Seborrhea, also known as seborrhoeic dermatitis, is a common form of scalp eczema which can also affect other parts of the body. Majority may tend to connect the problem of seborrhea with dandruff as it mimics the white powdery flakes with itchy scalp. Seborrhea is quite a discomforting situation to deal with as it is a recurrent chronic problem which does not go away easily. Seborrhea can further spread from the scalp affecting the forehead, nose, eyebrows, and upper back. Being a chronic form of eczema, seborrhoea has a higher tendency to spread commonly in areas with oil producing glands.

Seborrhea can affect any age group ranging from infants to adults. This problem is commonly seen in adults between the age group 30-60. The symptoms do not go away on their own due to recurrent problems of flare-ups which need close attention. In infants, it is best known as a cradle cap. Homeopathy medicines for seborrhea works holistically by preventing flare-ups and reducing inflammation of the scalp to control flaking and itching.

Role of homeopathy in seborrhea

Seborrhea or seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the scalp due to a defect in sebaceous glands causing reduced secretion of oil which results in dry scalp. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is often triggered by irregular immune response mainly due to fungus Malasseia which thrives in the sebum of sebaceous glands. The immune response may be triggered which leads to overgrowth of the Malassezia causing itchy and flaky scalp.

Homeopathy works best by providing a natural comprehensive solution to treat seborrhoea by rectifying the immune system to prevent overgrowth or overactivity of Malassezia. Homeopathic medicines stimulate the body’s natural healing capacity to fight against the fungal and bacterial growth on the scalp.

Seven effective homeopathic medicines for Seborrhea

Graphites

Common name: Black lead

Graphites is indicated for scalp eruptions with sticky fluid discharge oozing out easily. Scalp is tender to touch with matting and sticking of hair with each other. Hair loss occurs in spots due to active eruptions. There are itchy eruptions with foul smelling discharge and are covered with scales. Extensive seborrhoea which is painful to touch is seen. There are active scabs with bleeding and watery discharge.

Petroleum

Common name: Coal oil

Petroleum is indicated for thick, yellowish- green crust on the scalp along the hairline and top of the scalp. There is marked pus-filled discharge present which causes sticking of hair with knots. Hair is difficult to comb. Along with itching and burning, there is bleeding on scratching present. The scalp is generally sore, tender and inflamed. The patient may become irritable in nature due to extensive pain in the scalp.

Arsenic album

Common name: White arsenic

Ars. alb. is suited in cases of dry scaly eruption on the scalp extending to the ears, occiput, neck and forehead. There is extensive itching and burning of the scalp mainly in the evening. The  scalp is sore and extremely sensitive to touch. It is also recommended in cases of fluid-filled wet eczema with pus-filled bumps which are triggered by touch and cold water. This remedy is indicated for seborrhoea with extreme restlessness, anxiety, and fear of health concerns.

Sulphur

Common name: Brimstone

Sulphur is suggested for dry eruptions which usually begin in the occiput. There is marked burning with pain and bleeding. It is also suited in cases of boils, pus filled eruptions with intense itching. Scaly crusts may be white, yellow, and sticky in nature. There is burning on top of the head and itching is worsened at night and with warmth of the bed. Sleeplessness due to itching, greasy oily skin, and matted hair is suggestive of Sulphur.

Psorinum

Common name: Psorinum granule

Psorinum is recommended for extensive eruptions and dirty offensive pus discharge with carrion like odor. The eruptions contain pus with extreme itching. Too much burning is felt on the top of the scalp with great sensitivity to touch. The eruptions have a higher tendency to spread across the hairline towards the neck and forehead. Due to chronic seborrhoea, the patient may have a lack of vitality, hopelessness, and a deep state of anxiety. The person is sensitive to cold air and prefers warm clothing even in summer.

Mezereum

Common name: Daphne mezereum

Mezereum is recommended for thick, crusty eruptions on the scalp. The crusty eruptions are thick, leathery in nature with white pus discharge. The pus discharge causes sticking of hair. This may also spread on the hairline to neck, forehead, and brows.  Scalp is sensitive to touch with extensive itching and burning. Seborrhoea with hair fall is suggestive of Mezereum.

Silicea

Common name: Silica

Silicea is indicated for pus discharge from eruptions on the back of the scalp. The eruption may bleed easily on touch. Silicea patients have excessive sweating with foul odor. Sweating increases during sleep. The pus discharge is green in color with an offensive odor.

Causative factors for seborrhea

  • Genetic factors with strong family history of seborrhoea
  • Aging
  • Presence of Malassezia yeast or pityrosporum
  • Weakened immunity or overactive immune system
  • Hormonal changes such as thyroid disorders
  • Stress
  • Recovery from stressful event or trauma
  • Environmental and weather changes with cold dry weather or extreme conditions
  • Using harsh shampoos, chemical treatment or soaps
  • Long-term medications
  • Harsh and high-potency medications such as psoralen, interferon, and lithium
  • Long-term medical conditions such as HIV, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy
  • Addictions like smoking and alcohol
  • Vitamin and nutritional deficiencies

Symptoms of seborrhea

  • Redness or rashes of the skin which is also known as erythema
  • Inflamed skin with scalp tender to touch
  • Crusty lesions on the scalp
  • Watery discharge
  • Severe itchy scalp
  • Swollen scalp with pain
  • Constant flaking and scaling
  • White dry flakes or yellow greasy flakes
  • Bleeding on scratching
  • Mental irritability due to severe itching
  • Hyperpigmented spots on the scalp
  • Facial seborrhoea affecting the brows, ears and forehead
  • Stubborn dandruff may affect eyes and eyelashes
  • Flare-ups along the hairline or creases causing petaloid seborrheic
  • Changes in the skin color
  • Hair loss with damage of follicles due to severe itching

Treatment for seborrhea

  • Medicated and dermatologically tested medications.
  • Antifungal solutions containing ketoconazole like lotions, creams, scalp ointment.
  • High-strength based corticosteroids like hydrocortisone, fluocinolone, and clobetasol.
  • Creams and ointments with calcineurin inhibitors such as tacrolimus.
  • Antibiotics and antifungal oral medications.
  • Specific medicines for itching like antihistamines.

Lifestyle modifications for seborrhea

  • Hair grooming techniques maintain blood circulation.
  • Good hair care practices.
  • Rinsing your hair thoroughly post shampooing is a must.
  • Regular head messages are a great way to release stress and improve blood circulation.
  • Practicing yoga and meditation can help improve stress levels and rectify auto-immunity.
  • Ensure to dilute your shampoo in water before use to avoid chemicals harming the scalp.
  • Moisturizing and oiling your scalp is a must.
  • Take plenty of rest and control stress.
  • Use organic shampoos with a paraben-free, no sulfates formula.
  • Consume a healthy nutritious diet with anti-inflammatory foods
  • Maintain optimum hydration levels.
  • Sweat it out and exercise regularly.
  • Keep your scalp clean and healthy.

Conclusion

Living with seborrhoea can be difficult. It is a chronic, recurrent condition with frequent flare-ups which may get triggered easily. This condition can be managed well with homeopathic medicines. Switching over to healthy lifestyle practices can help eliminate the causative factors to reduce the intensity of seborrhoea. Coupling homeopathy medicines with medicated shampoos externally can help in effectively controlling the  case of seborrhoea.

References

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  • Ch, Nagateja & Padmasree, G. & Madhuri, B. & Sailaja, K.. (2020). An overview on seborrheic dermatitis and its treatment (allopathy and homeopathy). International Journal of Advances in Medicine. 7. 1433. 10.18203/2349-3933.ijam20203611. DOI:18203/2349-3933.ijam20203611
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