Seborrheic Dermatitis on the Nose - The Complete Guide

Hi Michael. Thanks for all your work on this topic. I’ve had SD for about 15 years now but not too bad compared with many people here. Just the butterfly effect around the nose. My beard covers up the rest. I’ve tried a bunch of things (anti fungal creams, steroid creams, sea salt, ACV, tea tree oil, etc) but mostly focused on avoiding foods that make it worse. Fermented and spicy foods are the worst for me. Emotions and stress really are a huge trigger also. Which makes me wonder about people here who talk about how something was working for a few weeks or months but then suddenly stopped working. I wonder what was going on in their lives – if stress increased, then that might have overwhelmed their skin even if the regiment they were following was good for them. With so many variables in play, it is hard to pin down the effects of each one through personal anecdotes. Well, that’s what science is for, isn’t it? Haha.

Currently, I only use J&J baby soap to wash my face a couple times a day. It seems to help and has a calming effect on any food-related butterfly breakouts.

I may try ACV again but at a lower concentration. I think I used 1:1 before but it irritated it. Some sites talk about starting at 1:10 which is much weaker.

Sea salt did seem so promising. I know my face has improved whenever I have been swimming a lot, especially in the ocean or a salt water pool. But when I attempted some of the face washes, it didn’t help much and usually made it worse. But that may be a question of finding the right salt concentration for me.

I hadn’t heard about the Restoraderm so I will put that on my “to do” list. Although its encouraging that some people like you have benefited from it, it’s also maddening that many people don’t have results with it. I wonder if it can actually be put into that category along with ACV or coconut oil.

Have you tried any of the Vitamin C-based facial serums? Vitamin C is very good for the skin it seems as people rave about its ability to rejuvenate. That is also on my to-do list. But it’s even more expensive that Restoraderm.

Anyway, thanks for the blog and sharing your spirit of inquiry.

Hi Chris, Thanks for checking in. Same as you mine was limited to the butterfly and not too much else (also ears and scalp).

With foods I found a strategy that kind of worked better than avoiding. At-least I think it did. Basically instead of avoiding I just started to focus on what I should be eating, instead. The simple change from what to avoid, to what to eat was quite helpful in reducing and associated stress from food limitations.

The emotions and stress aspect seem to play into the hormonal aspect of seborrheic dermatitis. And yeah it definitely get's difficult to pin anything down with so many variables at play.

After learing a bit about skin cell microbiology I think a piece of this, which is not often mentioned, is how some of these cells and bacteria work. About 90% of the individual microbial cells found on the skin are actually dormant (metabolically inactive). So some of these treatments that target the reproduction mechanism of the bacteria are really only effective on the active ~10%. Now how much of these 10% might be bad and how much are the good ones that are protecting our skin? So perhaps some of these treatment approaches can seem effective as that 10% is killed off, but what happens? As the inactive cells activate perhaps the ratio of good to bad cells becomes disrupted even further and the SD actually progresses.. This avenue of research is quite interesting and has only been gaining momentum in recent years (due to technological advances).

Yeah, for the ACV and the sea salt I think pin pointing the exact concentration can be of benefit. For the sea salt I would image trying to mimic natural salt water salinity would be the best. In a majority of medical studies a concentration of 5% is used (source). As for ACV, it's hard to imagine what the perfect ratio would be and I wish more research was done in this area.

As for the Restoraderm, I contacted them earlier this week about samples. They said I should tell Canadian readers to contact them at and they can send out samples. Hopefully, your in Canada and can benefit from this.

Yeah, I attempted making my own vitamin c serum on a few occasions as I read that it's better made fresh. It didn't really do much for me, except sting the affected areas. Vitamin C seems quite good internally though and I noticed it had an effect of reducing the heat sensation. If I was to go down this route again, I would probably try something like this or this. I've got a gut feeling that arginine has a large role in the effectiveness of the Restoraderm. However, I haven't tried these products myself.

Hope that covers all your questions. Perhaps join the community to discuss things further. Best of luck.

Thanks for your reply. I will check out the forum for sure. I’m in Toronto, so I will contact Cetaphil and try to hit them up for samples. Thanks for the tip!

The sea salt thing was frustrating because I tried several different concentrations. I did mix it to 3.5% salinity which is standard for most oceans but it didn’t do anything. Sometimes it made it worse. Odd because I know swimming is beneficial. But I wonder if I just liked swimming and that reduced my stress and THAT was the reason my skin cleared up. What a puzzle. But the literature seems fairly decisive that mineral salts are good for the skin. Whether they are good for facial skin could be a trickier question.

