Two weeks ago I sat down and wrote a spring cleaning checklist. Each day I tried to cross off one or two of those tasks, like organizing my junk drawer or scrubbing down my fridge. And I’m feeling so great that I want to take the “spring cleaning” spirit to every area of my life – including my skin.
Confession? I have hardly been washing my face lately. With a new baby, a wild preschooler and a new season of House of Cards . . . I have shamefully climbed into bed in a zombie-like state . . . with zombie-like skin to go along. I can’t believe I’m admitting that I go to bed with makeup (and dirt, grime, pollution, oil) clogging my pores. But it’s true. I’ve been slacking and my skin has been suffering for it.
Here is my skincare spring cleaning checklist:
1. Declutter the skincare: I really don’t need a medicine cabinet bursting with creams and cure-alls. I got rid of everything I didn’t like or didn’t use, along with anything more than a year old. Bonus points for me: I also tackled my makeup!
2. Like, LITERALLY clean the dkincare: If my skincare bottles and facial tools are covered in germs and makeup dust, how much good is it to get my hands covered with that stuff and then go rubbing my face?! Yuck. Warm soapy water and some clean towels made everything look fresh and clean. Oh yeah, and the same goes for makeup, makeup brushes, etc. I also cleaned the storage zones for my toiletries, just because I was feeling a tad overachiever at the moment.
3. Analyze and make a wish list: After decluttering and cleaning, I analyzed what was missing in my skincare products, like an eye cream, a new mud mask and a big stock of nose pore strips, which I’m always running out of. I made a wish list and have slowly started looking for the right products to fill those skincare needs.
4. Set up for success: I created a face-washing station. I filled a cute basket with some headbands, hair ties, bobby pins and clean white washcloths to dry off with. And of course my favorite cleanser and lotions. Instead of having one bottle of cleanser that goes back in forth between shower and bathroom counter, I bought an extra for my shower! If you travel a lot, take this time to have your toiletries bag stocked with all your best skincare items. Make it easy to be good to your skin!
5. Be a realist: I SHOULD wash my face properly before going to bed. But as Voltaire once said, perfection is the enemy of good. So I loaded my bedside table drawer’s with a package of the wonderful Burt’s Bees Sensitive Skin Facial Wipes. If worst comes to worst I can at least get the top layer of gunk off before heading to sleepy town. I also included a container of Neutragena Acne Stress Control Cleansing Pads, in case I am feeling extra oily and a tad ambitious.
Alright, so now I am feeling a huge improvement in my skincare. Do you have any other steps to spring cleaning your skincare? Comment make me happy and just might cure your seborrheic dermatitis.*
*No, it won’t. Sorry. That was manipulative.
(For your convenience I linked to some products on Amazon. For my convenience, they are affiliate links! Thanks!)
1. Treat it like dry skin
Your skin is reddish and flaky . . . so it’s dry, right? Not necesarily! If it is seborrheic dermatitis, then your epidermis has been catfishing you! Surprise! The source of your problem is more like a rash caused by oil/yeast. So fight the urge to just slather it with moisturizers, oils, creams, etc. Certain oils, such as coconut oil, may be useful for the cleaning of your skin, though it shouldn’t be left on. And using a light moisturizer can help with the appearance of those flakes. But overall, don’t go crazy.
2. Flake it off
Think you can just flake off those crusty skin patches and all will be well? Sorry, but no. If you need to spiff up for an evening, sure you can gently peel off the worst flakes but it is a slippery-slope to obsessive flaking off . . . resulting in an even worse appearance than before. Irritation causes more oil to ooze out your pores (nice image, right?) and can just inflame the heck out of your skin. This goes for both scalp and face, or anywhere else. Treat the source of your problem (see derm), not the symptom (flakes).
3. Put up hair when wet, or wear a hat over wet hair
I’ve learned this from personal experience and from commenters chiming in. This logic applies to seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp (dandruff), obviously. When you put your wet hair up in a ponytail or bun, or if you throw a hat on top of damp hair . . . it just creates some weird sort of greenhouse. It’s like your head is all humid and the dandruff becomes this mushy gloop. And your head gets all itchy and maybe oily. I think fresh air is key to keeping flakes at bay.
