7 Tips to Finding Moisturizer That Works for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Originally published at: 7 Tips to Finding Moisturizer That Works for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Finding a moisturizer that works for seborrheic dermatitis can often be tricky, make the search easier by reading these seven essential tips.

I have found the dead salt treatment to be working for me for scalp and face. I have also found that apple cider vinegar also helps and Aloe Vera as a moisturizer but I read that you do not recommend Aloe Vera Gel. I am going to try the honey and warm water for the face Have you any other home remedies for a face moisturizer. Can you email me your reply. I am 85 years old and this condition has been driving me crazy. Regards, Mollie

This comment has also been directly emailed to you. I’m posting it here as well, just in case it might helps others as well.

Hi Mollie,

Thanks for leaving a comment on the website.
It is encouraging to find others who are looking for a solution to their seborrheic dermatitis.

First of all I will address the items you mentioned specifically:
Dead sea salt caused my skin to sometimes become very dry and pale (had to be very careful not to make it too salty as this caused major redness). OverallI found it hard to get consistent results.
Aloe vera is very popular and highly recommended by many. Personally each time I used it, my seborrheic dermatitis skin would go bright red. The flaking would stop, but the inflation seemed to increase. However, I only used the actual plant juice directly taken from fresh leaves. Perhaps this form was just too strong. Looking back now maybe a regular aloe vera based cream or moisturiser might have worked better.
Apple Cider Vinegar cause the skin to smell of vinegar for short while. It also caused my skin to become much more pale and quite sensitive to sunlight. Concentration was key in order to see any results. Consistency was poor and on some occasions seborrheic dermatitis was hardly affected by application. Consuming it on a daily basis had pretty much no effect on the seborrheic dermatitis. It’s consumption did, however, seem to improve digestion and over made me feel good inside. You can see my full article on my experience with apple cider vinegar here.
Secondly here is a summary my story with seborrheic dermatitis:

Personally I am 24 and I’ve spent about 3 years suffering from the dermatitis.
It mainly affected my scalp and face, but this caused many other issues in my daily life.

Luckily after tons of research and experiments I managed to find something that worked for me.
Currently it has been about 6 months without any flare ups.

Sometimes a flake or two could appear or my scalp can get a bit of dandruff.
However, it is rare and extremely mild. Nothing like the thick crusting and inflammation before.

During my experimentation I believe I’ve tried every natural solution that was mentioned online. The two that worked the best and most consistently were Raw Honey Masks and Grapefruit Seed Extract as a face wash. I used these methods during separate periods.

The Grapefruit Seed Extract was the first method I found which had sustained results for several months. I simply used a few drops with water as a face cleanser. Flakes disappeared and skin looked healthy. Then it stopped working and would only sometimes be effective. Also reading online I came across some articles that mentioned that the grapefruit seed extract actually contained some sort of disinfectant chemical (similar to hand sanitizer) which was the actual reason behind its effectiveness. Either way it stopped working for me so I stopped using it.

Raw honey masks seem to both moisturise and cleanse the skin at the same time. After using the masks the skin was supple and well moisturised. The biggest problems with this treatment is it took about 3 hours each day, was a little messy, and if a few days were missed the seborrheic dermatitis would quickly return. Even after about a month or so of bi-daily use I always had to keep using it (otherwise dermatitis quickly returned). There were also times that it just didn’t do anything.

Also one of the strangest and biggest things I noticed while fighting my seborrheic dermatitis is the illusive connection to food and diet. Often times it seemed that certain foods triggered flare ups and irritation. Fasting would cause the skin to fully heal and seborrheic dermatitis to go away. One time I went for about a week on just fruits and vegetables (no grains, meats, or dairy). During this week my skin was perfectly healthy even without using any topical treatments.

In the end though, the whole food allergy thing proved to be a very hard path. Many of the diets caused issues with daily life and regular social eating. It was stressful to always restrict yourself from certain things and worry about the effect it could have on the dermatitis.

