9 Diet Changes That Could Cure Your Seborrheic Dermatitis

Reports of people curing their seborrheic dermatitis through diet alone are abound. This article, sums up all these different dietary recommendations and evaluates the potential value they may offer.

Most of the items discussed are simple diet changes and not complete diet plans. If you are after diet plans, you may want to have a look at an earlier article that reviewed 5 specific seborrheic dermatitis friendly diet plans as reported by others.

Some snippets from the discussion below:

  • Many believe that caffeine (coffee often gets the most blame) leads to flare-ups; but little evidence exists and medical literature suggest it’s possible that other hot beverages in general may have this effect
  • Increasing consumption of yogurt, kefir, and or other probiotic rich foods can better your digestive health and make your skin more resilient to skin issues
  • Improving your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio can lead to reduced levels of overall inflammation and reduce the severity of flare-ups
  • Cutting out refined carbohydrates can improve digestion and reduce sebum production
  • Consuming fat and sugar in the same meal increases the fermentation potential of the sugar component (possibly increasing systemic inflammation)
  • Some individuals complain that grains cause increase flare-ups for them
  • Low levels of vitamin D are common among those affected by seborrheic dermatitis, yet supplementation is not always the solution – discussed in greater detail in: The Potential Connection Between Seborrheic Dermatitis and Vitamin D

Questions welcomed and encouraged
Please note that this is a brief overview which is based on countless hours of online research, if you would like references to where the information was obtained, please feel free to inquire in the comments section.

1. Remove or Strongly Restrict Omega 6 Consumption

Omega 6 fatty acids are mainly found in vegetable oils that most people regularly consume. Many people have reported impressive results by simply removing or at the very least minimizing their daily consumption of common vegetable oils. And while olive oil is almost completely void of Omega 6’s, many people who have had problems with seborrheic dermatitis strongly advise against it due to the potential connection between oleic acid and seborrheic dermatitis.

Almost all common vegetable oils, salad dressing, and dips are very high in omega 6s. Try replacing all of these items with something as simple as yogurt (yogurt also has the benefit of being high in live probiotics – discussed in point 9) and see how your seborrheic dermatitis reacts.

2. Completely Remove White Flour and Other Baked Goods

This suggestion is a popular topic among individuals trying to cure seborrheic dermatitis with diet. Removal of white flour and other baked products greatly increases your digestive strength and speed. This positive impact on digestion is believed to be the main cause of the positive changes that result.

For me the flour hypothesis played a big role in finally curing my seborrheic dermatitis. It was certainly one of the keys, however, I do currently eat baked goods. For me it had more to do with timing on their consumption than with total avoidance.

Highly recommend that you experiment with this dietary suggestion and see what type of impact it has on your seborrheic dermatitis.

Rediscover what a balanced diet really is and what it can do for your skin
The 8 Components of Healthy Skin - Achieving Dietary Balance
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3. Remove High Fat-High Sugar Foods

People in modern day society seem to love high fat high sugar foods. This dietary trend became popular in the end of the 16

th century with the rising popularity of tea and coffee houses. While enjoying tea many individuals also started to indulge in sugary pastry and creams. Many researchers associated this practice with increased weight gain and other health concerns.

At its root this problem causes digestion to slow down due to fat, while the sugar ferments in the digestive tract. This creates the perfect environment for internal yeasts and fungi to flourish. Creating a toxicity spice on the body. If the body is already weekend due to other factors, a compounding effect occurs.

By cutting out high fat high sugar foods you improve your digestion and bodies internal organs rest and recover.

4. Remove Grains

Very closely related to number two and another hot topic of online seborrheic dermatitis dietary discussions. This dietary recommendation focus on complete elimination from grains in the diet. Made popular by a famous online nutrition forum (www.marksdailyapple.com), this dietary modification is known as the Paleo diet. It is said to vastly improve athletic performance and other aspects of health.

However, the Paleo diet lacks real scientific credibility and many medical researchers strongly advise against this diet.

Personally I’ve tried this dietary change, but was not a fun. It just did not feel write focusing strictly on protein to feed my body. I constantly felt sluggish and felt like I was missing the fuel my body needed.

