Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis with Raw Honey

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the update. Still interested in hearing how your current treatment progresses. All my attempts with anti-fungals never played out for much longer than 2-3 months. They seemed to actually start aggravating and drying my skin the more I used them.

Most of all I’m interested in hearing how the “leave it alone” turns out and how the appointment results come in.

Regarding the redness, I had none at all sometimes as well. My redness usually came when I was actively trying things on my skin to prevent the flaking. Some things seemed to get rid of the flaking, but cause intense redness and burning instead.

Stay in touch and best of luck!

I have been reading about raw honey as the cure to seb derm, and finally I bought myself a bottle of Comvita manuka honey 15+ today!

Thanks for the exceptional writeup on this treatment plan. It really helps as I note down the details on how much water to add, the use of non-chlorine water, 4 weeks + additional 6 months and no coconut oil. These are the best information online. Thank God for your website as I was almost going to incorporate coconut oil.

It takes great commitment to follow through till the end. I also need the courage as I am afraid the honey will contribute to acne breakouts, more blackheads and awful flare-ups. When I see the flakes, I get all stressed up. Despite repeated reminders not to scratch off the flakes, I use my nails or tweezers - and it always end badly as the skin becomes raw, bloody red and inflamed. The cycle continues as next day the affected areas will be covered with scaly flakes again. Depending on my level of self-control, I may resist scratching for that day but certainly not for long. It is a disheartening skin problem I have had since 17 years old. I am so thankful that the honey treatment has given me faith and hope that I can do something good for my face and scalp at age 34. I really want it to work. Strangely I am quite anxious at this moment as I am diligently reading and gearing up for my first day of treatment tomorrow.

I am hoping to add squalene (after washing off honey mask) as my skin is very dehydrated. I lay off completely moisturizer and sunblock for over a year. I am currently using a gentle facial wash twice daily and bioderma sensibio make-up removing water occasionally as I rarely wear make-up these days. My skin has gotten worse. I have stopped elomet or elidel for face, only using Stiefel’s stieprox shampoo for my hair and scalp which work really well to control the dandruffs.

I love Skinceuticals Vitamin C and Differin in the past. I was wondering if I could add Skinceuticals CE Ferulic along with Squalene during the prophylactic 6-month period? Will it help if I apply the honey mask every day instead of every second day for the 4-week period? Is sunblock essential or should we stay off sunblock during the treatment?

Appreciate your feedbacks and comments. Please feel free to share. Thanks!

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for providing so much details on your experience and current approach.
Additionally thanks for the positive feedback :).

I’ve emailed another person who (last time I talked to) was planning to go through the whole honey treatment.
Will update you on how it’s been working for him as it might help give you an idea of what to expect.

Personally I never made it through the full treatment. My usage at first was very spontaneous and wearing the honey on my face so often was hard for me as a guy. Additionally I never covered my scalp with it, as I just imagined it was way too messy. However, I think this was my ultimate downfall when attempting the honey treatment. It was definitely hands down my most successful natural treatment. Especially during the beginning it was the best. Not sure why over time it’s effectiveness deteriorated for me. Maybe the specific honey was different, maybe I was not consistent enough, maybe covering the scalp was crucial, or maybe some other reason.

You mentioned so many things in your post that I’ve actually never heard of. One thing that I can really connect to is the self-control aspect. I think part of the issue is in the mind and how you re-act/perceive the your skin issue. Often if you think about it too much, it starts to act up. This seems to be a closed loop and actually feed the problem.

Staying determined, learning to control my thoughts and let go definitely seemed to play a big role in my improvements. However, I question everything so I still sometimes wonder if I’ve learned to let go because of my skins improvements or did my skin improve because I learned to let go. Regardless though, if I stress out about it I can actually almost forcefully make the tingling sensation start up again (also I get the sensation after large greasy meals).

Wish you all the best and stay in touch. Stay positive and I’m sure everything will sort itself out.
Best of luck on your treatment.

