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Finding a Moisturizer That Works for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Finding the Best Moisturizer for Seborrheic Dermatitis

If you have seborrheic dermatitis, finding a moisturizer that works can be very difficult. Many popular skin care products can actually irritate this condition. Through extensive testing of various moisturizers over time, I’ve identified what generally works best for soothing seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups.

In this article, I share my learnings to help you quickly identify moisturizers likely to help calm your seborrheic dermatitis, and ones to avoid.

How I Arrived at These Tips

After dealing with seborrheic dermatitis for many years, I spent a lot of time experimenting with various over-the-counter moisturizers. Many dermatologists view seborrheic dermatitis as an incurable condition that can only be managed. While I don’t fully accept that, this article contains suggestions to help make living with seborrheic dermatitis more bearable on a day-to-day basis.

My goal is to help set you on the right path to finding moisturizers that soothe your seborrheic dermatitis rather than making it worse. Here are my top 7 tips:

1. Learn to Read Ingredient Labels

When choosing a moisturizer, read the ingredient list closely. Creams typically contain some type of oil or glycerin as a base, along with various herbs and additives. Watch out for these ingredients in particular:

  • Dimethicone – Can worsen seborrheic dermatitis by trapping moisture and encouraging the growth of skin fungus
  • Parabens – Preservatives that may irritate skin over time
  • Multiple herbs – Too many herbs can react poorly with sensitive skin

Look for shorter ingredient lists you can easily understand. If in doubt about an ingredient, look it up online or do a skin patch test first.

2. “Natural” Doesn’t Always Mean “Better”

Many natural moisturizers actually worsen seborrheic dermatitis. Smaller natural skin care companies often make big claims without much evidence to back them up. Natural ingredients can vary widely in their effects person-by-person and condition-by-condition. I’ve tested many “natural” moisturizers that ended up aggravating my seborrheic dermatitis.

Specific natural oils may also encourage the growth of skin fungus that contributes to seborrheic dermatitis. These include coconut, sunflower, olive, and other plant-based oils. Some fatty acids like caprylic acid (found in coconut and goat’s milk) demonstrate antifungal properties and can help combat skin fungus. But approach natural oils cautiously.

3. Understand How Moisturizers Work

Moisturizers work in two key ways:

  1. Sealing moisture – Oils/emollients lock moisture into skin
  2. Stimulating moisture production – Herbs or other active ingredients tell skin to produce more moisture

It’s important not to over-stimulate moisture production. If you constantly force skin to push moisture to the surface then wash it away, you can exhaust skin over time. Use moisturizers judiciously and give skin breaks to recover.

4. Try Multiple Moisturizers

Since every person’s skin is unique, experiment to find what works best for your seborrheic dermatitis. As long as you make informed choices using the criteria here, your chances of success are reasonably good.

Aim to have 2-3 moisturizers in rotation to give your skin variety including:

  • Intensive overnight repair
  • Sweat/sport-resistant
  • Daily use

Talk to pharmacy staff about getting samples of different moisturizers to test.

Below this article, I share specific products I’ve found helpful for my seborrheic dermatitis.

5. Look to Your Kitchen

Before running out to buy another moisturizer, check your kitchen first! Some of my favorite seborrheic dermatitis home remedies come from simple kitchen ingredients like:

  • Plain boiled water spray
  • Honey cream mask
  • Used green tea bags

These tricks allow me to rarely need store-bought moisturizers.

I’ve seen people report success with coconut oil, but it severely aggravated my seborrheic dermatitis. Coconut oil is still great for moisturizing dry hands though!

6. Avoid Petrolatum and Non-Antifungal Oils

In my experience, petrolatum (vaseline) and oils like hemp, olive, sesame, and coconut provide only temporary seborrheic dermatitis relief before causing flare-ups. This is likely because they feed the skin fungus that triggers symptoms.

However, as mentioned earlier, some antifungal fatty acids like caprylic acid seem to help combat skin fungus. So maybe avoiding all oils goes too far – we likely just need to be selective. Research shows that while certain oils promote skin fungus growth, specific fatty acids do not.

7. Look Beyond Moisturizers

Moisturizing skin is not the only path to relief. Lifestyle measures like saunas, hydration, and targeted supplements also help:

  • Vitamin C & D – Helps skin retain moisture
  • Omega-3s – Found in oily fish and fish oil supplements
  • Hyaluronic acid – Found in sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash
  • Gentle cleansers – Avoid harsh soaps that strip natural facial oils

Concluding Remarks and Summary

Living with seborrheic dermatitis can be frustrating. Over the years of carefully experimenting with various moisturizers, I’ve come to learn what works and what tends to make things worse.

The key learnings for finding a moisturizer that alleviates rather than aggravates your symptoms are:

  • Read ingredient lists closely and watch out for problematic components
  • Don’t assume “natural” necessarily means better or gentler for skin
  • Understand how moisturizers work so you don’t overdo it
  • Sample a variety of products – everyone’s skin responds differently
  • Look to your kitchen first – homemade remedies can be as good or better
  • Avoid too many oils, but certain antifungal fatty acids may help
  • Adopt lifestyle measures like supplements, saunas, hydration to support skin

Hopefully these evidence-based tips set you on the right track to taming your seborrheic dermatitis and making life with this condition a bit easier. While it may not seem like it at times, seborrheic dermatitis can be managed. Be patient, pay attention to your skin’s signals, and incorporate the most helpful practices into your routine. Relief is possible!