Personally I believe trying to pin down foods that could be causing the seborrheic dermatitis actually enforced the idea and actually played a role in overall worsening of my condition.

What has been keeping me free from seborrheic dermatitis has been a simple approach.

My first step was to stop reading and researching online.

Second I went and asked my friend in medical school what he would recommend for restoring the gut. He told me the supplement L-Glutamine is often used in medical cases. It is supposed to provide the gut with an abundance of the specific protein it needs to rebuild its walls. I purchased the powder form of it from Amazon and have been using it practically every single morning for the past 6 months. Each morning I wake up I drink a bit of water followed by a glass of water and about a teaspoon of L-Glutamine powder. Then I do some morning exercise and wait about 30 minutes before I eat breakfast.

Third I went to my local pharmacy and asked for all the samples they had of cleansers and moisturisers. The gentleman working was very nice and he gave me about 15-20 different types of cleansers, moisturisers and sun screens. After about going through 4-5 that had no effect, I stopped at Cetaphil Restoraderm. It had a very subtle, but extremely soothing effect on my skin. Since than I’ve been using the cleanser along with the moisturiser pretty much every day before bed. After washing my face with the cleanser I let it air dry and a few minutes later I apply the moisturiser.

Other key rules that I now follow:
Never stress about the food I eat
Never touch or scratch the skin (except sometimes my scalp)
Stay away from excessive sun exposure
Drink plenty of water
Shower regularly
Only cotton pillow cases
Also for my scalp I went through a length adjustment period. After using commercial dandruff shampoos I decided to just find a good regular shampoo. Instead of picking one for oily hair (which my hair was at the time) I went for a moisturising shampoo.

First I purchased a natural anti-dandruff one from Amazon (a very expensive product). The shampoo was non foaming and was more like a cream that I used to wash my hair with. My scalp started to normalize after about 2-3 weeks of constant usage. When I was using that shampoo I almost never had any dandruff.

However, I when my bottle ran out I didn’t want to spend another 30 dollars on a small bottle of shampoo. Instead I went with a simple moisturising shampoo from a brand (Andalou) whose natural cleanser I previously enjoyed (the cleanser didn’t help my dermatitis long term). This is the shampoo that I’ve been using every since. The smell is amazing, my scalp feels healthy and my hair looks and feels very good. A bit of dandruff sometimes does come around, but it is quite mild and nothing which causes me to change my routine.

Hopefully some of this information can prove useful to you.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me. None of the advice above is medical advice and is a simple recollection of my approach.

Best Regards,
Michael Anders

PS. Wish you luck with your fight against seborrheic dermatitis.

I’m suffering from SD myself. I use Cerave. I like the thich cream from the tub much better than the lotion. I still get it bad and my nose is always red and peeling along the sides, but this is the best for me. I used to use aquafor, which was intense but after a while aggravated it. ACV doesn’t really work. Coconut oil doesn’t really work. Fasting I feel does help. Dairy and wheat and seem to aggravate it. I refuse to continue these specialty diets however. I bought a zinc cream on Amazon and hated it. I researched lithium gluconate and I’m interested in trying it out. I see a product on amazon called Sebovalis Facial Gel I am considering ordering. Have you tried lithium gluconate 8%? It’s $26 so don’t really want to throw cash away. These specialty lotions are a rip off and so far unsuccessful.

I’m interested in your honey method as well as cetaphil wash and taking l-glutamine. In fact I just bought some raw honey over the weekend. I get peeling scalp too but have had great results with head and shoulder clinical strength. Selenium sulfide seems to be much better than the zinc options.

I prefer to go a little more natural if possible. But ultimately I’m willing to do what works. When it flares up I’m desperate. It’s always a little red, but sometimes it’s like I have facial leprosy.

Hi Mark,

Cerave was great for me at first as well. However they were great only for a week or two after that they just stopped working. I’ve got a bottle of both the cleanser and the moisturizer here at home.

