Natural cures for seborrheic dermatitis

Updated June 13, 2017

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff or cradle cap, occurs when the skin flakes. It is a form of eczema that usually affects the scalp, but can also manifest on the face, chest or creases of the arms, legs and groin. The patches often appear greasy and scaly. Fortunately, there are effective natural cures for seborrheic dermatitis.

Natural Treatments

Thyme has mild antiseptic properties that can help treat seborrheic dermatitis. Make a "shampoo" by boiling 4 tbsp of dry thyme in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain the brew and let it cool. Once it is cool, pour half the mixture over damp, clean hair. Make sure the mixture covers the scalp. Massage the mixture in gently and do not rinse it out. Save the other half for use on another day.

Even though seborrheic dermatitis is caused by excess oil on the scalp, an occasional warm-oil treatment can help loosen and soften dandruff scales. Heat a few ounces of olive oil on the stove until it is lukewarm. Wet your hair before applying, so that the oil reaches the scalp instead of being absorbed by dry hair. Use a cotton ball or brush to apply the heated olive oil to the scalp. Put on a shower cap and wait 30 minutes before washing out the oil.

Aloe vera gel can also be used to treat dandruff. A double blind study done at New York University's Langone Medical Center showed that the use of aloe vera on seborrheic dermatitis resulted in a significant decrease in scaling, itching and the number of affected areas.

Tea tree oil can help reduce or alleviate seborrheic dermatitis in mild to moderate cases. Use a shampoo that contains 5 per cent tea tree oil. Other natural treatments that have shown promise in treating seborrheic dermatitis include solanum chrysotrichum (a Mexican herb), oral folate and topical vitamin B-6, as well as the ingestion of essential fatty acids, zinc, iron and vitamins A, E, D, B-1, B-2 and C.

Shampooing Tips

Shampooing often, every day if need be, helps control dandruff and excess scalp oil. Massage in the shampoo, gently rubbing the scalp to help loosen scales and flakes. Do not scratch the scalp, as this can be too abrasive and lead to irritation and sores. Whatever shampoo you use, switch brands every few months as your scalp adapts to the ingredients. You can also shampoo your hair twice. The first time, massage and try to loosen flakes. The second application can help wash out any flakes that did not come out with the first rinse. If you use conditioner, avoid rubbing it into your scalp.

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About the Author

Angie Briggs has been a health and fitness writer since 2006. Her articles have been published on eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and GardenGuides. She graduated from Thompson Institute with a diploma as a computer support specialist and received certification from CareerStep as a medical transcriptionist and medical language specialist.