Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is Your Flaking Skin Really Oily Skin?

Do you have:
  • Flaky patches on your scalp?
  • Flaky skin around your nose, mouth, and hairline?
  • Flaky skin in the eyebrows, or above the ears?
  • Patches of oily skin and patches of flaking skin?

You could be suffering from seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by an excess of oil your skin produces (aka sebum.)  Oil builds up and solidifies in creases of skin (such as around the mouth and nose) and on scalp.  This layering of solidified sebum creates flakes on your skin.  Yeast then can get trapped under those flakes and causes redness and irritation in the skin.  Then, you have flakes and redness, making you believe that you have excessively dry skin, when, in reality, the problem is caused by excess oil, not the other way around.

What to do about it:

If you believe you might have seborrheic dermatitis, visit your dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.  There are other skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea that act similarly to this, so a proper diagnosis is vital to treatment.

Some natural things to try:

If you do get the diagnosis of seborrheic dermatitis, there are some things you can try before you go on topical steroids, or that can work along with steroids to manage the condition.

  • Because the underlying cause of the irritation and flaking is caused by excess oil, it is very important to cleanse well and often, especially in the affected areas.  The less oil there is for the yeast to feed on, the less irritation and flaking you'll experience.  Using a natural soap and a warm washcloth to frequently cleanse your face throughout the day will help remove excess oils. Tea tree is reported to be an anti-fungal, so a tea tree oil containing cleanser like our Cool Cucumber may be helpful. (However, we cannot claim that our product will help to cure, treat, or prevent any disease, as it is not a drug.)
  • In addition to its mood-boosting, vitamin-D-creating benefits, sunlight can actually inhibit the growth of the irritation-causing yeast growing on your skin.  Getting 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight to the affected areas can help reduce the redness and irritation.  If you have irritation and flaking on your scalp, be sure to part your hair in different ways so the sun can get down to as much scalp as possible.  Of course, be judicious with your sun exposure and don't get a sunburn, as that will cause flaking issues of its own.
  •  Omega-3s.  Your excess oil production may be caused by an excess of hormones called androgens circulating in the body.  Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, and other foods, may help to protect your skin from androgens on the inside, and reduce androgens' effects on your skin.  They also help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and, if you're taking a high enough amount of omega-3s, may actually change the composition of the oils in your skin, making them less desirable to yeast.
  • Apple cider vinegar can also be helpful in controlling the yeast growth and in soothing skin.  If you're experiencing flaking and itchiness on your scalp, when shampooing your hair, massage your scalp firmly to remove the buildup of sebum, rinse out well, and then rinse your hair and scalp with either apple cider or distilled white vinegar, 4 tablespoons to a cup of water.  It may sting due to its acidity, but afterwards you will likely notice a distinct decrease in the itchiness of your scalp.  Using this vinegar solution on the affected areas of skin can also help.  Pour some on to a cotton ball and use as a toner solution after cleansing with soap.  
Of course, as with any medical condition, consult a medical professional for treatment advice.  This article provided for educational purposes only.