Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis with Clotrimazole

Book Extract

This article is an extract from: Seborrheic Dermatitis - The Owner's Manual; a book dedicated to understanding seborrheic dermatitis. See the book overview page for more information.

Using clotrimazole for seborrheic dermatitis is another popular and well documented treatment approach. Clotrimazole is a widely available antifungal agent prescribed for a variety of skin disease. And similar to ketoconazole, it belongs to the azole family of antifungals.

Most commonly clotrimazole is prescribed for seborrheic dermatitis in the cream form at a 1% concentration.

It’s main method of action on seborrheic dermatitis is believed to be linked to it’s antifungal potential. More specifically, regular clotrimazole usage should lower the skin’s malassezia yeast population and relieve the associated symptoms.

However, the conflicting views behind ketoconazole’s main properties (discussed in the ketoconazole section) responsible for symptom relief cast some doubt on the accuracy of these beliefs.

Research Highlights on Clotrimazole for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Ten investigators reporting on a total of 1,361 cases noted it’s effectiveness for a broad range of fungus, including candida albicans and malassezia furfur (pityrosporum orbiculare). While, the list of conditions that clotrimazole showed effectiveness included tinea pedid, tinea cruris, tinea corporis, pyryriasis versicolor, and cutaneous candidasis [1].

In another study of 64 individuals treated with clotrimazole (specifically for seborrheic dermatitis) reported only a 50% satisfaction rate. Though it must be noted, the main role of this study was to compare a 2% sertaconazole cream to a clotrimazole 1% cream [2].

When examining it’s antifungal potential against malassezia, researchers concluded it to be inferior to ketoconazole and several other azole antifungal agents [3].

Minimum inhibitory concentration of clotrimazole compared to other azole antifungals against malassezia furfur species,

And in general, it appears the consensus is that ketoconazole and itraconazole demonstrate some of the best antifungal activity against various malassezia species [4].

Nonetheless, clotrimazole is valuable antifungal agent and it does show superiority in combating other fungal infections [5].

Clotrimazole Safety

Clotrimazole was first introduced in 1969 [6].

Clotrimazole versus Ketoconazole - usage frequency in literature

Though clotrimazole has been around for longer than Ketoconazole. It appears that ketoconazole has much more research available regarding it’s usage and safety.

Regardless of this, the safety data for Clotrimazole appears to be quite solid. In a study where 699 individuals were treated Clotrimazole, only 19 (2.7%) of these individuals reported adverse reactions. And it has even made it on the list of

World Health Organization List of Essential Medicines.

Section Summary

This section discussed clotrimazole’s usage for seborrheic dermatitis. Here are the key points mentioned:

  1. Clotrimazole is a widely prescribed topical antifungal agent for seborrheic dermatitis and a variety of other skin conditions.
  2. It is mostly commonly available at a 1% concentration in the form of a cream.
  3. Most researchers associate it’s effectiveness for seborrheic dermatitis treatment to its antifungal properties.
  4. When compared to other azole antifungal agents, it’s potency against malassezia appears to be inferior.
  5. It is one of the earlier antifungals from the azole family and has a solid safety profile.
  6. There are newer and more researched antifungal agents that may be of more value.

Book Extract

This article is an extract from: Seborrheic Dermatitis - The Owner's Manual; a book dedicated to understanding seborrheic dermatitis. See the book overview page for more information.


  1. P H Spiekermann, M D Young "Clinical evaluation of clotrimazole. A broad-spectrum antifungal agent." Archives of dermatology 112.3 (1976): 350-2. PubMed
  2. Mohamad Goldust, Elham Rezaee, Shahin Rouhani "Double blind study of sertaconazole 2% cream vs. clotrimazole 1% cream in treatment of seborrheic dermatitis." Annals of parasitology 59.1 (2013): 25-9. PubMed
  3. F Van Gerven, F C Odds "The anti-Malassezia furfur activity in vitro and in experimental dermatitis of six imidazole antifungal agents: bifonazole, clotrimazole, flutrimazole, ketoconazole, miconazole and sertaconazole." Mycoses 38.9-10 (1996): 389-93. PubMed
  4. Alfonso Javier Carrillo-Muufoz, Florencia Rojas, Cristina Tur-Tur, Marueda de Los ucngeles Sosa, Gustavo Ortiz Diez, Carmen Martuedn Espada, Marueda Jesufas Payue, Gustavo Giusiano "In vitro antifungal activity of topical and systemic antifungal drugs against Malassezia species." Mycoses 56.5 (2013): 571-5. PubMed
  5. Sigrid Suschka, Bernward Fladung, Hans F Merk "Clinical comparison of the efficacy and tolerability of once daily Canesten with twice daily Nizoral (clotrimazole 1% cream vs. ketoconazole 2% cream) during a 28-day topical treatment of interdigital tinea pedis." Mycoses 45.3-4 (2002): 91-6. PubMed
  6. W Judd "Semipreparative electrophoresis with prestained proteins." Analytical biochemistry 93.2 (1979): 373-9. 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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