Malassezia furfur is a fungus that feeds of your sebum glands in your skin and causes seborrheic dermatitis. It feeds saturated fat only, not PUFA, (source here)
Is there link between the fats we eat and the fats we sweat? Is it possible that the dietary changes paleo folks are doing can result in higher incidence of seborrheic dermatitis?
I've been suffering from seborrhoeic dermatitis for over 8 months now, been strict paleo for 6 months. I have read about the whole saturated fat feeding m.furfur deal alot throughout the months, but I am not sure if it is the case if you are suffering from a yeast infection in the gut. As my n=1 experiment ingesting as much saturated fat as I could did not cause a flare. I have sometimes gone up to 200g saturated fat for a very short period of time.
Does Paleo diet cause a higher incidence of SD?
I can only speak in terms of my n=1. The paleo diet helped me alot because it is essentially a special elimination diet and a good one at that. I have found that fructose is the culprit for me (fruits,sweet potato,tomatoes, sucrose..). I would not have figured this out without the paleo diet as my diet initially included different foods before which made it difficult to form a trace.
I have no flare ups now and am on the following diet:
-red soil potato's
3)Fish 2-3 times a week
4)Vegetables/Salads(I make sure I get in some sulfur)
-Coconut oil(be careful with this one, ye its a powerful anti-fungal but the MCT's produce ketones which could possibly worsen a fungal infection, I seem to do fine with it in small quantities)
-Macadamia Nut Oil
Bonus - Ginger/Lemon tea(anti-fungal), Lugols Iodine every 2 days around 1-3mg(I do not eat seaweed, it is present in fish but as I'm dealing with an infection Iodine can become deficient), 5000IU vitamin d3 as theres not much sunlight were I live. Swallow whole garlic clove(anti-fungal) not very often as it sometimes produces too much die off and SD spirals out of control.
This is what works for me. But it probably won't work for you as life is just not that simple!
My only advice is pay great attention to what you eat and try to find the food(s) that trigger the dermatitis. Then you can tinker with your diet from there to fix this, as it CAN be fixed. Good luck
This may help you guys :)
I had very bad seborrheic dermatitis before going paleo. I had it on my scalp, forehead and across my face. Upon going paleo my seb derm cleared up about 90%, to the point where other people don't notice I have it anymore, even though my skin can get a little red sometimes. I've been eating a lot of saturated fat this whole time. I've been paleo for a year and a half and for a lot of that time have kept a food diary and have been eating different things here and there. For example, high dairy for a while, no dairy for a while, lots of fruit for a while, no fruit for a while, etc...
That's an interesting study, but I always think it's important to remember that the body is crazy complicated and I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that just because of the results of that study that eating saturated fat could worsen your seb derm. I'm not exactly very well read on the Mallasezia literature but I'd imagine that the overall picture is probably very complicated and while it seems saturated fat has something to do with it, the full story more than likely has many components.
My seb derm tends to get better and worse occasionally in ways that I find hard to predict. For me, physical and emotional stresses are big triggers. I don't exercise hard very often but if I do something even a little intense, like a 30 min run, my seb derm might break out a little (nothing like my pre-paleo days though). My seb derm breaks out if I'm dealing with a lot of stress but I've started meditating a lot recently and this has been helping quite a bit.
So for me stress is a major thing. Two weeks ago I decided to go super strict paleo (mainly for other reasons but I would also like to improve my skin) for a few months so I'm going to see if this helps my seb derm.
To try and answer your question, I guess it is possible that dietary changes people have been making on paleo could serve to worsen their seb derm. Bodytop certainly seems to notice a direct correlation between some foods and dermatitis, whereas I haven't so far, beyond that fact that cutting out grains helped enormously (when I started paleo, I was still eating a reasonable amount of fruit, dairy and occasional sugar and my dermatitis was as good as it is now). I can't imagine cutting down on saturated fat would help, but I don't know because I've been eating loads of it as long as I've been paleo.
one thing we may be overlooking here is that we have all been steeped in PUFAs for most of our lives until turning paleo/primal. PUFA (and even trans fats) are in our cell walls, where SatFats ought to be. as we 1) change the fat ratios in the diet and 2) finally go ketotic, even if intermittently) the body may finally begin to turn replace cells, release stored PUFA and generally clear our PUFA wherever it may reside. How long does this take? Does PUFA come out in the sebum? Who knows. But it's something to consider.
I found my own Seb Derm minimized the most when I committed to a daily ritual of face washing followed by application of coconut oil. it sounds gross to think I hadn't been face washing (outside of the shower) all along but it's been years since I had the acne of youth. So the natural motivation subsided. When seb derm 'scale' is around. I find cleaning skin using packing tape works really well. effective, cheap & gentle. once the skin is cleaned follow with coconut oil or whatever medicinal lotion you're using. go easy on any procucts with cortizone/steroids as they weaken the connective tissue over time.
read up on skin mites & eyelash mites. they can be part of the picture also and can progressively cause permanent skin damage as we age.
Paleo and Sebborheic Dermatitis 5 Answers