Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis With Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the most popular if not the most popular methods for treating seborrheic dermatitis is with apple cider vinegar. Online forums are full of both success stories and failed attempts. This post will highlight each of the most popular apple cider vinegar methods and will conclude with my own experience in using it to treat my personal seborrheic dermatitis problem.

The methods outlined below are only gathered for reference and are based upon methods used by other individuals. They were found through searching through various forums and discussion threads online. If you wish to attempt any of them, do so at your own risk or consult a health care practitioner in your area.

It is worth noting that Apple Cider Vinegar many not be the best method for everyone. An alternative treatment approach has been gaining popularity on SkinDrone. Check-out the comments section of that post as well, there are a ton of tips from the community.

Apple Cider Vinegar Overview

Apple cider vinegar (also known as ACV for short) is a fermented acidic liquid produced from apples. It is one of the oldest vinegars in existence and has been a popular skin toning agent throughout history.

Modern day researchers state that the malic acid found in apple cider vinegar is the main component which makes it such an effective skin toning agent. However, the complex interrelation of the less prominent components must not be overlooked.

Current commercial sellers of apple cider vinegar, however, make many other bold claims. Such as high magnesium content and a good source of minerals. However, based on the nutritional labelling this is clearly not the case (magnesium daily recommended is typically 0%).

There have been other claims such as famous historical figures using it as part of their skin care regimens. Such claims make us of historical figures ranging from Egyptian queen Cleopatra to Russian Empress Catherine the Great.

Want to learn more about ACV and discover everything I know about seborrheic dermatitis?
A few years ago I decided to start summarizing and documenting my research. They are now available in an organized online book. You can read the complete book online for free here: Seborrheic Dermatitis – The Owner’s Manual

Most Popular Brands of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are several brands of apple cider vinegar that are above the rest in terms of quality, purity, and the natural methods in which the are produced. The most popular of these is defiantly Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, however, several others are just as good (if not better). Some of the other brands include Omega Nutrition, Spectrum Naturals and even Trader Joes.

Non-Pasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar vs. Commercial Apple Cider Vinegar

One very important factor that must not be overlooked is the major difference between raw apple cider vinegar and regular commercial apple cider vinegar (such as Heinz). This difference is that the regular vinegar undergoes heat treatment and more processing than its natural raw variant. The natural raw non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar as a result will still be undergoing it fermentation process on the store shelves. This results in a musky undertow and a stringy substance forming inside the bottle (known as apple cider vinegar mother).

Most forums and users of apple cider vinegar always advise that only the raw non-pasteurized version of apple cider vinegar be used. This helps to ensure the product is in its natural state and the exact same as it has been throughout history. The regular pasteurized apple cider vinegar usually gets a bad rep from these people and is advise against.

Dabbing Apple Cider Vinegar Solution Directly Onto Seborrheic Dermatitis

The most popular and claimed to be the most effective way of treating seborrheic dermatitis with apple cider vinegar is by dabbing a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar directly on the affected sin. The mixture is often quite strong and the proportions typically are 1:1 (filtered water and apple cider vinegar).

When the mixture is applied to the skin it is typically left to soak in and do it’s work for a few minutes. If you feel any sort of burning sensation we advise that you wash this mixture off and let the skin rest.

This method can often irritate the skin during its initial applications. As a result the skin will turn a bright pink or red and will stay this way for several days. As the skin gets used to the strong acid this reaction should fade.

We advise you start with a much lower concentration of apple cider vinegar (somewhere around 10:1) and work your way up. Please be aware that some people even claim to use straight apple cider vinegar directly on the seborrheic dermatitis affected skin. We advise against this as you will likely burn the skin and make things worse than they were.

With this method results should be seen almost immediately with reduced flaking and itchiness. However, redness and stingy will likely stick around. Over the course of about a week (daily applications) skin tone should finally start to even out and seborrheic dermatitis should recede.

Apple Cider Vinegar Skin Soak For Seborrheic Dermatitis

This method is very similar to the one described above, but instead of dabbing the skin you simply soak the skin in a apple cider vinegar and water solution. The concentration of this solution should, however, be much weaker at about a ratio of 5:1.