To dig deeper into getting your seborrheic dermatitis under control, have a look at my Complete Owner’s Manual.

60% of readers found this article helpful

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. mollie says:

    I have found the dead salt treatment to be working for me for scalp and face. I have also found that apple cider vinegar also helps and Aloe Vera as a moisturizer but I read that you do not recommend Aloe Vera Gel. I am going to try the honey and warm water for the face Have you any other home remedies for a face moisturizer. Can you email me your reply. I am 85 years old and this condition has been driving me crazy. Regards, Mollie

    Reply Permalink
  2. This comment has also been directly emailed to you. I’m posting it here as well, just in case it might helps others as well.

    Hi Mollie,

    Thanks for leaving a comment on the website.
    It is encouraging to find others who are looking for a solution to their seborrheic dermatitis.

    First of all I will address the items you mentioned specifically:
    Dead sea salt caused my skin to sometimes become very dry and pale (had to be very careful not to make it too salty as this caused major redness). OverallI found it hard to get consistent results.
    Aloe vera is very popular and highly recommended by many. Personally each time I used it, my seborrheic dermatitis skin would go bright red. The flaking would stop, but the inflation seemed to increase. However, I only used the actual plant juice directly taken from fresh leaves. Perhaps this form was just too strong. Looking back now maybe a regular aloe vera based cream or moisturiser might have worked better.
    Apple Cider Vinegar cause the skin to smell of vinegar for short while. It also caused my skin to become much more pale and quite sensitive to sunlight. Concentration was key in order to see any results. Consistency was poor and on some occasions seborrheic dermatitis was hardly affected by application. Consuming it on a daily basis had pretty much no effect on the seborrheic dermatitis. It’s consumption did, however, seem to improve digestion and over made me feel good inside. You can see my full article on my experience with apple cider vinegar here.
    Secondly here is a summary my story with seborrheic dermatitis:

    Personally I am 24 and I’ve spent about 3 years suffering from the dermatitis.
    It mainly affected my scalp and face, but this caused many other issues in my daily life.

    Luckily after tons of research and experiments I managed to find something that worked for me.
    Currently it has been about 6 months without any flare ups.

    Sometimes a flake or two could appear or my scalp can get a bit of dandruff.
    However, it is rare and extremely mild. Nothing like the thick crusting and inflammation before.

    During my experimentation I believe I’ve tried every natural solution that was mentioned online. The two that worked the best and most consistently were Raw Honey Masks and Grapefruit Seed Extract as a face wash. I used these methods during separate periods.

    The Grapefruit Seed Extract was the first method I found which had sustained results for several months. I simply used a few drops with water as a face cleanser. Flakes disappeared and skin looked healthy. Then it stopped working and would only sometimes be effective. Also reading online I came across some articles that mentioned that the grapefruit seed extract actually contained some sort of disinfectant chemical (similar to hand sanitizer) which was the actual reason behind its effectiveness. Either way it stopped working for me so I stopped using it.

    Raw honey masks seem to both moisturise and cleanse the skin at the same time. After using the masks the skin was supple and well moisturised. The biggest problems with this treatment is it took about 3 hours each day, was a little messy, and if a few days were missed the seborrheic dermatitis would quickly return. Even after about a month or so of bi-daily use I always had to keep using it (otherwise dermatitis quickly returned). There were also times that it just didn’t do anything.

    Also one of the strangest and biggest things I noticed while fighting my seborrheic dermatitis is the illusive connection to food and diet. Often times it seemed that certain foods triggered flare ups and irritation. Fasting would cause the skin to fully heal and seborrheic dermatitis to go away. One time I went for about a week on just fruits and vegetables (no grains, meats, or dairy). During this week my skin was perfectly healthy even without using any topical treatments.

    In the end though, the whole food allergy thing proved to be a very hard path. Many of the diets caused issues with daily life and regular social eating. It was stressful to always restrict yourself from certain things and worry about the effect it could have on the dermatitis.

    Personally I believe trying to pin down foods that could be causing the seborrheic dermatitis actually enforced the idea and actually played a role in overall worsening of my condition.

    What has been keeping me free from seborrheic dermatitis has been a simple approach.

    My first step was to stop reading and researching online.

    Second I went and asked my friend in medical school what he would recommend for restoring the gut. He told me the supplement L-Glutamine is often used in medical cases. It is supposed to provide the gut with an abundance of the specific protein it needs to rebuild its walls. I purchased the powder form of it from Amazon and have been using it practically every single morning for the past 6 months. Each morning I wake up I drink a bit of water followed by a glass of water and about a teaspoon of L-Glutamine powder. Then I do some morning exercise and wait about 30 minutes before I eat breakfast.