Thank you for this info! I am starting this treatment now and am very grateful for an alternative treatment (and possible cure!) compared to the expensive prescriptions that don’t work that well. After the initial 4 weeks, are the weekly treatments 1 hour or 3 hours each?

Hi Kelly,
In the study they used 3 hour follow up treatments. I’m a guy and this treatment was quite difficult for me to follow through with. However, it I’ve gone through about 2-3 small jars (500ml) of raw honey (ate some of it as well though) and it was definitely one of my best treatments.

Overall honey had really great results especially when I started. But as soon as my seborrheic dermaitits cleared I would usually get lazy and become inconsistent with treatment. Over time the honey started becoming less effective. This was likely just due to not following through all the time. Also I didn’t cover all effected skin (such as my scalp) which was probably a mistake.

Looking forward to hearing how the treatment works out for you. Best of luck and stay in touch.

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your great sharing. Just an update on the honey treatment.

I started slowly with the honey as facial cleanser twice daily before stepping up to the honey mask treatment on Feb 25. Today is my 6th treatment and I am experiencing bad flaking of scalp on my forehead hairline. Somewhere on the 3rd treatment, I had a very big acne on my chin, which had dried up nicely by now.

I have the same sentiments that it is hard to keep to schedule. Before starting on the treatment, I had to plan for 4 ample weeks where there wouldn’t be any disruption. Leaving it as a face mask is fine, but covering my scalp fully with honey is not easy. I apply the honey mixture on dry face, ears and dry scalp. I am not sure if I should wet and towel dry my hair first before applying the honey. Is that the correctly way or should I stick to my current method of applying it directly on dry scalp? I shampooed only once since last week so I am wondering if the excessive flaking on my hairline is due to my scalp missing the shampoo routine. So far not much flaking on my nose, just the usual redness but I don’t see significant improvement to say that the treatment is working or it is a roaring success. I have a nasty feeling that “it gets worse before it gets better”. Looking forward to seeing positive changes soon and I will certainly report back again!

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear about your progress, but too bad your not seeing drastic changes. For me the honey had really quick results. Within the first two treatments my face was mainly cleared. Only as I kept using it my results started to diminish.

One other reader noted that he had success with the ACV method, but only after an initial phase were the seborrheic dermatitis actually worsened. He didn’t give up and kept going. In the end the ACV really did it for him and he’s been using it ever since.

If the honey still has no results for you, perhaps you might want to try the cleanser I’ve been using. Another reader also reported great results and he didn’t even need the moisturizer. He said he’s had seborrheic dermatitis for ~20 years and it’s the best he’s seen his skin.

Thanks for reporting back. These type of updates are likely to help others who stumble upon this page. Hope you finally start seeing results.

Also out of curiosity, what specific brand of honey are you using?

Thank you for all this info! Do you think this raw honey method would work for eyebrows as well? That is mainly where my seb derm is.

Hi Kepi,

Thanks for the positive feedback.

Raw honey worked really for the seborrheic dermatitis on my eyebrows. My biggest issues mainly came from trying to control the forehead, cheeks, and nose.
The eye brows seemed to be the easiest to control. Perhaps maybe because the eye brows were better at soaking stuff up.

On a side note though, one reader just mentioned she had amazing success with controlling the eye brow area with ACV.
Check out her comment for some more details.

Hope that helps and all the best.

Hi Michael,

I used haddrell’s of cambridge manuka honey UMF 16+. It made my skin look better, radiant and moisturized. After 4 weeks of manuka honey mask treatment every other day, my SD improved about 5 - 10% on my face. I needed my medicated shampoo to reduce the formation of flakes on my scalp, the honey treatment had zero results on my scalp.

May I ask what cleanser are you using? I read that you use Probiotic Cleanser and I am eager to try. I plan to use Probiotic Cleanser and carry on with weekly manuka honey mask on my face and neck for 6 months. I will leave my scalp honey free as it is too much work and mess to apply honey on the scalp. I find it easy to apply honey on the face and leave it on for 2 - 3 hours.

