis for good. The price is very reasonable and I'm sure much less than what you would pay for the ingredients yourself. The oil will take care of your Seborrheic Dermatitis symptoms while you work on the next two steps...
The single most effective thing you can do to rid yourself of Seborrheic Dermatitis forever is to improve your diet. It's not just a matter of eating the right foods, you also have to cut out the wrong foods. And there's an excellent chance you've got an undiscovered food intolerance that's contributing to your Seborrheic Dermatitis. For some reason, allergies and intolerances in our digestive tract always show up on the skin first. It's nearly impossible to detect a low grade food intolerance with lab tests. The only sure fire way is to eliminate the suspected foods from your diet and see if your condition improves. So that's our next step...
It's been estimated that as many as 90% of people have some type of food allergy or intolerance. And some people actually become addicted to the foods that cause them problems. One clue to a possible intolerance is a food you crave and eat almost every day.
The most common problem foods are...
The main foods to watch out for in the case of Seborrheic Dermatitis are dairy and wheat (gluten). Try eliminating these two foods from your diet for 3-4 weeks. If you can also temporarily eliminate most (or all) of the foods on the list...even better. And try to eliminate any foods you crave or eat almost every day.
When your symptoms improve (for at least 4 days in a row), foods are added back one at a time to determine which ones are causing you problems. If your symptoms do not improve within 4 weeks, it's possible that a more strict elimination diet is needed.
To add a food back, consume one serving 3 times a day for 3 days straight. If your symptoms do not return within 4 days, move on to the next food. If your symptoms do return, you know what's causing your Seborrheic Dermatitis and you should eliminate that food for good. Continue adding the remaining foods back after your symptoms improve once again - as you could have more than one food sensitivity. Keeping a diet and symptom journal will help you to pinpoint the problem foods in your diet.
You also need to eliminate foods that promote inflammation. Simply cutting out the junk food (chips, baked goods, soda, fast food, fried food, etc.) will catch most of these inflammatory foods.
You'll want to limit or avoid these problem foods specifically...
Now that you know which foods to avoid, let's get to what you should be eating. It should come as no surprise that the best diet is one that is based on a variety of fresh whole foods - consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables along with nuts/seeds, beans/legumes, spices/herbs, and sometimes fish or lean meats.
You'll want to eat these foods specifically...
Foods that are optional and to be eaten in moderation...
Eating a natural whole foods diet will improve your health (and Seborrheic Dermatitis) dramatically. But to fully cure yourself quickly and effectively, I recommend a few supplements to speed the process along. And the more rigidly you follow the diet guidelines, the less likely you are to need supplementation. You'll want to take the following supplements...
Also known as "good bacteria", probiotics are essential to our health. They perform complex functions in the human body and have a direct impact on our digestive and immune systems. Without a healthy community of probiotics in your digestive tract, you are more susceptible to food intolerances and inflammation - two big causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis.
And once again, the typical diet is to blame. Bad bacteria and yeast thrive on refined sugar and junk food, whereas good bacteria thrive on fiber and plant foods. When we give the bad bacteria what they want (sugar), they rapidly multiply and crowd out the good bacteria. Antibiotics only exacerbate the problem. When you take a course of antibiotics, it can wipe out most of the micro flora in your digestive tract. Good bacteria recover more slowly than the bad, especially on a typical diet, so it's near impossible to ever regain a healthy balance.
By eating a healthy whole foods diet (no refined carbohydrates & sugar), and taking a probiotic supplement every day, you can reverse the damage and regain a healthy balance of micro flora in your body. Research has shown that probiotic supplements can significantly decrease allergic responses to food as well as help control inflammation.
Try to get at least 20 billion CFU's (colony forming units) per day. You can achieve this by consuming any combination of yogurt, kefir, probiotic shots, and probiotic supplements. Garden of Life RAW Probiotics is the probiotic supplement (capsule) I recommend. It contains an impressive variety (32 strains) of good bacteria and 85 billion CFU's.
These anti-inflammatory fatty acids used to be a staple in our diets. But with the emergence of processed food, fast food, and junk food - we hardly get any omega-3 fats nowadays. The ideal ratio of omega-6 fats (pro-inflammatory) to omega-3 fats (anti-inflammatory) is in the range of 1:1 to 2:1. The typical American diet provides a ratio of about 20:1 to 30:1! No wonder we have so many chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and asthma running rampant these days.
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats and low in omega-6 fats is the very best way to reverse the damage and return our bodies to a state of balance. The diet recommendations above will do just that. But taking an omega-3 supplement every day should help speed your recovery along even more.
