20 May 2008

Seborrheic Dermatitis

I have been living with this scourge for 3/4 of a year. My second experience with the hell that comes with constant skin problems. And, of course, it can't manifest on my scalp, where no one but Emily would see it when I go in for a haircut. No, no, no. MY Seborrheic Dermatitis (SD) must manifest on my face, at my nose and chin, so I look like an adolescent in hormonal angst. AAAAHHHH!!!!

I first developed SD several years ago, and finally sought a dermatologist when I came to the conclusion that this "rash" wasn't going to go away. A month of treatment, and no more Seborrheic Dermatitis ... or so I thought.

Fast forward to last August/September time frame, and it came back. Yes, I was very stressed, fighting my way tooth and nail to the finish line of my degree. But, this condition isn't caused by stress, not helped, but not caused. (So I can't blame the professors for ALL of my problem.)

I blithely visit the dermo when I, once again, realize I can't fight this on my own. I snatch up my handy dandy little prescription for topical steroid foam, and hardly listen to, "Your SD went away last time? How unusual ... let's hope that happens again ..."




It didn't. After two months of steroid treatment, 2x per day, everyday, I made another appointment with my dermo. And got the bad news. This is a lifelong condition, we're going to hope for control, figure out "your" treatment needs.

A few months down the road, March timeframe, and I get really concerned. I've weaned myself to steroid application once a day to every other day. Unfortunately, it is not getting better, and seems to be getting worse. And then I start reading up on steroid problems. My system's been exposed to too many steroids already (poison ivy several times a year, anyone?) I stopped using my foam, and only lasted for a week. At the end of the week, I look so bad my Dad asks, "What's that red crap on your face?" Not even makeup could hide it at that point. I pick up the steroids again.

So back to the (admittedly) spotty info I can find on the internet. This is only the third time I've spent hours upon hours researching this little problem of mine. Yeast overgrowth, blah blah blah, sebaceous gland overproduction, blah blah blah, immune system involvement (hmmm), and T-cell blockage/reduction/compromise (huh?).

From the information I discovered, I've made some changes. The below account covers the actions I've taken and my reasoning behind those actions.

... I haven't cured myself, but I am doing a lot better. Let me lead you down my path:

T-cell's are immune cells produced in the Thymus (well, converted to their final function in the Thymus). Step one, support the Thymus and therefore T-cell production. I've done this by taking my vitamins regularly and supplementing with Zinc and Potassium. Every single day (I used to be a real vitamin, whatever, type. Not because I didn't need it, but because it wasn't important enough to remember. Boy has that changed).

Skin, typing and cleaning. I borrowed Dr. Baumann's "The Skin Type Solution" from the library. According to Dr. B, I have the worst skin type: Dry, Pigmented, Sensitive, and Wrinkled. Yay boogedy. Can this get any more interesting?

The long and short of it is, be gentle with my skin (no scrubs, no tough cleaning), be aware of ingredients and what to stay away from (I know I have some skin allergies), and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Step two, toss all "bad" skin products, buy appropriate skin products, and take care of my largest organ.

Unfortunately, one of the products that Dr. B recommends I reacted rather horribly to. If you have sensitive skin, be very careful with Eucerin lotions. I ended up with: ugly blistering, severe itching, and a week to recover my former poor skin (as opposed to the super uglies I had after Eucerin application). Yikes! Dr. B's other recommendations have worked just fine.

Along with the previous vein, I've tossed a lot of makeup. I started keeping all makeup packaging with the list of ingredients, just in case. AND, I started using mineral foundation exclusively. Other products, especially with sunscreen, actually sink into your skin, absorbing into the top layer. I shudder to think what that's doing to my out of control yeast and sebaceous glands. So out they go.

I've used L'Oreal's Bare Naturale SPF19 Foundation (the extra "E" makes it what?) for over a week now. It has: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, talc, boron nitride, dimethicone, Copernica cerifera (carnuba) wax, cetyl dimethicone, trimethylsiloxysilicate, triisocetyl citrate, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopherol, pathenol, and May Contain: bismuth oxychloride and iron oxides. So, it still contains some known allergens. I've not yet had a problem, but I'm on my guard. If I start to have a problem, or perhaps even when I run out, I'll switch to a fewer or no allergen mineral foundation.

BTW, I don't necessarily think "natural" OR "mineral" is so much better than synthetic. What I look for is the shortest ingredients list. It makes winnowing out problem ingredients that much easier. Plus, I want to minimize my chemical exposure. I have a theory that chemical build up in the system (plus their many rxns within the system) is one reason that SD is set off in the first place.

There are steroid alternatives on the market for psoriasis and eczema. Coal tar products are one of them. Step three, I picked up a tube of Psoriasin Gel at wallyworld (coal tar is the active ingredient). I can't stand the way the stuff smells, but every time I use it, I have good results. I haven't applied it in a couple of days ... an application seems to last me a good long time.

I came across a little blurb in another book I borrowed from the library, "Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes". (Now, I don't have type I or II diabetes, but I do have a family member with the disease, so I was researching.) This Dr. B (not to be confused with that OTHER Dr. B; besides which, they have different sex chromosomes), suggests that milk products, specifically the protein(s) within, have been linked to several diseases. Once little sentence includes "Eczema" in the list. SB is also known as Sebhorreic Eczema. Step four, become vegan. Admittedly, I've been vegetarian for ~six years, so this wasn't a big step for me.

I read another quick blurb on Psoriasis and UVA and UVB treatments, which seem to help. Most of them sound expensive. But I know of a cheap (and fairly painless, at least painless at the moment) method of UVA and UVB treatment. It's called the sun, and I can find it outside every day. Step five, sun myself, without ANY sunscreen, for 15 minutes three times a week. Some weeks I get more, but when I do, I'm wearing a sunscreen of some sort. I know a lot of dermatologists and skin care enthusiasts would absolutely freak about my being in the sun for 15 minutes without sunscreen, especially given the subtropical climate in which I live. However, I need the vitamin D, and we evolved to need some sun exposure.