Bummer about the Vit C. I would definitely consider the commercial cosmetic preparations because dismissing the whole concept. The Watts stuff is cheaper but it doesn’t specify it is 20% Vit C which is sort of the industry standard (e.g. Oz Naturals). But the reviews are positive so that’s something.

The food thing has to work for you. Whatever works – that’s good. I’ve learned that no matter how many healthy and good things I eat, it all counts for nothing if I’m eating salads with a lot of vinegar or sushi with soy sauce or kimchi. Those fermented things get me every time! I can cheat a little now and then and I’m none the worse for wear.

p.s. Swimming in a chlorine pool could be good because the chlorine kills bacteria on the face. Salt does it too it seems.

Yeah, let me know how the samples go. It would be interesting to hear if they actually mail them to you.

As for the salt, perhaps it’s the iodine content as well. Or maybe it’s just the complex natural composition of sea water (full with it’s own diverse range of microbes). It’s all just guessing though.

The only reason I found the watts stuff is because I was doing some research on topical arginine. It’s supposed to be good at improving circulation and nutrient delivery to the top layer of the skin.
Plus the hyaluronic acid has lots of good stuff written about it. Check out the clinical significance section on wikipedia.

Let me know what you end up getting and look forward to any updates.

Hey Chris,
One thing just came to mind a while back, but I haven’t mentioned it on the site yet.

A bit ago I had some nasal congestion and bought some saline nasal spray (0.9%). It seems like it would be perfect as a facial spray instead.
It’s a really fine mist, so spraying this onto the face seems like an appealing method of salt water treatment.
The one I bought was a little more expensive, but it’s actual sea water that has been sterilized and they claim on the package it contains all the other trace minerals.

Here is the exact one: It’s way too expensive on Amazon though.
Mine was around $10 CAD at a local store.

Haven’t tried it on my face though (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it).
Just thought I should share.

Cool idea about the sea salt nasal mist. I will keep it in mind.

Just to you know, I contacted Cetaphil and they got back to me in a couple of days. So they are sending me the samples. Woo-hoo!

Also, I did try to sign up for the forum but never received the confirmatory email. Not sure what happened there.

I figured out the forum problem. Just a typo with my email address.

Great to hear. Will include that information on the site somewhere.
Thanks for confirming and glad to see you on the community :slight_smile:

Hi again Michael.

I thought I would let you know how the Restoraderm was going. I got the free samples in the mail as you suggested. Great tip!

I ate some known “bad” foods for me in order to put the Restoraderm to the test. (Soy sauce and kimchi.)

I tried the cleanser and moisturizer for a few days according to your protocol. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any obvious change in my skin. The redness and scaliness were basically unchanged.

I think the Restoraderm could still be useful on a long term basis but it did not have an obvious suppressing effect on any breakouts. I know that if I stay away from the bad foods, I can keep mine under mostly control.

Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out.
When I started using it initially, I was on a super clean diet so maybe this might have played a role. An perhaps the Restoraderm was useful in locking in any progress.
I’ve been studying their formulation and the patent behind it (, but basically it’s meant to restore the acid mantel and supplement some missing components of atopic skin (that Watts one has some of these components).

Here’s a paper comparing different ingredients in most popular moisturisers:

Overall though everything I’ve researched so far has been hinting towards immune system issues. In one study (I can’t find at the moment) they mentioned that once we hit +70 years of age, atopic conditions like SD seem to go away from natural immune system down-regulation and something happening to our t-cells.
This is such a complex subject though and super frustrating to try to understand.

I’ll try to add an area on the site where people can submit their trigger foods. Maybe statistics can uncover some similarities.

Also, here is the digestion chapter outline of the book I’m working on:
Let me know what you think (if you end up looking through it).

All the best and hope you find something that works.

Sir for the first time in my life I ve been diagnosed to have seborrheic dermatitis present around nasolabial fold, it’s been 7days I got it n m on topical corticosteroids… So this disease won’t go n ve to live with it right??

I don’t know what made it come
Previous to it I was on oral steroids for 10days, had acne all over my back n chest n shoulder n I stopped steroid which was prescribed for my disc disease… Then this started
Please guide me what do I do from now only

Hi Kanishka,

I’m sorry to hear that. Hard to say if it ever goes away or not.
For me it has been gone for about a year. Last week I actually forcefully made it come back by testing out a certain dietary approach I’ve been working on for this site. However, the dietary thing still needs further testing from the community.

