Sebhorreic dermatitis is often caused by an overgrowth of a type of yeast called Malassezia. Malassezia is different from candida and many other common yeasts in that it feeds on lipids (fats) rather than sugar/starch. Also it is a slow-growing, melanin-seeking yeast (melanin is the pigment in our skins which protects us from UV radiation).
In addition to causing scalp issues, it can infect the melanocytes of the skin (sometimes causing white hypopigmentation spots, burning, or itching), the ears (hearing issues), and the eyes (blurry vision).
Overgrowth occurs when conditions favor Malassezia growth over its microbial competitors. Such conditions include prolonged use of antibiotics, use of antifungals to which it is not susceptible, steroids or other immunosuppressants, medications which increase blood lipids; diets high in vegetable oils & animal fats, alcohol (with the possible exceptions of dry red wine and beer).
The best way to get it under control is to take both topics and internal measures that inhibit its growth and add "good flora" that keeps it in check. And to avoid the things that help it grow, when you can.
Some ideas include:
- Kimchi: kimchi is a fermented vegetable product full of "good bacteria" like lactobacilli. Buy the medium spicy kind (available at Whole Foods or elsewhere). Strain it and spray the juice on your scalp. Leave on for several hours or overnight. Repeat for several days or as needed. Eat the remaining part of the kimchi, some each day. This helps build competing flora.
- Increase your intake of veggies that are high in sulfur (so long as you tolerate them ok). These include: onions, garlic, asparagus, hoarseradish (esp. potent), broccoli & other brassica veggies. Also include ginger (antifungal properties).
- Minimize vegetable oils in your diet, including olive oil. Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy to minimize animal fats.
- Sourdough is possibly the best choice in the bread category, because it contains lactobacilli in add'n to some bread yeast. The lactobacilli ("good bacteria") are what give it the sour taste. Get it fresh from a bakery that doesn't use additives and keep it in the freezer.
- If possible, buy your food at farmer's markets rather than supermarkets. Food at the supermarket is almost by definition lacking in good flora. They use additives and irradiation to extend the shelf life. Fresh food from the farmer's market is more nutritious, and it contains live enzymes and more flora. Be sure to choose meat/dairy that were not given antibiotics or homones, as these promote the growth of fungi.
- Include some seafood and seaweed in your diet.
- Eat more fresh herbs and spices ... packed full of good stuff for you, delicious and flavorful, AND they help inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
Topical measures like shampoos can provide temporary relief of symptoms but since they don't affect Malassezia organisms that can be underneath the surface of the skin or scalp, they aren't getting at the root of the problem.
I created an account just to post about my treatment of Seb Derm with Apple Cider Vinegar.
Bit of background, early 20's male with Seb Derm originally in one eye brow as flaky skin (i didn't know what it was) but it ultimately spread to either side of my nose, forehead, and parts of beard.
Tried many things; at first it was emoillients (moisturising to the extreme), then I self prescribed Ketoconazole (Nizoral cream). The initial treatment stopped the flaking, but was 5% still red and not very pleasant to apply twice daily. The cream then (after 1 year) appeared to stop being as effectively recently.
Then I tried ACV - applied nothing else but Bragg directly to the skin and drank it twice a day minimum. With nothing else - this started to work after about a week and the results were fantastic.
Unfortunately I ran out of the stuff for about 4 days, and the redness has returned slightly but so far so good - very impressed!
I have struggled with on-going seborrheic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis on my face and had tried many topicals prior to finding this natural, "miracle" treatment of: 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water (with a few drops of tea tree oil). I tell you- improvement with this remedy is noticeably quick!
In the past, I had tried sulfur soaps, anti-fungal creams, antibiotic rounds of minocycline (2 rounds of 6 months! Prescribed by my dermatologist! ) before finding the earth clinic's suggestion. Nothing has worked better! And, nothing has been cheaper and done less harm to my body!
