Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis With Apple Cider Vinegar

Hi Auburn

To me ACV was a miraccle on my seb dermatitis , i take only topical for two years and if lef my skin with no scales and clean.

I took without mix whith water , 2 , 3 times per day , sometimes only two ou 3 days per week it was amazing.

Then in the past 3 monhts I take rosacea the dermato confirm what i feel in symptoms.

The symptom is that y cant be 5 seconds in the sun its crazy , y am always , always red and whith postules .

Do you think it was Apple cider vinegar ??? Do Y try to much ??? Sould y return to it.???


Thank you for listen , sorry my english

Hi Joao,
Often strong acids like ACV had this effect on my skin.
They strip away the protective layer and make it very sensitive to the sun.

The sun can also cause excessive dryness and as a result further make things worse.
Skin cells regenerate every 30 days or so. Unless you have any scarring, it is likely that it will heal.

Every about a year after being clear from seborrheic dermatitis and inflammation, I still try to be careful around the sun.
If I plan to be out in the sun for a long time I typically apply some very gentle sun screen.

ACV was very strong for my skin and even though it did control flaking. My skin was typically always pink afterwards.

Couple rules to Apple Cider Vinegar.
Firstly, you must apply it three times a day and never wash it off. Allow the vinegar to permanently soak into the skin. For first time users don’t use a 1:1 ratio, use 30% acv 70% water. Progress over the weeks to a more balanced 1:1. Use a cotton pad or napkin, dip it into the acv and rub it all over the forehead, nose, chin and cheeks. Face will be irretated at first, but allow the skin time to adapt- can take weeks. Do not use any other products to wash your face, do not apply ACV and then wash it off with other soaps later throughout the day. The ACV must be applied and never removed. After 15-20 mimutes of application the smell is completely gome, you will not smell like vinegar. This is the best solution, if youre going to complain and not allow the ACV time to work and allow your skin to evolve and adapt to the acidic content, then ACV will simply be another product of failure. Use it properly and your seb derm will vanish.

Hi Dan,
Thanks for the tips, glad to see someone who has found something that works.
How has this approach been working for you? Do you still use the apple cider vinegar for maintenance? How long have you been using it?

Honestly, every time I tried the apple cider vinegar I couldn’t nail down a sustainable/maintainable method.
Once again thanks for leaving the tips for other readers, hope to hear back from you.

Take care.

Hello Michael,

I decided to leave a comment since it looks like you have invested a lot of your time in crafting this wonderful and useful website. It looks like you have really dedicated a great deal of your time and effort on a very selfless act and you should be proud of yourself.

About me:
I am an early 20’s adult caucasian male, and I have had SD for a number of years, but only recently it has been getting much worse. During the first few years, it only appeared around my nose and I maintained it with hydrocortisone 0.5% / 1.0% steroid cream as prescribed by multiple doctors. I then learned about the side effects and wanted to find a better solution.
I would go back and again this would be prescribed to me. It felt hopeless and I knew I had to take matters into my own hands.

I believe SD is not actually a disease itself (arguable), and it is actually a symptom (genetic predisposition\hereditary) to a real health related issue which could be anything.
Essentially, your body is reacting to something else that is wrong.
I could write a 50 page report on everything about me, what I have tried and how it relates to SD, but this comment is about ACV.

ACV is one part of a TWO prong approach.

  1. Fix the root cause.
  2. Try to reduce the symtoms (in this case SD).

Now here are is my experience with apple cider vinegar.

I was using a cleanser (Avenno ultra calming foaming cleanser) for a few months after I stopped using the steroid cream. Although it helped initially, it began to become ineffective and dry out my skin. The SD began to spread. I eventually tried ACV and here are my findings\recommendations.

  1. Before attempting to use apple cider vinegar, ensure you are using NO topical products for a week or so. (Your skin needs to adjust between routines you are trying and you need to be aware of what happens to your skin when you do NOT use the previous topical solution otherwise you may think the new solution (ACV in this case) is causing issues when really it might not be).

