7 Tips to Finding Moisturizer That Works for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Hi Tracy,
Thanks for checking in!
Glad to hear things worked. If you have the opportunity, think about joining the community.
My approach doesn’t seem to work for everyone, but with the input of others I feel like a more comprehensive approach can be designed.

Thanks again and great to hear from you after all this time.

PS. In terms of diet. The things that have helped me the most have been returning back to basics. I find that the more simple the food I eat, the better my skin feels.

Hi there, First of all thank you so much for the article. It was a great article I must say. I’m the one suffering from SD for 5/6 years almost. I wanted to know a thing from you as you gave so many useful information here. I recently wanted to ordered a facial wash from the Shea terra Organic. The ingredients of the face wash contains some oils like- Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Rosa Mosqueta (Virgin Rose Hip) Oil, Palm Kernel Oil and some ash like - Yoruba Black Soap, Cocoa Pod Ash, Plantain Peel Ash, Camwood Bark, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter and some other ingredients. So what do you think of using those oils as a face wash? Does it can make the yeast to overgrow too?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Tasnova,
It’s actually hard to say. From all the medical literature it would seem that yes oils do make the yeast grow.
However, the Restoraderm I’ve been using actually has shea butter and sunflower seed oil.
Overall though, I think the more mild the formula is, the better.

From all the natural face washes this one actually worked quite well for me. I actually thought that it would be my long term solution. I purchased 3 bottles, but only used one of them.
In the end, I kind of gave up on it. It helped around 95%, but my face would still get irritation sometimes.

Hope that helps. Let me know how the Shea Terra works out.
All the best!

Thank you so much for your response. One thing I figured out about SD is you need to try something out to know what actually works for you! From my little research I could see that there is not any single solution but you have to find your own. This is quite depressing, cause you have to go thorough a lot of trail and error to figure it out which works for you! Moreover having SD means there is something going wrong inside your body!

Anyway I ordered Shea terra already which may take a while to come in my hand (a month! Sigh!). I’ll let you know after I use it for a while. Actually I ordered it because most of the reviewer says it helps them in cleaning dead skin cell. and people prone to SD need to remove their dead skin cells for their own good. But may be I won’t use it regularly. Let me see it’s effect on my skin first! I also ordered dead sea salt for my scalp and face treatment purpose. And I’m actually excited to try this out as so many people claimed that it helped them to tame their SD. Wish Me luck! And Thank you so much, you have been very helpful.

Hi Tasnova,
Yeah, the uniqueness of each person makes it really difficult.
Another really annoying issue, is the amount of incorrect information about it online.
The Restoraderm I’ve been using has had a fairly good % of positive feedback. However, even with this there are a few people who didn’t seem to have success with it.
For me I believe it was definitely part of my recovery. It helped keep my skin normal enough and allowed me to better understand my own internal causes/triggers (without having to deal with the day-to-day issues).

One thing to keep in mind that with seborrheic dermatitis your skin cell turnover is greatly increased (https://goo.gl/qQpBT4). In many cases it is even shorter than that of a kid.
For this reason I believe excessive scrubbing, washing, and any other method which acts to remove dead skin makes things worse. Personally I think reducing the skin cell turnover rate is what people should focus on.

Here is related piece of a conversation I was having with another community member earlier this week:

As for the histamine, it’s definitely a part of it. However, I think from everything I've learned so far the problem is much, much more complex. So far it’s looking like a mix of hormonal factors (cortisone and histamine seem to be the most examined), internal anti-oxidant production (particularly bilirubin and glutathione), and a large diversity of other factors. However, everything in the body is interconnected and as a whole the system is basically malfunctioning.

The seborrheic dermatitis is just a result that shows up on the skin. What happens locally on the skin, is skin cell production is over-stimulated. The turnover rate of the effected skin cells becomes even greater than infant skin. My hypothesis is that with such a rapid turn-over skin cells are simply not given enough time to properly mature and develop. Thus, foreign bacteria are more easily able to penetrate the outer most layer of the skin. Personally it’s my opinion that the recommended use of anti-fungals and antibiotics conceals the issue by removing foreign bacteria, but can push things further into progression. My belief is based on fairly new medical studies which have demonstrated that almost 90% of the skin cells are actually dormant. Only ~10% are actually metabolically active. Most antibiotic and anti-fungals work by inhibiting the reproduction of bacteria. However, the ~90% of dormant skin cells aren’t actually doing anything, so they remain unaffected. This might give the exact circumstances needed for foreign bacteria to invade more territory.

However it’s still so hard to understand how all of these factors at play all together. Taking internal anti-fungals seems to produce fairly stable results. Perhaps this is because it is more effective at killing the dormant bacteria as it stays in the system for longer periods of time?

Another strange aspect is how does it all start? Is it internal factors -> skin infection -> leading to more internal factors and basically closing the loop on itself.

With all that said. My own recovery was actually fairly simple. I just went back to basics.
Stopped reading crap online, stopped using everything except a gentle cleanser and moisturiser, added l-glutamine (to hopefully stimulate normal skin cell production and glutathione levels), and went back to eating food I love.

Hope that helps and let me know how the Shea Terra works out.

Hi Michael,

This is to give you a big thank you. I’ve been suffering from SD for 15 years on and off and recently I was frustrated that nothing works on my skin anymore. Being hopeless, I thought this time I’m going to search what other SD patients do and then I found your post and Cetaphil Restoraderm. This is like magic. I’ve been using both body wash and moisturizer for two weeks and haven’t seen my skin like this for a long time. So thank you for sharing your experience and suggestions. Hope one day there will be a permanent cure for SD.

Hi Mehdi,

Sorry for the delay in reply.
Glad to to hear the Restoraderm worked out, it’s crazy how well it works for some one us.

