I have dealt with seborrheic dermatitis for over 15 years and everyday I am reminded of it because it’s there as a part of me. I want to shake it off and run off, hoping to leave it behind once and for all, yet its presence lingers like rats in sewers. Like most teenagers going through puberty, I have also had the displeasure of experiencing occasional flare ups pertaining to acne. Though not to trivialize the two problems, I was reassured that I would most likely outgrow my mild acne after puberty like most do. I freely admit both seborrheic dermatitis and acne have similar psychological effects due to how they affect a person’s appearance thus leading to confidence issues. It’s one those first hand perspectives where you truly have to be in the shoes of someone else who suffers before reserving judgement.
I first came to develop seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp and paid no mind, until I was literally awoken to the sheer aftermath of it all. There were what appeared to be a sizeable collection of white flakes embedded in my hair. This in turn led to an unflattering appearance and severe embarrassment. Furthermore, I couldn’t blame the flakes as mere snow and sadly, winter weather was still a long ways away. Slowly but surely, my seborrheic dermatitis made its way onto my face which was ultimately the determining factor in me saying “enough is enough.” The days became gloomy from there on forward as I felt super uncomfortable due to my appearance. To make matters worse, my redness and scaling developed quicker than fruit flies around rotten food. It was that bad, believe me! I felt like an outcast and my mind actually led me to believe I had it worse than the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I avoided mirrors like the plague and begrudgingly stood before one only if the lights were dim. My thinking process was irrational but it was like I couldn’t stop this madness. How I viewed myself in the mirror disgusted me so much, it was magnified tenfold when talking to someone fact to face. I felt vulnerable and it was a horrible feeling having all of these confidence, self esteem and depressive issues.
Naturally, I thought booking an appointment to see a dermatologist would solve all my problems. The first thing I wasn’t prepared for was the wait. Getting to see one too ages. I couldn’t believe the backlog and by the time it was all said and done, it took over 3 months to get in. When I finally got to see my dermatologist, he inspected my face very closely. He then proceeded to ask me a few questions about my skin and family history, which I guess was the standard operating procedure. Then as fast I wanted this to be all gone, he concluded by saying in his view that I had seborrheic dermatitis. This was my first time seeing a dermatologist so I really hadn’t a clue what to expect. I found the whole experience a tad rushed and basically forced “churn and burn” process. That was that. At the end of the appointment I was written a prescription for Elidel cream which I used until I started doing research online and found out it was essentially a corticosteroid. I thought I found the “holy grail” with this cream because it worked like a charm, until I was forced to apply more and more per application just to get the same results from when I begun using it. This meant its effectiveness had diminished greatly and it was partly the reason why I decided to do more thorough research on the internet. When I found out about the cream’s true side effects and potential hazards, I quickly ceased applying it. One of the potential risks involved thinning of the skin and I surely wanted to stay away from any factors that would put my skin’s long term health in jeopardy. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy coming to terms with the fact my seborrheic dermatitis cannot be cured. The one saving grace is there are steps that will help keep it under control. It’s up to you to follow them. What I do hope is in the future, we can finally find a cure to one day see an end to seborrheic dermatitis.
Fast forward to now. I’m tackling my lifelong battle with seborrheic dermatitis in a multitude of ways. It almost feels like I’ve been trapped with this condition for my whole life. Due to my unrelenting nature, I keep on plugging away unwilling to let myself succumb to this hindrance. Thankfully there’s a vast library of knowledge to read upon this subject. As they say “knowledge is power” and I have found the more I read up on seborrheic dermatitis, the more confident I become. I am armed with the all the readily available resources at my disposal to battle this abomination.
I’m purposefully living a healthier lifestyle in all aspects of my life whether it’s eating better foods, getting more exercise or simply finding some time throughout the day work off stress. One of the things I recommend is taking vitamins, even simply a multivitamin. I love zinc because it has positive effects towards seborrheic dermatitis as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. I’ll also buy B-vitamins which is another important supplement to help with immune response. Additionally, I try to make smoothies everyday if I have time as it’s a super healthy way to get a number of essential vitamins from fruits and vegetables. Not to mention how delicious smoothies tastes with the right combination of fruits and vegetables. I use a Vitamix juicer which has proved to be worth its weight in gold. I appreciate its versatility, as it’s able to make soup, ice-cream/sorbet and juice. I hold a high regard for probiotics for providing a healthier immune system. Many have seen gradual results after taking probiotics not only for their general health, but for issues relating to seborrheic dermatitis.
In regards to people’s different skin types, it can be tricky because some people possess oily skin while others have dry skin. In my case, it’s a combination of oily and dry skin. Having oily skin isn’t ideal as it provides a great source of food for Malassezia yeasts. This combined with my dry skin means I have to be careful in keeping a balance of just enough oil to keep my skin from becoming too dry. Alternatively, too much oil would essentially be a perfect breeding ground for the yeasts. It’s a delicate balance to strike finding the right washing regimen. In my case, I need to find gentle products that don’t strip away my skins natural protective barrier, but on the other hand being effective enough to see results. However, I try to make it habit not to use overly harsh products. Whenever I try new products, I always do a test patch. It’s advisable to do this method on another part the skin to see how your skin will react.