  2. The first few times, try a slightly weaker dilution than 1:1 and keep it on for a minimal amount of time and see if you are okay with it. Your face would go red for around 10-25 minutes after application and rinse and then look really good. I usually do this before bed.
    I am able to put 1:1 mix ( filtered water + ACV) using the dab method for 5-10 minutes as mentioned above.

  3. (Optional) My skin likes to plaque. so if I feel there is a layer of dead skin, while the ACV is being applied, I gently glide/rub my pinky finger on my skin to loosen it and it rolls off. (maybe every other day or every 2 days).

  4. I hop in the shower and rinse it off and also use ACV on my scalp for about 5 minutes and rinse it off as well. IT Works GREAT as a natural conditioner as well.

After doing this daily, I noticed a great improvement in about 4 or 5 days. However (months later), it seems that it might be losing its effectiveness unfortunately. I noticed that with this routine, and lots of Sun, the results are great.

I am still keeping this same ACV approach for now while I try to find and cure the root cause.

Hi Neil,

Thank you for the kind words and thanks for the detailed recollection of your history and current routine.
Many of the things you described are identical to my experience. I’m in my 20s, Caucasian and my seborrheic dermatitis also started with a tiny area on the right side of my nose. Same as you I’ve tried tons of different things to make it go away. At on point I actually attempted to write down all the things I attempted in a huge lis, but gave up along the way since it was way too much writing. Here on the website I’m trying to first go over all treatments that really stood along the way.

For ACV my personal results were mixed. Apple Cider Vinegar was actually the very first treatment I have ever tried for my seborrheic dermatitis. At the very beginning when I had the tiny section of it around my nasal folds I attempted to get rid of it with ACV (recommended by a family member). At that time I was still unsure what it was and didn’t really go all out with the ACV treatment. Instead I went to a doctor and was give an anti-biotic + hydrocortisone cream. This helped temporary, but after I stopped using it the seborrheic dermatitis got much worse.

The next dermatologist gave me an anti-fungal which also worked great at first, but as I stopped using it the dermatitis returned. Next doctor told me head and shoulders, after that I was given diet advice, then coal tar, then selsun blue and the list goes on… Later down the road after starting to really research seborrheic dermatitis and its root causes I once again stumbled upon stories of people having success with Apple Cider Vinegar. In the end though I was never able to get sustainable/maintainable results with it no matter what I did.

Two things I know for sure. It strongly correlates with diet and stress. Not your typical stress, but more of an anxiety/second-guessing type of street. At least this seemed to be the case for me. Currently I’ve gone about 7 months practically seborrheic dermatitis free. The only thing I still experience is a few small flakes in my ears or on the nasal folds. My face is clear, eyebrows are clear, scalp is clear, hair line is clear, chin is clear and overall my skin tone is normal. When my seborrheic dermatitis was bad I couldn’t imagine that I could get away with 7 months without using anti-dandruff shampoo. And the strangest thing is that these results actually started to appear as I launched this website.

It’s hard to pin point exactly what has given me my current results. Personally I think it’s one of the following:

  • Increased levels of sodium and iodine from food
  • About 4 months of daily glutamine supplementation (not supplementing any longer)
  • Daily cleansing and moisturizing with the Cetaphil Restoraderm line (doesn’t explain scalp improvement)
  • Stopped researching and reading online horror stories about seborrheic dermatitis
  • This website (has helped me to reflect instead of always looking for a cure)

Hope I didn’t miss anything since your comment was so long. Stay in touch and once again thank you for taking the time to describe your current treatment (will likely be of great value to other readers). Best of luck with your seborrheic dermatitis and look forward to any updates from you.

PS> Hoping to start up a Google Plus community later this week. It would be amazing if all the readers (seborrheic dermatitis suffers) from this website could all communicate and exchange information about their treatments, their stories, their history and current strategies. Will send you a invitation once it’s up.