My seborrheic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis is best managed (notice: I did not say cured) by keeping what I put on my face to a minimum- eliminating most makeup, cleansers, lotions, sunscreens. I only use what I absolutely need. My routine is to wash my face in the morning and at night with a mild cleanser (currently "Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Organic Cleanser") and then splash the ACV/water/tea tree oil combo on after. I don't use a moisturizer every day but when my face feels dry, I lightly pat my face with a drop of extra virgin organic olive oil (from Trader Joes).
For me, this treatment has worked like a charm. I notice my skin gets triggered/I get a flare up with sweaty skin (after a workout), too much sun, or when I use too many products on my face. So, I keep this in mind and know what to do to keep my symptoms at Bay and what to do when I get a flare up!
I hope this helps people reading this because when my flare ups were at their worst, I didn't think anything was going to help.
Remember: Less is MORE!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Very excited to make this post! I've had Seborrheic Dermatitis of the scalp for over 7 years now. Used the typical T-sal shampoos which didn't cure but felt like "maintained" the SD to a manageable degree (i.e. it wasn't really itchy just more of a cosmetic nuisance). Recent flare ups and itchiness led me to finally use the prescription strength corticosteroid which didn't help. I could feel it literally burning, but it would not reduce the size/redness of the patches. Fed up I finally hit google and this message board seemed to have the most "real" responses so I figured why not!
My first night I used pure ACV, no dilution. I didn't have Braggs with "the mother" on hand, but thought it was worth a shot. I applied with a spray bottle and let sit for 30 minutes. I washed it out and my hair/scalp looked great! I'd say 90% was gone.
I then purchased the Braggs ACV and tried a 1:1 dilution. This time I put my hair up (it is long) prior to the ACV treatment so the rest of my hair wouldn't soak up the ACV/make a mess. This was much better! I also applied with an eye-dropper which was more precise than the spray. I let it sit for 30-45 minutes then rinse/shampoo after.
After this second round SD was 95% gone. Within 2 more treatments I haven't seen any major flakes or had any flare ups! A few tiny flakes here and there but nothing like before (where my whole scalp basically came off). With the ACV I used an all natural coconut shampoo, but I have also used Pantene afterward and it was fine.
I was so excited by my results I had my dad try the ACV on his facial SD. He has been using a variety of washes/topicals for years and within 3 days of applying ACV with a cotton swab his SD is gone as well!
Bottom line- give it a try! This experience has really turned me off from traditional medications, not that I was a big fan before. Regular ACV and Braggs both worked, but I am sticking with Braggs because more people seem to recommend it.
For Seborrheic Dermatitis, try A and D vitamins. Take beta-karotin (cook 3 carrots every day, mix it with orange juice - you get a very tasty juice)
D vitamin: from sunshine (20 minutes every day is enough) or from tablets 10.000 IU per day.
Eat lots of fish.
Flowers of Sulphur, Cream of Tarter, Honey
I don't have an exact recipe , I use equal volumes by filling the same container with the flowers of sulphur, put that in a bowl, then the cream of tartar. Then I add enough honey to make a thick paste, depending on the honey sometimes after a few weeks it goes rock hard, then I have to add more honey just to be able to get the spoon in, it's still as effective, It's still working very well for him, the only side effects are occasional smelly wind, no pain or stomach upset, just the wind, I hope this helps. Best wishes
Flowers of Sulphur, Cream of Tarter, Honey
Scalp Cure Remedies
Bravp for your courage and fortitude; I hope this works for you!
You may also want to consider adding some lavendar oil to your scalp treatment (1 part lavender oil to 4 parts tea tree oil) to aid in disinfecting, healing, hair growth, and calming itching. And also eat/ingest a few teaspoons of coconut oil per day, it really helps to get it working from the inside out as well!
And just in case you need extra help; a topical nutrient "Selenium sulfate" (doctor perscribed in the USA) often works like a miracle! Good Luck!
Scalp Cure Remedies
I've had Seborrheic Dermatitis on my scalp on and off for 5 years. Most of the times Denorex and T/Sal did the trick. For the past year I was under a lot of stress and no matter what I tried it would not get any better.