    Third I went to my local pharmacy and asked for all the samples they had of cleansers and moisturisers. The gentleman working was very nice and he gave me about 15-20 different types of cleansers, moisturisers and sun screens. After about going through 4-5 that had no effect, I stopped at Cetaphil Restoraderm. It had a very subtle, but extremely soothing effect on my skin. Since than I’ve been using the cleanser along with the moisturiser pretty much every day before bed. After washing my face with the cleanser I let it air dry and a few minutes later I apply the moisturiser.

    Other key rules that I now follow:
    Never stress about the food I eat
    Never touch or scratch the skin (except sometimes my scalp)
    Stay away from excessive sun exposure
    Drink plenty of water
    Shower regularly
    Only cotton pillow cases
    Also for my scalp I went through a length adjustment period. After using commercial dandruff shampoos I decided to just find a good regular shampoo. Instead of picking one for oily hair (which my hair was at the time) I went for a moisturising shampoo.

    First I purchased a natural anti-dandruff one from Amazon (a very expensive product). The shampoo was non foaming and was more like a cream that I used to wash my hair with. My scalp started to normalize after about 2-3 weeks of constant usage. When I was using that shampoo I almost never had any dandruff.

    However, I when my bottle ran out I didn’t want to spend another 30 dollars on a small bottle of shampoo. Instead I went with a simple moisturising shampoo from a brand (Andalou) whose natural cleanser I previously enjoyed (the cleanser didn’t help my dermatitis long term). This is the shampoo that I’ve been using every since. The smell is amazing, my scalp feels healthy and my hair looks and feels very good. A bit of dandruff sometimes does come around, but it is quite mild and nothing which causes me to change my routine.

    Hopefully some of this information can prove useful to you.

    If you have any questions please feel free to email me. None of the advice above is medical advice and is a simple recollection of my approach.

    Best Regards,
    Michael Anders

    PS. Wish you luck with your fight against seborrheic dermatitis.

    Reply Permalink
  3. I’m suffering from SD myself. I use Cerave. I like the thich cream from the tub much better than the lotion. I still get it bad and my nose is always red and peeling along the sides, but this is the best for me. I used to use aquafor, which was intense but after a while aggravated it. ACV doesn’t really work. Coconut oil doesn’t really work. Fasting I feel does help. Dairy and wheat and seem to aggravate it. I refuse to continue these specialty diets however. I bought a zinc cream on Amazon and hated it. I researched lithium gluconate and I’m interested in trying it out. I see a product on amazon called Sebovalis Facial Gel I am considering ordering. Have you tried lithium gluconate 8%? It’s $26 so don’t really want to throw cash away. These specialty lotions are a rip off and so far unsuccessful.

    I’m interested in your honey method as well as cetaphil wash and taking l-glutamine. In fact I just bought some raw honey over the weekend. I get peeling scalp too but have had great results with head and shoulder clinical strength. Selenium sulfide seems to be much better than the zinc options.

    I prefer to go a little more natural if possible. But ultimately I’m willing to do what works. When it flares up I’m desperate. It’s always a little red, but sometimes it’s like I have facial leprosy.

    Reply Permalink
  4. Hi Mark,

    Cerave was great for me at first as well. However they were great only for a week or two after that they just stopped working. I’ve got a bottle of both the cleanser and the moisturizer here at home.

    Also have a tub of zinc cream from Amazon along with the same brand name soap. Those were great at first as well. Never used them for too long because they were way to strong. After usage the skin would feel strange and bare. Additionally their effectiveness deteriorated. For reference I don’t remember the brand name, but it’s the blue and white containers.

    Somewhere along the way I recall hearing something about lithium gluconate, but never tried it myself. To be honest though, from all the things I’ve came across in my research and everything I’ve tried it seems the most simple easily found work the best.

    In terms of all natural stuff raw honey was great. It worked most of the time, but it lost potency intermittently. Most of the other stuff wasn’t very sustainable. Baking soda or salt in the hair was quite good too, but I’m not using it at the moment.

    Right it’s been been about 7 months were the seborrheic dermatitis has been calm. Still some tiny flakes in the nasal folds and inside the ear after the shower, but nothing like before. My eyebrows are clear, forehead clear, facial tone is calm and not patchy. Additionally, I currently eat everything (except mostly stay away from dairy, but this was even before my seborrheic dermatitis), my daily skin routine takes about 1-2min, and I use a regular shampoo. Additionally I longer waste a ton of time online research for a treatment. When trying to treat it I tried giving up all kinds of stuff such as gluten containing goods, caffeine (even tea), citrus fruit and a ton of other things (tomatoes, bell peppers, fried food, etc.); Tried using all sorts of supplements (check some of the posts); and all sorts of other treatment methods.

    Currently my belief is that:

    • Salt and iodine balance in the body have an effect on the seborrheic dermatitis
    • Washing with cool water is best of the skin
    • Simple treatment methods work the best
    • Anti-fungal solutions destroy even the good protective layer of the skin, you need to constantly be using in order to sustain results
    • Looking back at your life and trying to see what was different before the seborrheic dermatitis is very effective

    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Also if you find the time, a follow up on your treatment results would be beneficial to other readers as well.

    Best of luck.