After trying countless products both prescribed and natural, I started using ACV topically on my face and scalp (about 3 months ago) and had immediate results. It took 2 days, I almost couldn’t believe it! Diluted it with water, roughly 1:3 ACV:water, then used a spray bottle to repeatedly cover my face and head with it, leaving for about 15 minutes before showering (not using any other soaps or anything). The only thing I didn’t like was the smell (smells to me like dirty feet) and so I switched to plain old white vinegar. So far it has worked just as well and my skin isn’t as red after using it. I make a slightly stronger dilution - about 1:2, white vinegar:water.

This and maintaining a healthy diet has approx. 95% controlled my SD.

If I have a big weekend or something it might flare up in the following days and I use elidel cream (pimecrolimus - an “immuno-modulator” whatever that means exactly) for a couple days to get things under control quickly.

Am about to start taking glutamine in the manner you do, to see if there is any difference.

Peace, N.

Hi N,

Glad to hear your seeing great results from using the Vinegar. I’ve heard good things about the Elidel Cream, but never got around to trying it. At the time when I heard about it I was dead focused on finding a natural treatment. Ignoring all creams and store bought stuff as I initially had really poor results with a ton of others (seemed like I was just wasting money all the time).

Diet definitely does lots of good. If I really focused on eating super clean and a ton of vegetables I could keep the seborrheic dermatitis 95% away. But this eating still really wasn’t for me. I think this works so well as it speeds up digestion and keeps your insides clean.
At first I actually didn’t mind the smell of ACV, however, because of constant usage on my face I learned to almost hate it.

Best of luck with the glutamine, hope it helps. Definitely think it played a big role in my treatment, but I’m not using it any more as I didn’t want my system to become dependent on it. Right now the only thing I do is cleanse and moisturise my face with Restoraderm. However, the cleanser alone doesn’t explain my overall improvements (particularly the scalp). It’s really hard to pin it down, but I think glutamine, being more slack with dietary sodium, and consuming lots of seafood have had the biggest impact. Also for some reason I think iodine levels in the body really help control this thing (I’m not supplementing with anything, but through sodium and all that seafood I have a feeling my levels increased).

PS. At one point I was applying iodine topically to try to increase bodily levels. It’s hard to say if it had a direct effect, but the period (only a few weeks) I was doing this was roughly about the same period my overall improvements started. However, this is also the exact period/time I started glutamine supplementation (the cleanser came a bit after). Haven’t included this information anywhere on the site yet as it’s extremely hard to say if the topical iodine applications helped at all (I would just take a qtip and rub a bit on my wrist).

Hope you start seeing some improvements! Good luck.

For a while now, I have tried high concentration (1:1) once a day and I believe now that it is not the correct approach. The seb derm learns to fight back and build up during the day and it is difficult to maintain the skins health when it is being pushed back and forth.

FYI (my seb derm likes to make my skin oily and builds up a tiny layer throughout the day)
I use facial Blotting papers to control the oil throughout the day. (This is a life saver in public).

I have changed my routine recently so that I am using 1:3 Ratio multiple times a day (aim for 3 times spaced out) I Leave it on for 10 minutes or so and rinse off.
This is much better for results as it prevents the skins from getting oily and also from building a layer. A
s a result, I do not need to attempt to remove it which can be rough on the skin.
Lastly, with a weaker ratio, my skin doesn’t stay red for that long after application which is a big plus.

Thanks for the update. Hopefully it benefits some readers!
The ACV ratio was really tricky for me as well. I was never too exact with my measurements, but it felt like the perfect ratio was quite illusive.

Overall the skin redness was one of my the biggest issues with using ACV.
Have you ever tried GSE (grapefruit seed extract)? I’ve had great results with it in the past. For me it actually had some of the best results from anything I tried. However, I’m a little skeptical to what it is exactly. Some medical papers (such as this one, not sure how long this link will work it is a Google cached version of a paid page) I looked at show that most brands of GSE are actually only anti-fungal due to a chemical that is added during the extraction process (the chemical is used in sanitizing products). Brands without this sanitizing agent fail to show any anti-fungal characteristics.

All the best.