Along with the 1 tablespoon of fresh ground flax seed or whole chia seed you should be getting in your diet every day, 1-2 teaspoons of fresh flax seed oil would be beneficial as well. Flax seed is naturally high in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which is the building block of the more complex forms of omega-3 (EPA & DHA). You can usually find this at your local health food store in the refrigerated section.
Another popular option that I have mixed feelings about is fish oil. Fish oil provides the more complex forms of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA), without your body needing to manufacture them. But the problem with fish oil is that it's hard to keep fresh, and will go rancid quite easily. You also have to worry about mercury and other carcinogenic toxins contaminating the fish oil.
A slightly better option to fish oil would be krill oil. Krill are tiny little sea critters that eat marine phytoplankton. Because they're so low on the food chain, they don't collect as much mercury and other toxins like fish do. And krill oil's omega-3 profile is said to be better than fish oil. But you're still dealing with the rancidity issue.
The best option I've found for long chain EPA & DHA omega-3 fatty acids is a vegetarian supplement made from algae…called Ovega-3. By going straight to the original source of EPA & DHA (sea algae), we can avoid the toxins and carcinogens that accumulate in fatty fish.
Your body naturally produces enzymes to aid in the digestion of food. Different enzymes help break down different macro-nutrients (i.e. carbohydrates, fat, protein). But sometimes your body's enzyme production may not be adequate to completely digest the food you eat…especially if you are eating the wrong foods. This poor digestion can result in pain, cramping, excessive gas, food intolerances, and inflammation.
To improve digestion and help prevent food intolerances and inflammation, a digestive enzyme supplement may be necessary. They are particularly useful for meals containing hard to digest foods like meat, eggs, dairy, grains (wheat/gluten), beans, etc. So if you're having trouble eliminating problem foods, or if you regularly eat large complex meals with hard to digest foods - an enzyme supplement could be the missing link in curing your Seborrheic Dermatitis. I recommend Garden of Life RAW Enzymes as it's the most comprehensive and highest quality digestive enzyme supplement I've found.
If you eat right and get a little sunshine every day, you shouldn't need to take a multi. Try to eat as many fruits, vegetables, and greens as possible - and get 10-15 minutes of full sun exposure (best source of vitamin D) everyday. A great way to get your fruits and greens is a "green smoothie". Basically you take equal parts fruit (apples, bananas, mangoes, berries, etc.) and greens (spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, etc.), add a little water and/or ice, blend well, and voilà...you've got a great tasting smoothie packed with pretty much every vitamin and mineral known to man. You also get tons of healthy plant fiber, amino acids, phyto-chemicals, and more.
If for whatever reason you can't eat enough fruits, vegetables, and greens - you should consider taking a daily multi-vitamin. It's definitely not the same as getting your vitamins and minerals the natural way (food), but it will hopefully take care of any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to your Seborrheic Dermatitis.
If you do decide to take a daily multi-vitamin, try to get one that's as natural as possible and preferably made from whole foods. Most of the multi's on the market are man-made crap full of fillers, binders, and other unsavory ingredients. The only one I've found that I feel comfortable recommending is the Garden of Life Vitamin Code line.
- Install a chlorine filter
- Avoid harsh dandruff shampoos
- Switch to an all-natural soap (I recommend Derm-Essentials Therapeutic Soap)
- Shampoo correctly (gently massage with fingertips and let it sit for 5 minutes)
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV), raw organic honey, or aloe vera applied topically can be helpful
- Essential oils are the best option for quick relief (I recommend Derm-Essentials for Seborrheic Dermatitis)
- Foods that can possibly cause intolerances/allergies:
- Perform a food intolerance test/elimination diet:
- Avoid these inflammatory foods:
- Eat these foods freely:
- Eat these optional foods in moderation:
- Take a probiotic supplement with at least 20 billion CFU's every day (I recommend Garden of Life RAW Probiotics)
- Take an omega-3 supplement every day (I recommend Ovega-3)
- Take a digestive enzyme supplement every day (I recommend Garden of Life RAW Enzymes)
- Take a natural multi-vitamin every day if your diet is lacking (I recommend Garden of Life Vitamin Code)
These are all products I (and my whole family) use every day. It takes a lot for me to endorse a product as I have extremely high standards and insist on it being all-natural. I offer most of these items on my website both as a convenience to you, and as a way to support my family. I do make a small profit selling these supplements and personal care items, but it is definitely not my primary motivation. I truly hope you will find relief from your SD symptoms, and better overall health from the products I recommend. All of the positive emails and inspiring testimonials are what really keep me going. So good luck and keep me posted!