4. Skip showering or shampooing
A lot of people are sort of anti-shampooing these days. There are even advocates suggesting we all bath much less. It’s true, bathing may be America’s 2nd favorite pastime. And that can dry out your skin and hair, especially with harsh soaps and chemicals in our products. I personally have tried, on several occasions, giving up the shampoo for weeks at a time. I have tried lowering the frequency of my showers. But I have found that seborrheic dermatitis needs frequent cleaning. Certainly don’t over-do it, stripping your skin of all oils. But, in general, you’ve gotta gently wash away the oils that are causing your SD.
5. Give up hope
The truth is there is not “cure” for SD. You’ll probably have to deal with it for years. But it can absolutely be improved! You can have lovely skin again if you explore your options and commit to a skin care plan. I have cried big fat tears because I was embarrassed and ashamed of my skin. I have avoided parties and dates. I have spent tons of money trying to fix it. And after getting educated on the topic and trying a variety of solutions, I’m now able to keep my skin in pretty good shame. People often comment on how great my skin looks. Don’t give up, you’ll find the best way to kick seborrheic dermatitis to the curb.
(This article contains an affiliate link for coconut oil if you are interested in trying this interesting solution. Thanks!)
It’s a bit on the trendy side, sure. Coconuts are everywhere, man! Paleo dieters and vegans alike are buying oodles of the stuff, in the form of flakes, oil, milk and water to make their meals. People are taking shots of oil as a nutritional supplement! And everyone is in love with coconut oil as a skin care product. I used it for nearly a year as a means of helping my seborrheic dermatitis. I posted about it here. A few helpful commenters pointed out that coconut oil is actually . . . GASP . . . comedogenic (aka it clogs your pores). But people on forums and blogs are raving about coconut oil healing seborrheic dermatitis or curing acne. Hmmm . . .
I just had to go on a search to try to get the truth about coconut oil!
Coconut oil is antimicrobial, anti fungal, antioxidant and antibacterial – which is all GREAT for treating seborrheic dermatitis (whether on your face or scalp). It’s also a way to moisturize without the chemicals, fragrances and other irritants that are part and parcel of store-bought creams.
Indeed, coconut oil is comedeogenic aka it clogs your pores! And clogged pores are actually a big element of seborrheic dermatitis. Though I did feel that the worst of my seborrheic dermatitis cleared up while using coconut oil, I did find that the pores on my nose were even more clogged than usual. Also, remember that the while SB seems like dry skin, it is really caused by oil/yeast, so treat your skin more like oily or combination skin than dry skin. So, maybe we don’t need to go crazy with the oily moisturizer? It’s really all about balance.
I think some people find that using coconut oil helps seborrheic dermatitis because of it’s anti fungal/antibacterial properties. And it may have clogged their pores a bit, but it possibly clogged their pores with coconut oil, replacing the yeast, fungus and skin oil that causes the seborrheic dermatitis. Does that make sense? A lot of the raving online is from people who used it for a short time. For example, one woman who had struggled with seborrheic dermatitis on her scalp (dandruff) for her entire life cured it a few years ago by doing a three week course of leaving coconut oil on her scalp for one hour, three times a week. So perhaps there are some benefits that out way the negatives?
My Favorite Solution
I discovered that many people used coconut oil as a FACE WASH and it helped their acne or seborrheic dermatitis! You know how oil and water just do NOT get along? So the idea is that washing your face with water won’t really help remove the oil from your skin. Many experts point out that coconut oil should be used only as a facial cleanser and then rinsed off well. This makes a lot of sense! I’ve been trying this by warming up the coconut oil in my (clean) hands and slathering on my face before taking to my pores with the Clarisonic. I use coconut oil in the morning and in the evenings I use it to remove my makeup quickly before washing with Simple Refreshing Gel Cleanser.
Everyone is different. There isn’t one magic cure for seborrheic dermatitis, and it might just be something you need to try for yourself. I have totally changed the way I am utilizing coconut oil. That’s why I call this The Seborrheic Dermatitis Blog. I’m chronicling my journey to heal my skin and I am not the authority in this manner. But at least I can share my story and the loads of information I collect and we can help each other out with tips and tricks!
You tell me . . .
Have you tried coconut oil on your seborrheic dermatitis? Did it help or hurt? Has adding it to your diet helped your skin condition?