The easiest way to soak the facial skin is to fill up wide bowl with some filtered water and add a bit of apple cider vinegar. Simply hold your breathe and dip your face into the bowl. Try to submerge the skin in the solution for 20-30 seconds at time.

If you feel any burning sensation when attempting the apple cider vinegar skin soak, rinse the skin with water and let it rest. Exactly like the first method the skin will likely turn oink or even red during the initial applications. As the skin adjusts to the acid, skin tone should even out.

This method should show results after the first few application if used on a regular basis (daily or every other day). The skin might also smell of apple cider vinegar for several hours after the soak, so adjust your schedule accordingly.

Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar to Fight the Root Cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis

It is often believed and discussed that the root cause of all seborrheic dermatitis lies within the gut. The most famous belief is that their is a fungal infection of the intestinal lining which results in improper nutritional uptake and toxic by-product to be release in to the skin. This imbalance in the body in turn wrecks havoc on the immune system and the skin suffers.

As a result, many people are recommended to consume apple cider vinegar as a intestinal cleanser and digestion aid. This is then supposed to strengthen the immune system, improve the skin and force seborrheic dermatitis to resolve.

However, before jumping into this approach, you may want to first learn a little more about seborrheic dermatitis. For this, I highly recommend you have a read through the seborrheic dermatitis owner’s manual. It’s the most comprehensive resource on this website.

In terms of actually consuming the apple cider vinegar, the recommended dose is 1-3 tablespoons per day. Each table spoon should be mixed in about one cup of water and mixture is best drank through a straw (to help protect tooth enamel form the acid).

Individuals who have claimed that their seborrheic dermatitis went away as a result of consuming apple cider vinegar, usually see results in several weeks after daily use.

Please note that many people never saw any changes in their seborrheic dermatitis after several months of daily consumption of apple cider vinegar. So please use your own judgement and see if this works for you. However, apple cider vinegar is believed to be very beneficial to overall health, so even if it does not improve your seborrheic dermatitis it might be a good practice to add to your daily regimen anyway.

In any case, if you have a strong suspicion that your seborrheic dermatitis issues are caused from within (nutrition, stress, infection, etc.), you may want to have a look through the SkinSupport program. This is a comprehensive program I’ve been working on for the past few years which builds upon the Seborrheic Dermatitis Owner’s Manual.

Apple Cider Vinegar Supplements (Pills) to Fight the Root Cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Many supplement companies hav also started releasing apple cider vinegar capsules. This is basically the same thing as bottle apple coder vinegar, but encapsulated so you do not taste the vinegar.

These supplements are, however, very cost inefficient, the apple cider vinegar inside the capsules is of unknown quality and the dosages are very minimal. For these reasons apple cider vinegar capsules are not a very popular way of integration apple cider vinegar into your diet.

If you truly do hate the taste of apple cider vinegar water, than maybe perhaps the capsules/pills are the way to go. For dosage amount please follow the instructions on your specific product.

There are very few individuals who have indicated using apple cider vinegar capsules to treat seborrheic dermatitis, so it is hard to say how quickly you will see results. However, one can assume that this method should not be very different than direct consumption of apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda Mix Applied to Seborrheic Dermatitis

This is another method I came across when looking for ways control my seborrheic dermatitis. Here apple cider vinegar is mixed with filtered water and baking soda. The proportions are about 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and a table spoon of baking soda. In the beginning it is advised to start with a small amount of apple cider vinegar to give your skin time to adjust to the acidity.

When making the mixture the baking soda will react with the apple cider vinegar and strong foam will result (remember this from elementary school science?). The foam will quickly die down and you will be left with a neutralized solution (baking soda will neutralize the vinegars acid).

The mixture is applied to the skin and left to soak in for several minutes (easy while in the shower). Once the mixture has had time to soak-in, simply rinse of with cold water and let the skin air dry.

The biggest benefit of this solution is that the apple cider vinegar becomes neutralized and is no longer very acidic. This is much more gentle on the skin and as a result it will likely not turn bright pink/red.