I've also gotten back into my workout routine. I lift weights three times per week and do aerobics three times per week. I'm back up to an hour per workout. Everything I've read says that exercise exacerbates the skin reddness, and I have to agree. The first couple of hours after a workout, my SB is definitely more obvious. BUT, it starts looking better starting about three hours on. When you think about it, more blood flow = greater movement of T-cells = greater healing.

Like I said, not quite two weeks on, I'm not cured. BUT, I'm doing so much better. I can't wait to see what another week brings.


Joan and Brandon said...

Kira--After suffering from Seb. derm. for 25 years, I recently ran across the notion that it may be related (for some people?) to food allergies and intolerances. I cut out wheat and citrus and the itching went away within days. I also was applying organic apple cider vinegar topically and drinking 1 tablespoon with honey in a glass of water twice a day. At this point, about two months later, I'm not 100% sure that wheat was the problem, but that's what I'm betting. Some problems that I now think were related to the SD (odd things, like a bump that swelled up a couple of years ago at the joint of my index finger, on the palm side, have gotten better or disappeared. I had gotten SD in the inner corner of my right eye and behind my left ear for the first time, and those went away. I had been making lots and lots of bread, usually with wheat, over the last 6 months, leading me to think that wheat might be the culprit. Also, mild indigestion and bowel "knots" have disappeared, and I had begun to connect those with my bread independent of the SD issue.

Check out kitchentablemedicine.com for more.

Brandon in Honolulu

Kira said...


Thank you for posting about your own experience. You reminded me about my original diagnosis in the '04/05 time frame. I read about Celiac's Disease following diagnosis and treatment (unsuccessful) by my PCP. I stopped all gluten products to see if that was my problem. I had been gluten free for about a week or so when I had my first dermo appointment. When I asked the dermo, I got a "No, that's not causing this" response. (And he was right ... one month gluten-free had no effect on my skin.)

Basically, they don't know what causes SD, but they seem very confident about what does not.

The take home message is that this skin disease may have innumerable root causes, and if you don't have a doctor who's UTD on some pretty obscure research, you really are on your own.

And even more apparent, each SD "flare up" may have a different root cause, and therefore a different trigger mechanism.

I'm happy to report that I have just the slightest reddness at my naso-labial folds now.

I'm glad we both persevered in our quest.


George said...

Hi Kira, found your blog while researching on the topic. This is a great post! I've mentioned on my little blog.

BTW Those pics are showing great improvement! I hate putting steroids on my skin, as I know they bring side effects.

Richard said...

This really helps, I have SD, and I've tried all the things the Doctors gave me, but they didn't work.

I tried doing the natural health thing but it turned out bad, that's a long story.

But I definitely will try that gel, and get some exercise and sun. I mean if I can't cure it, I at least want to control it, I wanna be able to run my fingers through my hair without my head turning into the fucking Arctic lol.

Kira said...


I know what you mean. My grandfather had Eczema on his scalp and SD on his face ... during my childhood that was just normal. That was my grandpa.

However, I now know what he went through, and I wish I could have helped.

I've found some more information linking dairy, gluten, and/or yeast to Eczema/SD problems.

I'm eight? months into my self-proscribed treatment plan, and I haven't used my gel since July 2008. I really think dairy was my biggest irritant, since I continue to down large quantities of yeast and gluten.

I know for American's (especially) giving up dairy seems impossible, but you might want to consider it for a couple of weeks. If you still have your symptoms, then you know it isn't dairy and can follow with cutting out gluten and then yeast. (Be prepared to look at lots of ingredients lists.)

Best of luck to you,

Fiona said...

I stumbled across this blog when I was researching SD.... I've had it since I was a baby, but had a big flare-up on my forehead/chin during a super humid summer day last year. My doctor prescribed a combination of Canesten and HydroVal, which got rid of the redness and itchiness. My skin is still bumpy, so I'm going to try and find that Psoriasin Gel and see if it has any effect. Thanks for blogging about this topic!

Anonymous said...


I wanted to share my experience with you. I'm 27, and two years ago I started having bad bouts of SD. I went to a doctor (a specialist dermo) who told me "You have SD, but we don't know what causes it." I told him I thought it was an allergy. He prescribed steroid cream for my face that would atrophy the skin on my face, and permanently thin the skin. Needless to say, I didn't fill my prescription. I did some research online, and I found that others could control the seemingly never-ending flaky rash by using pure Tea Tree Oil on it. The SD would get really enflamed when I would use it, but flake off quickly by the next day. That was a temporary fix. After about a year and a half, I decided I didn't want to live this way anymore. If the doctors couldn't (or wouldn't) tell me what my allergy was, I was determined to find out. I ended up eliminating eggs out of my diet fist, because I thought that might have been the cause. Not so. Then, I decided to try to eliminate wheat from my diet. That showed very promising results. I actually went a few days without my SD being completely enflamed. I had been eating a strictly sushi diet of rice and fish. The inflammation had improved dramatically, but my skin would still get a little itchy and red and then flake after I used the Tea Tree Oil. So, I decided to look up what a gluten allergy was. I was surprised to find out that gluten is in EVERYTHING. Seriously, look it up. I had failed to realize that the soy sauce I was eating my sushi with was made of wheat. I am now on a gluten free diet, and have been for almost a year. I can't tell you how much my overall quality of life has improved! I no longer need to use Tea Tree Oil. My SD never shows up anymore. You have to be 100% gluten free though and be dedicated, as it really makes eating out extremely difficult. (I'm restricted to sushi restaurants, and I now only eat sashimi with my wheat free/gluten free soy sauce). Cross contamination of gluten is a huge problem in restaurants, and it will cause my SD to come back. Tea Tree Oil is key! Don't use that steroid cream. Make sure to research the foods you eat, and look up a Gluten Free forum to get support! I hope this message finds you well, and I wish you all the best.

ludawg said...

