About Seborrheic Dermatitis


Seborrheic dermatitis which is often referred to as seborrhea, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition caused by the malfunctioning of the sebaceous (oil-secreting) glands. In babies it is referred to as “Cradle Cap” or Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis, and in adults it is believed to be triggered as a result of digestive issues, stress and anxiety. Adult seborrheic dermatitis presents with oily, scaly, itchy and inflamed patches of skin.


Essentially, this disorder causes the sebaceous glands to release a yellowish substance which in turn results in the formation of yellowish scaly patches. These patches can be either oily or dry, or both, and the surround area will in many cases be red and inflamed, accompanied by a burning sensation. While some people experience severe itching, this is not always the case.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Depending on severity and location, Seborrheic dermatitis can sometimes be mistaken for severe dandruff however seborrhea can appear on several parts of the body not just the scalp, including the eyebrows, eyelids, groin, chest, armpits, forehead, ears, and also between folds of skin on the buttocks and under a woman’s breasts.


Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a disorder of the oil secreting sebaceous glands although it remains unclear as to what causes the glands to malfunction in the first place. However, it is believed to be linked to the following:

–    Certain nutritional deficiencies, including essential fatty acids, vitamin A and biotin. All three of these play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining healthy skin, hair and nerves.

–    Uncontrolled growth of a yeast organism usually found in hair follicles known as Pityrosporum ovale.

–    Certain food allergies/intolerances, mostly gluten and/or dairy products.

–    Overactive immune system and high levels of toxins in the body. Bear in mind that an unhealthy diet containing a lot of sugar, alcohol and saturated fats, and a lack of good bacteria in the gut caused by antibiotics and stress can cause a nutrient imbalance, which in itself can result in an overgrowth of Candida yeast. This in turn can cause the immune system to become overactive and produce histamine. At this point, Candida will usually attack the oil glands which are situated on the scalp, the chest, sides of the nose, and also behind the ears.

–   Stress and anxiety are also believed to trigger the condition, hence the prevalence of seborrhea in middle-age people.

Over and above the possible causes mentioned above, it is believed that the following conditions can also act as a catalyst, as well as increase the severity of the condition:

Seborrheic Dermatitis

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • AIDS
  • Rosacea
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Oily skin
  • Genetic disposition

The general consensus is that Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by internal problems rather than external influences.


–    Diet should consist of 50 – 75% raw foods, particularly fresh fruit and green, leafy vegetables.

–    Because of a possible link between gluten and certain skin disorders, a gluten free diet is recommended.

–    Foods such as dairy products, white flour, fried foods, seafood, chocolate, and all other sugary foods including undiluted fruit juice should be avoidedwhenever possible

–    Increase the amount of fibre rich foods in your diet as this can help to reduce Candida infestations.

–    Eat more oily fish and other foods which are high in fatty acids. Include more nuts, seeds and vitamin E.

–    Avoid foods which contain raw egg. This is because egg white contains plenty of avidin, a protein which hinders the body’s ability to absorb biotin.

–    Include more biotin rich foods in your diet such as liver, kidney, herrings and cooked eggs. Fruit and vegetables high in biotin include: sweet corn, watermelon, cauliflower and tomatoes.

–    Stop smoking and keep alcohol intake to a minimum as it can not only aggravate skin conditions, but it can also hinder treatment.


Those with the condition should make every effort to only wear clothes made from natural materials such as 100% cotton so as to allow the skin to breath. Likewise, it is best to wear loose fitting clothes in order to avoid causing any additional irritation to the affected areas.

Many therapists/nutritionists recommend regular fasting – perhaps once each month in conjunction with regular exercise in order to rid the body of toxins. Many skin problems are a direct result of toxins in the blood. The liver which is normally responsible for helping to eliminate toxins becomes overloaded and the result is toxins expelled through the skin. Therefore cleansing of the blood with supplements such as burdock, chlorophyl or chlorella and detoxification of the liver with milk thistle and dandelion for example would also be helpful.

Sufferers should also make a point of getting sufficient sleep as this allows the body time for performing self-maintenance. It is also advisable to practice some form of relaxation technique such as yoga. One should bear in mind that stress and anxiety can play a key role in not only causing some conditions, but also making them worse.


It is important to bear in mind that practically all conventional treatments are strictly topical, and as such, they fail to deal with the actual cause of the condition. These treatments include but are not limited to:

  • Selenium sulphide
  • Coal tar soaps
  • Salicylic acid bath
  • Steroids

Salicylic acid bath

NOTE: The use of steroids should definitely be avoided at all costs due to the high risk of side effects. Furthermore, one needs to bear in mind that any treatment which involves chemicals should be avoided as it has the potential of causing further complications.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you have any further questions, please comment.I would love to hear from you and will answer you promptly.

To your health.

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