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sea and beach, seborrheic dermatitis symptoms on vacation

Why Your Seborrheic Dermatitis Gets Better on Vacation

Have you ever noticed that your seborrheic dermatitis symptoms tend to disappear while you're on vacation? 

While this might seem odd, it isn't just your imagination. In fact, many people have reported that their symptoms get better or vanish while they're away. 

Take, for example, the numerous Reddit posts that note a disappearance of symptoms when traveling to a country with a different climate or weather.

That said, this relief can be rather short-lived, as it is also possible for symptoms to quickly return or flare up once you're back home. 

But what's behind this holiday relief? 

Do the sun, sea, and waves play a role? Or is the drop in stress levels the main reason for calm, happy skin during the holidays? 

By understanding how these different factors play into the severity of your symptoms, you may be able to pull different lifestyle levers to experience relief—and all that without having to book a trip overseas.

Let's explore how the three S's, stress, sea salt, and sunshine, affect your seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. 

Table of Contents: 

Stress and Seborrheic Dermatitis

woman feeling stressed, the connection between stress and seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder linked to the Malassezia yeast. This skin disease commonly affects the scalp and other areas of the body that have a high density of sebaceous glands. You'll notice symptoms like itchy skin, flaking, and redness in the affected areas.

If you have seborrheic dermatitis, you might find that your symptoms tend to worsen during stressful events. 

Maybe your assignments in the office are starting to pile up, or you're dealing with a petty boss and unhelpful colleagues. When these stressful situations happen, flare-ups may often follow suit. 

Again, you're probably not imagining things. Science has shown that there's a link between stress and seborrheic dermatitis

For instance, one study has shown that seborrheic dermatitis flares commonly happen right after stressful events. In fact, the affected individuals in this study identified stress as a primary trigger factor of these flare-up episodes [1]

Another study found a relationship between the severity of seborrheic dermatitis symptoms and perceived stress levels [2]

How your body reacts to stress can explain this connection between stress and seborrheic dermatitis. Firstly, stress can lead to an increase in the release of inflammatory markers in the body. This might worsen the inflammation of the skin [3]

Long-term stress might also impair skin healing [3]. In stressful situations, your body shifts into fight-or-flight mode from rest-and-digest mode, where most of the healing takes place. As a result, stress can alter how your skin heals and recovers during a flare-up. 

How to Tackle Stress for Symptom Relief 

self care, how to tackle stress to improve seborrheic dermatitis symptoms

Everyone deals with stress from time to time. While you might not be able to eliminate stress from your life completely, there are certain habits and mindsets you can adopt that can help you reduce the impact of stress on your wellness. 

Here are some tips to help you prevent, minimize, and tackle stressful situations: 

  • Reduce your chances of being stressed out. Reflect on what some frequent stress triggers are in your life, and think about how you can reduce your exposure to them. For example, you may need to set healthy boundaries or prepare further in advance for a presentation or exam. 

  • Check your thinking patterns. Do you often play out the worst-case scenarios in your mind and fret over them? Have you adopted an all-or-nothing mindset, focusing only on the results instead of the progress you've made? Certain thinking patterns fuel fear and anxiety, while others celebrate progress, instill gratefulness, and help us focus on the silver linings in life. 

  • Practice self-care. As much as we may try to reduce stressors in our lives, some things are simply out of our control. When you feel stressed and anxious, take time to recuperate, heal, and care for your mind and body by doing activities that help you relax and destress. This might look like running a hot bubble bath, carrying out meditation sessions, or going for a jog out in nature. 

Improving how you deal with stress can help nurture happy, healthy skin. It might take some time and practice, but this will benefit not only your mental wellness but your physical health as well. 

Sea Salt and Seborrheic Dermatitis

sea and beach, sea salt and seborrheic dermatitis

If your symptoms seem to improve when you spend time in the sea or ocean, you've just witnessed the healing nature of sea salt. Sea salt has natural anti-inflammatory properties. So, it's no surprise that many people find that swimming in the sea or ocean helps to reduce skin irritation, redness, and inflammation. 

Scientists have looked into the benefits of sea salt for the skin, and what they've found so far is promising.

One study found that bathing in Dead Sea water containing 5% Dead Sea salt significantly improved skin barrier function and hydration and reduced skin roughness, redness, and inflammation [4]

Other research has found that bathing in the Dea Sea water could help protect and rejuvenate the skin through its hydrating, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and barrier-repair effects [5]

Sea salt also has antifungal properties, which may contribute to its effectiveness against seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that has been linked to a fungus called Malassezia [6]

An overgrowth of Malassezia is typically associated with seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups. Because of this, the antifungal properties of sea salt may play a role in combatting Malassezia growth and relieving symptoms of the condition. 

How to Use Sea Salt for Seborrheic Dermatitis 

sea salt, how to use sea salt for seborrheic dermatitis

The easiest way to leverage the therapeutic effects of sea salt for your skin is by creating your own sea salt solution. This can be done by mixing and dissolving dead sea salt in warm water. It's best to start with a lower concentration of salt first. 

Once you've created your salt solution, pour it over the affected area and gently massage it. You can leave it on for a couple of hours or overnight before washing it off. 