Two things that have helped me. One RX drug, one diet related.

1) Diflucan - when taking this for vaginal yeast infections, my seb derm always improves.

2) Casein free diet (not just dairy free). Casein (a milk protein) is is added to so many things, even most soy cheese, margarine ...things you would never think contained a dairy protein! I went casein free due to another gut issue starting Jan 2007. Had no, repeat no! seb derm during the late winter to mid summer months which are my flare-up times.

Anonymous said...

Try using Nizoral A-D 1% Shampoo (OTC anti-danruff shampoo with 1% Ketoconazole antifungal) as a body and/or face wash. Leave on in the shower for 5 minutes or so before rinsing off. This has completely cleared my SD in less than a week.

Anonymous said...

I am without a doubt so very thankful to have come across your blog about your journey with Seborrheic Dermatitis.I have been dealing with this awful,ugly rash on my face on and off for I can't even remember how many years now.On the sides of my nose and at the corners of my mouth and it get red and itchy and flaky,and absolutely hideous.I never used to wear any makeup accept a little eye shadow,mascara,and some lip gloss,but now I have had to resort to Bare Minerals,which I think that I would still continue even if this cleared up just because it's pretty cool,but for now It's just to cover up this nasty rash on my poor face.Like you said about the sun,I have noticed that over the years I really don't have this problem in the spring and summer,it starts late fall and all the way through winter when I'm not out in the sun,so the really does have a lot to do with it. So anyhow,blah blah and so on,I am so gonna try your rout,heck,why not I've tried everything else,and this sounds more promising than anything I've tried thus far,so thank you so very much for sharing your story and good luck to you.

M said...

Just wanted to share my experience. I was a big cereal for breakfast person since childhood. Starting in high school, I developed patches of eczema on my head (seb derm?), and I had acne throughout college. Took Accutane for the acne, was prescribed a steroid serum for the eczema on my scalp. Also, I was VERY itchy all over my skin -- so much so that I changed every detergent, every soap, every shampoo, every lotion, everything. No relief. Thought I'd have to live with it.

In my late 20s, I started getting sinus infections. Endless cycle of get sick...antibiotics...get better...get worse...antibiotics...steroid spray for my nose, etc. Finally I got so sick in my early 30s that I was home for 3 weeks with a sinus infection, pink eye, a cold, bronchitis, and God knows what else. I was so miserable, and I was kinda scared. Something was very wrong with me.

I turned to the Internet for answers. Found all this info on food allergies and discovered that casein allergy (as mentioned by ludawg) causes frequent sinus infections, itchy skin, eczema -- almost all of the problems I'd been suffering from for years! I was having at least one bowl of cereal with milk every day at the time. Casein is in all dairy products.

I got tested for food allergies and my casein antibody reaction was off the charts (normal reaction indicating allergy is .2, mine was a 28!). The test also showed I had mild allergies to chicken, rice, oats, and lemon. Bummer because I loved all of those things and ate them regularly. You can have a reaction to something and it won't send you to the hospital, but it might send you to the bathroom quickly. Or make your stomach hurt. Or make you feel itchy or like throwing up. Mild food allergies affect a lot more people than we think.

Cutting casein out was very hard. It's in practically everything, evidently. It's the "whey" in whey protein, and they use it to beef up the protein content of many types of foods and snacks. They even use it to pasteurize orange juice -- which explained why orange juice always made me feel sick to my stomach! I discovered as long as I cut out milk and ice cream, I could still have some pizza and milk chocolate occasionally. :) I haven't had a sinus infection since -- going on 2 1/2 years now!

Casein was my major issue. The other mild allergies didn't really seem noticeable once I took the casein out of my diet.

I found this blog because I've been super-itchy lately, my scalp eczema has flared up painfully and I just now discovered that what I worried were cold sores were actually sores from Perioral Dermatitis. Even as I type this, I'm itching my arms, legs and head like crazy. I'm not eating dairy (only soy milk), so that's not the problem. What's different lately?

I stupidly added Honey Nut Cheerios to my diet recently, in an attempt to lose weight and improve my health. It's all hitting me now that I'm likely having a major reaction to the oats. I knew I had a mild reaction before, but allergies can get worse over time.

I'm now going to review my allergy report and cut out everything my body reacted to. I suspect I'll be feeling better very soon.

I wanted to post to let people know that, in my extensive research on food allergies, I discovered that the skin is one of the first places your body manifests food allergy. Many skin conditions can be eliminated altogether by being aware of food allergies and avoiding foods that trigger reactions. Even a food that causes a mild reaction can be a problem if you eat it too frequently. Or your allergy could get worse over time. Every body is different. For me it's casein, rice, chicken, lemon, and oats. For you it might be spinach, almonds and turkey. Or maybe just rice. The food allergy (or reaction) literally makes your body build up histamines, weakens your immune system, causes inflammation, makes you tired, and makes you susceptible to so many other illnesses.

An endless cycle of antibiotics and illness is NOT how you have to live your life. And your doctors will NOT tell you about this. I was at the ear nose and throat doctor every other month...and at the dermatologist regularly as well. Just more medicine, more steroid spray for my noise, more topical solution, etc. Never getting to what was actually causing my illness. The treatments were band-aids.

I not only had to request the intial food allergy test...I had to go BACK to my doctor to get ANOTHER test when I found out the first test didn't even test for casein allergy -- which was the reason I wanted it in the first place! The second time, I had to ask the lab tech if the test he was sending with my bloodwork would detect casein allergy. Even the second time around, it wasn't! I insisted they use the test that would detect a casein allergy. And I'm so glad I did.

I couldn't believe it was so hard to get this done. I had to be aggressive and really take my health care into my own hands.