    Reply Permalink
  5. kit says:

    Is facial foam bad for SD? How about oilatum bar soap? Does it feed the bacteria in SD? I also heard any cosmetic product DAT contain glycolic acid can irritate SD and also vitamin C and acne product? R u agree w/ dat? Pls rep ASAP? Tnx

    Reply Permalink
  6. Hi Kit,
    To be honest it is really hard to give you a definite answer. Over the years I’ve read so much stuff on the internet say this many different things. However, I can say 100% that what might be bad for one person might work really well for another.

    Myself I have not used a single foaming cleanser that has helped with my seborrheic dermatitis. But shaving foam never irritated it and shaving actually improved it for me. Also things that contained oil seemed to be bad overall. Yet currently I’ve been using a lotion that contains sunflower oil for over 7 months with amazing success. You can see the details of my current approach here.

    When I tried a vitamin C serum, it was not very effective and actually irritated my seborrheic dermatitis. However, I’ve read one person who had amazing results with it. One thing I did notice is that supplementing with vitamin c does help to improve skin tone and keep inflammation down.

    Hope that helps. Let me know if you need more information.
    Take care.

    Reply Permalink
  7. Thank you for taking the time to write all this up! And so clearly! Can’t believe how many different options there are to try. Hope to hit the jackpot as soon as possible. :slight_smile:

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  8. Hi Tracy,

    Wow, thank you for linking that article. When writing this post I was unsuccessful at finding the original article I mentioned.

    The one you provided is extremely similar in nature and also mentions that oleic acid is great for growing the yeast. The big difference is that in the one you sent over sesame seed oil was also considered a good growth medium for the yeast. This seems to contradict what I originally read. Which might be related to the specific type of oil they use. Maybe the roasted sesame oil is bad for growing it or the other way around (not sure).

    One thing to note is that I’ve been successfully using a moisturizing lotion which actually contains sesame seed oil. This sort of contradicts many things in these studies. So not really sure how that all works. My own theory is that if the oil is easy for the yeast to consume then it proliferates. However, if the skin (or the lotion) has certain components which make it hard for the yeast to feed off the oil, this allows the skin to use the oil to replenish itself as needed.

    Hope that helps. Will update if I finally find that study I read (will check through my universities database).
    Also look forward to hearing any updates.

    Reply Permalink
  9. Hi there,
    Thank you for taking the time to say thanks. :slight_smile:
    The options listed in the moisturizer article are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to believe the amount of things I tried to get rid of it.
    Currently putting together a post trying to summarize all the treatments I’ve ever tried. Maybe that will helps other going down the same road.

    As far as moisturizers go I’ve currently been sticking to the Restoraderm Moisturizing Lotion (along with the cleanser) and it’s been working extremely well. However, when I was discussing it with another reader I noticed the ingredients list of the one sold on differ from the one I’ve been using. The ingredients list on their official page match my little sample bottles (haven’t needed to buy any yet).

    You can get a feel for how well it’s been going for me on some of the other comments here.

    Best of luck finding something that works for you. One of the biggest factors seems to be staying positive!
    Also one reader sent me an email with his experience. After trying all the stuff he can find, he came across one dermatologist who prescribed him Nystatin (a topical anti-fungal). Said he’s been using it ever since and it has made it go away. Will add details on his experience to the site in the next few days as well.

    Hope that helps and once again thanks for the feedback.
    Look forward to hearing any updates.

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  10. kit says:

    Tnx bro. BTW is it requird to use moisturizer ? Or it is optional?

    Reply Permalink
  11. Hard to say if its required. From the start I used them in combination. Has been working well, so had no reason to cut out the moisturizer.

    Never was a fan of using a moisturizer. I use only a tiny little bit each time. Only a few tiny drops a few minutes after washing my face. When the skin is still moist it spreads super well. To give you an idea of how little i use, about 8 months of constant usage and I’ve only used ~40ml.

    Check your local clinic and they likely have sample bottles. Especially pediatric (kids) clinics.

    Reply Permalink
  12. Hi Tracy,
    As per our email conversation, it looks like the way to go if you need a natural oil. Fractioned Coconut Oil looks like another term they use for MCT Coconut Oil, doesn’t look like theres any real difference. Here’s the research paper that I originally got the idea/information from (didn’t include it in the email as I had to search for it again).

    If you end up getting the oil, let me know how it goes. All the best.

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  13. nikki says:

    HI, have you used Cetaphil’s DERMACONTROL Oil Control Foam Wash and moisturizer? I got the foam wash as a sample once. I’m not sure if it improved my SD but it definitely did not worsen it at all. Just wondering how they compare if you have tried them.

    Reply Permalink
  14. Hi Nikki,
    Haven’t used that product, but have a sample of it somewhere as well. A few of the oil control cleansers I did try were not very effective.

    The Restoraderm is hard to explain. Its very mild and doesn’t seem like it would do much. However, a little bit goes a long way for me.

    Hope that helps. Additionally I’m much more aware of my skin, thoughts, diet and body. Anxiety and stress (physical or emotional) seem to be quite powerful triggers.

    All the best.

    Reply Permalink
  15. Thank you for all these information i have rosacea and i got SD since 3 or 4 weeks .my doctor prescribe me elledol cream that i have bee using since 3 days. it is the same .it is really frustrated to have this condation they seems never go away. my friend recommend me apple cider vinegar. i will try and i let you know.
    thank you again that is so relieve to find this much info about SD.
    good luck

    Reply Permalink
  16. Hi Ferhan

    Thank for taking the time to leave a comment and thank you for the feedback
    Personally I haven’t tried the Elledol Cream, so I can’t really comment on how it compares to the other creams I’ve tried.