5. Make Sure to Get Your Vitamin D

Honestly I think this is one of the overlooked keys of improving seborrheic dermatitis. Low vitamin D levels are common among individuals affected by the condition and this connection has been discussed in great detail in another post (The Potential Connection Between Seborrheic Dermatitis and Vitamin D).

Now, many people online try increasing their vitamin D through D3 supplements. In my experience these supplements had little results on my seborrheic dermatitis.

Instead I tried something different. Instead of supplement with Vitamin D, I started searching for foods natural high in this vitamin. For me the food of choice ended up being spring water sardines. These bad boys are loaded with calcium, protein, vitamin D, and omega 3s, while also being very low in sodium. What else could you ask for?

At one point I was eating a pack of sardines every single day. This alone practically made my seborrheic dermatitis disappear. However, it still seemed to lurk in the background undetected and eating a can of sardines every single day became unattractive.

Also. please note that omega 3s become void of benefits if consumed together with omega 6s. This is a fairly recent discovery by the University of British Columbia, but can explain why some people seem to not experience any benefit of high omega 3 consumption.

You can find more details about the research here.

6. Replace Red Meats with Fish

Fairly closely related to the previous point. If you cut all the red meats from you diet and instead focus on sea food you usually end up boosting your omega 3 consumption like never before.

Also some people have just experienced an overall improvement in seborrheic dermatitis from cutting out red meat alone. If you look at the data behind red meat and its effect on human health you begin to wonder why we are so dependent on it.

Personally I do enjoy red meat every now and then as it is too hard to avoid all together. However, I do eat a lot less of it now then I used to. Mainly because I focus on other foods to get better nutrition value.

7. Learn to Eat Properly

Eating habits have one of the strongest effects on how well you food is digested. Do you slouch while you eat? How well do you chew your food? Do you enjoy long meals with the family or are you a more grab and go type person?

All of these small little things related to how you eat have an immense effect on how well your food gets digested. It is quite a complex topic and I personally don’t feel like going to deep here. So if you want more information you can check out this article or drop me an information request in the comments and I’ll take the time to write out a proper summary.

8. Cut Down on Coffee/Caffeine Intake

Many individuals report that cutting down on caffeinated beverages can help reduce flare up severity. While there is no hard data on why this may be the case, many associate it with improved hydration levels (the common belief is that caffeinated beverages are dehydrating).

But does reducing caffeine intake really lead to improved skin hydration levels?

First off, if we consider overall hydration levels, studies suggest that caffeine leading to dehydration is more of a myth then reality [1]. On the contrary, even during exercise, caffeine intake does not lead to dehydrate [2].

Digging through the literature on this subject further, it was interesting to find the following:

Coffee (or caffeine alone) does not effectively promote flushing; however, hot coffee (or even hot water) does [3].

So maybe it’s a feedback loop that simply leads us down the wrong path. Once we convince ourselves that coffee is the culprit, it acts similar to a negative placebo effect.

9. Increase Consumption Yogurt/Kefir and Other Fermented Foods

Another very popular hypothesis in regards to seborrheic dermatitis, is that the condition is closely related to digestive issues. And in order to improve things on this front, foods high in probiotics (or probiotic supplements for that matter) are often cited as being helpful.

The most common items that get mentioned are kefir and yogurt; two dairy products known for their abundance of lactic acid producing probiotic cultures. Alteratively, some prefer to stick to non-dairy fermented dishes/beverages like kimchi, sauerkraut, or kombucha.

In either case, the theory is if you can consume enough fermented foods you can improve your digestive health, leading to more stable immune function, and eventual relief of seborrheic dermatitis. Weather or not it’s as simple as this a highly debated/controversial topic and no medical evidence currently exists to back it up. Nonetheless, some studies in related skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and atopic dermatitis have shown some initial promise [4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

Summary

There are tons of dietary recommendations online that deal with treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. The above six appear to be the most popular ones and have been very successful for me in the past. However, my final cure for my personal seborrheic dermatitis focused on many aspects of health and not just diet alone. Please give some of these changes try, perhaps they could be the diet changes that cure your seborrheic dermatitis once and for all.