Do you know anything about AOBiome AO+ mist? It is a live probiotic, bacterial mist to spray on the skin in order to restore healthy skin microbiome. It is in development phase by a startup company. Probiotics seems so promising. I hope to start a routine on:

  1. Probiotic Cleanser
  2. AO+ mist
  3. Oral probiotics, LactoGG

Do let me know the name of the cleanser. With all the great sharing on your website and the internet, I have so much to be grateful for.

Hi Jamie,
Yeah I was using the probitioc cleanser for a while way back then. It was really quite good initially. I event went out and stocked up with 3 bottles right away. However, it seemed to stop working quite quickly. In total I only finished about half a bottle of it. This is the one I was using. I’m located in Vancouver Canada, so if your near you can have mine :slight_smile:

Honey was definitely one of best treatments I tried for this. I believe the only reason it was not effective in the long term because it was so hard to keep a good schedule. Plus it just didn’t feel right sitting in honey for 3 hours every couple days (especially for a guy).

Haven’t seen that mist, but seems like a good idea.

Not sure if you’ve seen this post, but it’s my latest comprehensive write-up. I tried to go over as much as possible (from what I’ve attempted) and towards the end I go over what my final treatments were. Hopefully theres some useful information there.

If you find the time, come check-in as things progress.
All the best.

23 days ago I’ve started raw honey treatment after failure with sea salt. I didn’t notice any improvement, nor deterioration. I’m moisturizing my skin with coconut oil which doesn’t want to soak in at all (a lot of pimples appeared cause first time I used too much of it, but even smallest amounts of it doesn’t soak in and after night i have a greasy layer on my skin). I don’t really know what to do now. Steroids doesn’t work, honey and salt doesn’t work… Maybe I’ll give ACV a try :S

Hi Mathieu,

Thanks for checking in. Coconut oil was a no go for me. It didn’t seem to have any positive impact initially, but over time it felt the seborrheic dermatitis actually got worse from using it. Additionally the bacteria/yeast which is believed to cause seborrheic dermatitis feeds on lipids (oils), so maybe that’s why the honey+coconut oil hasn’t been so effective.

Or maybe your skin is reacting differently to the honey. Maybe it’s not for you. Did you see any improvements from it initially? It worked amazingly well when I first used it, with results kind of going into limbo over time.

Not sure if you have seen this post, but I’ve tried to summarize as much as possible about my whole experience (interesting discussion in the comments as well). Hope it helps and let me know if I’ve missed anything.

Best of luck and take care.


I’m going to give this a try, but not quite sure how I’d go through the whole process.
Do I apply the mixture as directed and leave for 3 hours before rinsing, and then every other day; use it as a face wash? continuing for 4 weeks?

When do I next have to apply for another 3 hour period?

And, what’s the ‘4 Week + 6 Months’ about?

Sorry, but I’m completely clueless :smiley:

please heeelpp!!
I have it on my eyebrows since a year,30%-40% of my eyebrow has fall off and many of the hair grew thinner…would this treatment make them grow back?
How do I aplly it without being agrssive and remove all my hair that is left? I also have it on my scalp and lost a lot of hair in my temples because of it but still the eyebrows is the worse for my self steem by far.
So I going to tell you how my day goes so you can “organized” me the best way
I go to the gym in the mornin so I used to let jojoba oil with tea tree oil in my scalp and eyebrows but it hasnt really worked that good,I shower before going to the gym.
So what I should do let coconut oil on the night to lubricate the afected zones then aplly raw hony with 10% non chlorinated water to the zones leave it tree hours and then shower with warm water?the aplly coconut oil? how do aplly the raw without being agrssive to the hairs?

Hi Mani,
Personally I didn’t use it as a face wash that much. I found that the masks were enough for me as it was.
Yeah, I would leave it on the face for 3 hours then rinse off with cold water. Using coconut oil as a moisturiser after the mask seemed to make results worse.

From what I remember the medical study had participants use the honey every other day for four weeks, then half of them remained on a prophylactic plan for 6 months (twice a week treatments).
The majority of the four week only participants cleared up initially, but relapsed later when treatment was stopped. The ones who kept up with the prophylactic 6 month plan did not report any relapse.