    If I had to start over again the first thing I would try is the face wash and moisturiser I currently use (Cetaphil Restoraderm). I tried to outline the rest of the details on my current approach in this post. Maybe that could help.

    Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be really great for some people. Through this website alone I have talked to at least 6 people who have confirmed it’s potential. For me I couldn’t find the perfect balance though. Check out the comments section of the ACV post for some feedback from others.

    Additionally you might find this post useful. It’s basically a summary of almost everything I tried. Some stuff is missing, but it’s a huge list of stuff as is. Hopefully it’s of use to others going down the same route.

    If you have the time, any updates on your progress would be a huge benefit to any other readers.

    Best of luck and hope you find something that works.

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  17. Thank you. I got the restoraderm and it really is amazing. My redness is much milder now.

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  18. Hi Nikki,

    Thank you for the update.
    Glad to hear that the Restoraderm has worked for you as well.

    Has your skin kept improving since?
    Also are you just using the wash or the moisturiser as well?

    All the best.

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  19. nikki says:

    I have had SD for about a year now. I tried ACV for a few months and it didn’t help. My rash was pretty bad. For the past month, I have only been using Restoraderm wash and moisturizer and taking oral coconut oil supplements and the SD is going away. Now, the rash is 1/3 of what it used to be.

    Reply Permalink
  20. Hi Nikki,
    Glad to hear the Restoraderm helped as well.
    Are you following a similar regimen described at the bottom here (ie. small amount used, letting face air dry, and such)?
    In terms of the oral coconut supplements, are you taking caprylic acid or something else?

    If you find the time, leave details on your approach on my most complete write up on that treatment here as well (will help readers of strictly that one).
    All the best.

    Reply Permalink
  21. I tried the honey masks, but the time and mess make it just too impractical. After half a dozen real three-hour sessions, I’ve switched to just wearing it during a shower 3-4 times a week. I really think it’s still helping, even if maybe not as much. Also, I think the biggest thing that’s worked for me is switching to Olay’s “moisturizing lotion for sensitive skin.” I liked most of the ones suggested here, but they didn’t work well under makeup. I also like Dr Lin’s daily hydrating gel at night. In six weeks, I’ve finally gotten the dermatitis back to a normal state where it’s not horribly peeling all the time. I think the flare up was started last summer when I went crazy for coconut oil and put it on my face daily. Lesson learned the hard way! Thanks again for your immense help with the research side of my quest to walk outside without a bag over my head. :slight_smile:

    Reply Permalink
  22. Hi Gamoses,

    Glad to hear your making progress.
    Thanks the update and for pointing out the make up thing, it was not an issue for me (male so no make up).

    Yeah completely agree with the honey masks. They are quite impractical for the modern lifestyle.

    In terms of the trigger, yeah I think it differers for people.
    For me I trace it back to when I started washing my face daily with commercial soaps (Ivory, Dove, etc). I think this could have messed the skin regular balance.

    Not sure if you saw my post complete post here (it is an attempt to sum up all my experiences).
    It contains basically everything I tried and towards the end it outlines my current approach (which has worked out extremely well for me).

    Hope it works out in the end and you find something that works day-in and day-out.
    Take care and let me know if you have any updates/questions.

    Reply Permalink
  23. My doctor had suggested Cetaphil about a year ago. It seemed to work wonderfully until this past winter when I started to break out in hives. As with Michael, I have tried so many different lotions I was getting very down and very frustrated. I do believe my hormonal changes have contributed to my SD. As well, I notice that when I have dairy, I seem to have flare-ups. I, too, tried the coconut oil and the first couple of days my skin felt amazing yet it was still dry. I am still trying to find something that works for more than a couple of days -right now it’s Vaseline and hydrocortisone cream.
    Thank you so much for posting your experiences with different remedies…it’s actually soothing to know I’m not alone with this battle!

    Reply Permalink
  24. Hey Christine,
    Thanks for checking in. From what I saw while researching Vaseline can have a negative effect for people (based on forums). However, technical the bacteria that is believed to be the cause can not feed off the specific lipids found in Vaseline. The most I’ve ever sued hydrocortisone was for about 7 days at the very beginning when it all started (from what I understand it can have negative long term effects on the skin).

    Hopefully you find something to finally get it under control again.

    In regards to the cetaphil, was it the same one? I have tried the regular one previously as well with good result, but this one seems to take it to a new level.

    All the best.

    Reply Permalink
  25. nikki says:

    I haven’t been that diligent with the air-dry etc. method, and have just been putting it on like normal lotion: Wash with Restoraderm using cool water, pad dry with face cloth, pea size amount Restoraderm lotion all over my face, go to school :slight_smile: And I have a scrubby shower cloth for the flacks that I use to lather Restoraderm wash and scrub my nose area with.

    For the coconut oil, I found in Shoppers, a huge bottle of organic coconut oil in gel capsules. When I first started, I got “die-off symptoms”, some bloating etc. but that does away.

