Seborrheic dermatitis: environmental factors, pollution, sun, etc.

The appearance and onset of a seborrheic dermatitis flare-up is due to many factors: stress, fatigue, climatic factors, alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as air pollution.



The impact of environmental factors on seborrheic dermatitis

Our skin, a genuine protective shield for our body, is the organ that is most sensitive to environmental changes. Dry air, humidity, cold, heat, are all factors that require our skin to adapt in numerous ways, including sebum secretion. The secretion of this sebum can be increased or decreased, and any increase may lead to a new flare-up of seborrheic dermatitis.


When the skin is subjected to a polluted environment, the quality and quantity of sebum secreted may be altered and increased, resulting in hyper-seborrhea. This creates an environment that may promote the proliferation of yeast of the Malassezia genus, co-responsible for seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups.


On the other hand, the sun seems to have beneficial effects on skin affected by this condition. In fact, a Swedish study showed that the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, after sun exposure, were improved in 54% of patients(1). Please note that even if lesions are improved by sun exposure, it is essential to apply a sunscreen beforehand and to reapply it every two hours.

A few tips for daily life

Many external factors can play a role in triggering the flare-up phases of seborrheic dermatitis.

This is why a few tips can help in the daily fight against seborrheic dermatitis, particularly:

  • Avoid scratching the surface of scales.
  • Cleanse your skin thoroughly: morning and evening, use suitable dermo-cosmetic products, with gentle soap-free cleansers to remove impurities from the skin’s surface while respecting its fragility.
  • Dry the entire skin well; do not go to bed with your hair still wet. Damp environments promote the proliferation of yeasts, which are potential triggers of symptoms.
  • For bedding, favor natural materials such as cotton or linen. This is because pillows made of synthetic materials promote the presence of microorganisms.

Please feel free to ask your pharmacist for advice. He or she will be able to guide you towards a routine adapted to your skin type.

Berg M. Epidemiological studies of the influence of sunlight on the skin. Photodermatology. (1989), 6, pp. 80-84.

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