Also have a tub of zinc cream from Amazon along with the same brand name soap. Those were great at first as well. Never used them for too long because they were way to strong. After usage the skin would feel strange and bare. Additionally their effectiveness deteriorated. For reference I don’t remember the brand name, but it’s the blue and white containers.

Somewhere along the way I recall hearing something about lithium gluconate, but never tried it myself. To be honest though, from all the things I’ve came across in my research and everything I’ve tried it seems the most simple easily found work the best.

In terms of all natural stuff raw honey was great. It worked most of the time, but it lost potency intermittently. Most of the other stuff wasn’t very sustainable. Baking soda or salt in the hair was quite good too, but I’m not using it at the moment.

Right it’s been been about 7 months were the seborrheic dermatitis has been calm. Still some tiny flakes in the nasal folds and inside the ear after the shower, but nothing like before. My eyebrows are clear, forehead clear, facial tone is calm and not patchy. Additionally, I currently eat everything (except mostly stay away from dairy, but this was even before my seborrheic dermatitis), my daily skin routine takes about 1-2min, and I use a regular shampoo. Additionally I longer waste a ton of time online research for a treatment. When trying to treat it I tried giving up all kinds of stuff such as gluten containing goods, caffeine (even tea), citrus fruit and a ton of other things (tomatoes, bell peppers, fried food, etc.); Tried using all sorts of supplements (check some of the posts); and all sorts of other treatment methods.

Currently my belief is that:

  • Salt and iodine balance in the body have an effect on the seborrheic dermatitis
  • Washing with cool water is best of the skin
  • Simple treatment methods work the best
  • Anti-fungal solutions destroy even the good protective layer of the skin, you need to constantly be using in order to sustain results
  • Looking back at your life and trying to see what was different before the seborrheic dermatitis is very effective

Let me know if you have any questions.
Also if you find the time, a follow up on your treatment results would be beneficial to other readers as well.

Best of luck.

Is facial foam bad for SD? How about oilatum bar soap? Does it feed the bacteria in SD? I also heard any cosmetic product DAT contain glycolic acid can irritate SD and also vitamin C and acne product? R u agree w/ dat? Pls rep ASAP? Tnx

Hi Kit,
To be honest it is really hard to give you a definite answer. Over the years I’ve read so much stuff on the internet say this many different things. However, I can say 100% that what might be bad for one person might work really well for another.

Myself I have not used a single foaming cleanser that has helped with my seborrheic dermatitis. But shaving foam never irritated it and shaving actually improved it for me. Also things that contained oil seemed to be bad overall. Yet currently I’ve been using a lotion that contains sunflower oil for over 7 months with amazing success. You can see the details of my current approach here.

When I tried a vitamin C serum, it was not very effective and actually irritated my seborrheic dermatitis. However, I’ve read one person who had amazing results with it. One thing I did notice is that supplementing with vitamin c does help to improve skin tone and keep inflammation down.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you need more information.
Take care.

Is this the article on Sesame Oil? I ask because I’m not sure I understand it completely.

Thank you for taking the time to write all this up! And so clearly! Can’t believe how many different options there are to try. Hope to hit the jackpot as soon as possible. :slight_smile:

Hi Tracy,

Wow, thank you for linking that article. When writing this post I was unsuccessful at finding the original article I mentioned.

The one you provided is extremely similar in nature and also mentions that oleic acid is great for growing the yeast. The big difference is that in the one you sent over sesame seed oil was also considered a good growth medium for the yeast. This seems to contradict what I originally read. Which might be related to the specific type of oil they use. Maybe the roasted sesame oil is bad for growing it or the other way around (not sure).

One thing to note is that I’ve been successfully using a moisturizing lotion which actually contains sesame seed oil. This sort of contradicts many things in these studies. So not really sure how that all works. My own theory is that if the oil is easy for the yeast to consume then it proliferates. However, if the skin (or the lotion) has certain components which make it hard for the yeast to feed off the oil, this allows the skin to use the oil to replenish itself as needed.

Hope that helps. Will update if I finally find that study I read (will check through my universities database).
Also look forward to hearing any updates.