    My SD is still about 1/3 of the size from when it was worst. Some friends say it’s not that noticeable, some say it just looks like mild acne or I have cold. However, it’s not really improving anymore.

    What I did notice is that after drinking a lot of alcohol, it gets a lot worse. So I do feel that what we put IN our bodies matters more than what we put ON.

    Reply Permalink
  26. Hi Nikki,

    This reply was a long time coming. Sorry for the delay.
    The effect it (Restoraderm) has for you seems different then for me. This whole time I’ve never had to actually scrub any flakes off. Except inside the ears for some reason, but it never gets irritated or red there. However, my face has been clear this whole time I’ve been using it since last summer.

    The worst it has ever gotten was actually a few weeks ago. For the first time since last summer a few of the previously affected areas became slightly inflamed (luckily not flaking though). I attributed this to a really stressful time at work, unrealistic deadlines (work + school) and just general unrest (poor sleep, dehydration, lots of crappy food). However, I stepped back from everything and managed to calm things down and everything went back to normal almost immediately.

    Interesting to see you reporting die off symptoms from the coconut oil. Even when consuming large amounts (4-5 tablespoons) I didn’t notice anything except a little nausea from trying to digest a big chunk of fat :). Too be honest some of things people report as die off stuff on forums, just seems like the actual side effect to whatever they’ve taken. For example drinking too much alcohol can make someone puke their guts out, one could make the case that these are die off symptoms from the alcohol killing all the bad stuff :). Whenever I tried to find actual medical documentation regarding the “die-off” effect, there was little actual academic literature on the subject.

    Yeah your spot on with the last point. The Restoraderm helps me keeps things to a minimum and allows me to gently wash the face. However, being calm inside, being mindful of diet choices, and getting rid of toxic thought processes can have dramatic effects on many aspects of your health.

    The biggest issue with S/D is that it can create a horrible feedback loop. Especially with all the scary/misleading content out there. Thinking I had a crazy fungal infection in my system caused lots of stress. Accepting the thought that everything is alight inside, brought a huge amount of relief and calmness.

    Hope some of this can be of benefit.
    All the best. Stay in touch and let me know if you have any improvements.

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  27. Hi, thanks for this site it’s amazing.

    My problem is solely on the folds of my nose so I was wondering if you recommend using two different moisturizers - one for the affected area and the other for my face.

    I’m thinking of buying the one that you recommend along with another one since I have very oily skin and the cetaphil one says it’s mostly for dry skin. If you have any recommendations on a good moisturizer for oily skin that would be great because I’ve read that certain moisturizers can also influence the problem.

    Thanks a lot.

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  28. Hi Friend,

    Honestly, it’s super hard to recommend anything. It seems that seborrheic dermatitis is super elusive. For me personally the Restoraderm line of products have been really good, but it seems like some people had issues.

    Overall tough, I personally believe it’s really dependent on how you approach your current treatment. If you think it might fail, you kind of set your self up for it. Seems kind of un-scientific in a way, but after researching this thing for so long all my thoughts are in this directions. Like honestly, what the heck is this thing: Neurodermatitis ?

    I’m currently using the Cetaphil Restoraderm products for my whole facial area. Super small amounts though. For example, for this past year I typically have only wash and moisturised once a day. When I do wash, I do it super quick and with cold water. And when applying the moisturiser I use the smallest amount possible (when the face is still moist, typically a tiny bit is more than enough to cover the whole face).

    Hope that helps. Check out the community if you want it discuss things further.
    All the best and thanks for checking in.

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  29. tracy says:

    I had it in my nasal labial folds too for 6 months.
    It’s gone now.
    I used daktarin twice a day for 1 month and followed an anti fungal diet/anti candida. A took a lot of supplements like garlic, fish oil etc.
    Now I use La Roche Posey kerium d s cream

    Reply Permalink
  30. Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for checking in!
    Glad to hear things worked. If you have the opportunity, think about joining the community.
    My approach doesn’t seem to work for everyone, but with the input of others I feel like a more comprehensive approach can be designed.

    Thanks again and great to hear from you after all this time.

    PS. In terms of diet. The things that have helped me the most have been returning back to basics. I find that the more simple the food I eat, the better my skin feels.

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  31. Hi there, First of all thank you so much for the article. It was a great article I must say. I’m the one suffering from SD for 5/6 years almost. I wanted to know a thing from you as you gave so many useful information here. I recently wanted to ordered a facial wash from the Shea terra Organic. The ingredients of the face wash contains some oils like- Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Rosa Mosqueta (Virgin Rose Hip) Oil, Palm Kernel Oil and some ash like - Yoruba Black Soap, Cocoa Pod Ash, Plantain Peel Ash, Camwood Bark, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter and some other ingredients. So what do you think of using those oils as a face wash? Does it can make the yeast to overgrow too?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply Permalink
  32. Hi Tasnova,
    It’s actually hard to say. From all the medical literature it would seem that yes oils do make the yeast grow.
    However, the Restoraderm I’ve been using actually has shea butter and sunflower seed oil.
    Overall though, I think the more mild the formula is, the better.