For now perhaps you may find some useful information in the “Overview of Seborrheic Dermatitis Face Treatments” post. The last few sections cover what worked for me and the Restoraderm products seemed to be fairly effective for many others as well (you can find feedback in the comments).

Additionally, for the dietary approach you can find a link and password to access it in this comment. But, this approach still needs testing by others in order to determine it’s overall effectiveness.

Hope that helps and best of luck!
PS. I’m sure you will be able to get things under control.

I just wanted to say that I get SD around my nasal folds every summer. Usually I just put up with it and it goes away within 2 months of vigilant washing and not wearing makeup. This year it was bad, and spreading fast so I decided to try something new, I found Nizoral shampoo, the active ingredient is an antifungal, ketoconazole, last week and the first use the redness was greatly diminished and itching was gone. I’m now on day 5 of using it and I have a 90% improvement. I don’t know if it will last or work for everyone but it’s helped me at least not be embarrassed to be seen in public the last week. Like I said, my SD is not chronic so it may be different for people who suffer year round. Mine actually clears when fall hits and the heat and humidity go away. I wash my face twice a day with it but I think tomorrow I will cut down to once as it dries the skin quite a bit. Hopefully if you try this it will work for you.

Hi Myrna,

Thanks for checking in and describing your experience. Glad to hear the Nizoral worked so well for you. For me it totally controlled the SD, but the skin was left looking a little unhealthy, bare and dried out. That was the main reason I kept searching. Kind of wanted to find the least invasive approach to control things.

I’ve been currently getting a much better understand of SD. Hoping to put this down in writing soon. Basically though, what I currently understand is that our skin (people that suffer from SD) is missing vital anti-microbial fatty acids or peptides. Without these it becomes much more prone to colonization by foreign invaders. Nizoral works by wiping out the foreign invaders, but I think the most effective long-term approach is correcting the faulty skin barrier.

Thanks again for leaving details on your experience. All the best!

Hi Michael,

Just thought I would update as it’s been over 2 weeks since starting Nizoral. I continued using it twice a day and my skin seemed to get worse, but it in a different way. It was red and dry and very sensitive. I figured it was because the Nizoral was giving me a slight chemical burn ( I was leaving it on for 5 minutes and really scrubbing it into my skin) I cut down to once a day and not leaving it on for a few minutes Liked I had been and my skin is back to improving. Flakes and itching are gone and all that remains is a slight pink around my nose. I do think Nizoral is helpful if used in moderation. I feel like it tamed the majority of the beast and made it just manageable enough so I wasn’t stressing about it all the time. Hopefully it continues to improve! I use cetephil as a daily wash btw and try not to put any lotion on.

Hi Myrna,

Thanks for the update. Yeah, Nizoral is some pretty strong stuff. Perhaps a prescription product containing ketoconazole (specifically designed for the face) could be better, however I have not tried any. Also, it’s been my experience that the less forceful I am when applying anything the better the results.

I’ve been doing a ton of research in the past month or so and I think there may be a better approach to SD than anti-fungal treatments. Will send an update as soon as I have everything down on paper.

Hope things keep improving and thanks for the update. All the best.

I m from india and i suffer from seborrhice dermatitise within 4 years

Hi Manish,

That is unfortunate to hear. Another individual from India had good results with the apple cider vinegar treatment. Additionally, my own experience is best documented in this overview of seborrheic dermatitis face treatments article.

Hope that helps. Ps. Let me know if you plan on trying the Apple Cider Vinegar approach as the previous person sent me details on where she was able to purchase it in India.

I just wanted to thank you for making this site. I have suffered from Seborrheic Dermatitis since 10th grade, and while I was able to keep it controlled in high school it eventually got out of hand. Covering my entire forehead, moving from my nose onto my cheeks, and starting around my mouth. None of my previous treatments had been working. I had given up on finding a treatment and thought I was just going to have to live the rest of my life with my face covered in scale. I went years rarely treating it because everything I had tried failed. I came across your site one day and it inspired me to try some of the treatments listed here. After using ACV to remove the scale and then using restoraderm lotion (a product I had seen but never thought to try) my Seborrheic Dermatitis drastically improved in a few days. Now a bad day is some minor pink that usually goes unnoticed, rather than having to hear comments about how I need to apply sunblock to my face better. Thanks!