Have you ever had a problem of flaking skin and thought it was
just dandruff? Has your scalp ever felt itchy and looked reddish
in colour? Have you ever had a rash near the hairline on your forehead?
These are all typical signs of Seborrheic dermatitis.
A mother brought her 1 month old baby to me for this same problem.
The child had flaking of the skin on the scalp. The scalp appeared
reddish, scaling and greasy with thick yellow crusts. The mother
didn't know how it started suddenly and why was this happening. I
explained to her that this was a common skin problem in infants known
as CRADLE CAP.
WHAT IS SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS AND CRADLE CAP?
Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory scaling disease, which
causes flaking of the skin. It mainly affects those parts of the
skin which are rich in sebaceous glands like the scalp, sides of
the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, behind the ears, groins etc…
The childhood version of this skin disorder is known as cradle cap.
This usually occurs in babies younger than 3 months.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis occurs more commonly in men than in women
and especially between the age of 30 to 60 years.
WHAT CAUSES SEBORRHOEIC DERMATITIS?
Nobody knows for sure what causes this inflammatory disorder of
the skin. The cause could also be different in different people.
Most doctors believe that cradle cap occurs in babies due to the
hormonal effects passed from the mother to the child. Seborrheic
dermatitis is also linked with hormonal changes.
Some doctors feel that that seborrhoea is caused by an organism known
as PITYROSPORUM OVALE infecting the sebaceous glands in our skin.
But it is not yet proven for sure.
This skin disorder can also occur due to other factors like emotional
or physical stress, certain illnesses, weather changes etc….
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DANDRUFF AND SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS?
Dandruff of the scalp causes scaling of the skin without redness
whereas seborrheic dermatitis appears to have both scaling along
with redness of the scalp. This is common in people who have oily
skin or hair. Sometimes this is also seen in people who have acne
problems or psoriasis.
In severe dermatitis there may be yellow - red papules along the
hairline or behind the ears. The patient may even have irritation
on the conjunctiva due to the dermatitis. But Seborrheic dermatitis
does not cause hair loss.
IS THIS SKIN PROBLEM ASSOCIATED WITH OTHER DISEASES?
As stated earlier a person may develop this dermatitis due to emotional
or physical stress. A patient recovering from a heart attack or heart
surgery could develop this skin inflammation. Patients suffering
from some immune disorder are also prone to this problem.
This skin disorder is also linked to certain types of nervous system
diseases like Parkinson's disease. How they are linked we still don't
TREATMENT FOR SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS AND CRADLE CAP
Sometimes this seborrheic dermatitis may clear on its own without
any treatment but it can recur at any point in the person's life
again especially if it was caused by stress in the first place. Most
of the time the correct Homoeopathic treatment is required to remove
the inflammatory process which is going on in the skin causing the
scaling and redness.
There are several shampoos available in the market for this disorder.
However they are very temporary in action and have a lot of chemicals
that eventually damage the hair roots and texture. Some physicians
even prescribe certain steroid based products like Hydrocortisone.
Though this will suppress the scaling and redness, it is not a cure
and has its own list of side-effects especially when used on children.
The best way to treat seborrheic dermatitis and cradle cap is the
Homoeopathic way. In Homoeopathy we treat the patient on the basis
of his or her symptoms. The appearance of the seborrheic dermatitis
is also important. Taking all these things into account we treat
the patient as a whole with the correct homoeopathic remedy. Here
are a few remedies which have proven extremely effective in this
A young teenager came to me with this problem of seborrheic dermatitis.
She said that her skin was very oily and greasy especially her scalp.
She had eruptions on the skin near her hairline. These eruptions
looked like crusts and the skin around was inflamed. She also said
that she felt very itchy and scales of skin would peel of.
As a child her mother said that she had suffered from eczema. On
detailed history I found out that this teenager was under a lot of
emotional stress. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and was
depressed. All these problems started after this.
Natrum Mur 200, 5 pills 4 times a day was given to her which not
only cleared her skin up but also brought her out of her depression.
This remedy is characterized by intense itching of the skin and
chilliness. The patient feels worse by the heat of the bed. The skin
itches and appears red. These eruptions then become secondarily infected
and form thick crusts with pus underneath them. Warm water worsens
the skin problems. The skin swells after itching and becomes very
This remedy is also very effective for children who suffer from cradle
cap and this type of skin disorder.
Mezereum 200, 5 pills in repeated doses will help clear the skin
up and remove this skin disorder.
This is another remedy used effectively in treating cases of cradle
cap and this kind of dermatitis. Here the itching gets worse in the
evening and at night. The areas affected are mostly around the eyelids,
face, folds of the joints. These eruptions feel better by warmth
contrary to the other remedies. The skin appears dry, scaly and looks
like eczema. The Kreosote patient feels worse with cold water and
bathing and much better by warmth.
Kreosote 200, 5 pills 4 times a day will give great relief and
gradually cure this skin disorder.
This is another remedy where the patient says that he feels better
by warm water. Though there is intense itching and redness the patient
says that the itching reduces when he applies hot water. Here the
skin has a marked tendency to form scales especially in the hairy
parts of the body.
These individuals are worse when exposed to damp, cold weather. They
also complain of joint pains which are worse on initial movement
but better when moving constantly.
Rhustox 200, 5 pills in repeated doses will help not only cure
the skin but also the joint pains.