Seborrhea management tips?
May 18, 2008 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Have any tips on successfully managing seborrhea?

I've been diagnosed by a doctor and a dermatologist, and it's one of those medical conditions where there's no cure, and everyone has to find their own routine using a wide variety of treatment options. I just don't think mine is working very well.

I'm at the stage where my face is really red across the nose and cheeks and partly on the forehead, and the skin tends to get somewhat flaky. I use a ketoconazole shampoo once or twice a week, and a coal-tar shampoo occasionally too, lathering up my hair and face and leaving it on for about five or ten minutes at a time. When things get particularly bad, I have a prescription for 2% hydrocortizone cream, which I use sparingly and not very often, as it can cause its own problems. I use various lotions and moisturizers often, but none seem to make any long-term difference, though they relieve the flaking for a while.

Has anyone gotten a routine down which has their seborrhea under better control? Has anyone gotten back to where they don't look like they're blushing madly all the time, or have just gotten off a three-week bender? Seriously, I think I'd be pretty handsome right now if my hue wasn't a few shades off; help me get to like my face again.

posted by MrVisible to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The ketoconazole shampoo and hydrocortizone cream never really seemed to help me. I was searching for a solution for the longest time but the one thing that did seem to help was tea tree oil. I ended up buying this one which really helped me bring mine under control. I've been curious about other brands of tea tree oil, like ones at Whole Foods that seem more pure (this one contains a mix of oils like soybean oil) and organic, but I haven't run out of the first bottle yet.
posted by sharkfu at 2:08 PM on May 18, 2008

I had a red, itchy scalp which my dermatologist diagnosed as seborrheic dermatitis. He told me to use Nizoral shampoo and the problem was gone in a few weeks. I now use it every few weeks just to make sure it doesn't return and it's been fine.
posted by gfrobe at 2:33 PM on May 18, 2008

Seawater and olive oil (not both at once) are useful to some, not so much to others.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:35 PM on May 18, 2008

Jojoba oil (I use the Desert Essence brand at Whole Foods) is a great natural moisturizer. It's more similar to the skins natural oils than other types of vegetable or petro oils. And it's pretty cheap stuff. Give it a shot.
posted by artdrectr at 4:33 PM on May 18, 2008

Best answer: Seconding tea tree oil and jojoba oil as worth a try. Also, check out the seborrhea-related products here -- the Dermazinc soap or cream might work for you, perhaps? (The zinc drops are one of the things that helps me keep my scalp flare-ups under control.)
posted by scody at 4:51 PM on May 18, 2008

I think I have the same thing. I certaily have the same symptoms. I use Dermarest, which is 3% saylic acid in a water/gel base. Coal tar was useless as were most oil-based remedies. My wife got me a oil-based sea cucumber cream - more waxy/oily really - and that worked a bit. But Dermarest, twice a day, hos come really close to completely fixing it for me. It went away for several months in a row but did eventually come back.

Basically it encourages the dead skin to slough off more easily but it's not a steroid so you can use it as much as you want.

I can usually find it in Walgreens or Longs or whatever drugstore.
posted by GuyZero at 5:27 PM on May 18, 2008

Although many dermatologists claim otherwise, I've found that diet is important. There are obvious things like avoiding junk foods, the rest is more of a trial-and-error thing. Figuring it out is a very slow process.

Avoid using fancy soaps and detergents to wash your face. If you must, use plain glycerin soap. A better option is to use a bit of cornstarch as a mild abrasive to clean off your face, then apply moisturizer or oil.

Finally, I tend to regard homeopathy as a load of bull, but I have to admit that I had significant improvement after a treatment (although it also focused on diet and proper skin care, so that may have had more to do with it). YMMV.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:02 PM on May 18, 2008

(P.S. The cornstarch should be used while washing with water, not dry.)
posted by Krrrlson at 6:03 PM on May 18, 2008

Response by poster: I checked out a few links on tea tree oil and seborrhea, and I'm convinced. I went out and got a bottle of the pure stuff, plus a lovely tea tree oil shampoo they had there as well. I'll give them a shot.

Thanks for all your answers. This is really an amazing place, you know?
posted by MrVisible at 8:25 PM on May 18, 2008

I went out and got a bottle of the pure stuff

If it's indeed 100% strength, be sure to dilute it first (such as adding a few drops to a mild facial cleanser). Managing seborrhea can be a trial and error process, though, so in case it doesn't work right away, try not to get discouraged!
posted by scody at 11:55 PM on May 18, 2008

I had this for years and tried just about everything. My derm prescribed me an unbelievably expensive steroid shampoo called Clobex. It cleared up my dandruff and facial SD after two uses. She said that in many cases, if the scalp is successfully treated, the face will tend to clear up as well, which proved to be true.
posted by aliasless at 8:07 AM on May 19, 2008

I've know two people with sever Seborrhea. For one guy, it cleared up after his wife had him eat plain, unsweetened high acidophilus yogurt regularly. For the other one, I saw his disappear when his doctor told him to was his face with Head and Shoulders.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 9:17 AM on May 19, 2008

Response by poster: I used the Tea Tree Oil for about three weeks, three times a day, applying the pure stuff with a dampened q-tip. It burned a bit, but combining it with a moisturizer actually made it worse.

My skin looks better than it has in years. My cheeks are still a bit red, but I look ruddy now instead of diseased. The flaking is entirely out of control.

Right now I'm maintaining a good complexion with an application of the tea-tree oil once every couple of days, use of tea tree oil shampoo every day, and the ketoconazole shampoo every week.

My face looks normal again. I can't thank all of you enough.
posted by MrVisible at 4:25 PM on June 17, 2008

« Older Switching off the asian glow?   |   Looking for a 3D renderer in Flash Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.