Don't we always feel like a spotlight is trained on our SD breakouts and just know the whole world is thinking strange and disturbing thoughts about our little known disease problems? Now we have a small forum for sufferers with similar experiences.
It feels good knowing that I've brought the information to a wider public. I think most of us feel very alone following the thoroughly useless discussions we get to have with our GPs or Dermatologists. I felt like I was in a Jeff Foxworthy skit, "Here's your [sign] meds! You have Seborrheic Dermatitis, we don't know what causes it, it is not caused by an allergy, and here is a prescription. Go fill it and don't bother me."
Ick! And just another stick for the depression pile, huh?
So, I've decided to collate all the information I've gotten from commenters to this point. You've made many excellent suggestions, thanks.
So many of us seem to find a food allergy underlying our problem. (grumble, grumble) ... Why don't the doctors ask us what's going on? We know!
And, perhaps not so surprising, milk and its hidden by-products are the culprit for several of us. As readers pointed out casein (milk protein) is a BIG problem. And yes, when you cut out dairy you realize exactly how much you don't get to eat. (My pantry is so pitifully narrowed in product range these days.) Milk and its by-products are in just about everything! I really cannot figure out why manufacturers, in adjusting their recipes, think, "hm, lets add a bit of milk to this and all our problems will be solved!"
In scientific parlay, casein is a calcium salt phosphoprotein. Its stability makes it an excellent binder and one would assume the price is fairly cheap ... hence the large amount of it found in our foods.
Unfortunately, casein allergies are widespread and most of us aren't aware of the problem. On a purely scientific basis, most animals (us included) lose the ability to digest milk as we leave infancy.
Regardless, one of the great things I've discovered on ingredients lists: allergy info! If you scroll to the bottom of an ingredients list, there is usually an allergens in product list. And milk is included 99.95% of the time. :) This is one of the great and worrisome things about science, we can split a product up in a 1000 different components and you don't know what the original product was if we use one of those components. Hence casein and not milk being in the ingredients list itself, but milk being listed in the allergens list. Whew, clear as mud?
On to the comments -
Brandon in Honolulu shared his SD story, and his problems seem gluten related. He cut out wheat and citrus (some people have trouble with the acidity and/or plant protein allergies). After suffering for 25 years, his symptoms have disappeared.
Since he suffered digestive difficulties along with SD, Celiac's Disease seems a likely culprit. So while he's cut out breads and some fruits, he's much happier with his skin.
There are several recipe books for gluten free/celiac disease diets. I always check out Amazon and the reviews. I'd also strongly recommend checking any of these books out of the local library before buying.
One Anonymous poster has gone through two years of SD flare-ups. This SD sufferer began using direct pure Tea Tree oil application as a temporary fix. (I caution you to take care in Tea Tree Oil usage, it is usually highly concentrated and far too strong for direct skin application, especially with us sensitive skinners. I'd recommend diluting the product. It did not work for my own SD problems.)
"A" eliminated eggs first ... they were not the culprit. But a wheat elimination showed a great deal of skin promise. An unexpected relapse led to the discovery of "hidden" gluten. Much like milk is hidden in many products, so is wheat. Gluten proteins are a stabilizer, so many companies dump it into products. (I also found out that current labelling laws do not require all present gluten be labelled in foods ... if the FDA recognizes a food additive as GRAS, generally recognized as safe, it may not have to be listed on the label if this food does not normally contain the GRAS food additive ... Huh?!?)
And just like "A" found out, when I went gluten free, I found gluten in everything. "A" discovered wheat diluted soy sauce, in practically every sushi restaurant in town. I finally started bringing my own soy sauce to the sushi restaurant. I use the San-J Organic Wheat Free Tamari Soy Sauce. It is available at my local grocery store, but I bet you can order it online if you can't find it locally.
"A" has had problems with cross contamination by gluten products, and is VERY careful of all dietary choices.
Ludawg noticed a huge improvement in SD symptoms when taking the antifungal Diflucan for yeast infections.
Ludawg is also a casein allergic individual. And when searching for casein free foods, realized that few foods were actually casein free. Such unexpected products as soy cheese had casein. Yes, I completely agree that milk products have no business in soy cheese, and yet, there they are!
Once the casein was gone, not even the dry, cold months of winter brought the SD back! Yeah! Another success story.
Steve Carper's webpage has a great list of milk free cheese alternatives. I also found awesome cheese and Faux Mac N Cheese recipes on the blogs. I haven't completely given up on cookbooks, but the bloggers definitely have something going.
Another Anonymous poster uses Ketoconazole shampoo to treat the yeast overgrowth. I'm glad it works for some of you. It did not work for me.
Tiffany has been dealing with SD for several years. She began wearing mineral makeup, which is a really good idea. Mineral makeups don't sink/absorb into the skin, they rest on top. And since so many of us with skin diseases/conditions seem to have sensitive skin, the less you challenge/test your skin with difficult ingredients the better. Which is why we need to be careful when we test new products attempting to control our skin problems.
I really feel for poster "M," talk about the docs from H-E-double hockeysticks! What a run around to get an allergy test completed, and then to find out the test didn't cover casein allergies! I am so sorry "M".
Once we fall into the allergy circuit, it really feels like a downward spiral doesn't it? Once that immune system is sensitized, the strangest things can happen. "M" was dealing with recurring sinus infections, major skin sensitivities, pink eye, etc. I've been through the antibiotic cycle, where you come out of each round worse than you went in.
"M's" problems are mostly casein based (which, of course, the doctors couldn't figure out). However, "M" also has other food allergies, which have worsened over time.
"M" reminds us of how quickly problems show up on our skin. It has the largest surface area of any organ of our entire body, and has an incredibly close relationship with our immune system. Pay close attention to your skin, and you'll have a good idea of your health status.
- "M" wrote ... I am starting to wonder if doctors who make their living treating skin conditions are negligent or if there's actual malice in never exploring the cause of these problems.
(Sigh), I've had similar thoughts. I try to place myself in my doctors' shoes, and I haven't yet figured out why they can toss off our concerns so easily.
Doug developed an SD sensitivity following sunscreen exposure, and subsequent cleaning and removal via scrub mitts.
- Please join me in welcoming Doug to the sensitive skin family.
- Doug supplements with probiotics to improve digestion and nutrient uptake.
For his sensitive skin, he now follows this routine:
Being that several of us have pinpointed casein or gluten as a major factor in our SD, I'm really interested in Doug's report of his diet adjustments.
Doug tried psoriasis face wash and face cream from the Home Health line of products and reports positive results. In the words of a friend, "They didn't do squat for me." But this only highlights how many difficulties and complications this condition presents.
I hope the additional information helps.