Check out the abstract of that study here.
Additionally, I was never persistant enough to stick with the 3 hours masks for that long.
I’ve written a more comprehensive post recently that summarises my whole experience with seborrheic dermatitis and what I’m using now.
Here is a link to that post.

Hope that helps.

Hi Rfael,

Hard to say what would be best in your case.
Mine was slightly different. Even though it effected my eye brows, I never experience much thinning.

Overall though, the honey mainly cleared the seborrheic dermatitis from my eyebrows, but because it was quite sticky, it would sometimes pull out some hairs.
Check out this post, I tried to summarise my whole experience and what I’m currently doing to control things. Additionally Joakims nystatin approach might be of use.

As far as your current approach, overall I felt that all oils only made it worse for me.
Essential oils seemed to control the flaking quite well, but the redness and inflammation typically remained.
Regular oils seemed to do very little at all and maybe even contributed to spreading my problem.

Hope that helps and best of luck.

Thanks for the responce michael,I think the hair loss would stop once the seb derm is controlled but it really havent,and since I have this thining since a year or more the hair has been removed many many times many the folicles are dying off?

But I dont think that could really damage them since this is not as agressive as women depilation and many depilate their eyebrows for yrs yet they still growing.
Also,I suffer from depression and social anxiety(this condition only made it really worse) I think that could have triggered the seb derm but anyway the days Im good and leaving a normal life this is persistent.
I want to exercise also and sweating does not help this condition,I want to build muscle and cannot eat gluten because it could make this worse.

Im going to trey the raw honey but the coconut oil I dont know…all the oils I use I put them a couple of tea tree oil drops and it helps but as you say the reddness its there.
Also I live in southamerica(Uruguay) even though its a pretty developed country its dificult to somewhat convert from english to spanish the treatments.
My family dont really understand me,they tell me to MANUP and face it like a man lmao if only they could know what this bs fells like they.
Seb derm is not common here also,only euro descent people have it seem,all the natives and africans here have very clear skin(Im of european descent).

What moisturizer you recomend me for the eyebrows?because oils feed yeast but creams are sticky for eyebrows,the dermatologist recomend me a cream for the face and jhonson oil to the eyebrows.but I tried it once,left my eyebrows very wet at night and in the morning many eyebrows had fall off.

Hi Rfael,

When the SD on my scalp was at it’s worst I had a tiny bit of hair loss at most. Personally my hair loss didn’t seem as bad as it seems others experience. Perhaps I was lucky with this. Additionally I did use Head and Shoulders previously and it has been documented to improve hair growth, so maybe that’s why my issues were not too bad.

The biggest issue I had with hairloss was probably my eyebrows. When I was using the honey treatment for my face I found that the stickiness of it would force eye-brow hair to easily be pulled out (it was likely week due to the SD to begin with). However, even then I was not able to visually see much difference. Whatever hairs did fall out seemed to grow back rather quickly.

A friend of mine had pre-mature balding and he used Castor oil and regular massaging to get it under control. Not sure how the seborrheic dermatitis would react to the castor oil though. From what I remember, castor oil has a long fatty acid structure which prevents the malassezia yeast from feeding on it (as opposed to most fats). However, you may want to double check this, as this is just from memory. Personally have never tried using castor oil though, so can’t help much in that area.

It seems that social anxiety may be a common factor. I experience a bit of this as well. But I’m not really sure if this was just a result of having seborrheic dermatitis on my face. Hard to remember which one came first at the time. Throughout my life though I have never really had much social anxiety, so for me the two came as a package.

Social anxiety as a whole, is just a mental attitude. Like everything else in life, it can change over time. I think the best approach is just practicing being more care-free. Don’t let things cycle in your head and just focus on life as it is without trying to control it.

It seems that in the modern world social anxiety and depression are rising in general. Perhaps the overload of information is a contributing factor. The media (movies, advertisements, magazines, television) tends to portray things in ways that differ from reality. They selectively chose what they show and we rarely see the more boring aspects of day to day life. Thus it can be easy to believe that it is only our lives which are boring and uneventful, when in reality it is like this for practically everyone.