You’re ridiculous. Throughout this page you contradict yourself as if you’re subconsciously looking for something to focus on. Do you want the fail, or do you want clear skin.

You know ACV helps you, but then you switch to a new product or stop/relax/lessen with the amount of X you use.

You blatantly said the antifungal worked. That’s the first line for this disorder/infection. Because you must know that’s what it is, an infection.

You’re never going to get clear permanently. You have to continue treatment to prevent the wild yeast in the atmosphere from colonizing on and in your skin.

Use the prescribed treatment and do not stop when your face clears. You’re only in remission. Every competent doctor I know has said that you must take preventative measures as well as reactive ones.

Great intro, but I suggest you focus more on research and less on anecdotes. You’re over thinking it apply the cream or gel or shampoo and continue to do what works. No more symptoms? Then stick with it.

Hi Michael,
Sorry you found this post to be confusing. It does get confusing as I try to put down all the details I went through on paper.

Your stuff about the yeast and about competent doctors appears to be quite incorrect. You say that the yeast in the air, that competent doctors know everything about it and that making it going away is as easy as sticking to an anti-fungal. If doctors had enough information about this yeast “in our atmosphere” they would have a specific approach to fixing the problem. If it was strictly a fungal infection of the skin it could then potentially be fully solved with an anti-fungal. However, most people admin this is not the case and anti-fungal treatment must be continued on an ongoing basis for the seborrheic dermatitis to stay away (Safe and Effective Treatment of
Seborrheic Dermatitis
, Topical Antifungal Agents for Seborrheic Dermatitis:
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
). Through this website I’ve met quite a few smart individuals and one in particular is currently having great success with nystatin, but even he has to continue this on an ongoing basis. Personally I’m not as comfortable continually applying an anti-fungal to my skin.

Additionally research shows that internal anti-fungals can help resolve the issue as well. However, here once again maintenance doses typically need to be continued. (Comparison the Efficacy of Fluconazole and Terbinafine in Patients with Moderate to Severe Seborrheic Dermatitis, Management of Seborrheic Dermatitis and Pityriasis Versicolor).

Honestly the attitude in which you bashed me is quite off-putting. I don’t’ owe you anything and you clearly found this website because you were searching for a solution yourself. So why bash me instead of sharing you knowledge on the subject and suggesting edits as you see fit…

Through this website I’ve met others who have found that Apple Cider Vinegar has been as effective for them as many anti-fungal agents. So why would someone use a commercial anti-fungal when they can go grab a bottle of natural ACV from the store?

For me the ACV was inconsistent and made me skin overly sensitive and baby butt pink. So I felt like it wasn’t the best treatment for me. Instead I kept search for something that would work and eventually found something that’s been working for over 8 months now (I’ve outlined my regimen here). This is all without using any anti-fungals, no dietary restrictions or any other treatments. Haven’t had to even touch an anti-dandruff shampoo through all of the +8 months.

IF there are any inconsistencies in the post or my writing it’s because I have not had the amount of time needed to proof read. I’m doing this just so I can share my experiences.

The way you wrote your comment makes you appear that you have solved the condition. Perhaps you would like to share your in-depth knowledge?

Apple cider vinigar is my solution! I was diagnosed a few months ago and, after doing my reasearch, was not hopeful I would ever find anything that worked for me. I have crazy sensitive skin and rosy cheeks so I have to be very careful about what I use on it. I was prescribed a heavy steroid cream, which you are not supossed to use on your face, and it would work for about a week and then my SD would come back with a vengeance. I started doing some reasearch on home remedys and loads of people said ACV worked for them so I thought it was worth a shot. I bought braggs ACV, grabbed a shot glass, poured half ACV and half water, doused a cotton ball in it and dabbed it on my problem areas (I.e. My t zone and cheeks). It smells like stinky feet and it turns your face red but all that goes away after 20 min or so (for me anyways) After about a week I had a huge flare up, worse than anything I’ve had before. I refused to give up on this BC it worked for SO many people and I had tried everything else I could find, baking soda, honey, peroxide you name it. I was on the edge of giving up entirely and just curling up in a ball and scratching my face off. Sure enough after about another week of using it it started to slowly go away and a week after that it was completely gone. I litterly jumped with joy. They said one of the ways to get rid of it was to avoid stress… Well I’m a police dispatcher so that’s never going to happen for me. ACV IS MY LIFESAVER. I still use it once a day after washing my face with honey and I follow up with moisturizer. I beg anyone that has SD to atleast try this. I truly hope the writer of this blog finds their solution. SD is a lifelong affliction and there is no known cure, it’s incredibly heartbreaking when you come to terms with that but don’t give up. Your solution is out there somewhere. Tell the universe to suck it and fight back.

