Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a skin disease characterized by a red, itchy and scaly scalp. These allergic reactions may also appear on the body apart from the scalp. Dandruff is also a type of this condition but without any red rashes.
Sebaceous glands of the skin are more prone to be attacked by this disease.
It can be caused by a variety of reasons some of which include genetics, cold weather, as a side effect of certain medications, fungal infections most common yeast infections, weak immune system and a diet devoid of essential nutrients.
It may also be caused by aggravation of sex hormones like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.
Most common method of management of seborrhoeic dermatitis is the application of antifungal agents and medications like antihistamines to deal with the allergic reactions.
Researchers have found that Aloe Vera plays an essential role in the management of this medical condition. Being safe for use and a natural source it can be very beneficial for patients suffering from seborrheic dermatitis.
Aloe Vera has miraculous properties providing benefits in the agricultural, cosmetic and medicinal field since thousand centuries. It is a plant species commonly found in tropical climates.
It is popularly known as the wonder plant due to the numerous properties it possesses. We will discuss in this article how aloe vera can help in Seborrhoeic dermatitis.
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Table of Contents
4 Benefits of Aloe Vera for Seborrheic Dermatitis
Aloe vera’s potent anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful in treating inflammatory conditions like seborrheic dermatitis amongst other beneficial properties.
1. It is effective in curing seborrheic dermatitis
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder. Aloe Vera has been found to be effective in its treatment.
A study conducted in 2012 investigated benefits of aloe vera cream on diaper dermatitis and reported that it contains anti-inflammatory properties that can treat red rashes effectively. It was regarded as a natural and safe therapy by the researchers for the treatment of dermatitis conditions.
Clinical trials conducted by Vardy et al. in 2008 on 44 patients suffering from seborrheic dermatitis demonstrated that emulsion prepared from extracts of aloe vera significantly reduced scaliness, itchiness and red rashes on treatment as compared to the control group.
The study concluded that aloe vera could be used as an effective therapy for this condition.
A study published in Journal of Food Science and Technology in 2011 mentioned that aloe vera is a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidant, proteins, polysaccharides and folic acids that add to a nutritious diet.
Including aloe vera in the food you eat can reduce the risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis.
What does this mean?
Aloe vera is highly nutritious and can prevent the development of such a condition in the first place. Aloe Vera has found to be effective in the treatment of symptoms associated with seborrheic dermatitis.
2. It has anti-fungal activity
Fungal infections especially those caused by yeast on the skin is a major cause of seborrhoeic dermatitis.
A study reported that aloe vera has great antibacterial and antifungal properties and thus is s potential agent for preventing dandruff. It has been found to control a variety of other fungal infections.
A study published in Fetoterapia in 2007 demonstrated the effects aloe vera against fungal species. The dose of aloe vera in inhibiting the fungal species was found to be between 80 to 100 micro L/ml, indicating its positive effect at low doses too.
What does this mean?
The anti-fungal property of aloe vera makes it a potential candidate for use in drugs available for managing seborrheic dermatitis. It is effective in treating dandruff in the scalp too which is a common cause of seborrhoeic dermatitis.
3. It stimulates the immune system
Patients with a weak immune system are more vulnerable to seborrhoeic dermatitis, and it is thus very important to strengthen the immune system to ward off such infectious diseases.
A study demonstrated immunomodulatory activity of Aloe Vera gel and reported that it modulates the immune system by inhibiting the production of cytokines mediating inflammation.
Another study reported that Aloe Vera contains alprogen which inhibits release of histamine and leukotriene from mast cells. It also stimulates synthesis of tumour necrosis factors from macrophages that enhance the defense activities of the immune system.
What does this mean?
Aloe Vera strengthens the immune system making the body capable of acting against infections that cause seborrheic dermatitis.
4. It improves skin health
Seborrhoeic dermatitis degrades skin quality and even after its treatment the marks, dryness, and scars can affect the quality of life of the individual.
It is important to consume a healthy diet rich in nutrients to keep the skin healthy so that it can recover quickly from the damage caused by this skin disease.
A study reported that aloe vera is rich in polysaccharides that promote skin healing and growth. Polysaccharides promote the production of collagen providing strength to the damaged or injured skin. It has found to be effective as a wound healing agent. It is safe for application and removes scars caused by wounds.
Another study evaluating properties of aloe vera mentioned that it has an anti-acne effect. Aloe vera stimulates the production of fibroblasts that make the elastic and strengthens it.
It also contains amino acids that soften skin cells having a moisturizing effect and can treat the dry skin improving its integrity.
Aloe vera was also regarded as an official skin protectant by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1820.
What does this mean?
The inclusion of aloe vera in the diet adds tremendous amounts of essential nutrients that can help maintain as well as improve skin health. It can heal the skin and provide strength preventing its further damage or risk of infections.
There is no specific dosage of aloe vera for this particular condition. The dietary dosage of aloe vera and its topical application both are considered safe for use. The plant can be grown in your own house, or aloe vera supplements are also available in the market.
For topical application on affected areas of the skin, one must scrape the Aloe Vera gel off the leaf and apply it directly to the affected joints or skin to relieve pain, itchiness, scaly patches and red rashes.
This aloe vera gel can be applied to the affected area up to 3 times a day until the wound is healed. If you do not have a plant at home, aloe vera gel is available in the market at cosmetic or medical stores
Aloe Vera gel can be consumed in the form of juice and can be consumed 2-3 times a day to reduce the occurrence of the red rashes. This is because aloe vera gel contains plant sterols which are known to exhibit similar effects as those shown by steroidal drugs on inflammation.
Since there is no specific recommended dosage, it is best to consult a doctor before opting for aloe vera products like juices, creams or capsules to avoid any allergic reactions.
Pregnant and lactating women and children are not advised to consume aloe vera in any form.
For those opting for aloe vera supplements or those who are suffering from any medical conditions like cancer or bleeding disorders, consult a health practitioner before opting for its consumption.
Aloe vera is considered safe and effective when consumed or topically applied, however, it may induce certain side effects in rare conditions, so it is best to consider certain general precautions before opting for its inclusion in the diet.
It may cause redness, burning, stinging sensation and in rare cases even worsen dermatitis if it does not suit your skin on when topically applied.
Allergic reactions are mainly caused due to the presence of anthraquinone derivatives (organic compounds found in the plant) in Aloe Vera. Thus one must test for allergic reaction by doing a small patch test on the skin.
Aloe vera juice may also lead to side effects like diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, constipation, and hepatitis. The juice can lower the blood glucose levels and may interact with medications if an appropriate gap is not maintained between the intake of the two.
Its intake for a longer duration can increase the risk of colorectal cancer, and the laxative present in it can cause electrolyte imbalance. One should stop drinking aloe vera juice if any of these side effects are observed.
To avoid interactions with drugs maintain a 3-4 hour gap between the medications and aloe vera consumption.
However, it is recommended that those on medications or suffering from any medical conditions must consult a doctor before consumption of Aloe vera on a daily basis.
Pregnant women should avoid intake of aloe vera as it may cause uterine contractions and in lactating women, it can lead to gastrointestinal problems in the infant.
Aloe Vera appears to be extremely preventative and curative for seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is effective and safe at the same time with mild side effects as compared to other synthetic drugs.
It is natural source packed full of nutrients, and its inclusion in the diet can help maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle and a strong immunity that can keep infections like these at bay.