UPDATE: I've put together a FAQ about the raw honey & virgin coconut oil treatment. Here's the link: http://www.rosaceagroup.org/The_Rosacea ... post241862
Seb derm is a chronic condition. Topical antifungals (shampoos, creams, cleansers) kill the fungus that causes seb derm but, unfortunately, the fungus develops a resistance after a while. Oral antifungals (e.g., Lamisil) not always help and they tend to be very heavy on the liver, btw. Antibiotics do not help, either - actually, they can make things much worse.
Please do not use steroid creams on your face
, they will cause more problems in the long run.
Also, hot water aggravates seb derm. Use room temperature water only when cleansing. When you shower, do not let the hot water touch your face. Hand held shower heads are very helpful for this.
Some people get very thick scales, "plugs" or flakes on face and scalp while others get very little or no flakes at all. Dryness, redness, inflammation, itching and dandruff seem to be the most common symptoms though not all symptoms may be present.
In my case, seb derm presented itself back in March '09. I had no idea what had hit me until I found this forum.
Following recommendations, I tried several products (creams and ointments containing zinc, Head&Shoulders shampoo, tea tree oil, jojoba oil) which did not work. Luckily, one day I learned about this study
, and decided to give this natural treatment using raw honey a try.
For this treatment you need raw honey
sold at health food shops generally in crystallized form (it looks like this
- can't comment on the brand in the picture because I buy mine from a local beekeeper).
Supermarket honey is always liquid because it's been heated to prevent crystallization; unfortunately, the heating process destroys the enzymes.
During the summer, and well into the fall, you will be able to get inexpensive raw honey from local beekeepers which will be in liquid form because it's just been extracted from the hives. No need to buy Manuka honey for this
. Any raw
honey will work.
If you live in the US, enter your zip code here
to find apiaries/beekeepers in your area.
If you live overseas, try contacting the National Association of Beekeepers in your country. Ask around in your area, there are beekeepers in every town. A friend of a friend may know someone who keeps bees in his/her backyard. Go to a farmers' market, open air market or bazaar, someone there will help you find good local raw honey.
Natural food shops also carry raw honey. Again, the type (clover, wildflower, goldenrod, orange blossom, etc.) or brand of honey does not matter.
Now, for the treatment, basically, you have to mix honey and water (90% honey, 10% room temperature, non-chlorinated
water) and apply it all over your face, scalp and ears
and leave it on for 3 hours
. You'll do this every other day
for four weeks
and then, if your symptoms have subsided completely, you will switch to one treatment a week, for maintenance.
Two generous teaspoons of honey should be enough for your face, ears and scalp. If your hair is long, you may want to start applying to the scalp first. How do you measure 10% of water? I just eyeball it. Less than half of a teaspoon of room temperature water may just do the trick.You will need to apply on the scalp even if it does not itch because, if you don't, the fungus that causes seb derm will colonize the areas where the honey isn't applied.
For the scalp it's easier to just part the hair and apply the honey with your fingers, to the scalp only, not the hair. I tried using a hair color brush and it was a complete mess, it's easier and faster using your fingers. Apply to the entire scalp.
So, again, every other day, apply the honey mask for three hours then rinse off with room temperature water
and moisturize face (if you take a shower, shampoo your scalp but don't let the shampoo or hot water touch your face).
The day in between the honey treatments, cleanse and moisturize morning and evening. Cleansing is very important because it removes rancid oils and dust.
I used to cleanse with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which didn't seem to cause irritation but it does contain irritants such as SLS and parabens so I started cleansing with the raw honey with very good results. I do it this way:
1. Pour about a 1/4 teaspoon of raw honey in the palm of your hand.
2. With your other hand splash your face with non chlorinated water (if you live in the city, use bottled water for this step).
3. Rub hands together to spread the honey then massage onto skin for about 30 seconds.
4. Rinse with tap water and pat dry.
During the first week of treatment, I could see results: less itching, fewer flakes, redness started to subside - the seb derm areas had become rough to the touch, with leathery patches but by the end of the second week my face felt hydrated and supple. By week 4 all seb derm symptoms were gone.
This treatment is very messy but it really works, nevertheless, please be aware of the fact that the fungus that causes seb derm will recolonize in no time if you interrupt the treatment
. I should know. After two months of weekly maintenance treatments, I got lazy and stopped applying the honey. Two weeks later my face started to itch, not much, but it was obvious that the seb derm was acting up again. A week of every-other-day treatments was necessary to get things back under control.
A couple of months after I had gotten my seb derm under control, I learned about virgin coconut oil, which happens to have the same anti inflammatory/fungal/microbial/viral properties as raw honey and is very effective in the treatment of dermatitis (and other skin conditions) so I decided to give it a try. Incidentally, coconut is not a nut. It's classified as a seed botanically, the seed of a drupaceous (stone) fruit, which has typically not been restricted in the diets of people with tree nut allergy.
Treating with the coconut oil is MUCH easier. However, please note that I had already gotten my seb derm completely under control when I started using the coconut oil
so I don't really know what would happen if you start out with the oil.
But I can tell you for sure that applying the honey masks plus cleansing with the honey and moisturizing with the oil twice daily gives the best results. I think it's the perfect combination.
Still, if applying honey to your scalp freaks you out, you could try the honey treatment on the face and apply the oil on the scalp.This is very important: Please do not apply virgin coconut oil to face, scalp or body as liberally as you would a lotion or baby oil because it will most likely cause pimples. You only need to apply a tiny bit of this oil. Keep the jar in the fridge, that way the oil will stay solid and easier to measure. Take a little bit, the size of a small pea and rub it between your hands to melt it then apply to your face. It will feel as if you are not applying enough and that's exactly what you want. A tablespoon of virgin coconut oil is enough for the whole body.
The oil should not make your face look shiny, if it does, you've applied too much.
Supermarkets, in general, do not carry virgin
coconut oil but health food shops do. Good quality oils I've tried: Jungle Products, Tropical Traditions, Nutiva.
The oil should have slight coconut scent and it stays solid or semi-solid below 76F / 25 C.