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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: seborrheic dermatitis in eyebrows

 AppleTree - Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:42 pm

I have had seborrheic dermatitis in my eyebrows since about June 2007, but only this winter has it really flared up and gotten bad. My dermatologist told me to put desonide on until it got better, then Elidel. I did this, but then right before my next appointment, while I was on Elidel, it flared up again. Right now my entire eyebrow is covered with huge flakes that span the width and length of the first half of my eyebrows, which is blocking access to the skin underneath, and the Desonide (which my doc told me to go back on) only builds up on the flakes. Is there anything I can apply to dissolve the flakes? I would much rather refrain from pulling out the flakes because whenever I do, some hairs come out and I plan on living at least 60 years more, so if the same hair follicle keeps getting mechanical pressures from my pulling of the flakes every winter when it flares up, eventually, the hair will stop growing (if it doesn't stop growing this first time around). My doc gave me salicylic acid cream, which is supposed to take the flakes off the skin. There are two problems with this: 1. access to the skin is blocked so I am just apply this on the flake itself. 2. I still have to pull out my flakes and thus pull out some hairs. I am at my wit's end, please help. (To clarify, my problem is getting the flakes out of my eyebrow hair. Even if they do come off the skin, and right now with the size of the flakes, it's difficult to tell if the flakes are on the skin or just sitting above it as they sometimes do; I need a way to dissolve the flakes since through these flakes are threaded multiple, huge eyebrow hairs.) Thank you.

Also, would you recommend a tea tree oil shampoo? Any particular brand?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:46 pm

User avatar Hello --

While you've probably already tried this, and while you won't likely ultimately lose your eyebrows, I do understand your concern about accidental "plucking" while attempting to remove the flakes, which seems like a never-ending battle anyway: first soak the area with warm water (including the flakes), then run a comb through your eyebrows. Hopefully the warm water will loosen the flakes from the shafts of the eyebrow hairs at least enough to get most of the larger flakes out of the way. However, there really is almost no end to the secretion and formation of flakes while the disease is flaring, so you just have to keep at this. Once you've softened and hopefully removed the larger flakes, you can then apply the solution or medication to be used. Usually something containing ketonazole will help suppress the development of the flakes during flares, as will hydrocortisone cream. If necessary, you may need to simply saturate the surviving flakes with the medication, wait, then re-apply it. There's no cure and no easy way to deal with this infuriating problem, but it can be managed.

I am not familiar with any brands of tea oil shampoos, but perhaps someone passing through the forums will have some suggestions. I would concentrate on the medical approach, and please follow up and let us know how things work out for you. Good luck with this.

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