Bananas are one of my favorite fruits. We always have a comb of bananas sitting on our kitchen bench.
In fact, bananas are omni-present in most households. It’s a healthy snack and can be used in lots of recipes. But the one thing I hate about ‘nanas is how quickly they turn black!
Wouldn’t it be great if we can use these ‘too-ripe’ bananas to treat our seborrheic dermatitis rash or dandruff?
The use of banana masks has been around for centuries, with references appearing in ancient Chinese, Indian and Egyptian writings. Banana masks offer a range of benefits that include reducing wrinkles, hydration, elasticity, blemishes and inflammation.
There is no evidence that banana masks have any antifungal activity against Malassezia or can help treat seborrheic dermatitis. However, banana masks can help soothe the skin and exfoliate dead skin, especially when combined with other powerhouse ingredients like honey or curd so it’s unlikely to harm.
Let’s take a deep dive:
- Is it safe to use banana masks for seb derm or dandruff?
- Are bananas antifungal?
- Benefits of using banana masks on dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
- Doing banana treatments the right way
- Banana mask recipes that are safe for seborrheic dermatitis
- Does eating bananas help with seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff?
- Benefits of rubbing banana peel on my face
Is it safe to use banana masks for seb derm or dandruff?
Bananas contain natural humectants, moisturizers, and are high in potassium and silica. They are also antibacterial and antifungal. Bananas are also rich in antioxidants which help to protect your skin barrier from environmental insults.
Rest assured, bananas don’t contain long chain fatty acids, oils and compounds that can encourage Malassezia growth. As longs as you wash it all out (don’t want to leave rotten banana on your scalp do you?), bananas are safe to use even when you’re dealing with seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff.
Whether or not it’s effective is another story.
Are bananas antifungal?
Despite shout outs about how banana mask packs are amazing natural treatments for dandruff, there is no evidence that bananas have antifungal activity or will help treat seborrheic dermatitis.
In fact, a lab study published in 2015 found that banana extract failed to show antibacterial or antifungal activity against dandruff-affected scalp micro-flora.
However, I wouldn’t throw your ripe bananas in the bin yet. Banana masks can be helpful to sooth your skin (or scalp), reduce oil production, and indirectly make the skin environment less conducive for Malassezia growth.
Benefits of using banana masks on dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
Banana masks are an easy and affordable way to nourish your skin and can provide many positive benefits. They are packed with antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation, improve hydration levels, brighten skin tone, and even out texture.
Let’s unpack this:
High in nutrients
Bananas are high in compounds like potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, and carotenoids which nourish and hydrate the skin for a glowing complexion.
When your skin is hydrated, your oil glands won’t go into overdrive to produce more sebum, making it less inviting for Malassezia to grow.
Natural silica absorption
You know the itchy, crawly feeling you get on your scalp when it’s oily? The silica in bananas helps to absorb excess oils from the scalp. It also helps reduce frizziness, decrease oxidative stress, and improve hair growth.
Plus, silica can gently exfoliate dead skin and refine your skin texture. This can be a big plus when you’re in the scaly phase of seb derm.
Bananas are high in vitamin B6 which can help to reduce inflammation and soothe an itchy scalp. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is an essential nutrient for proper skin health and functioning. Vitamin B6 helps maintain healthy skin cells and protect the skin barrier.
Not only does vitamin B6 help keep your skin looking its best on the outside, but it also helps keep it healthy on the inside as well.
I take a deep dive into B vitamins for seb derm here.
One of the worst things about ongoing inflammation on your skin is how much older it makes you look. The passage of time and a less than ideal lifestyle don’t help. Who would have thought the humble banana can help stave off some aging symptoms?
From reducing wrinkles to brightening skin tone, there are numerous anti-aging benefits that come with using a banana face mask.
Banana masks may help increase skin elasticity, reduce inflammation, improve complexion, and even reduce wrinkles and age spots.
Doing banana treatments the right way
There are banana masks recipes all over the internet, many of which uses oils like olive oil, coconut oil and other oils that may feed Malassezia. If you’re gonna do a banana mask, follow these tips so it doesn’t make your seb derm worse.