I am starting to wonder if doctors who make their living treating skin conditions are negligent or if there's actual malice in never exploring the cause of these problems. I found all I needed to know on the Internet, but doctors with years of experience don't know how food reactions cause drastic skin problems and continuous sinus infections? Of course, doctors make lots of money off frequent visits from troubled patients. And meanwhile I spent years being miserable with one sinus infection and skin rash after the next.

I urge everyone who suffers from any skin condition to GET TESTED FOR FOOD ALLERGIES -- specifically for CASEIN allergy. And you might encounter resistance from doctors who tell you it's not necessary, but keep pushing for it. Once you get the report, cut the foods that you react to out of your diet. It might be the miracle that will change your life.

Doug said...

Great to find this blog!

I have been suffering from SD for just about a year. I am 45.

Mine seemed to have started last year when I started using sunscreen on my face cuz I was playing alot of golf. I was using the spray which worked for my body but I would spray it on my hands and wiped it on face. it is HEAVY alcohol based. No issues for awhile. But I would come home and use scrub mitts to removed the sweat and sunscreen. I mean I would buff! So part of me wonders if with the sunscreen and buffing I screwed up the natural oil and chemistry on my face. Dunno. But at that point I would just experience redness and a light burn for a while, so no biggie. This was last summer. Fast forward to this past December, I got a BAD sinus infection, went on anitbiotics for it, and was using Kleenex like crazy blowing my nose. This is when the flaking started! So I thought, ok, its contact dermatitis to Kleenex, but since that sinus infection, and winter I have been in a daily battle with SD. Mine is just in the folds of my nose, some dryness and redness, burning on cheeks right on cheekbones, ears are dry and canals, and maybe once in a great while a spec under my left eyebone, underneath the eyebrow itself.

I have researched this to the max! And have found a number of possible factors, alot I found here too, thanks! One, I know stress isn't helping it. So I take an anti-anxiety med that I read has SD as a side effect. I also eat alot of bread. So I am gonna try weening of gluten, caesin since I read that here.

I have started to drink Kefir probiotic each day as well as 8 oz of grape juice with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar a day. I have increased my B vitamins and omega 3s which is good for skin. I might look into a zinc supplement.

As far as products, after MANY purchases and trial and error, this is what works for me. No flaking for months with this routine, just light redness and some burning at times which I can tolerate.

Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser - let face air dry.

Afterwards, if it's daytime, I use Neutrogena Combination Skin Moisturizer. It goes on clean, not shiny and calms the irritation.

At night I put a coat of Cetaphil Sensitive skin moisturizer cream on. Its shiny even though it claims "non-greasy" but I am sleeping so who cares.

Maybe once a month I will use hydrocortizone cream 1% with aloe in the corners of nose and when my ear canals itch from wearing ipod earbuds at the gym. This is just a management thing, not a must-do cuz of flare up. I read that if you use sparingly, you will not thin the skin or get the other bad effects. Its daily use that will cause that.

I also use the extra suds from Head and Shoulders from my hair to wash my face. The zinc seemes to help or at least it hasnt hurt. Then finish with Cetaphil cleanser. NEVER using hot water! I keep it as cold as I can stand it.

Some people swear by putting Milk of Magnesia on a cotton ball and dabbing the face. Didn't do squat for me, nor did any of the natural home-made face masks.

I wash my face a couple of times during the day. My face just feels oily if I dont, then I reapply the above routine.

As far as sunscreen goes - I avoid it, I try and play golf early morning or evening when the UV index is low and little chance of sunburn, plus the UV I do get seems to help. When I do need sunscreen, I ordered the sunblock from Keys Soap. It's a thick zinc based cream, all natural, all vegan and actually has healing antioxidants and vitamins. It takes time to absorb so you'll look like a mime for a while, so reapplying on the golf course is a pain cuz you got the white mask on your face. But hey, do what you gotta do, plus I try and not be outside where that 2 hour reapply window matters. It does not irritate or clog pores. 2 thumbs up! But I think it can only be purchased online, google Keys Soap.

Yes, exercise is great and I refuse to quit BUT the sweat aggravates my skin as someone mentioned here. It lasts maybe a few hours afterwards. I am sure the sweat has toxins that add to the issue. One thing to be aware of is BRING YOUR OWN FACE TOWEL! Gyms wash theirs in bleach, and will really send your SD flaring! I also wash my clothes in Tide Free - and non dye, chemical free version. Not that I have issues elsewhere on the body but just to ward off an issue and help with stuff that does come in contact with my face - towels, pillow cases.

With that, consider your pillow cases. Change them often and be aware of material they are made of and what you wash them in. If you sleep on you stomach or side like me, your face is grinding into the pillow all night. That's where the thick coat of Cetaphil works before bed to prevent sandpaper cheeks in the morning. I also sleep with a humidifier next to my head to keep air moist. This past winter was hell - wind, cold and no humidity. I am yet to expereince summer with this. But so far the warm days we have had, sun feels good, it's just the sunscreen that adds wrench into it.

I am fortunate that people do not notice mine, I know its there, but my wife thinks I am making more of it than need be. I am also fortunate that it is (for now) just in nose area folds and on cheeks. My ears are no longer an issue since they are part of the routine, but never a flareup. Nor do I have issues with forehead, shave zone, chin upper mouth or skin folds on the body like I have read some people have. So sometimes I wonder if it's SD, Psoriasis, or another one of the 100 terms for irritated, dry skin.

I am self diagnosed. I believe in heal-thy-self. I refuse to have a doc gimme steroids. And since this is a chronic thing that needs to be managed and can be with OTC and/or home remedies, thankfully I can skip the dermo telling me something I already know, and to hear there is no "cure" and offer me a prescription that I won't fill. That could change if this worsens and I get desperate of course.

But this sucks. I guess it comes with age and if I remember, my mom dealt with this too, so thanks to genetics. I am glad to find that I do not suffer alone and that this is a common skin issue. But that doesn't discount the fact we have it and live with it.

