5 Proven Home Remedies for Seborrheic Dermatitis on the Scalp

If you are fighting seborrheic dermatitis and have already browsed around online previous to reading this, you will know that many people claim to have found an effective home remedy for seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. Some of these methods might in fact work, while others are just sheer pushes to get you to purchase some type of herbal product or natural cream.

The best way to find proven home remedies for seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp is to collect data. In this article we will do exactly that. In this article you will find a summarized overview of home remedies that have worked for others.

The remedies are listed in order of popularity and how significant the results have been for me.

Please keep in mind that most people believe seborrheic dermatitis to be a fungus/yeast issue. For this reason when you look at the most common home remedies for seborrheic dermatitis you will notice that most act as anti-fungals, aimed at destroying these skin invading organisms.

Update November 2015: Since the writing of this article a lot has changed. You should consider checking out my most current and successful treatment approach. This approach has been working for me since August 2015.

1. Honey and Water Treatment

This is my personal favorite. The treatment is, however, fairly difficult due to the stickiness of honey. Basically all you have to do is apply honey water to the affected areas and everything around them for 3 hours (leaving it on). Once the +3 hours are up you simply wash the honey off and go about business as usual.

How to Use Honey to Remedy Seborrheic Dermatitis

To make your honey water all you do is mix 4 parts honey to 1 part boiled water. The boiled water part is very important. Personally I found that rinsing the honey with boiled water after treatment also works much better than regular tap water. My thinking is that boiling the water changes it alkalinity. Most people online have, however, been using regular tap water to rinse.

How Honey Fights Seborrheic Dermatitis

The honey is said to work by killing being an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. This effect kills of the microbes causing the seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff in the first place. Another positive effect of honey is that draws moisture in to the skin and locks it in, helping to keep the skin supple.

My Experience With the Honey and Water Remedy

This treatment has been the most effective for me out of any of the mentioned here. I personally think honeys sugar content also plays a crucial role in it’s ability to treat seborrheic dermatitis. To me it seemed  the sugar helps to rebuild the damaged skin cells and provide vital nutrients for the skin to thrive.

Typically when using this home remedy my seborrheic dermatitis would start going away after just the first use. After about three consecutive uses the skin would begin to look completely healthy (this did, however, depend on how bad it was to start with).

Additional Information on Raw Honey

More information on the honey treatment can be found the in raw honey section of the free book I’ve been working on. Plus, the whole book can be accessed directly online here: Seborrheic Dermatitis – The Owner’s Manual.

2. Coconut Oil Treatment

A very popular online treatment is coconut oil applied for 2-3 hours onto the affected skin. Best results are said to occur if a show cap is worn. The coconut oil loosens the scale brought about by seborrheic dermatitis and fights the fungus which causes it.

How to Use Coconut Oil to Remedy Seborrheic Dermatitis

To use coconut oil you basically take an amount which you estimate to cover all of the effected skin (typically about 1/2 a teaspoon). You then rub the solid coconut oil between your hands until it liquefies. Then you careful massage the oil into the skin making sure to stimulate the pores. Once applied you can optionally wrap your head in a shower cap or towel (the locked in heat helps the oil stay liquid).

How Coconut Oil Fights Seborrheic Dermatitis

The fungus fighting activity is speculated to come from coconuts oil unique fatty acid profile. It has two fungus destroying fatty acids in its arsenal. One being Lauric Acid and the other Caprlylic Acid. Together they form quite a powerful duo and help stop seborrheic dermatitis in its tracks.

My Experience With the Coconut Oil Remedy

Personally my experience with coconut oil has been inconsistent. Sometimes it worked marvelously, while other times it actually seemed to make things worse.

It’s hard to pin point why this occurs, but I believe it has something to do with how clean the skin is during the time of application. In particular it appeared to work better if used after cleansing.

In the end, I gave up using coconut oil as I could never predict how my skin would react. Though it is worth noting, my current treatment approach implements one of coconut oil’s unique fatty acids – caprylic acid.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment

Another extremely popular seborrheic dermatitis is apple cider vinegar. With a long history in skin scare treatment this is a true power house. The strong acidity of the main acid (malic acid) found in apple cider vinegar help destroy seborrheic dermatitis causing fungus and restore the skins natural acidic environment.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Remedy Seborrheic Dermatitis

The most recommended method of using apple cider vinegar is in a 50/50 ratio with water. Once again most people recommend the water used to be either boiled or bottled. Mix the apple cider vinegar together with the water in a small container and apply to the affected skin in the shower.

Leave this solution on the skin and let it absorb for as long as possible (roughly 10-15 minutes while you shower). You will likely feel a stingy sensation if the skin is badly damaged. If this is the case I recommend quickly rinsing off and applying a more diluted solution (75/25). Once you get out of the shower and dry off the vinegar smell should quickly fade (roughly 30 minutes to an hour depending on hair length).

How Apple Cider Vinegar Fights Seborrheic Dermatitis

Apple cider vinegar is made up mainly of malic acid. This unique acid is very powerful against different types of fungus and yeast. It has also been made very popular due to a rising popularity anti-yeast diets such as the candida diet and the rising number of women caught with yeast infections.