Every time I would shower I would get into a panic because I was losing more and more hair just trying to get all of the crust off of my scalp. I went from having a nice thick pony tail you you could barely get in a band to a pony tail that was as thin as my pinky.
Every time I panicked it seemed to get worse. I finally had enough. I shaved my head. I don't advocate that anyone else do this but I had it on more than 50% of my scalp and felt like I had no choice. I wanted to get my scalp cleared up for good.
I had my husband shave my head on Thursday 8/7 and as of now, 8/10, I have no more flakes. Right after he shaved my head I used denorex which softened up a lot of the flaking on my scalp. I used a very fine toothed comb to get rid of as many of the flakes that I could. Then I used apple cider vinegar to scrub my scalp which helped to loosen up even more of the scales. I also went outside and got some sunlight on the scalp.
Thursday night I made a mixture 2 TBSP each of EV olive oil, EV coconut oil, castor oil and tea tree oil. I applied it to my scalp and covered my head with a plastic cap, put a towel on my pillow and went to sleep. In the morning I was able to get much more of the scaling off of my scalp. I did it again Friday night and this morning I was able to get all of the rest of the scales off.
I still have some bumps and some red spots but not a single scale. The last 2 days I have been able to wear dark shirts and not have any flakes falling out. I will continue to do the oil overnight until the red spots and the few bumps I have are gone and maybe even longer because there are some sparse spots where the flaking and scaling were the worst.
At the moment I apply ACV with the mother to my scalp 2 times a day. I am also using EV coconut oil twice a day. I leave it on for about a half hour and then wash it off. When my scalp is feeling itchy or irritated, I wash it with Yardley oatmeal and almond soap and that seems to help for a while. If the soap doesn't help, the tea tree oil does help with the itching.
I hope this can help some of you. For me it was better to shave my head than to continue to agonize constantly over hair loss from removing the flakes. On the upside, I can see my hair growing already so I know I won't be bald forever.
Thanks for all your posts as it has helped me a lot! :)
I have been suffering from severe Seborrheic Dermatitis on my face for over a year. Nizoral cream (anti fungal) from the doctor has helped but not as much as I would like.
I tried ACV 1:1 with water last week. I apply it at night with a cotton pad after washing my face with warm water and leave it on. The following morning I wash my face with water again and reapply ACV.
Results have been fantastic, no more flaking, very little redness and normal skin. It does smell for around 5 minutes after application, however this is a very small trade off for clear skin.
Thanks all and good luck!
Do not immediately come down off your steroids. Begin the ACV wash FIRST without your antidandruff shampoo. Steroids are very potent and need to be stepped down slowly. Do NOT simply come off them. Speak with your doctor about the best way to cut down your steroids. Good call on coming down off them though. My mother has been getting off and on steroid treatments for years because of breathing problems and her doctors recently confirmed that she has suffered liver damage because of their consistent long-term use. :)
Don't you mean 3%? My understanding is that a 35% solution of hydrogen peroxide burns the skin and is very dangerous. Seems like there is not much difference between 30% and 35%.
I have used 30% (thirty) H2O2 on my face and scalp regularly for three months now and have gotten very good, if painful results. The yeast, malessazia, carries the protein catalase which catalyzes with hydrogen peroxide to decompose it in to water and oxygen. It also creates some heat which can be very painful but I like so many others here have tried so many remedies with limited succes and was desperate.
I have gotten rid of the seb. completely in my face and still working on the scalp. The H2O2 does not burn skin unaffected by the yeast although I have found that some areas infected by the yeast can be unaffected by it. I can not recommend this aggressive treatment for others because it is painful and can burn badly (like a bad sunburn) on spots where the yeast is dense. But I offer it as an example that H2O2 is good against seborrheic dermatitis caused by malessazia yeast.
First it attacks the yeast only, not surrounding skin and secondly, the byproducts are H2O, O2 and heat...sometimes very hot indeed! So maybe in smaller doses preventatively and apparently not in combination with vinegar either (see post above in the acv and h202 section)! Furthermore, I do not use anything else on my skin to moisturize it, no oils or creams. I wash with sea salt water and Resdan shampoo occasionally. I expect to move to a maintenance program involving diminished H2O2 combined with the same cleansing regime.