Thanks for the blog! Thanks for the tips! I hoped mine helped too. Next attempt is my wheat and caesin free diet. I don't consume alot of dairy, but hey, why not rid that too. I do have a sweet tooth and read that sugar promotes growth of yeast, so thats gonna be a tough one to ween off of.

This is a bookmark on my computer so I will check back often to see other insights and let ya know how the diet adjustment helped!

Doug said...

UPDATE: If you haven't tried ot already, there is a line of products from a company called Home Health. I purchased the psoriasis face wash and face cream and WOW, what great results!!!! Almost immediately!!! The products contain salicylic acid which make the redness disappear along with the dry flaky skin and burning sensation. The nice thing about the cream is it doesn't leave the "shine" like Cetaphil does although I use it as my night time moisturizer. Taking Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs brand) cuz its 100% undiluted ACV and zinc and folic acid supplements along with adding more lettuce and a few servings of cantalope each day I think I may have a winning combination. But man o man, the Home Health products was a miracle find!

Anonymous said...

Have been trying the gluten free and dairy free for this SB hell. It started during my first pregnancy. My father has it as well. He uses apple cider vinegar topically which helps but he's too old and stubborn to go on such a restrictive diet. I recently cut out citrus which helped greatly. I was putting lime juice on everything. This weekend I had some tangerines and that night my ears turned into an oozing flaking nightmare. I applied tea tree oil which has helped,but seriously have to stay away from the citrus! Glad to know about casein. Will start looking for that. Thanks for this blog!

Anonymous said...

hey kira,

great post! i've had sd on my eyelids, between the sides of my eyebrows and my hairline, my neck and my forehead for two years and i'm going to try out all of your steps.

just quickly on two things: apart from zinc and potassium, are you just taking a general vitamin supplement?

and how often did you have to moisturise at the beginning of the New Skin Regime (in capitals, no less!)? my skin retains it for a while and feels quite dry by the end of the day, but doesn't begin to flake or anything unless i scratch it. should i be striving for it to always feel really moist? because i think that would leave me moisturising every two to three hours!

Kira said...


Keep me updated on your progress. I like to include everything that works.

Yes, I now take a core of 4 vitamins: zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and Deva Vegan daily vitamin.

I think you should moisturize when you skin feels "tight." That's what I notice, almost like the skin is being pulled against the facial bones.

On a good day, I moisturize two times: morning and evening. I have two moisturizers: a lighter weight for summer and a heavier weight for winter.

I do switch them up when needed. Some summer days my skin is very tight and I use my "winter" lotion. Some winter days I'm fine and I use the "summer" lotion.


Arun Cheloor said...

Hi all,
Im Arun from India. Found your blog today. Im suffering from this disease for some 2 years. I went from dermatologists to dermatologists to no avail. They were prescribing me the same drugs. Ketaconazole shampoos, tablets, even steroid pastes. Nothing cured my illness. also, i was unable to find out its course. I was taking a lot of beer. Guys, STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL. its not good for SD.

Then, i was loosing a lot of hair. Suddenly, a thought went into my mind. Im from Kerala, India. The home land of the ‘Ayurveda’ tradition of treatment. Believe me or not. Ayurveda has got solutions for most of these diseases like SD & Eczema. I went to the best ayruvedic practitioner here who is known as a skin specialist.

Im under ayurveda treatment since the last 2 months. As far as the visible changes, 95% of illness is gone. itching is gone. everything is gone. yea, a normal kind of hair fall is still there. but no, SD.

Please gimme a space in the web. or please post this in the web in the appropriate space so that everyone can read this. and they can cure their SD.

You’ll have to control your diet. Pure vegetarian diet should be followed with a sound sleep. No alcohol. Include fruits & juices in your diet. And the traditional medicines. These are available off the shelf in India. I dont know about US & Europe. But, ayurvedic doctors are all over the word i believe.

My treatment inluded
1, "Triphaladi Choorna" powder
2,’Tiktakam Kwatham” tablets,
3, ‘Eladi’ oil and
4, ‘Sathadhoutha Ghritha’ cream

In Ayurveda, treatment is different for each and every guy according to their bodily conditions. Not one medicine for all. I can narrate my experience in detail and send it to you.

I want to tell you one thing. DONT LOOSE YOUR CONFIDENCE. There is treatment for this disease. It CAN be controlled to a greater extent. No one will be able to tease you again. I wish you all success in life. Take care.

Arun Cheloor

Arun Cheloor said...

I know how irritating this disease can be. Yea, it wont kill you for sure. But you’ll start thinking of committing suicide coz of the shame. After using the Ketaconazole tablets, i had a secondary infection on my cheeks. I was in pain. was bed-ridden for a week. Then, i started thinking of Ayurveda.

I quit drinking beer first of all. But i beileve, once it gets controlled, you can have alcohol like once in two weeks. A more controlled, matured drinking habit will be welcome.

Being a vegetarian has got a lot of advantages. Ayurveda demands such a way of life. Live close to nature. Ayurveda is a way of living like Hinduism of India. Traditional medicines coupled with Yoga/Meditation can cure this for sure. Due to my busy life, im not able to practice yoga. Im sad about it.

The Ayurvedic doctor asked me to take medicines in the following manner.

1. “Triphaladi Choorna”- This is a medicinal powder. Boil some water, add the powder, and wash the affected areas. Twice a day.
2. “Tiktakam Kwatham” tablets- Take 2 tablets twice in a day. In morning and evening. 1 hour Before food, with an empty stomach for better results. I used to take 3 tablets twice a day for better results. Overdoses wont kill you for sure.
3. ‘Sathadhoutha Ghritha’ cream- Apply this on the affected ares if you are out in the sun. Avoid direct sunlight. It irritates SD for sure. It smells bad. But works very well. Reduces inflammations on the skin with great results.
4. Eladi oil- This was prescribed to me recently after the itching and all were gone. Apply it on the affected areas and rub gently half an hour before taking a bath. Use only mild soaps.

