Ask an Herbalist:  Seborrheic Dermatitis of the scalp

Jessica Asks:

Hi April!

I've been dealing with seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp since I was a small child (going on 20+ years now). I've been to countless dermatologists over the years who have prescribed countless creams, foams, and oils to treat the itchiness, flakes, and burning. Nothing seems to help long term... or at all, really... (with one exception, which I'll get to), and the out of pocket expense for something that only mildly helps just isn't worth it to me anymore. Is there anything in the herbal realm that can at least bring some relief?

The only time I've ever found complete relief was when I was pregnant and treating a stubborn yeast infection with OTC medication at the recommendation of my OBGYN. I didn't make the connection until much later that my scalp wasn't itchy and inflamed until after I had been off the yeast infection meds for awhile! 

Thank you so much for your time!




Hello Jessica! 

Okay let's jump right into some stuff I want you to stop doing if you are then we'll go into what you may want to give a go to get some relief!

All that shampoo in your shower, body wash, hair products anything that has scent throw it away. But some plain good old tallow soap. Not lard based but tallow based. No scents at all. Why? Essential oils are volatile compounds that are simply aggravating the situation and killing the much needed healthy bacteria on your skin they also do a lot of other damage you can read about here if you'd like. But don't stop at bathroom products. Switch over to unscented laundry soap, hand soap, dish soap, check out your toothpaste to it's got eo's, candles, air fresheners and beyond. This is going to help your health in so many ways I promise!

Next get chlorine out of your life by getting a high quality water filter such as a Berkey if you can afford it they do sell just the filters and there are many how to's on making your own with just the filters they sell. Also get a filter for your shower, this is key. Again you are killing all of the good bacteria on your skin (and in your gut) and breathing in chlorine gas as it evaporates with the warm water. I like this filter for showers. Unless of course you have untreated well or spring water feeding into your home!

These two things will make a huge difference on their own. But here is what I would start doing on top of that for healing as a whole.

I would start right off the bat with domestic/garden Comfrey infusions and drinking them daily. I know people think Comfrey is dangerous to use internally but here is an article from Susun S Weed that will show you how safe she is when we use the right variety. She is an amazing healer of skin from the inside out, no joke causing skin cells to regenerate and so so much more. But I would also begin rinsing my hair with her weekly! Besides the amazing amounts of calcium in her will have your hair, bones, skin, teeth and more so strong and replenished it's shocking!

I would also add nettle and kelp infusions to my weekly infusion cycles. Here is a video that shows you how simple infusions are to make!

Now.. Are you getting the much needed healthy animal fats that your skin/body craves? Even if you are a vegan i strongly urge you to at the very least drink a cup of bone broth a day and think of it like one of the many needed supplements to remain healthy while eating a vegan diet. You can make sure you are supporting farmers who are ethically raising animals too which really helps prevent animal abuse. If your vegetarian no worries you can find health animal fats in whole milk, butter, ghee, whole milk/fat yogurt, cheeses, eggs etc just eat a lot! But if you are a varied eater let's jump right in start adding all i talked about above with healthy grass fed meats, the fattier the better! But unless your eating a rareish steak make sure you cook your meats a very long time. This is so the cell membranes that toughen up with heat break down and our bodies can easily digest the meat. With the veggies the cells are tough when raw and we barely digest them raw so cook them well too!

Okay but what can we do about that damn itch?! We can rely on some safe simple plant healing here too. Chamomile and Plantain (the weed not the banana people) you can make yourself an oil infusion (watch this super short easy how to video) of half Chamomile and half Plantain, I want you to use pure Avocado oil to make it. I know it's spendy but she is going to add some much needed fatty acids to you damaged scalp on top of giving sincere itch relief and promoting healing. Here's how. Chamomile is AMAZING at stopping itches of any kinds, in fact many tests confirm she is more effective than cortizone externally! Then the Plantain will swoop in and promote healing, calm irritation and inflammation etc. I also have a video here about harvesting Plantain.

Take your infused oil and apply it to the areas of scalp that are suffering. If it's the whole scalp id work some in weekly and leave it over night. Making sure to only wash my hair with the plain tallow soap. Again this will promote healing too, tallow is amazing and the closest fat in nature to our own skin oils. In fact if you are feeling brave you could order some grass fed beef tallow and work it into your scalp and leave it for a 24 hour period. Out of all of this one thing will be sure, your hair will be very very soft!

Keep this practice up for quite a few months and then when you find relief just keep on rolling with it, especially the infusions we are meant to drink.

I hope you are able to find some help in some of my rambling here!

Kindest Regards,

April G.


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