Seborrheic Dermatitis on the Nose The Complete Guide

This article will try to go over the basics of available seborrheic dermatitis nose treatments. Aspects such as why facial seborrheic dermatitis typically starts around the nose, potential treatments options and my own personal experience are discussed.

Additionally, one of the most popular treatments discussed on this website can be found here: My Seborrheic Dermatitis Skin Regimen 2.0 . It came to be after testing of hundreds of other treatment approaches and methods. And this is the specific method that I’ve been using since August 2015 (with impressive results).

Where Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis Occurs Most Commonly

Based on internet research (both medical and general) the most common areas for seborrheic dermatitis are the scalp, nasal folds, ears and other hair-bearing areas of the face.

For the most part, people believe that this is due to these areas having the most sebaceous activity (sweat and oil production).

Treating seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp (dandruff) is the most straight-forward and widely available dandruff shampoos can quickly produce good results (this post compares the most popular anti-dandruff shampoos). However, treating seborrheic dermatitis on the face can often pose a variety of difficulties due to the sensitive nature of the facial skin.

Apart from the scalp, the second most common places for seborrheic dermatitis to appear seems to be the nose and ears.

Why Is Seborrheic Dermatitis So Common On and Around the Nose

The most common explanation is that seborrheic dermatitis occurs on the nose (typically along the sides) because of the heightened sebaceous activity mentioned above. However, I believe it is not as straight forward as that.

Specifically, there is one study that used thermal imagery to examine other possible factors effecting the location of seborrheic dermatitis. This study concluded that seborrheic dermatitis most commonly affected the warmer areas of the facial skin []. In this photo, you can see it quite clearly.

The heightened facial temperature is likely responsible for attracting much of the bacteria present on the skin surface. As more bacteria accumulate in these warmer patches of skin, the seborrheic dermatitis can become triggered.

Prior to seeing the thermal images of the face, I had a hard time understanding why my seborrheic dermatitis often took the butterfly pattern. However, after seeing the images everything made much more sense. Additionally, you can specifically see that the nasal folds and the inside of the eye sockets appear to be the warmest (darker red).

The Nose Is Exactly Where My Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis Started

Prior to having seborrheic dermatitis on my face, it was present on my scalp. However, at that time I didn’t even know it was called seborrheic dermatitis. Then one day I noticed a strange rash appearing on the right side of my nose.

At first I ignored this strange rash, but it didn’t seem to want to go away. After a few weeks it seemed to be getting more irritated and expanding in size. So, I decided to see a doctor.

The doctor prescribed an antibiotic cream, which was to be used for two weeks. The cream did work and my rash went away. However, shortly after I stopped using it, the rash came back ever bigger.

This time, it actually seemed to be spreading. Fast forward about a year and dozen of different treatment approaches, the seborrheic dermatitis spread to a large portion of my face. The details of my whole experience can be found here .

If your seborrheic dermatitis is limited to your nose, you’re quite fortunate. However, take into account my story and consider taking a proactive approach before it has the ability to spread further.

Overview of the Most Popular Natural Treatments

Below is a list of the most popular natural treatments based on their popularity online. They are listed in relative order of popularity.

My own approach can be found towards the bottom of this section. It’s all natural and has worked substantially better than anything else I’ve tried.

Apple Cider Vinegar is The Most Popular Natural Treatment

Slices apples laying beside a glass of apple cider vinegar

This is the most popular natural treatment for seborrheic dermatitis around the nose (and other parts of the body as well). However, medical research in this area is very sparse. The only mildly related medical papers I was able to find indicated the use of white vinegar for its acetic acid content. One paper was focused at dogs, while the other is a general overview.

Apple cider vinegar is inexpensive and widely available. When buying an apple cider vinegar it is typically recommended to choose an organic unfiltered apply cider vinegar.

The most popular way to use it, is by mixing it with equal parts water and applying to the seborrheic dermatitis effected area. Once applied, most people recommend leaving it on for ~15 minutes for maximum benefits.

Apple cider was quite effective for me, especially at first, when my seborrheic dermatitis was mainly around the nose. However, it was never able to fully control it or prevent it from spreading. Regardless, many other users praise it for being the ultimate solution.

For further details on the apple cider vinegar treatment approach, check my detailed post here. There is a quite a bit of supplementary information provided by readers in the comments section of that post as well.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) and How It Really Works

Picture of a grapefruit with cut pieces suggesting the origin of grapefruit seed extract

Grapefruit seed extract is a supposedly all natural liquid extracted from the seeds of the grapefruit (quite self explanatory actually ? ).

There are are numerous studies (such as this one [1] ) which indicate the antimicrobial activity of grapefruit seed extract is actually due to synthetic preservative agents contained in most extracts. All natural extracts, which did not contain the preservative did not demonstrate any antimicrobial activity.

The synthetic preservative agent found in most grapefruit seed extract is benzethonium chloride. The same antimicrobial agent is common in regular hand sanitizers. So potentially, they would produce the same results.

However, even considering these facts, grapefruit seed extract was really effective for controlling the seborrheic dermatitis around my nose. The results were most significant at the very beginning.