One of the problems here is that many people attribute apple cider vinegar effectiveness in treating seborrheic dermatitis directly to its acidity and its ability to destroy bacteria on the skin. Thus by neutralizing it with baking soda it becomes questionable if the solution will still be effective. However, baking soda is another extremely popular method for controlling seborrheic dermatitis so the combination does somewhat make sense.

Commercial Products Containing Apple Cider Vinegar Against Seborrheic Dermatitis

As apple cider vinegar has become more and more popular in recent years many products have began including it in the ingredients list. There are now many products available on the market that try to infuse apple cider vinegars effectiveness into something that can be packaged and sold.

The products that directly relate to treating seborrheic dermatitis are the different soaps and shampoos that include apple cider vinegar. These shampoos and soap are typically produce by smaller companies and are sold in the natural sections of super markets or in health food stores.

Most people who have tried these products to treat their seborrheic dermatitis had poor results. We believe this is because these products have poor clinical testing and are often prepared based on the marketing appeal of the ingredients list instead of the actual functional benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Clay Face Mask for Seborrheic Dermatitis

This method is quite straight forward and is actually how many clay masks are recommended to be used. All you have to do is simply mix apple cider vinegar with the clay mask and apply to the skin. Let the solution begin to dry and rinse off with water.

This method is a bit lengthier than any of the others mentioned and is also quite a bit messier. Usually you need to dedicate about 20-30 minutes for the whole process and your skin will likely smell of apple cider vinegar for several hours after rinsing.

My Results With Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis

Personally I’ve tried all of the methods listed above. Apple cider vinegar was actually one of the first things that I attempted to treat my seborrheic dermatitis with.

The very first time I used it my seborrheic dermatitis was still only affecting my nasal folds. I took a 1:1 mix of apple cider vinegar and filtered water and dabbed it on the skin. Immediately I felt the strong sting of the vinegar. My skin inflamed and turned bright red.

The flaking seemed to go away with regular application, but after each treatment my nasal folds stayed bright red for most the day (very embarrassing). So in effect I exchanged ono embarrassing problem for another. In the end, after several weeks for hoping my skin would adjust to the apple cider vinegar I gave up and started looking for a different solution.

These poor results kept me away from apple cider vinegar for quite sometime. During this period my seborrheic dermatitis progressed and started to spread to my cheeks and forehead.

Researching The Internet for a Solution

As I kept researching for a way to get rid of my seborrheic dermatitis, I kept seeing apple cider vinegar success stories over and over again. These success stories drove me to further experiment with apple cider vinegar.

Each method that I tried seemed to always be very effective at getting rid of the flaking, but the redness was never quite controlled.

Out of the methods that I tried, my favorite was probably the clay mask as it got rid of the flakiness and there was not much skin redness. However, after using the mask on a regular basis my skin started to become very dry. Instead of seborrheic dermatitis flakes my skin was just dry and had dry flakiness. If I tried to moisturize my skin, then the seborrheic dermatitis would return quicker.

2018 Update: As my research continued, it has become clear that the low pH of vinegar is one of the primary reasons it can produce quick results for seborrheic dermatitis. However, it is somewhat of a double edge sword as the acidity can also damage the top layer of skin and result in quick relapse of skin issues. You can find additional discussion of this topic here: Stabilizing Skin Surface pH.

Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar Daily

Consuming apple cider vinegar on a daily basis for more than a month had absolutely no effect on my seborrheic dermatitis. There were days that my seborrheic dermatitis seemed to disappear, but they were not very consistent and quite sporadic. Even today I occasionally consume apple cider vinegar, but more for it’s overall health benefits than to directly treat seborrheic dermatitis.

Long Term Results on My Seborrheic Dermatitis

In the end, none of the apple vinegar solutions proved to be a long term solution to my seborrheic dermatitis. Even though they did help control the seborrheic dermatitis and usually quickly removed the flakes, they all had their own problems.

So Is Apple Cider Vinegar An Effective Treatment Option?

Overall I would still recommend giving apple cider vinegar a try as many others have claimed that it did wonders for their seborrheic dermatitis. Some have even indicated that it completely solved their problems.

Personally I wish I was one of the few that went into complete remission by simply consuming a bit of apple cider vinegar every day. Seeing that my problems would have been solved long ago (unfortunately this was not the case).

