Does heat make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

Seborrheic dermatitis is often worse in the cold winter months, when the skin is dry and you’re hiding inside. Some people find that the condition improves in the summer months, when the weather is warm and you’re out in the sun a lot. Does this mean that heat improves seborrheic dermatitis? Not quite.

Heat in itself is neither good nor bad for seborrheic dermatitis. If it’s hot and dry but your skin is well moisturized, it shouldn’t affect you. However, if you’re hot and sweating, this makes seborrheic dermatitis worse. 

Let’s take a deep dive:

Does heat make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

Heat isn’t fun. I never like to feel hot and bothered. But if it’s hot and dry, I can easily make sure my skin is well-moisturized, and I’m still fine. Heat in itself really doesn’t worsen seborrheic dermatitis.

In fact, sunlight has been proven to be good for seborrheic dermatitis. The sun’s UV light kills Malassezia yeast that causes seborrheic dermatitis and increases your Vitamin D levels. Both these factors can help improve the condition.

Issues arise when heat is coupled with another enviromental trigger – like humidity. Or harsh winds.

Do hot and humid conditions make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

You’ve probably heard that seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that is made worse by heat and humidity. And that’s true. The condition is worse in high humidity and high temperature conditions. This means summertime in Queensland and throughout the year in all tropical countries.

coconut tree on beach

In fact, a Thai study showed that humidity and heat aggravates seborrheic dermatitis symptoms and reduced study participants’ quality of life.

The trick here is to avoid sweating, which can irritate the skin and increase sebum production, aggravating seborrheic dermatitis.

Read more about how you can avoid sweating from causing seborrheic dermatitis flares. 

Do hot and dry conditions make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

Hot and dry conditions don’t generally aggravate seborrheic dermatitis, except in 3 cases:

  • Even though it’s dry out, you’re still sweating.
  • Your skin is dry and cracked from the heat, causing rebound sebum production and oiliness.
  • You’ve overdone the sun-tanning and have a sunburn. In essence, you’ve superbly damaged your skin barrier and now have the floodgates open for Malassezia and its byproducts to cause more inflammation and rash. 

Even if it’s hot and dry, you need to make sure your skin is well-moisturized. Use a gentle moisturizer to keep your skin happy. I talk about my favorite moisturizers in this article

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30 | Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen With Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide | Sheer Tint for Healthy Glow | 1.7 Fluid OunceCheck it out on Amazon

Also, use sunscreen if you’re going out. I can’t stress this enough. My favorite is Cerave Sunscreen.

Do hot and windy conditions make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that is worsened by dry air, during the winter, and when the weather is hot and windy. People with seborrheic dermatitis are definitely more likely to experience severe symptoms in hot and windy weather.

The harsh winds can dry out your skin, causing micro-cracks, affecting your skin barrier. It can also cause rebound sebum production, causing oily skin when you get indoors.

And if you’re wearing a mask or have your head and face covered from the winds (think Arabian deserts), it forms a humid and warm environment for oil to accumulate and Malassezia to proliferate.

Further reading: Does hot water worsen seborrheic dermatitis?

To wrap up

Heat doesn’t aggravate seborrheic dermatitis. Unfortunately, heat often comes hand-in-hand with other environmental factors like humidity and winds that do make SD worse.

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