For about 2-3 months I simply washed my face with the stuff (the one I had actually foamed a little) and the seborrheic dermatitis seemed to have disappeared. However, after a few months it seemed to loose effectiveness and the skin seemed less health overall (generally pale color and slight discoloration).

If you do plan on using grapefruit seed extract to treat your seborrheic dermatitis, you might want to take a further look into the safety of benzethonium chloride. This document, states that it is safe and effective for topical application even when applied several times per day for several years.

One medical paper actually concluded that it has broad-spectrum anticancer activity [2]. However, it might actually make sense to simply find a benzethonium chloride based product. At-least this way you can be sure of the exact concentration of it.

Personally, I’ve even attempted consuming it to try and fight the seborrheic dermatitis from the inside. This was based on stuff I read online and before I knew that the active agent was actually Benzethonium Chloride. With this knowledge, it would have been highly unlikely that I would have ever attempted ingesting it.

Raw Honey for the Facial Skin

Raw Honey Jar

This has been one of the most successful natural seborrheic dermatitis approaches I’ve tried for the nose.

Unfortunately when I found out about this treatment, the seborrheic dermatitis had already spread to the rest of my face. Looking back, I wish I knew about raw honey before the seborrheic dermatitis spread past my nasal folds.

What makes raw honey different from regular honey, is that it does not undergo filtration or pasteurization. As a result, it contains many of the natural waxes and impurities (much of which are hypothesized to be antibacterial).

The most common approach seems to be the one used in a study published in 2001 [3]. First a mixture of 90% raw honey and 10% warm water is prepared. This mixture is then rubbed into the skin for 2-3 minutes. Once applied the honey should be left on to the effected skin for about 3 hours and rinsed off.

The 3 hours that the raw honey must be left on the skin makes this treatment rather difficult. Especially, when the seborrheic dermatitis covers a large portion of the face.

A more detailed overview of this approach can be found in a post I’ve previously written, here. Additionally, supplementary information available in the comments section of that post.

Dietary Modifications for Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment

Various fruits and vegetables laying in rainbow formation to suggest how diet can play a role

This treatment approach is quite large in scope. Every one is different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next.

The general sense behind this approach is that seborrheic dermatitis is the result of an allergic reaction to certain foods or the existence of a specific nutrient deficiency.

Most of my research in this area has been quite confusing. Overall though, most modern medical research suggest that seborrheic dermatitis can be caused by immune dysregulation (basically the immune system is of out whack).

I’m planning to write a post summarized the medical research in this area. I’ve started writing several times, but it has been quite a difficult due to tons of conflicting research. For now this post outlines some of the more common successful dietary modifications as found online.

However, based on how my seborrheic dermatitis spread from around the nose to other areas of my face, leads me to believe it is not as straight forward as diet alone. I strongly believe it’s a combination of immune issues, bacterial infection, and general dissemblances of the skin.

What Helped Me – BIOM8

After having significant success using Restoraderm products for about year, they suddenly ceased to stop working.

Luckily at this time, I was busy writing the seborrheic dermatitis eBook for this website (a free online eBook). The research actually led me to experiment with various ingredients and custom formulations.

This in turn produced a formula that seemed to get rid of my all symptoms after a few short days. I was taken back and was shocked how well it was working. But it was hard to say if these results were simply due to some other factor.

Next, this formulation was sent out to some of the most active community members on this website for testing. The majority of which reported similar results. This blew me away.

Details on this formulation and my regimen can be read here: My Seborrheic Dermatitis Regimen 2.0 .

The comments section of that post and the reviews on the BIOM8 website have tons of supplementary information, so make sure to look through these as well.

Most Common Medical Treatments

Next we’ll look at some of the most medical treatments used to combat seborrheic dermatitis on the nose. These are not listed in any certain order. The most promising of these, is Nystatin , which was suggested by another reader (don’t actually have experience with this one).

Hydro-cortisone Cream Appears to Be the Most Common

This was the first type of cream that I was prescribed when I first went to the clinic regarding my seborrheic dermatitis. It worked quickly and the results seemed to be fantastic. However, issues came back quickly and more aggressively than before once usage was stopped.

The biggest issue is that hydro-cortisone products can potentially thin the skin and may not be well suited for long-term usage [4]. However, some studies suggest that their relative danger is rather small and has been blown out of proportion [5].Additionally, there seem to be other potential negative outcomes from their usage [6].

Personally, the little bit of seborrheic dermatitis I had around my nose spread rapidly following the termination of hydro-cortisone cream usage. Perhaps it was just a coincidence or perhaps it was related. Regardless, this raised my doubts in relation to it’s long term usage for the seborrheic dermatitis.

Additionally, much of the dermatology textbooks and literature seem to prefer anti-fungal solutions.

Clotrimazole Cream Is Often Prescribed

This was the next cream I was prescribed by a different health care practitioner. Clotrimazole is an anti-fungal agent from the azole category of anti-fungals. They have a significant amount of medical research behind them and are generally viewed as safe for external usage.