Believe me, this has cured my SD 95%. All these are herbal traditional ayurvedic medicines without any kind of side effects. Ayurveda has a history of more than 3000 years.

You can check out the website one one of the best ayurvedic treatment centres in Kerala, India. I visited a doctor there. There are a number of Institutions like this in Kerala, India. Believe me, Ayurveda can cure your illness.


Have healthy life. Take care.

Arun Cheloor.

Anonymous said...

Kira, I had moderate seborrehic dermatitis on my nose, chin and forehead for about 10 years. It wasn't diagnosed and I abused my skin with alpha hydroxy acids and exfoliating scrubs only making it look like an angry red mask. I finally saw a dermatologist who prescribed Claron (sulfacetamide lotion). My chin and nose have completely cleared up and the forehead is mild with only occasional flare up (i.e., going from outside cold to heated indoors). I hope this can help you.

Anju said...

I totally agree with the comments about the uselessness of doctors/ dermatologists.

I have been suffering from hair loss for the last year....and although the derm did make the initial diagnosis of dandruff/SD....i believe his prescription made my scalp condition worse. Only after using Stieprox shampoo and Dermasone corticosteroid spray, i started noticing the itching and flakes sticking to my fingers everytime i touched my scalp.

The next time I went to the derm, he prescribed doxycycline to me. An antibiotic! for Acne! I bought it, researched it online, then decided never to take it.

I am now undergoing mild homeopathic treatment, giving it a shot, let's see how it goes, it cant do any harm. So far prescribed 'Phos Acidum' and 'Natrum Mur'. The homeopath is working to correct whats wrong with my system.......i get the impression its because my system cant handle certain things that everyone else can, so thats what needs to be corrected. One level deeper than the food allergy route!

My skin otherwise is totally fine. Thankfully, I have no rashes or pimples or anything.....the only thing visible about my condition is the continuously thinning hair. It is devastating. I have always been complimented on my mane.

Anyway, since I am trying to find the natural cure to this condition, I am totally going to be looking into food allergies after reading your site. I generally eat alot healthier than my friends and family, but eating healthy is one thing, not consuming something that provokes allergic reaction in you is another. I'm so sad I have to cut out booze, refined sugar....and possibly eating out. Food is my life. But vanity does take huge priority too :)

Forums like these are so important, i cant stress how much....since doctors are absolutely useless.

I have been using Aloe Vera and ACV topically....and also jojoba with lavender and tea tree oil. I'm really not sure if they are working yet. the aloe vera and ACV do provide immediate relief, but that may just be cuz they are cold liquids that create superficial comfort. I am more confused about my shampooing routine. All my shampoos contain SLS, but I dont know what alternative to use. Apparently the SD is caused by excessive sebum, which means i do need to get rid of the oil.......but i think the SLS irritates the SD at the same time?! what the hell does one do?

has anyone else lost hair due to SD?

Dave Ottawa said...

Well folks, I sure do sympathize with all of you. I have pretty much the same symptoms: flaky, red skin skin between the eyes; eyebrows; side of the nose and upper lip -- lots of dusty stuff on top of my head too, but that appears to be "just" regular dandruff.

It started about 4 years ago. My GP thought it was rosacea and sent me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist said it was Seborrheic Dermatitis - seborrhea. He prescribed a medication: 3%Sulphur, 2%salicylic Acid in Glaxal Base, to be applied every night before bed.

I was blown away how well it worked, because I had tried just about everything that has been mentioned in this blog and had very limited results that lasted for short periods of time.

I was so happy that prescription work for almost a year, but then gradually stopped working. I figured that the prescription has probably expired. I am now awaiting an appointment with the dermatologist again to find out why the medication might not be working. Unfortunately my community has a shortage of dermatologists and I have a 6-month wait.

In the meantime I have been breaking open 400IU of vitamin E capsules and rubbing the oil into the effected areas. The vitamin E helped quite a bit for about a week. But now the vitamin E is hardly working at all, other than soothing the skin. The red rash and dusty skin comes back a few hours after applying the vitamin E.

I am going to try some of the things Doug suggested such as products from Home Health (psoriasis face) some Cetaphil.

I’ll up date my post after I see the dermatologist.

Vickia said...

Hey everyone, i have been battling with SD for about 3yrs now. I am 20yrs old, and i hate having this disease. I feel unattractive, and when ever i try to explain what is wrong with my skin people do not understand. My sisters like, why don't you buy a face scrub, it looks like you need one...and once i used noxema and my skin got really red and irritated. In the summer my SD is not noticable, but it comes back to haunt me in the winter, i'm not sure what to do. I'm extremly stressed, which is not helping the situation at all. My doctor perscriped me some cream which i took for my SD three years ago, but it wasn't working so he refered me to the dermatologist, the cream i got i used it for about two months, but then it was summer so i forgot about my SD. Now its back, and its winter, I was told not to put anything on my skin but i have dry patches, dicolouration, and its itching me not matter how much i wash my face, can somebody anybody help me.

Anonymous said...

i have had SB for about 5 years now. initially i used prescribed creams until i worked out it wasnt going to cure anything (and just thin my skin). i have tried a variety of things over the years some with more success than others. I have had it under control now for the last two years. In winter or times of stress i still have small flare ups. These flare ups however are so mild that they are not even noticable to anyone but me. what i did to get to this point is listed below. Note that at my worst i had a flaky scalp with both eyebrows and nasal folds bright red, flaky and itchy. So i know there are worse cases than mine.. still i will share my own success.
1. wash face daily and moisturize (USE ONLY allergy free stuff - currently "simple" is a great brand)
2. use supermarket dandruff shampoos (with tar) on head hair at least once a week
3. cut down on yeast in diet - i didnt completely eliminate it but saw a HUGE difference just having yeast-free bread in my daily sandwich
4. exercise - i started going for a jog a couple times a week - this might have helped due to the stress release but however it helped, it did.
5. sleep - i know this sounds basic but getting a full 8 hours of sleep on a REGULAR basis made a big difference to me (related to stress? immunity? who knows).

it is a life long problem BUT i have found that keeping up with a good routine, even when i seem perfectly fine, prevents reoccurrances. Also over the years of experimenting, i found that flareups occured due to sudden bouts of stress (exams, argument etc), alcohol consumption (a big night out) and also when i had a big yeast or sugar hit (say over christmas or easter)
so watch the holidays!!