Not only is apple cider vinegar good when applied topically, but it has a long history of internal use. Many people swear by its benefits and consume it every single day on an empty stomach or with food.

My Experience With the Apple Cider Vinegar Remedy

Personally I found apple cider vinegar to be only moderately effective. The smell and strength usually kept me away from regular use. After each usage, my skin would be bright pink and feel really tight.

Overall, I just didn’t feel like it suited by skin. The raw honey mentioned above provided a more comfortable way to fight seborrheic dermatitis.

Regardless, many people swear by the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in remedying seborrheic dermatitis so please give it a try. It might be exactly what your skin needed.

4. Baking Soda Treatment

Baking soda has a long history of successfully fighting fungus. Many people online have had great success with it and it is also much less of a hassle to use then other methods listed here. This is mainly due to its lack of smell and quick treatment time.

How to Use Baking Soda to Remedy Seborrheic Dermatitis

Mix half a tea spoon of luring baking soda with half a cup of water. Apply this solution to the affected skin for 5 to 10 minutes. After the baking soda has had time to do its work, simply rinse off with cool water.

As an extra bonus you can follow up with a quick rinse of apple cider vinegar diluted with water (as used in treatment above). This will quickly restore the skin natural acidic state and help keep it protected.

How Baking Soda Fights Seborrheic Dermatitis

Baking soda works in the opposite way of apple cider vinegar. Instead of using acid to fight the fungus the alkalinity of the baking soda is used. Fungus will quickly die and breakdown if the environment is too alkaline and this is exactly what the baking soda does.

My Experience With the Baking Soda Remedy

For me baking soda was the fastest acting out of all options mentioned here. Right after first use the skin calms drastically and redness fades away. The scales and flakes also almost immediately disappear. However, the only problem is it leaves the skin very dry and seborrheic dermatitis is often quick to return.

5. Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

A remedy used in lots of skin care products due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties tea tree oil has had a sharp increase in popular in recent years. However, when it comes to remedying seborrheic dermatitis the results are quite mixed. It works fabulously for some while not actually makes things works for others. Feel free to give it a try, but be sure to closely monitor how your skin reacts and adjust treatment as necessary.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Remedy Seborrheic Dermatitis

With tea tree oil you have quite a large number of options. Basically they fall into two categories:

  1. Buy a pre-made shampoo
  2. Make your own concoction

Pre-Made Tea Tree Oil Remedies

If you go for the pre-made approach simply hit your nearest supermarket and look for any shampoo that contains tea tree oil. Try to go for the ones that have the least ingredients.

Personally, I would probably recommend Trader Joe’s Tee Tree Conditioner and Shikai’s Tea Tree Shampoo. Though they didn’t really work well for me, they were my favorite amongst the ones I tested. However, there are tons of others solutions and sometimes even store brand ones. Once purchased, simply follow the instructions on the back.

Home Made Tea Tree Oil Remedy

If you want to know exactly what goes on your skin an custom solution is for you. Tea tree oil is far too strong if used on its own and can even damage the skin. The most popular method of using it topically is to mix it with a carrier oil such as olive, sesame seed, or coconut oil. Out of the these three oils I highly recommend either sesame seed oil or coconut oil as many other oils tend to actually promote the growth of the seborrheic dermatitis causing fungus.

When mixing you typically only need 4-5 drops of tea tree oil per teaspoon of the carrier oil. However, even this can irritate very sensitive skin. To see what works for you, try this concentration on a small patch of seborrheic dermatitis effected skin and observe for irritation. If all is well go ahead and apply it all the effected skin and leave on for 30-60 minutes. Once it has had time to soak in rinse off with cool water and wash regularly.

How Tea Tree Oil Fights Seborrheic Dermatitis

Tea tree oil is a well known anti-microbial and anti-fungal agent. When applied topically and left to soak-in, the tea tree oil goes to work combating the seborrheic dermatitis fungus. If the tea tree oil does it job and destroys enough of the fungus you will likely see great improvements in the seborrheic dermatitis.

My Experience With the Tea Tree Oil Treatment

For me tea tree oil never really had the amazing results that others have claimed. Similar to coconut oil sometimes it made it better, while other times it seemed to make it worse. If you end up giving this method a try please let other readers know how it worked for you.

6. My Own Unique Solution

This list initially only consisted of 5 items, but due to favorable user feedback this item has been added to the list.  

How The Solution Came to Be

During my time of maintaining this blog my research on the subject of seborrheic dermatitis drastically evolved and expanded. My goal was to find the most natural, easy to use, yet highly effective solution for my own seborrheic dermatitis issues. This research then lead to testing various combinations of ingredients and formulations.

After testing literally hundreds of different treatments, I stumbled upon something that seemed to work extremely well (for me). This formula was then sent out to a small number of people who I had been communicating with through various comments on this blog and they reported similar results.

Excited from the initial feedback I decided to give the solution name (BIOM8 Skin Conditioning Oil) and offer it to others around the world.