Choose a mask recipe that is right for your skin/scalp type
For example, if you have oily skin, don’t choose a banana and oil combo. Maybe choose a banana and honey combo instead.
Use fresh ingredients that are free of preservatives and chemicals
When making banana masks, use fresh ingredients in order to ensure the highest quality and effectiveness. Fresh ingredients provide maximum nutrition, increasing your chances of benefitting from it.
Use a banana that is ripe and soft
Use a ripe and soft banana because it provides the necessary nutrients that are needed for promoting hair growth and closing the cuticles of the hair. Ripe bananas have high levels of vitamin B6. Plus, its soft texture makes it easy to blend into a paste or mask that can be applied directly.
Wash and condition your hair before applying the mask
Washing and conditioning your hair prior to applying a banana mask helps to nourish, soften, and condition the hair. It also helps to ensure that the ingredients in the banana mask will be more effective when applied, resulting in softer and shinier locks.
Leave the mask on for at least 20 minutes
Regardless of whether you’re doing a banana hair mask or face mask, leaving the paste on for at least 20 minutes allows the ingredients within it to properly absorb.
Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water
If the banana mask is not rinsed thoroughly with lukewarm water, you’ll be left with residue. And you definitely don’t want rotten banana in your scalp for days.
Repeat the mask treatment once a week
While a one-off mask may help some symptoms, you’ll get better results when you repeat the banana mask treatment once a week.
Banana mask recipes that are safe for seborrheic dermatitis
You are more than welcome to apply a 100% pure mashed banana mask on your face or scalp. But if you’re looking to turbo-charge your home DIY mask, combining banana with some of these power ingredients will help your skin even more:
Banana and egg white mask
The combination of the two ingredients can help reduce inflammation, moisturize the skin, absorb excess oil and act as a conditioner. It also helps to improve skin texture, and can help reduce frizziness and provide shine to dry hair.
Banana and curd mask
The natural ingredients in this power mask is rich in anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties which help to heal your skin. Curd contains probiotics that can help rebalance your skin microbiome.
Further reading: Curd for seborrheic dermatitis
Banana and honey mask
When combined together in a hair mask, these ingredients can help hydrate dry skin and provide relief from dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis-related symptoms. Plus, honey has anti-Malassezia benefits that can help treat seb derm.
Further reading: Is manuka honey good for seborrheic dermatitis?
Banana and aloe vera mask
A banana and aloe vera mask can help improve skin health by providing vitamins A, B, C, and E which aid in the removal of dead cells. Plus, proteolytic enzymes found in aloe vera help to repair and condition your skin.
Also check out Is aloe vera good for seborrheic dermatitis?
Banana and carrot mask
This particular recipe is effective for skin health due to its combination of ingredients. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps to nourish the skin and soothe your skin. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, antioxidants and vitamin A which can help reduce inflammation.
Banana and papaya mask
The mixture of these two fruits is known to nourish the hair shaft, add volume, and help retain moisture while providing relief from itching due to the anti-inflammatory properties present in these fruits. This mask combo also helps reduce oil. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly afterwards. The combo of residual rotting banana and papaya is devastating.
Does eating bananas help with seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff?
Bananas are healthy fruits that are chock full of nutrients that are beneficial for skin health and general wellbeing. As part of a varied and balanced healthy diet, bananas are A-OK for seb derm.
However, eating a banana a day doesn’t directly treat seb derm and if you go a bit crazy on bananas, you’ll start looking like a monkey. No, that’s not true. But you will start having problems with weight gain, poor blood sugar control etc. as ripe bananas are also high in sugar.
In fact, eating slightly unripe bananas are better for you as they are lower in sugar and are great sources of prebiotics for gut health.
Benefits of rubbing banana peel on my face
There are anecdotal evidence that rubbing banana peel on your face can help treat pigmentation and acne marks. This is because banana peels are known to be high in potassium, anti-oxidants and essential amino acids. However, there is no science to back it up and certainly no evidence that it works.
They are a few small lab studies finding that banana peel extract has antifungal activity on scalp fungi like Aspergillus niger but I found no evidence for any activity against Malassezia. Anyway, it’s unlikely that rubbing a banana peel on your skin will give you high enough concentrations for it to inhibit anything except maybe your spouse.