Think These Diet Changes Could Cure Your Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Give these a try and make sure to let the world know you your results in the comments below. Also if you would like more information or have you own dietary suggestion for curing seborrheic dermatitis, please drop a comment (would love to have some support).

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References

  1. Lawrence E. Armstrong, Amy C. Pumerantz, Melissa W. Roti, Daniel A. Judelson, Greig Watson, Joao C. Dias, Bufclent Sufkmen, Douglas J. Casa, Carl M. Maresh, Harris Lieberman, Mark Kellogg "Fluid, Electrolyte, and Renal Indices of Hydration during 11 Days of Controlled Caffeine Consumption" Human Kinetics 15.3 (2016): 252-265. doi.org
  2. C. H. S. Ruxton "The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks" Wiley 33.1 (2008): 15-25. doi.org
  3. J K Wilkin "Oral thermal-induced flushing in erythematotelangiectatic rosacea." The Journal of investigative dermatology 76.1 (1981): 15-8. PubMed
  4. Vitória H M Mottin, Edna S Suyenaga "An approach on the potential use of probiotics in the treatment of skin conditions: acne and atopic dermatitis." International journal of dermatology 57.12 (2018): 1425-1432. PubMed
  5. Mary-Margaret Kober, Whitney P Bowe "The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging." International journal of women's dermatology 1.2 (2017): 85-89. PubMed
  6. Whitney P Bowe, Alan C Logan "Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future?" Gut pathogens 3.1 (2011): 1. PubMed
  7. M Rahmati Roudsari, R Karimi, S Sohrabvandi, A M Mortazavian "Health effects of probiotics on the skin." Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 55.9 (2016): 1219-40. PubMed
  8. Emma Weiss, Rajani Katta "Diet and rosacea: the role of dietary change in the management of rosacea." Dermatology practical & conceptual 7.4 (2018): 31-37. PubMed
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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.

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  1. Hi Michael,
    I was wondering what do you stand on digestive enzyme supplements. Actually, I live with 4 friends and It is very hard for me to avoid trigger foods every single time, it’s a pain in the arse. It always gives my skin few setbacks. What do you think of this “Top Secret Nutrition: Digestive Enzymes”". I found it on bodybuilding(dot)com with a very high rating. Highly appreciate your suggestion. Thanks

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  2. Hi Sultan,
    Not sure to be honest. For me they didn’t really work. However, I didn’t try that specific one. These are the ones I tried:

    Some actually felt like they made it worse.
    In the end it felt like it was a waste of money. Still have most of these laying around somewhere.

    Salted, vinegar based and fermented dishes are an excellent source of digestive enzymes. Many cultures make heavy use of them with food traditionally.
    Some examples: Germans > Saurkraut, Japan > Miso, Korea > Kimchi. I’m sure these natural products have a significantly greater amount of enzymatic activity.

    In terms of trigger foods. What I kind of found was that it wasn’t necessarily avoiding them all together.
    It was much more about making sure to focus on the foods I should be eating. If I eat healthy food I enjoy most of the time, the in-between trigger foods don’t seem to be much of an issue.

    Hope that helps.
    How are things otherwise?

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  3. Hey Micheal,
    hmmm. I have read that papaya and pineapple are also very good for digestion. what do you think ?
    My improvements are very much visible now. Reduction in redness and rashes are smaller in size. It’s just that every now and then I eat something which cause redness or sometimes rashes. Burning feelings have almost gone but sometimes I get very slight itching (only due to trigger food). Otherwise, things are much better now.
    Recently, I have noticed that my SD on chest is being irritated, any suggestions on this?
    Just one question, before treating your SD, did your skin looked aged or any wrinkle problems, and is your facial skin looks normal now?