Nigel said...

Thank you for posting Kira and everyone else. I'm 25 and have had SD for 6 years now and as you all know it's extremely frustrating. Similar to others, I found little help from dermatologists. All they simply seem to do is prescribe topical steroids and insist that diet has no effect on the condition. I've done a fair amount of research myself and drastically changed my eating habits. I try to avoid gluten and dairy as much as I can, but I'm not sure how much of an affect that has on SD. I really want to get an allergy test done because I'm sure I have at least some. I've been using the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon on my scalp and then washing my hair at least 15 minutes later, which seems to help somewhat. I've read that you should avoid hot beverages or foods with SD as they may cause an excess release of histamines and thus exacerbate the condition. It just gets so overwhelming sometimes because there are so many possible factors, but unfortunately we aren't sure what specifically makes the condition worse or better and everyone's body is different. SD definitely caused me to have a low self esteem and led me into depression and even suicidal thoughts. Chronic conditions are never easy to deal with, but it always helps to know there are others dealing with the same condition. I pray that everyone that posted and everyone with SD will persevere and find what routine/alterations work for them and hopefully we can eventually find a cure.

LarryFriendly said...

I've had SD for about 2 years and by no means is it an extreme case, but it's enough that I feel self conscious and embarassed at work and so forth. I finally went to the dermatologist and was prescribed a couple of items by a Physician's Assistant (PA). I didn't even get to see a real doctor, pathetic. These were expensive items and I used them. They seemed to diminish the problem some what, but these products were not eradicating the issue. My wife did a 5 minute google search to reveal that zinc oxide seems to be a common theme in treating SD. Then she looked for other products on the market not meant for SD, but contained zinc oxide. I have now cured my SD, it is completely gone after about 5 days of use of this product. The product is baby Avalon Organics Soothing Zinc Diapler Balm. It is made for diapler rash, but it cured my SD. I rub some on the affected areas on my face after I get home from work every day. Anyhow, I figure if it's safe for a baby it's ok for a face. Zinc oxide is 25% active ingredient in this product. Good luck all. -Larry

Matt said...

Thank you Kira and everybody who have shared their experience with this ailment known as SD.

I have the rash on my the sides of my nose, mustache line and chin.

I initially suspected that an unknown allergy either to food, beer, toothpaste or my electric razor was the root of the problem.

I cut each one out for a period of 3-5 days except for brushing my teeth. I thought maybe it was the toothpaste because of the area on my chin. Just so happens its located exactly where the toothpaste sits after it seeps out of the mouth.

I tried using Lysine ointment & pills, Lotrimin (Athlete's Foot Cream) and nothing seemed to work. It would be gone for a few days and come right back.

It took me 3 months of suffering until I finally buckled down and seen a Doctor. She told me it was SD and prescribed Hydrocortisone Cream.

Me being who I am, I researched the Hydrocortisone Cream to only find out that one of the side effects is exactly what its supposed to be treating "Perioral dermatitis (rash around the mouth)."

I have suffered for mild acne my whole life and on top of that used to have frequent Cold Sores and Fever Blisters.

By eating more fish (which contains "Lysine") I can control my outbreaks of Cold Sores.

After reading what everybody has said I figure I will now drop Casein and Gluten out of my diet as well.

I'm not a Vegan but have been contemplating to make the change for testing this "Casein & Gluten FREE" theory. I also cut out Milk after finding that Woody Harrelson cut Dairy out of his diet years ago seeking a remedy to his acne.

I picked up the Zinc Oxide Diaper Rash Cream. I feel more comfy using that vs Topical Steroid.

I'll also be bookmarking this page and come through with updates every so often.

What brand of Sunscreen do you use Kira? Also please tell us how your holding up as its been a couple months since your last post in this matter.



p.s. I don't like to read post where people are saying "its been gone for a week" or any crap like that. I wanna hear months, years of minimal or no symptoms.

Rane said...

I'm 17 years old and have been suffering from SD since I was 11, I had severe eczema as far back as I can remember, before the age of 11 it would be on the backs of my knees and inside of my elbows, sometimes around my mouth.
As I got to 11 horrible dry sores came on my face, really red and painful, as I've got older the redness was not as severe but in the past year it has been just as bad as when I first got it - I get it mainly on my face, scalp and ears, recently it has spread to my chest, and is the itchiest it has ever been, Aqueous does relieve the itching but doesn't take away redness or decrease the area of SD.
Unfortunately when I started a job in September the eczema returned to the inner of my elbows and does occur along my forearm and wrists - I do a lot of washing up with chemicals and since September the eczema has stayed, this is also incredibly itchy and frustrating!

It saddens me that my research shows it is something that has no 'cure'... I haven't been diagnosed by my Doctor but after 6years of hearing 'We don't know what it is but try this, this oh and maybe try this', I have tried countless creams, lotions, gels that have all been perscribed to me and nothing helps.
I have had 2 Doctors since I was 11 and neither of them have ever given it a name and they both 'haven't seen anything like this before' which doesn't assure me.
Stress is often mentioned by my Doctor as a trigger, I think it makes it worse but is definately not the primary cause.
I took matters into my hands as my Doctor refuses to refer me to a Dermatologist and I can't afford to see one privately... I bought a book on dermatology and SD seems to be a match to my symptoms - unfortunately it does not shine a light on specific causes. I came across this whilst researching and it has the most helpful and assuring thing I have found so far!

Your post made me realise I am not alone so thank you for that - maybe its my youth but I always get angry that every other teenager gets ACNE and I have to suffer with this and feel less normal.