In terms of long term treatment, I may have found something a little more conclusive.
Still a working hypothesis, but will update if my testing shows results.

All the best.

How much honey to water?
Also do you know if there is any connection between seborrheic dermatitis and being on immunosuppression? (I’m immunosuppressed due to kidney transplant.)

Hi Eliza,

The honey to water ratio I found the best was 9 parts honey to 1 part water. More details on the honey approach can be found in the "Basics of Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis with Raw Honey" post.

Seborrheic dermatitis is heavily correlated with immunosuppression. From what I remember the correlation with SD and AIDS is off the charts, something like 40-80% (study). HIV it's something like 36%. In the general population the percentage is somewhere closer to 3-5%. This is likely to due to suppressed sebum protection from the fungus that causes the SD. (Common superficial fungal infections in immunosuppressed patients).

Let me know if you have any other questiosn. Hope that helps and best of luck!

Hi, first time on your site. Just wanted to tell you what has helped me. I am 29 yr old male and have SD flare-ups around mustache area (worse when it grows, so I keep it shaved) and front scalp/hairline. Being a typical guy with minimal skincare products, I don’t moisturize everyday like I should, but when this started 3 years ago, I already had some Simple Rich Moisturizer for use with mild acne treatment (I think it’s a UK brand that came to US retailers a few years ago. I get it at Walmart). It works like magic for me. When it flares and gets even worse from the irritation of shaving, it’s very noticeable red blotches between my mouth and nose. Looks horrible. But, I just use the Simple moisturizer, it burns slightly for a minute,and literally within hours, the redness has faded to pink and does not hurt or itch. After doing that twice a day for just 2 days, and it’s completely gone. No signs of it, just even, healthy looking skin. I’m sure if I was more diligent in using it every day, I’d probably never see it again. Anyway, I admit I didn’t read all the article information, and so I don’t know if Simple has any concerning ingredients. But, for me, it heals it so well and fast, I’m always surprised it’s not a medicated cream of some kind. Hope maybe it can help some others.

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for the tip. It seems that everyones skin is different and once they can find a moisturizer that works for them, things drastically improve. I’m thinking of buying a large variety of different products and putting together a sort of tester pack so people can find something that’s right for them. What do you think of this idea?

Is this the cream you are using? Overall the ingredients seem to look good from what I know so far.

Thanks again for the tip.

Thank you for this article! A quick question (s) regarding Seborrheic Dermatitis 1.) in your research have you come across why certain areas of the face have ‘flares’ more that others? like, are some areas more prone to SD? The last 2 years I had a 'breakout" of SD on my eyelids and moves up to the brows during winter months, went to the dermatologist and got diagnosed with SD, but this year it started in late Spring on the right side of my forehead, moving to the laugh lines around the mouth and chin. But, now AGAIN the eye area, lids, brows, under the eyes and the outside corner of the eyes. 2.) what if anything is safe to use around the eyes? The rash, redness, flaking skin is all bothersome and lowers your self esteem, but nothing is comparable to the B U R N I N G associated with SD on and around your eye area. The dr’s want to give steroid creams for this , but the # 1 caution is NOT to get it on, in or around the eyes??? I’ve spent endless hours researching but not coming across anything or anyone with it around the eyes and suggestions of what helps?

Hi Shannon,

From everything I’ve read so far it appears that heat attracts the issues. Areas of heat produce more oil, attract more microbial activity and as a result produce seborrheic dermatitis.
Hard to say why it moves around the face. I experienced this as well. What I believe happens is that the skin in that area may become good at defending itself, so the microbes react and relocate their activity to a different region that is also viable for them.

The area around the eyes is very tricky. Currently I am using the Biom8 fairly close to the eyes, but I make sure to never actually get it in my eye as it would likely cause irritation.

Overall though I think a comprehensive approach is necessary for long term results. If you haven’t yet, I recommend you take a look at the chapter drafts for a book I’ve been working on:

It goes into significant detail about a variety of associated topics.

Hope that helps and all the best.

Interesting info, particularly regarding the spread of the seborrheic bacteria by certain ingredients.

Hi Chris,

Glad you found the information helpful.
Let me know if of items mention show results.

Best of luck!

Writer - fyi Malassezia is a yeast, not a bacteria.

‘‘At the fundamental level the majority oils do not work, because they feed the bacteria (Malassezia) which is involved in seborrheic dermatitis’’

Hi Tony,

A huge thanks for your comment! Quite an embarrassing mistake, but my knowledge has been developing significantly since the writing of this post. Have gone ahead and corrected throughout.

At first this blog was simply a collection of my own thoughts and general notes I thought may be helpful. However, in the last year my approach has become much more academic. The eBook is primarily based on medical papers and provides a much more deep understanding of the condition. Will likely need to go back through each post and look for these sorts of mistakes.

Have emailed gone ahead and emailed you a copy of the eBook. Let me know what you think.

Thanks again and best of luck in the New Year!

Is the biom-8 okay to use on scalp areas with sebborheic dermatitis?

Hi Cindy,

Many users have reported using the Biom8 on the scalp with great success. Personally, I’ve only been using it on my facial area (and hairline). However, these is a version of Biom8 in the making specifically formulated for scalp applications (some may argue that it may not even be needed as the original has been effective enough). This scalp version is planned to be release sometime next week.

Hope that helps.
Please let me know if you have any other question.

I’m 29 and have SD. I’ve been using a Jericho black sea mud soap now and it will contain it with minimal flare ups. Recently my cheeks have been burning as if they are too dry. What is a good facial wash to try first as well as moisturizer? I also get the flakes in my ears, good to hear I’m not the only one.