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  4. Hey Sultan,
    Yeah, I heard they are good as well. However, I remember I hear something about most Papayas are GMO or something. Pineapples should be good though.
    Funny enough, I’m actually currently writing the digestion chapter for the SD book. It’s not ready, but you can check my current chapter outline here: https://goo.gl/Jd3SC6

    Regards to that weird feeling, it acted up quite significantly in the past couple days. Not sure exactly why it occurred.
    Possible reasons:

    1. Currently writing a book about SD and thoughts alone might have triggered this.
    2. Haven’t been taking glutamine for past 4-5 months as I decided to take a break.
    3. Have been going out, drinking quite a bit of alcohol and eating lots of crap. Maybe went overboard?
    4. Have been in the sun quite a bit without any sun-screen. Probably not a good idea.

    Even had a bit of irritation, similar to how it original started, but on the opposite nostril.
    However, it has calmed drastically as I have reversed reasons 2-4 above (still writing the book:) )

    In terms of the skin ageing and wrinkles, it was never really a problem for me.
    However, I never used the hydro-cortisone for more than a week or two when first prescribed.
    From much of my research, these seem to be possible side-effects.

    You will likely see these issues diminish though. The Restoraderm Moisturiser contains Sodium PCA and Hyaluronic Hcid, which are used it many anti-wrinkle/anti-ageing creams.

    For the chest, not sure. Maybe you can try a bit of Sudocrem there.
    I’m currently working on my own cream similar to the Restoraderm, but it seems that having several variations is key.
    A variation with a higher concentration of moisturising ingredients might be good for the chest as the skin is thicker there.
    Will send you a sample if I manage to perfect it (still a bit too greasy).

    All the best.

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  5. Hi Micheal,
    I am really looking forward to your SD book. Digestion chapter looks awesome. I have also noticed that when I am having poor digestion and gas problems I tend to react to even non-trigger foods. Two days ago I eat spicy food and I got the trigger, but surprisingly yesterday I eat spicy food and nothing happened (my stomach was better yesterday and no gas issues).
    It’s shocking how you got the trigger just by thinking. My friends sometimes tell me I think about my problems too much, let it go and things will be alright. Well they may be right. Mind over matter, maybe!
    I still havent started the glutamine because my initial experience with glutamine wasn’t very good.
    Junk food is the ultimate culprit whether it’s acne, SD or ezcema. They all promotes inflammation in the body. Anything heaty for the body is really bad. Do you think this is linked to whether poor digestion or weak immune system?
    I hope your SD will go away.
    Ahhh, well I stupidly used it for many months every 2 year. The problem is Restoraderm moisturizer caused redness. Do you have any other moisturizer with those ingredients, helpful for both wrinkles and SD? I am considering aveeno daily moisturising lotion, what do you think about this ?
    That is so great, I hope you will be successful in creating your own version of restoraderm and I would love to receive a sample.
    Best of luck.

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  6. Hey Micheal,
    Most of my diet is cooked food. Which cooking oil would you prefer?

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  7. Hey Sultan,

    Yeah, poor digestion, stress, weak immune system and seborrheic dermatitis are all interconnect and seem to be part of the same problem.
    I’m not sure if it is necessarily all junk food. Pre-packaged food in general (even some of the healthy stuff) often makes us of fat for preservation. Much of this fat is heavily oxidized and there is a bit of research happening in this area.

    Basically, my belief is that something in the body is at the very front lines is poor quality sebum production and excessive turn-over of skin cells. The rapid turn-over requires our system to be capable of producing healthy skin cells quickly, however, a healthy cell depends on lipids (fats) for proper formation. So if the lipids in our bodies are either not being broken down properly or poor quality it makes it hard for these healthy cells to form. Thus our body tries to fix things by cranking up immune activity. Short term this is likely no problem, but if the body is consistently challenged with defending our skin mainly through immune activity rather than it’s physical barrier (which mainly depends on healthy cells and lipids) issues are likely to occur. These issues include skin which is more susceptible to bacteria infection.

    Personally the Aveeno wasn’t good for me. This cream was the closest thing I could find to what I’m working on. However, I have not tried it myself. Perhaps I’ll order a bottle myself to see what if it is similar.

    Also, here’s the working copy of the antioxidant chapter.

    Hope I answered everything…
    All the best.

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  8. Personally I started to use butter more often for cooking. A part from this, olive oil for lower temperatures.
    If you want really go into detail here is a good article.