I'd be careful with jojoba it may feel nice to moisturizer but unfortunately the high oleic acid content will only feed the dermatitis because it feeds on oils.. Especially jojoba cuz it's so close to normal skin oil n the high oleic content
Richard, how are things going now? Still the same treatment? Thnx, Joellie
Apple Cider Vinegar
Hi, I did read about your Apple Cider Vinegar treatment on sebderm. I am curisous if you could pass me a link of your cleanser you use am / pm. Did you ever see any tiny flakies returned?
Apple Cider Vinegar
Hi everyone, Those who got a problem with seborhoic dermatitis and severe dandruff in your scalp. I recommend you to apply apple cider vinegar diluted with water 50/50. For the scalp; apply it on the scalp 30 minutes before washing. It will help wonders. I asked my friend to try it, and she is relieved from that. She used all other medical product; but no results. Finally, she is satisfied with apple cider vinegar.
Friends try it but use organic apple cider vinegar. I wants everyone to be free from stress and wants to see smile on their face.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding water doesn't make it alkaline, it just dilutes it. It will still be acidic. You dilute it to avoid skin irritation and possible hair damage.
Flowers of Sulphur, Cream of Tarter, Honey
My husband has had terrible seborrheic dermatitis for over 20 years This is what cleared it up, equal parts of flowers of sulphur and cream of tartar bound together with honey until it forms a smooth paste, depending on honey used the paste may solidify after a few days this does not matter. Take one teaspoon per day it tastes lemony.For the first few days you pass very smelly wind but this wears of, my husband said he could feel it working after just 24hrs. I hope this helps. By the way you get cream of tartar in the baking isle, flowers of sulphur I get online not expensive.
I have found two remedies that control seborrheic dermatitis: African formula zinc shampoo - can be bought at Health Food Stores, been using this for years. Also lavender tea works great. I make the tea with 2 heaping tspns. dried lavender in 2 cups of water, boil water, let steep for 15 min. Keep in refrigerator. Spray on scalp after shampooing. It smells great, nice for hair.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Remedies
Hi Connie-- I had rosacea about 3 months ago for the past 3 years. I went through all the remedies posted on Earthclinic (and other places) and made a long, long list of them. After about a month and a half I found what worked for my skin. The rosacea I have is very light now and my boyfriend said how great my skin is looking now. I will note what I did just in case you find any of these remedies working for you: Hydrogen Peroxide (wipe down face), Sulphur gel (OTC stuff for rosacea), then I used almond oil with rose in it, and an OTC oatmeal based lotion on top of THAT. I also take 4-6 1000 mg of MSM a day too. That was the final key that helped everything. My skin is combo and sensitive at the same time. (I did try ACV, Borax, collidoil silver, copper etc etc but this worked the best for me) Start making your list. Everyone's issues are just a bit different and look for what speaks to you. Good luck. ~jillery!!!
I had seb derm on my face for years and it finally was cured after I started lugol's iodine applied topically. Another poster on Earth Clinic wrote about it curing his eczema and so I tried it after I read his post. After 2 days, it started to clear!
At first I diluted 3% lugol's iodine 50/50 with water and applied it with a q-tip. I held the q-tip on the spot for 60 seconds. It burned like the dickens, but it was worth it! After the second day, I held undiluted lugol's to the spots with a q-tip. After 7 days it was gone and I applied it every few days, thinking it would come back if I didn't. It never did and I stopped the lugol's application altogether.
Dairy and especially cheese is a huge trigger for my seb derm.
Please try lugol's if you have sebhorreic dermatitis. It has been a miracle cure for this impossible condition!
Raw apple cider vinegar has helped a lot of people with this. That is where I would start. Mix the vinegar 1:1 with filtered or distilled water and apply to face a few times a day. You can also use it on your scalp. Many people are using baking soda to wash their hair and apple cider vinegar to rinse. These would be some options, too. I found baking soda with a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil, massaged into the scalp to cure my toddler of seborrheic dermatitis very quickly.
