Another popular natural treatment method for seborrheic dermatitis is vinegar and more specifically apple cider vinegar. This method does not have much medical literature behind it at all; however, it has gained immense popularity throughout the internet and positive testimonials are abundant. Most proponents of apple cider vinegar emphasize its powerful antifungal abilities and attribute this to the malic acid content, while research to back this up is lacking.
A more reasonable hypothesis on the method in which apple cider vinegar works against seborrheic dermatitis is through its lipid peroxidation inhibitory properties (protects lipids from oxidation)
. These properties could in theory contribute to the proper breakdown of fatty acids secreted from the sebaceous glands and prevent them from being utilized as a food source for the malassezia yeast. However, this is just a hypothesis, and there does not appear to be any research that examines this connection.
Overall, the lack of research behind apple cider vinegar and its use for the treatment of apple cider vinegar leave a lot of questions to be addressed. Specifically, its effectiveness for the general population, its effect on skin barrier function and whether or not the pH of apple cider vinegar makes it a suitable treatment approach for oil rich areas of the skin.
The biggest red flags are raised when you examine the book that was used to first introduce apple cider vinegar as a cure-all remedy to the natural market. The title of the book was “Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System”. This book provides an extensive list of things apple cider vinegar is said to treat, yet, it provides practically zero hard facts or research to back any of its claims. And worst of all the book was published by Paul C. Bragg and his wife Patricia Bragg who profit directly from the sales of apple cider vinegar. To make matters worse, they both include the Ph.D. titles beside their names right on the cover of this book, but a 1940 Federal Census shows that at the age of 45 Paul C. Bragg has only finished one year of high school, while Patricia’s records indicate she never finished her degree at the University of California-Berkeley.
In the end though, the strong user support for apple cider vinegar remains mysterious and attractive. In experience though, the majority of people only achieve satisfactory results and not total clearance of seborrheic dermatitis. Even with its regular use, seborrheic dermatitis continues to have a significant negative impact on their daily lives.