For me the clotrimazole worked or about a week, but towards the end of the two week treatment period results disappeared and the seborrheic dermatitis quickly came back (even while I was still using the product). At this point, though, I wasn’t only fighting the seborrheic dermatitis around the nose, but it had already spread to other portions of my face.

Upon further research it seems that from the different azoles, ketoconazole appears to be the most effective [7]. The ones tested in the linked study were: ketoconazole, bifonazole, miconazole, clotrimazole, flutrimazole, sertaconazole (listed in descending order of effectiveness).

Based on this, perhaps the clotrimazole was just a poor choice out of the available options.

Here in Canada, these creams are not available over the counter and a prescription is needed. However, Nizoral (a shampoo that contains ketoconazole) is available for purchase in most stores without prescription. My experience with this product was unfavorable as it was far too strong for my skin (more details available here.

If you have any experience with any of the products mentioned in this section, feel free to share in the comments below.

Zinc Pyrithione Cream An Alternative to Using Head and Shoulders

There are currently several creams on the market that contain zinc pyrithione. The one I personally used was from a company called Noble Formula and was purchased from Amazon. My jar is practically full and if your located in Vancouver, BC you are more than welcome to come pick it up (have a bar of the soap you can have as well).

Initially I found a post in which a lady mentioned using Head and Shoulders to treat seborrheic dermatitis on her face. She claimed to have great results and mentioned she had been using it long term. After trying her method I saw great results as well. However, it felt like Head and Shoulders was not well suited for the face.

After a quick Google search, I ended up on the Amazon page for the cream mentioned above. Reviews were highly positive and I quickly place my order.

For several weeks I had spectacular results and I felt that my issues were a thing of the past. However, as time went on, the effectiveness diminished similar to many other products I had tried.

Increasing the amount of applications did seem to help, but overall it felt like the cream made the facial skin very sensitive to the elements. Especially the nose, which at the time seemed to become very susceptible to the sun.

Personally, I feel that zinc pyrithione was not the right thing for me. As I’ve mentioned in other posts I feel achieving symbiosis is the ideal long term approach. However, lots of medical literature support the usage of zinc pyrithione for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis and many people online agree.

Nystatin Cream Has Gained Popularity on This Website

This specific anti-fungal was pointed out by a reader of this website (Joakim). Personally, I have not used this method and can’t comment on it’s effectiveness. More information can be found on his page here and several other readers have confirmed it’s potential (in the comments section of that post).

One thing to point out though, is that there appears to be a nystatin resistant strain of malassezia (the yeast/fungus which is presumed to cause seborrheic dermatitis) [8]. So this could explain, why some readers report this approach has been ineffective for them.

Other Treatment Options

There are countless other proposed options available for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis around the nose and on other parts of the body. However, after trying an immense number of these proposed solutions (my experience is summarized in this gigantic post ), the two below stood out the most. Particularly for usage in the nasal folds.

Sudocream May Help Restore Barrier Function

This is a simple zinc oxide based cream designed for treating baby diaper rashes. However, after attempting to use it for seborrheic dermatitis effected skin I found that it worked quite well.

My main issues came from using it on large portions of my face as it was rather hard to remove with plain water. However, for the nasal folds I found I could keep it on overnight and it was relatively easy to remove in the morning. Even if a small amount remained in the nasal folds, it was rather discreet.

From what I’ve seen, zinc oxide is regarded as extremely safe and is documented as not being very toxic even when mistakenly eaten (source).


This article has offered several treatment approaches for seborrheic dermatitis around the nose.

Cetaphil Restoraderm products had the best results for me. Others swear by the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar and raw honey. The medical community mainly suggests commercial anti-fungal products, out of which, Nystatin has gained the most popularity from readers of this website.

If you have want to share your seborrheic dermatitis nose treatment, leave it in the comments section below. Question and further discussion are welcomed as well.

100% of readers found this article helpful


  1. T von Woedtke, B Schlüter, P Pflegel, U Lindequist, W D Jülich "Aspects of the antimicrobial efficacy of grapefruit seed extract and its relation to preservative substances contained." Die Pharmazie 54.6 (1999): 452-6. PubMed
  2. Kenneth W Yip, Xinliang Mao, P Y Billie Au, David W Hedley, Sue Chow, Shadi Dalili, Joseph D Mocanu, Carlo Bastianutto, Aaron Schimmer, Fei-Fei Liu "Benzethonium chloride: a novel anticancer agent identified by using a cell-based small-molecule screen." Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 12.18 (2006): 5557-69. PubMed
  3. N S Al-Waili "Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of crude honey on chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff." European journal of medical research 6.7 (2001): 306-8. PubMed
  5. C R Charman, A D Morris, H C Williams "Topical corticosteroid phobia in patients with atopic eczema." The British journal of dermatology 142.5 (2000): 931-6. PubMed
  6. J D Guin "Complications of topical hydrocortisone." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 4.4 (1981): 417-22. PubMed
  7. 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
  8. R J Hay "Malassezia, dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis: an overview." The British journal of dermatology 165 Suppl 2 (2012): 2-8. PubMed
Last Updated:
in Seborrheic Dermatitis   38

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.