Hi there,
Thank you for taking the time to say thanks. :slight_smile:
The options listed in the moisturizer article are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to believe the amount of things I tried to get rid of it.
Currently putting together a post trying to summarize all the treatments I’ve ever tried. Maybe that will helps other going down the same road.

As far as moisturizers go I’ve currently been sticking to the Restoraderm Moisturizing Lotion (along with the cleanser) and it’s been working extremely well. However, when I was discussing it with another reader I noticed the ingredients list of the one sold on Amazon.com differ from the one I’ve been using. The ingredients list on their official page match my little sample bottles (haven’t needed to buy any yet).

You can get a feel for how well it’s been going for me on some of the other comments here.

Best of luck finding something that works for you. One of the biggest factors seems to be staying positive!
Also one reader sent me an email with his experience. After trying all the stuff he can find, he came across one dermatologist who prescribed him Nystatin (a topical anti-fungal). Said he’s been using it ever since and it has made it go away. Will add details on his experience to the site in the next few days as well.

Hope that helps and once again thanks for the feedback.
Look forward to hearing any updates.

Tnx bro. BTW is it requird to use moisturizer ? Or it is optional?

Hard to say if its required. From the start I used them in combination. Has been working well, so had no reason to cut out the moisturizer.

Never was a fan of using a moisturizer. I use only a tiny little bit each time. Only a few tiny drops a few minutes after washing my face. When the skin is still moist it spreads super well. To give you an idea of how little i use, about 8 months of constant usage and I’ve only used ~40ml.

Check your local clinic and they likely have sample bottles. Especially pediatric (kids) clinics.

What about this to moisturise? It’s the same as MCT oil yes just in a prettier bottle with a prettier name?

Hi Tracy,
As per our email conversation, it looks like the way to go if you need a natural oil. Fractioned Coconut Oil looks like another term they use for MCT Coconut Oil, doesn’t look like theres any real difference. Here’s the research paper that I originally got the idea/information from (didn’t include it in the email as I had to search for it again).

If you end up getting the oil, let me know how it goes. All the best.

HI, have you used Cetaphil’s DERMACONTROL Oil Control Foam Wash and moisturizer? I got the foam wash as a sample once. I’m not sure if it improved my SD but it definitely did not worsen it at all. Just wondering how they compare if you have tried them.

Hi Nikki,
Haven’t used that product, but have a sample of it somewhere as well. A few of the oil control cleansers I did try were not very effective.

The Restoraderm is hard to explain. Its very mild and doesn’t seem like it would do much. However, a little bit goes a long way for me.

Hope that helps. Additionally I’m much more aware of my skin, thoughts, diet and body. Anxiety and stress (physical or emotional) seem to be quite powerful triggers.

All the best.

Thank you for all these information i have rosacea and i got SD since 3 or 4 weeks .my doctor prescribe me elledol cream that i have bee using since 3 days. it is the same .it is really frustrated to have this condation they seems never go away. my friend recommend me apple cider vinegar. i will try and i let you know.
thank you again that is so relieve to find this much info about SD.
good luck

Hi Ferhan

Thank for taking the time to leave a comment and thank you for the feedback
Personally I haven’t tried the Elledol Cream, so I can’t really comment on how it compares to the other creams I’ve tried.

If I had to start over again the first thing I would try is the face wash and moisturiser I currently use (Cetaphil Restoraderm). I tried to outline the rest of the details on my current approach in this post. Maybe that could help.

Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be really great for some people. Through this website alone I have talked to at least 6 people who have confirmed it’s potential. For me I couldn’t find the perfect balance though. Check out the comments section of the ACV post for some feedback from others.

Additionally you might find this post useful. It’s basically a summary of almost everything I tried. Some stuff is missing, but it’s a huge list of stuff as is. Hopefully it’s of use to others going down the same route.

If you have the time, any updates on your progress would be a huge benefit to any other readers.

Best of luck and hope you find something that works.

Thank you. I got the restoraderm and it really is amazing. My redness is much milder now.