As far as gluten goes, I went down this path before as well. Overall going gluten free does seem to give more energy, but I think it’s partially placebo and partially increased digestion speed. Simply by eating less I can experience the same results. However, I’ve went back to training and currently a big part of my diet consists of macaroni, bread and oats.

One thing to note though, is whatever food I read could be bad for my seborrheic dermatitis, seemed to be bad for my seborrheic dermatitis. Just having the idea in my mind created some type of reaction. When I ate the particular food I read was bad for me, the stress and negative association alone seemed to trigger the inflammation.

As for the oils and moisturizers, personally I found that heavy oils on my skin would always cause some kind of issues. Even if the flakes would go away, the inflammation and grease would stick around.

Not sure if they have Cetaphil products where you live, but the Restoraderm products they make have been very good for me. I use very tiny amounts of both the wash and the moisturizer. It helps me clean my skin and has never caused any issues. Here is the regimen I used which finally allowed me to return to normal. I’m going to expand this sometime soon to try and include the mental attitude changes and other factors which I believe played a role as well. Lot’s of stuff can be found in the comments though.

Raw honey worked really well for me as well, but the treatment was quite time intensive. The general procedure was quite frustrating over time as well. I’m a male and it just did not feel right sitting for 3 hours every other day with my face covered in honey. It just kind of made me feel like something is wrong with me. I think this was my biggest issue with this treatment.

The MANUP approach is definitely in the right direction as well. It kind of relates to the care-free attitude I mentioned earlier. With many skin conditions, it seems like the more attention you give to it, the worse off things become. I’ve never had problems with acne, but I know friends who have. The story seems to be always the same. The more complex and demanding the approach, the worse the results seem to be.

Other things that help is just spending less time looking at your skin the mirror. Try to leave it alone and let it heal. When washing or cleaning, try not to lean in and look really close. If you try to find something you probably will. Everyone has small imperfections, it’s just that we pay the most attention to our own.

Good luck and let me know if I’ve missed anything.

Thanks again for responding
Hey I tried the raw honey treatment two times and its not workin…its take some time to see the effects?all I get after I clean the honey in the shower is very red inflamated areas eyebrows temples forehead and the flaking is still there…maybe I should try it a week more?
Im also using cream as moisturising cream for the face and jojoba oil with tea tre for the eyebrows…the skin is very inflamated in those areas.
Whats that white past I have in my temples and eyebrows after I shower?sebum or dead skin?it is also present after I clean the the honey mask in the shower.

Yeah think less about it would help but its always there…I have ignored it for a few month last year while and it messed up everything,at least now Im losing 6 hair a day max before it was like 10,but the hair is not growing back.
Castor oil…I dont know,oils do not make hair grow back really its just vitamins that do or eating wel I think,I think hair would not grow until I control the seborrea.
Also in the rosacea forum there some dude that literaly know everything about seborreic dermatitis and says the only oil it helps its MCT oil wich is from coconut oil but a diferent proces,it seem the only that dont feed yeast.
However how do you say I should aply it? before shower a few minutes or at night?mix it with a few drops of tea tree oil also?I use abundant jojoba oil with te tree oil in the night to moisturize the eyebrows and then then shower in the morning.put a few drops of oils again in the eyebrows and cream to the face.

Other thig,how do you do with exercise??you dry up after sweating?because I shower in the morning then go to the gym and lift weights and dont sweat to much then I lunch,Im not doing any cardio do to sweating.yesterday I sweat a lot in a soccer match yet my skin was very fine…its always every otherday then,somedays no matter how dry the weater is or humid hot its there.
Should I keep seeing the dermatologist or not?because she never mention many thing I read on hear like the fungus,etc.

You dont have an idea of how thanfull I am to you for aswering man!! really helpfull and you taked you time to help me and it means a lot to me.
The only place I can get a responce is here,the rosacea forum for some reason dont send me the confirmation mail to my email so I would never have an account there sadly.
Once again thank you!!