If you plan to use sea salt for seborrheic dermatitis, it's always safest to first perform a skin patch test. Apply the sea salt solution to a small area of your skin, leave it on for a day, and then check back to see if there are any signs of an allergic reaction or irritation. 

You can also consider a sea salt soak if your seborrheic dermatitis affects a large area of your skin. This can be done by mixing a cup of sea salt with your bath water. However, if you have broken skin or are experiencing a severe flare-up, it's best to avoid this altogether. 

Sunlight and Seborrheic Dermatitis

sunlight, sunlight and seborrheic dermatitis

Sunlight may be another reason why seborrheic dermatitis symptoms improve when a person goes on vacation. This is why some people notice that their seborrheic dermatitis symptoms get better when they travel to a hot country and spend time outdoors or at the beach. 

Studies suggest that sunlight could be linked to an improvement in symptoms.

For example, one study has found an association between sunlight exposure and the severity of seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. Researchers found that longer exposure to sunlight was associated with a lower severity of symptoms [7]

There are two possible explanations why sunlight might provide relief for symptoms. 

Firstly, the UV light from the sun could also be a reason why sunlight helps with seborrheic dermatitis. One study investigated the effects of narrow-band ultraviolet (UV) B phototherapy on severe seborrheic dermatitis.

Narrow-band UV refers to a specific set of wavelengths of UV light. This is a limited, small component of natural sunlight shown to be the safest and most beneficial for treating skin conditions.

In this study, researchers found that narrow-band UV phototherapy was a safe and extremely effective treatment option for severe seborrheic dermatitis [8]. Because this phototherapy uses specific UV wavelengths that are a component of natural sunlight, this could also explain how sunlight helps relieve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. 

Secondly, sunlight is a source of vitamin D. Some research shows that both vitamin D supplementation and sunlight are beneficial in managing seborrheic dermatitis.

Scientists found that patients with this skin condition had low vitamin D levels. Thus, vitamin D from both the sun and supplements might play a role in helping to improve symptoms [9]

If you'd like to reap the benefits of sunlight for the skin, you can consider taking vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D and K2 supplementation could be helpful for those who are experiencing a vitamin D deficiency as well as seborrheic dermatitis.

But, of course, it's best to seek advice from your healthcare professional before taking any supplements. 

The Holistic Approach to Managing Seborrheic Dermatitis  

Sea salt, vitamin D supplements, and stress management can help ease seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. 

Apart from these, some people rely on medicated shampoos or antidandruff shampoos, topical corticosteroids, and other dietary supplements to control seborrheic dermatitis and remedy their symptoms.

If you're looking for a convenient and holistic way to calm your skin and reduce symptoms, check out the Dermazen Calming Seborrheic Serum. This serum contains soothing and calming ingredients that can help relieve and nourish the skin. 

dermazen calming seborrheic serum

They include aloe vera, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and MSM, which help hydrate the skin as well as reduce redness and irritation.

Colloidal silver and xylitol work to disrupt the protective barrier of the fungus called the biofilm, allowing grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil, and dead sea salt to target and clear away the fungus. 

This all-in-one formulation helps to clear away the fungus, reduce symptoms, and soothe irritated skin. So you'll no longer have to rely on your next holiday away to enjoy relief. 


[1] Misery, L., Touboul, S., Vinçot, C., Dutray, S., Rolland-Jacob, G., Consoli, S. G., Farcet, Y., Feton-Danou, N., Cardinaud, F., Callot, V., De La Chapelle, C., Pomey-Rey, D., Consoli, S. M., & Pour le Groupe Psychodermatologie (2007). Stress et dermatite séborrhéique [Stress and seborrheic dermatitis]. Annales de dermatologie et de venereologie, 134(11), 833–837. 

[2] SARAC, E. (2022). Relationship between disease severity, perceived stress, and depression in patients with seborrheic dermatitis. Marmara Medical Journal, 362–366. 

[3] Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. (2014). Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Inflammation & allergy drug targets, 13(3), 177–190. 

[4] Proksch, E., Nissen, H. P., Bremgartner, M., & Urquhart, C. (2005). Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology, 44(2), 151–157. 

[5] Dai, D., Ma, X., Yan, X., & Bao, X. (2023). The Biological Role of Dead Sea Water in Skin Health: A Review. Cosmetics, 10(1), 21. 

[6] Kim G. K. (2009). Seborrheic Dermatitis and Malassezia species: How Are They Related?. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 2(11), 14–17. 

[7] Khaula Latifah Ramadhani Sahidah, & Agustin, T. (2018). Correlation between Duration of Sun Exposure and Scalp Seborrheic Dermatitis Severity Score in the Dermatovenereology Clinic, Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital. 

[8] Pirkhammer, D., Seeber, A., Hönigsmann, H., & Tanew, A. (2000). Narrow-band ultraviolet B (ATL-01) phototherapy is an effective and safe treatment option for patients with severe seborrhoeic dermatitis. The British Journal of Dermatology, 143(5), 964–968. 

[9] Ayşe Akbaş, Fadime Kılınç, Sertaç Şener, & Yıldız Hayran. (2023). Vitamin D levels in patients with seborrheic dermatitis. Revista Da Associacao Medica Brasileira, 69(7). 

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Calming Seborrheic Serum

This all-in-one serum clears away malassezia fungus while soothing irritated skin. Provides relief for the scalp, face, and body.

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