Hi Becka,
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Glad to hear that the ACV hit the nail on the head for you. :slight_smile:

From everyone I’ve talked to it seems like one common trait is the wide assortment of treatments everyone tries.

One thing that stood out most from your post, is that you had to endure the initial negative results in order to finally find success.
Perhaps I always gave up the ACV too early? Maybe I had to just endure that period?

Luckily I eventually found something that ended up working for me as well (here is what helped me).
Stress, alcohol, sweat, food, and typical triggers are no longer an issue.

Thanks again for sharing.

My flares follow a pretty normal pattern. But I also believe I’m having allergic issues as well. After spaghetti or pizza, ( i always ask for extra sauce ) I’m getting itchy, raised patches on my chest and face. My normal SD flares are red, dry patches with mild itch. But what I’m talking about w the tomato sauce ( at least I think thats what I’m reacting to ) is a whole different beast, with an itch that is absolutely unbearable. So often I’ll scratch the raised patch until the itch is gone, and often it bleeds. I’ll use cortizone or ACV on those patches. It stings pretty bad but after that dries, then i coat with a zinc based lotion. HOnestly, I’ll use baby diaper rash cream ( desitin or butt paste ) with the best results. Check labels as those creams have zinc oxide ranging from 13% to 40%. THe 40% will dry up any rash, weeping or bleeding, that I have in one night. But it will stain pillowcases and thats one of the downsides. I’m in the early stages of ACV as a remedy for existing patches. Best defense against this is a good offense and thats coconut oil and a light zinc ointment mix. When I’m slacking, and fail to do this, then my flares come. Thats when I use the ACV and butt paste. I used to use peppermint oil and butt paste but that got to burn too bad.

Hi MJ,
Thanks for checking in. Before I seemed to have similar effects to some tomato stuff as well. Mostly in their cooked form (from canned tomatoes), fresh tomatoes seemed to be okay.

Have been avoiding them even after starting to take glutamine. However, after slowing starting to add them in it’s been okay. Still avoid daily eating of these types of foods though (spaghetti, pizza, chilli). Let me know if you read over this post or if you’ve tried similar suff?

The butt paste (Sudocream specifically) left a really intense white coating on my face. Was very hard to get it all of with just water. If I used some wash to get it off, it seemed to effect results. The peppermint oil seemed a little intense, so never ended up trying it, did your skin need to adjust?

Additionally mine seemed to follow some sort of pattern also, but when things started to get better those patterns faded away. Reading psychological stuff for school also made me wonder if there is a mental aspect of it as well. Some of the studies I read connected it to (this one takes it to the extreme) a mental aspect.

Look forward to any updates. Hope you can find something that makes the skin behave normally. Take care.

Hi my son has all the symptoms especially around nose, cheeks and forehead that flared up after he had dengue fever. I did not want to use any over the counter medicine so I researched. Now he washes his face with a diluted baking soda water daily followed with application of virgin coconut oil on the face after the wash. For hair he uses diluted ACV as final rinse. Able to keep the flare up in control. Hope that helps.

Hi Ur,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully that keeps it gone for good.
For reference, how old is your son?

All the best.

Can I get an invite to your Google community if you have created it? Takk!

Also; I have felt for a while that SD was connected to stress factors. I will try the increase in sodium and iodine.