The Principles Behind the Solution

The Skin Conditioning Oil is an all natural solution which consists of a unique combination of anti-fungal fatty acids and oils. The formula was original created to treat seborrheic dermatitis on the face, but based on feedback from community members (on this website) it appears to be extremely effective for the scalp as well.

The whole story is available in this blog post. Scalp usage is discussed towards the bottom of the post and the comments have a ton of additional information.

7. Garlic Treatment (Not So Proven)

In all honesty I’ve never personally tried this method due to fear that it would be too strong on the skin. However, the logic behind it is quite clear and the person who initially posted seemed to get amazing results. However, please note that for this method you will need some type of juicer to juice the garlic.


If planning to attempt this method, be careful! It may cause irritation and contact dermatitis as garlic is quite a strong irritant for the skin.

How to Use Garlic to Remedy Seborrheic Dermatitis

This remedy is a little bit more complex so please follow these steps:

  1. Start off by juicing one whole clove of garlic (usually about 7-8 heads).
  2. Dilute the garlic juice with equal amounts of water
  3. Warm your diluted garlic solution (only slight without overheating it)
  4. Leave this solution on the affected area overnight or at least as long as possible
  5. Rinse with cool water and apple cider vinegar

The original poster also used Nizoral in the treatment guide, which actually might have been what was destroying the fungus and not the garlic. However, I’ve included this home remedy here for your reference (and without the Nizoral).

How Garlic Fights Seborrheic Dermatitis

Garlic contains a potent anti-fungal and anti-microbial agent called Allicin. This externally potent fungus killer fights bacteria on sight and leaves your skin free from seborrheic dermatitis causing fungus. However, like mentioned previously the true strength of garlics anti-fungal abilities when applied topically are quite unknown.

My Experience With the Garlic Treatment

The truth it is I’ve never used this method, but it sounds very potent so I included it here. If someone has used it or uses it after reading this, please leave your experience in the comments below.

Anti-Fungal Shampoos

These deserve an area of their own as there are so many options to choose from. Their overall effectiveness is quite good, but results vary from person to person.

For me, they tended to dry out the skin dramatically and cause it to be very pale and unhealthy. I’ve put together a very detailed report on which shampoos are effective for seborrheic dermatitis.

Other Notable Home Remedies for Seborrheic Dermatitis

These are some other remedies I’ve come across online. However, the feedback regarding these methods is often missing and the procedure is written very poorly.

  • Topical vitamin D
  • Hemp oil treatment
  • Topical oregano oil
  • Topical thyme oil
  • Topical probiotic cream or soap
  • Glycerin treatment

This list is my no means complete, but there are literally hundreds of speculated approaches to treatment.

Update September 15th 2016: In the past year I’ve been taking a more research driven approach. Basically, I wanted to write a book to sell on Amazon, but then decided to make it available online for free. You can find the result’s of this en-devour here: Seborrheic Dermatitis – The Owner’s Manual.

Summary of Home Remedies for Seborrheic Dermatitis

As you can see there are a ton of remedies to chose from. Some of which are likely to work for you. Please feel free to experiment and let me know of your results. Personally my favorite home remedy is the first one (Honey and Water). It seemed to have the best impact on long term results and really heal the skin instead of just masking the symptoms.

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About Michael Anders

After being affected by seborrheic dermatitis, I have made it my goal to gather and organize all the information that has helped me in my journey.

Notable Community Replies

  1. Hi James,

    Personally, not sure. I remember one person on here had good results with Manuka honey as well.
    The only one I tried was raw honey (one I bought from the store and one I got from Amazon). The one I bought from the store seemed to be more effective, but hard to really say…

    Have you tried using it yet?

    Reply Permalink
  2. Hi Shivam,

    From everything I currently know it appears that the associated hair-fall is reversed once the infection of the sebaceous glands is resolved. The malassezia that is believed to be in part responsible for SD loves to reside in and around the sebaceous glands. This can result in the hair fall you are experiencing. However, the products that you are using must also be considered.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply Permalink
  3. Hi Deborah,

    Sorry to hear about your friends unfortunate encounter with SD.
    Many people reported using medicated steroid lotions at the same time as starting more natural remedies. The biggest issue most people usually have is that steroid creams can cause long term damage to the skin (and thus should not be used for long durations).

    In terms of hair loss, most studies I’ve seen point to a direct correlation of SD reduction and improved/stable hair growth. Currently working on an article specifically on this subject, so considering checking back in about a week for more information (it’s quite a bit to stuff into a comment).

    In terms of treatments, these are the two most popular on the website at this moment:

        My Seborrheic Dermatitis Skin Regimen 2.0
        Nystatin A Potential Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment

      Would also recommend checking out the comments section of those posts. There is a significant amount of additional information and discussion there.
      Hope that helps and look forward to any updates.

      All the best.

      Reply Permalink
    • anila says:

      I have seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp for months now. It’s getting really irratating. I have tried everything. Every shampoo and oil. My doctor perscribed shampoo, tablets and lotion but still I have no result. I even tried Chinese remedies but no result out of it. I have itchiness, redness and big lumps of dandruff on my scalp. I’m always taking them off as I got use to it. When I peel the dandruff off I have bleeding from my scalp and pain. Can anyone help me out.

      Reply Permalink