    From all the natural face washes this one actually worked quite well for me. I actually thought that it would be my long term solution. I purchased 3 bottles, but only used one of them.
    In the end, I kind of gave up on it. It helped around 95%, but my face would still get irritation sometimes.

    Hope that helps. Let me know how the Shea Terra works out.
    All the best!

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  33. Thank you so much for your response. One thing I figured out about SD is you need to try something out to know what actually works for you! From my little research I could see that there is not any single solution but you have to find your own. This is quite depressing, cause you have to go thorough a lot of trail and error to figure it out which works for you! Moreover having SD means there is something going wrong inside your body!

    Anyway I ordered Shea terra already which may take a while to come in my hand (a month! Sigh!). I’ll let you know after I use it for a while. Actually I ordered it because most of the reviewer says it helps them in cleaning dead skin cell. and people prone to SD need to remove their dead skin cells for their own good. But may be I won’t use it regularly. Let me see it’s effect on my skin first! I also ordered dead sea salt for my scalp and face treatment purpose. And I’m actually excited to try this out as so many people claimed that it helped them to tame their SD. Wish Me luck! And Thank you so much, you have been very helpful.

    Reply Permalink
  34. Hi Tasnova,
    Yeah, the uniqueness of each person makes it really difficult.
    Another really annoying issue, is the amount of incorrect information about it online.
    The Restoraderm I’ve been using has had a fairly good % of positive feedback. However, even with this there are a few people who didn’t seem to have success with it.
    For me I believe it was definitely part of my recovery. It helped keep my skin normal enough and allowed me to better understand my own internal causes/triggers (without having to deal with the day-to-day issues).

    One thing to keep in mind that with seborrheic dermatitis your skin cell turnover is greatly increased ( In many cases it is even shorter than that of a kid.
    For this reason I believe excessive scrubbing, washing, and any other method which acts to remove dead skin makes things worse. Personally I think reducing the skin cell turnover rate is what people should focus on.

    Here is related piece of a conversation I was having with another community member earlier this week:

    As for the histamine, it’s definitely a part of it. However, I think from everything I've learned so far the problem is much, much more complex. So far it’s looking like a mix of hormonal factors (cortisone and histamine seem to be the most examined), internal anti-oxidant production (particularly bilirubin and glutathione), and a large diversity of other factors. However, everything in the body is interconnected and as a whole the system is basically malfunctioning.

    The seborrheic dermatitis is just a result that shows up on the skin. What happens locally on the skin, is skin cell production is over-stimulated. The turnover rate of the effected skin cells becomes even greater than infant skin. My hypothesis is that with such a rapid turn-over skin cells are simply not given enough time to properly mature and develop. Thus, foreign bacteria are more easily able to penetrate the outer most layer of the skin. Personally it’s my opinion that the recommended use of anti-fungals and antibiotics conceals the issue by removing foreign bacteria, but can push things further into progression. My belief is based on fairly new medical studies which have demonstrated that almost 90% of the skin cells are actually dormant. Only ~10% are actually metabolically active. Most antibiotic and anti-fungals work by inhibiting the reproduction of bacteria. However, the ~90% of dormant skin cells aren’t actually doing anything, so they remain unaffected. This might give the exact circumstances needed for foreign bacteria to invade more territory.

    However it’s still so hard to understand how all of these factors at play all together. Taking internal anti-fungals seems to produce fairly stable results. Perhaps this is because it is more effective at killing the dormant bacteria as it stays in the system for longer periods of time?

    Another strange aspect is how does it all start? Is it internal factors -> skin infection -> leading to more internal factors and basically closing the loop on itself.

    With all that said. My own recovery was actually fairly simple. I just went back to basics.
    Stopped reading crap online, stopped using everything except a gentle cleanser and moisturiser, added l-glutamine (to hopefully stimulate normal skin cell production and glutathione levels), and went back to eating food I love.

    Hope that helps and let me know how the Shea Terra works out.

    Reply Permalink
  35. mehdi says:

    Hi Michael,

    This is to give you a big thank you. I’ve been suffering from SD for 15 years on and off and recently I was frustrated that nothing works on my skin anymore. Being hopeless, I thought this time I’m going to search what other SD patients do and then I found your post and Cetaphil Restoraderm. This is like magic. I’ve been using both body wash and moisturizer for two weeks and haven’t seen my skin like this for a long time. So thank you for sharing your experience and suggestions. Hope one day there will be a permanent cure for SD.

    Reply Permalink
  36. Hi Mehdi,

    Sorry for the delay in reply.
    Glad to to hear the Restoraderm worked out, it’s crazy how well it works for some one us.

    In terms of long term treatment, I may have found something a little more conclusive.
    Still a working hypothesis, but will update if my testing shows results.

    All the best.

    Reply Permalink
  37. How much honey to water?
    Also do you know if there is any connection between seborrheic dermatitis and being on immunosuppression? (I’m immunosuppressed due to kidney transplant.)

    Reply Permalink
  38. Hi Eliza,

    The honey to water ratio I found the best was 9 parts honey to 1 part water. More details on the honey approach can be found in the "Basics of Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis with Raw Honey" post.