Do read the pages on seborrheic dermatitis here at Earth Clinic, if you haven't already. It may be that you need to try several things to cure it.
Some other things to try for it and the cystic acne would be turmeric, 4 capsules twice a day, plenty of water, and more fruits and vegetables.
The vinegar may dry out your face. Castor Oil or extra virgin coconut oil might be helpful used at night on your face. (It seems contrary to put oil on a face, but it has helped many people with oily skin.)
I hope these things will help, or perhaps some other remedies people are sharing. Let us know how it goes!
~Mama to Many~
Seborrheic Dermatitis Remedies
I have seborrheic dermatitis very badly on my face as well as cystic acne. I'm sure the cause was having used a topical 1% Clindamycin solution (in an 8% glycolic acid toning solution) on my face for 15 years. Although I have stopped using the solution for 3 years now, my face is still a mess. Also, I have dandruff. What would you recommend as being the best natural solution for me to try and remedy this problem?
I look forward to your reply, Connie
Try this link for instructions or just google "ted's alkalizing formulas". https://www.earthclinic.com/remedies/alkalizing_formulas.html
Apple Cider Vinegar
I tried all sorts of things to get rid of my seborrheic dermatitis/dandruff. I had it on my face and my scalp. Tried putting vaseline on at the start as I thought it was dry skin! Didn't work (obviously! ) Tried changing my moisturiser. Didn't work. Aloe Vera only seemed to make the appearance better for about 20 mins and then the flaking would start again. Tried a shampoo with Ciclopirox. Still no improvement. Tried a cream with neem in it. Still didn't notice much improvement.
Then I reached for the apple cider vinegar. I wasn't looking forward to it as I don't love the smell of vinegar. I diluted it to half strength with water and applied it to my scalp, shampooing and washing it out after 10-15 mins. Also applied to my face where affected and washed off with water after 10 mins. I saw improvements within a few days. I had to keep up the treatments for a bit. The facial treatments I did twice a day and the scalp treatments twice a week when washing my hair. 99% of the symptoms cleared up. The rest vanished as soon as warmer weather came in and I got a good dose of sunshine. So far I haven't had to do the facial treatments in the summer or autumn but am waiting to see if I may have to return to them once the weather gets properly cold again. The twice weekly scalp treatments I've kept up. I read somewhere someone suggesting that if the scalp is kept free from dandruff then that might control the whole lot which seemed to make sense to me. Thanks to all those who recommended apple cider vinegar for this condition as it really helped me.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Folks, it must be ACV with the "mother". No other has the health benefits of this. Braggs is a good one.
Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide
The direct combination of the two substances, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, produces a strong oxidizing agent known as peracetic acid (also known as peroxyacetic acid, or PAA). The reaction occurs when hydrogen peroxide reacts with the active component in vinegar, acetic acid.
The substance at high concentrations can be highly corrosive and cause irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory system. Long-term exposures to the substance can cause permanent lung damage.
I've had seborrheic dermatitis for over 6 years now - My entire face would be covered in scaly patches. There is no cure but you can treat it and keep it minimized in its intensity.
By far and away the most helpful thing I've found in my battle against SD is salicylic acid - The strongest over the counter percentage is 3 percent - this helped me but was not enough. My doctor prescribed salicylic acid at 6 percent prescription strength and that applied twice a day keeps it mostly under wraps. Once or twice a year it flares up despite the salicylic acid cream, usually at the beginning of summer and winter - at these times I use a lot of apple cider vinegar and sulfure masks in addition to the prescription strength salicylic acid cream.
Baking Soda and Water
Sharon, I have had this same problem for several years also. I also drink a lot of diet coke and also eat a lot of carb foods. I would appreciate it if you would tell me how much baking soda and water to use for this treatment. Thanks, Jerry
Grapefruit Seed Extract
hi Ted, what soap did you use to clean your nose with the next day?