If you found success in treating seborrheic dermatitis with apple cider vinegar please let other readers know the details by leaving a comment below.

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About Michael Anders

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

Notable Community Replies

  1. dan says:

    Couple rules to Apple Cider Vinegar.
    Firstly, you must apply it three times a day and never wash it off. Allow the vinegar to permanently soak into the skin. For first time users don’t use a 1:1 ratio, use 30% acv 70% water. Progress over the weeks to a more balanced 1:1. Use a cotton pad or napkin, dip it into the acv and rub it all over the forehead, nose, chin and cheeks. Face will be irretated at first, but allow the skin time to adapt- can take weeks. Do not use any other products to wash your face, do not apply ACV and then wash it off with other soaps later throughout the day. The ACV must be applied and never removed. After 15-20 mimutes of application the smell is completely gome, you will not smell like vinegar. This is the best solution, if youre going to complain and not allow the ACV time to work and allow your skin to evolve and adapt to the acidic content, then ACV will simply be another product of failure. Use it properly and your seb derm will vanish.

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  2. Hi,

    After trying countless products both prescribed and natural, I started using ACV topically on my face and scalp (about 3 months ago) and had immediate results. It took 2 days, I almost couldn’t believe it! Diluted it with water, roughly 1:3 ACV:water, then used a spray bottle to repeatedly cover my face and head with it, leaving for about 15 minutes before showering (not using any other soaps or anything). The only thing I didn’t like was the smell (smells to me like dirty feet) and so I switched to plain old white vinegar. So far it has worked just as well and my skin isn’t as red after using it. I make a slightly stronger dilution - about 1:2, white vinegar:water.

    This and maintaining a healthy diet has approx. 95% controlled my SD.

    If I have a big weekend or something it might flare up in the following days and I use elidel cream (pimecrolimus - an “immuno-modulator” whatever that means exactly) for a couple days to get things under control quickly.

    Am about to start taking glutamine in the manner you do, to see if there is any difference.

    Peace, N.

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  3. Apple cider vinegar has worked well for me but the sd keeps coming back. Is ACV ok to use everyday in the long term?

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  4. A few months ago I started to get SD. Now after everything I have thought of I noticed it started exactly when I took raw MSM. I was taking it for my joints actually, however I remember my face broke out BAD with acne like I was 13 years old and then the acne went away and this came about.

    I have seen a doctor and I am on fluconazole going on about 11 days now and I really have seen some MINOR improvement. I must eat low carb now for other medical reasons. Insulin resistance however I am not diabetic nor pre-diabetic… Something is up with my endocrine system.

    Either way that is not the point, I tried ACV a short while ago, and while I should have read more I applied it directly to the scaly spots. LET ME TELL YOU… My face felt like it was on fire from the acid… but not too terrible to tolerate. However I noticed my skin was changing to a whitish color and after 15 minutes passed I went into the mirror and the redness started to go away and the flakes were just falling off… they usually adhere pretty well to the skin…

    Next time I do this, I will definitely dilute it… that was my fault for not reading up on it more, however… If it can keep the scaling away and the redness lasts only <30 minutes, I would be willing to do this daily. I will give it a try for a few weeks and see what if it works.

    I am 30 and never ever had skin issues with my face like this before until I took that MSM and all this started. I know it had to have something to do with that because how bad the acne breakouts were, it was terrible and normally I do not have acne at all on my face.

    I will update in a month and hopefully things have gotten better. I do notice that lotions only make the scaling worse but hides it at the same time. After I shower it is freaky looking, depressing too. I am upset this has happened because it is not like most of the rest of our body which is covered up, people see you daily, and people judge… whether they like to admit it or not.

    I wish everyone else well too and hopefully this works.


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  5. I’ve been diagnosed with sebhorric dermatitis for 4 months now it is really driving me to commit suicide I’ve used different medicated shampoos but nothing seemed to work. I’ve searched for solutions everywhere but I’ve found none. Sebhorric dermatitis is really irritating itchy and sometimes painful. There is no cure for it. I hate my life so much I really want to end everything and commit suicide.

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