    Seborrheic dermatitis is heavily correlated with immunosuppression. From what I remember the correlation with SD and AIDS is off the charts, something like 40-80% (study). HIV it's something like 36%. In the general population the percentage is somewhere closer to 3-5%. This is likely to due to suppressed sebum protection from the fungus that causes the SD. (Common superficial fungal infections in immunosuppressed patients).

    Let me know if you have any other questiosn. Hope that helps and best of luck!

    Reply Permalink
  39. Hi, first time on your site. Just wanted to tell you what has helped me. I am 29 yr old male and have SD flare-ups around mustache area (worse when it grows, so I keep it shaved) and front scalp/hairline. Being a typical guy with minimal skincare products, I don’t moisturize everyday like I should, but when this started 3 years ago, I already had some Simple Rich Moisturizer for use with mild acne treatment (I think it’s a UK brand that came to US retailers a few years ago. I get it at Walmart). It works like magic for me. When it flares and gets even worse from the irritation of shaving, it’s very noticeable red blotches between my mouth and nose. Looks horrible. But, I just use the Simple moisturizer, it burns slightly for a minute,and literally within hours, the redness has faded to pink and does not hurt or itch. After doing that twice a day for just 2 days, and it’s completely gone. No signs of it, just even, healthy looking skin. I’m sure if I was more diligent in using it every day, I’d probably never see it again. Anyway, I admit I didn’t read all the article information, and so I don’t know if Simple has any concerning ingredients. But, for me, it heals it so well and fast, I’m always surprised it’s not a medicated cream of some kind. Hope maybe it can help some others.

    Reply Permalink
  40. Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for the tip. It seems that everyones skin is different and once they can find a moisturizer that works for them, things drastically improve. I’m thinking of buying a large variety of different products and putting together a sort of tester pack so people can find something that’s right for them. What do you think of this idea?

    Is this the cream you are using? Overall the ingredients seem to look good from what I know so far.

    Thanks again for the tip.

    Reply Permalink
  41. Thank you for this article! A quick question (s) regarding Seborrheic Dermatitis 1.) in your research have you come across why certain areas of the face have ‘flares’ more that others? like, are some areas more prone to SD? The last 2 years I had a 'breakout" of SD on my eyelids and moves up to the brows during winter months, went to the dermatologist and got diagnosed with SD, but this year it started in late Spring on the right side of my forehead, moving to the laugh lines around the mouth and chin. But, now AGAIN the eye area, lids, brows, under the eyes and the outside corner of the eyes. 2.) what if anything is safe to use around the eyes? The rash, redness, flaking skin is all bothersome and lowers your self esteem, but nothing is comparable to the B U R N I N G associated with SD on and around your eye area. The dr’s want to give steroid creams for this , but the # 1 caution is NOT to get it on, in or around the eyes??? I’ve spent endless hours researching but not coming across anything or anyone with it around the eyes and suggestions of what helps?

    Reply Permalink
  42. Hi Shannon,

    From everything I’ve read so far it appears that heat attracts the issues. Areas of heat produce more oil, attract more microbial activity and as a result produce seborrheic dermatitis.
    Hard to say why it moves around the face. I experienced this as well. What I believe happens is that the skin in that area may become good at defending itself, so the microbes react and relocate their activity to a different region that is also viable for them.

    The area around the eyes is very tricky. Currently I am using the Biom8 fairly close to the eyes, but I make sure to never actually get it in my eye as it would likely cause irritation.

    Overall though I think a comprehensive approach is necessary for long term results. If you haven’t yet, I recommend you take a look at the chapter drafts for a book I’ve been working on:

    It goes into significant detail about a variety of associated topics.

    Hope that helps and all the best.

    Reply Permalink
  43. chris says:

    Interesting info, particularly regarding the spread of the seborrheic bacteria by certain ingredients.

    Reply Permalink
  44. Hi Chris,

    Glad you found the information helpful.
    Let me know if of items mention show results.

    Best of luck!

    Reply Permalink
  45. tony says:

    Writer - fyi Malassezia is a yeast, not a bacteria.

    ‘‘At the fundamental level the majority oils do not work, because they feed the bacteria (Malassezia) which is involved in seborrheic dermatitis’’

    Reply Permalink
  46. Hi Tony,

    A huge thanks for your comment! Quite an embarrassing mistake, but my knowledge has been developing significantly since the writing of this post. Have gone ahead and corrected throughout.

    At first this blog was simply a collection of my own thoughts and general notes I thought may be helpful. However, in the last year my approach has become much more academic. The eBook is primarily based on medical papers and provides a much more deep understanding of the condition. Will likely need to go back through each post and look for these sorts of mistakes.

    Have emailed gone ahead and emailed you a copy of the eBook. Let me know what you think.

    Thanks again and best of luck in the New Year!

    Reply Permalink
  47. cindy says:

    Is the biom-8 okay to use on scalp areas with sebborheic dermatitis?

    Reply Permalink
  48. Hi Cindy,

    Many users have reported using the Biom8 on the scalp with great success. Personally, I’ve only been using it on my facial area (and hairline). However, these is a version of Biom8 in the making specifically formulated for scalp applications (some may argue that it may not even be needed as the original has been effective enough). This scalp version is planned to be release sometime next week.

    Hope that helps.
    Please let me know if you have any other question.

    Reply Permalink