Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes red, itchy, and scaly patches on the face, neck, scalp and chest. Some people with seborrheic dermatitis find that sunlight helps relieve their symptoms.
Sunlight may help to kill Malassezia, the yeast that is responsible for the condition. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes Vitamin D, which helps improve seborrheic dermatitis. However, if you’re not careful, sunlight can cause skin damage and worsen seborrheic dermatitis. Never go under the sun unprotected when you have an SD flare.
Let’s take a deep dive:
Does sunlight help seborrheic dermatitis?
There is some evidence that sunlight may help improve seborrheic dermatitis. One theory is that the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight kills the malassezia yeast, which may be a factor in causing seborrheic dermatitis. Another theory is that sun exposure may help to normalize the skin’s oil production.
Seborrheic dermatitis often improves during summer months, when people are more likely to get sun exposure. This suggests that sunlight may have a beneficial effect on this condition. However, more research is needed to confirm whether sunlight really does help improve seborrheic dermatitis.
How to treat seborrheic dermatitis with sunlight?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes flaking, scaling, and redness on the scalp, face, and chest. While there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, you can treat it with sunlight.
To get the most benefit from the sun’s rays, try to spend time outside. Contrary to popular advice, the best time to get Vitamin D from sun exposure is noon. Aim to get 10 to 30 minutes of midday sun a few times a week. People with darker skin may need a little more time under the sun.
If you’re serious about using sunlight to improve seborrheic dermatitis, don’t use sunscreen and don’t wear a hat.
Just be careful not to spend too much time in the sun, as this can make your symptoms worse and increase your risk of aging and skin cancers. If you need to be in the sun for an extended period of time (i.e for more than 20 to 30 minutes), you should use a high SPF sunscreen.
Most physical sunscreen formulas leave a sticky, greasy residue or white cast but CeraVe SPF 30 lotion goes on like a moisturizer:
After being outside, especially if you have been sweating, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and reapply any creams or ointments that you use to treat seborrheic dermatitis. If you leave the sweat and excess oil on, you may trigger an SD flare.
It’s also important to avoid using creams that will increase your sensitivity to sunlight. I can’t imagine that any SD sufferer will be using retinol, but if you are, don’t use it before going out into the sun.
What are the side effects of using sunlight to treat seborrheic dermatitis?
When using sunlight to treat seborrheic dermatitis, it’s important to be aware of the side effects that can occur. These side effects can vary depending on how sensitive your skin is and how long you spend in the sun. Negative effects of sunlight exposure may include a sunburn, skin irritation, or worsening of the condition. Sunlight can also cause DNA damage and aging.
For light therapy without the risk of sunlight, consider a light therapy lamp instead:
Does sunlight make seborrheic dermatitis worse?
There is some merit to sunlight. It is a well known fact that spending time outside in summer improves seborrheic dermatitis. However, in topical countries, studies actually found that sunlight can make SD worse. This is most likely because you sweat more under the sun in humid conditions.
Sunlight can also cause DNA damage, especially during an SD flare. Your skin’s protective layer is already affected, and UV rays can cause more inflammation.
To wrap up
While sunlight can help improve seborrheic dermatitis, you need to be very careful with UV exposure. Don’t go under the sun unprotected during an SD flare. To increase your vitamin D levels, take Vitamin D supplements instead.