allDiseases & Conditions

Tea Tree Oil and Seborrheic Dermatitis

teatreeSeborrheic dermatitis is an umbrella term that defines a number of skin conditions. It is perhaps best known producing dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis can also show up in the ears, on the face, the upper chest, back, arms, groin and anywhere else were you have an abundance of oil glands, reports Seborrheic dermatitis doesn’t negatively impact your overall health, but it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Cradle cap is the term used to describe seborrheic dermatitis in infants. Scalp patches may be thick, crusty, yellowish and greasy. The diaper area and face are also susceptible to seborrheic dermatitis in babies. The condition typically clears by the end of the first year of life.

A variety of over-the-counter and prescription remedies ranging from medicated shampoos to lotions and creams are available to treat seborrheic dermatitis. Ciclopirox is contained in a number of prescription shampoos and skin products. It may cause itching and burning in rare cases. In extreme cases of seborrheic dermatitis your health care provider may prescribe oral medications that treat the entire body.

Dandruff appears to be caused by yeast and excess oil production on the skin. The combination causes scales or flakes to form on the skin. Stress, obesity, poor hygiene and certain environmental factors can all contribute to dandruff.

Dandruff can be managed although it tends to be a recurring lifelong problem. You may have periods when your symptoms are in remission and other times when they flare-up.

Some people may turn to more natural substances like tea tree oil to treat the chronic condition. The anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities contained in tea tree are suggested to help treat dandruff. Laboratory research supports the use of tea tree oil for dandruff relief but more extensive human studies are needed, according to the National Center for Complementar}’


and Alternative Medicine. A study published in “The Journal of Family Practice” found that tea tree oil shampoo diminished itching, flaking and greasiness in people with dandruff.

Another study published in the “Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology” suggests that tea tree oil treated dandruff more effectively than a placebo with few if any side effects. The research involved 126 participants age 14 and over. The subjects were randomly assigned a shampoo with a 5 percent tea tree oil solution or a placebo. Participants washed their hair daily for four weeks. The tea tree oil shampoo group showed a 41 percent improvement in dandruff symptoms compared to 11 percent in the placebo group. It should be noted, however, that the flakiness section of patient self-assessment improved slightly but not enough to be statistically significant.

A number of over-the-counter dandruff shampoos contain tea tree oil or you can simply add the oil to your regular shampoo. The Internal Aromatherapy and Herb Association recommend putting 10 drops of tea tree oil in an 8-oz. bottle of shampoo to create a 2 percent solution.