    Lot’s of people recommend coconut oil or peanut oil, but I find they change the taste of the food.

    Main things to look for in a good cooking oil:

    • high oxidative stability
    • high smoke point (low level of free fatty acid)
    • minimum colour darkening

    Another interesting point:
    In France and Belgium, it is actually forbidden by law to use frying oils with more than 2% of linolenic acid.

    Also one oil I really liked was Macadamia Nut Oi. But it’s quite expensive at the local stores for some reason.
    Last time I ordered it from US Amaozon and it was around ~$8 for about 500ml. Was actually going to order more, but this is the cheapest one at the moment on there.

    Reply Permalink
  9. Hi Micheal,
    I can’t use butter. I am allergic to casein protein. I’ll give it a try to coconut oil.
    Also, I am unable to login, it says “You are temporarily locked out”.

    Reply Permalink
  10. Hi Sultan,

    Sorry for the troubles. The website get’s bombarded with bots, so the login security is fairly strict. I’ve gone ahead and manually unblocked you.
    Let me know if you still have issues.

    As for the oil, see if you have macadamia nut oil in your area. I liked it more than coconut.

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  11. Hi Betty,

    This exact question was actually asked my another commenter. You can find the discussion here. Hopefully that helps. Let me know if you need any more details.

    All the best.

    Reply Permalink
  12. ruthk says:

    Thank you for this guide! I’ve read both your outlines you linked to in your comments. I love what you’re doing here. I’m a long time sufferer and use acv and coconut oil topically, along with totally changing my diet (I follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet). I’m also trying infusing acv with sage rosemary and basil, and making my own rosemary oil for topical use.

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  13. Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for the positive feedback, it’s like comments like this that have been driving my research.
    A new chapter is currently in the makings and I’m hoping to basically bring together everything I’ve learnt so far and attempt to provide a comprehensive treatment approach.

    Will send out an update to everyone once it is ready.

    All the best.

    PS. How is your current approach going so far?

    Reply Permalink
  14. Nioxin shampoo plus Nioxin conditioner scalp therapy. Use this on face and scalp for two weeks. Your itch and flakes will go away work better than prescription shampoos or any other hair products. You will be normal and it does not stink like t-gel or prescription shampoos.

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  15. After a week of Caribbean sunshine, I finally recognized how important Vitamin D can be for my SD. My SD was 95% better after returning home. Now I take 2500IU of D3 and use an OTC 3% salicylic acid shampoo (apply 2x, rinse very well) plus a high quality conditioner. Have stayed at 95% for 2 months with a hope to gain even more ground over the course of 2016. It works and is not an expensive treatment.

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  16. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    My experience with Vitamin D supplementation was never as favourable.

    Hope things continue.
    Best of luck and look forward to any updates.

    Reply Permalink
  17. annie says:

    I’ve been dealing with the SD on my face for about 3 years. My scalp is fine, not sure how i contracted this. Anyway I’ve googled and tried SO many things. What I’ve learned is that most “cures” do work at least for a while. I remember using ACV when I first attempted to treat this. It was great, cured it right up! I was so excited. Well, I quit using the ACV eventually and the redness/peeling flareup came back. So now the ACV wouldn’t work anymore, on to the next thing, always to have it work for awhile and get all excited thinking its finally cured only to have it come back again. I’ve been revolving solutions for a good couple of years now and like I said most do work but only for a limited amount of time. I’m hoping to delve into internal solutions because this yeast or whatever is HARD TO KILL. HOpefully I’ll figure something out. I’ve already been taking Vit.D and probiotics for many months. I plan to heavily increase my intake of fruits/veggies due to their antioxidant and immunity-boosting effects. Its thought that providing your body with perfect nutrition gives it the ability to cure itself.

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  18. Which cooking oil do you use ? Coconut oil is low in Omega 6 but very high in saturated fat (lauric acid). Is it bad for our Seborrheic Dermatitis or our heart health ?

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  19. rob says:

    I stopped eating all grains over a year ago. The SD on my face cleared up in about 10 ten days. No more creams, itching, and flaking.

    Reply Permalink

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