I don't eat diary (taste preference) I don't have dairy products unless they are in something e.g. milk in mashed potato, cheese on a pasta bake, and my worst culprit chocolate...

This has encouraged to start experimenting to cut things out of my diet such as chocolate... bread... my Doctor has suggested allergies and did do a blood test which showed nothing of use,

I am definately an SPF freak using 50+ daily even in winter (I live in England) my condition does subside in Summer but not completely its not exactly scorching here.

When I was 15 I had clear skin for a long period of time, I was eating a much healthier diet and exercising daily, thanks for sharing your own experience as I now feel that there IS more I can do and sometimes we've just got to experiment and see what works for us as individuals, definately not giving up hope, hope you're still going well

Thanks again!

Kira said...

Thank you all for continuing to post your own experiences. For those of you just finding us:
1) you are not alone, your people welcome you

2) Ignore your doctors', because they got their licenses from cracker jack boxes ... I don't think any of us has posted helpful advice from the medically inclined

3) If you persevere on your own, you will figure out how to minimize your skin problems

Matt - I placed a photo update on the blog ... Visit http://sewmanythings.blogspot.com/2010/04/seborrheic-dermatitis-update.html

Anonymous said...

I have had seborrheic-dermatitis for about a year. I first tried Ovace foam which did nothing. Then a different dermatologist prescribed me ketoconazole, which is a cream also used for athelete's foot. He said it works for about 50% of patients. I was not one of them, but was willing to try it before having to try what i thought was the last resort - steroid cream. Even though my dermatologist assured me it was mild, pediatric grade and my use of it would be small and infrequent, i was still worried about side effects. However, I tried Ovace Plus Cream as one last med before the steroids and the improvement has been amazing. The flaking on my forehead, nose and cheeks began to disappear after the 2nd use. It smells a little funky, but it is a 1x application at night. The foam was ineffective i think before it was designed to be use on scalps, and also this is an ovace "plus" - a newly reformulated product. I'm happy about the improvements - my SD was not severe, but still enough to make me conscious of it. I also use Cetaphil gentle cleanser and Cetaphil spf 50 moisturizer. These products have worked for me and I hope they work for you!

In said...

One thing that could be a factor that I haven't seen mentioned yet in the comments is Omega 6 fatty acids in the diet (I'm experimenting this myself with some early success). Modern peoples eat orders of magnitude more polyunsaturated fats than they did in the past. There are cultures where SD doesn't exist and none of them eat the tons of omega 6 that we do.

Omega 6 is implicated because sebum content is composed of varying amounts of fatty acids. I'm not aware of any research on how dietary fat intake affects the composition of sebum, but studies have shown that fatty acid composition of sebum differ from person to person. Furthermore omega 6 activates various immune and inflammation responses. SD is an inflammatory disease.

The largest sources of omega 6 in the diet include corn oil, soy oil and other vegetable oils. Meats from non-ruminant (especially from conventional sources) animals such as pork, chicken, turkey are also a source.

Further info:


s s said...

Well done for writing so much about your condition, and your experiences. Its a great resource for anyone who is worried and searching on the net to find out whats wrong with them.

My SD came on when I was in University and must have had greasy hair for a while. I think that 'triggered' it although I can't be sure.

Well, I suffered alone for a long while with this condition, unable to use ANY soaps, sun screes etc... as the chemicals would make my face burn.

After 2 years I finally got to see a specialist dermatologist in Oxford, UK.
The results were less than helpful, being told I had SD again, and that it was treatable not curable.

At the end of my consultation the specialist happened to mention a product I could try, a new shampoo called Dermax.

I think it is a UK brand but it has CHANGED my life completely. I use it 2 times a week and I have got a normal life again. No more steroid creams or ointments that i used to baste my face with daily, which thin your skin long term.
I bought a load of this stuff and cant reccomend it enough. Please, if you have felt as low and desperate as me, waking up in the morning hoping the red burning has gone, but knowing it hasn't and looking in the mirror to confirm that you have to face the world like this for another day... Try Dermax Shampoo for a few weeks. It'll change everything!

S, Oxford

Becca and Colby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becca and Colby said...

Great blog I'm glad things like this exist. I had AWFUL Seb Derm and had 4 different dermatologists try their pad at fixing it. Ultimately for me I needed to shower 2x a day and use Mupriocin on my face around my nose and eyes, Concentrated Selenium Sulfide on my hair 1x daily for 15 min for a few weeks, and also use Promiseb (a new rx that I got some samples for) on my face as well. I've tried everything mentioned on here but these worked for me. Hopefully someone who has not had any luck with steroids and antifungals can try this out.

Matt said...

I struggled for quite some time altering my diet but am now 100% Gluten and Dairy Free and even more importantly outbreak Free (last one was in June 2010).

I had a few slip-ups and each time suffered greatly because of them. One time I drank some beer and flared up and another time I went to Hometown Buffet and had the Mac & Cheese (Mac & Cheese used to be my fav, now I altered it and its even better).

Noodles: Substitutes such as Brown Rice and Quinoa noodles instead of Wheat

Milk/Cheese: Soy, Almond or Hemp milk

I also don't have any reaction from Goat cheese from Spain or Europe. I also use Daiya cheese on many of the things I eat. Also many Dairy Free Ice Creams on the market.

I tried several Gluten Free Beers and none were to my liking. So I reluctantly cut out all Brew from my diet.

Bread Alternative: Instead of a slice of bread use Mushroom, Lettuce or even a Corn Tortilla.

Soaps/Shampoo:I use an all natural Bar soap Liquid Soap from Dr. Bronners Magic Soap, Head and Shoulders Shampoo.

Toothpaste: Toms

Use Olive Oil as much as possible when cooking as its an Anti-Fungal. I even apply it a few times a week externally on my face when I go to bed.

I believe that the reason that focus of the outbreak on my nasal folds and chin is because thats where the salivary glands are.

Also thank you again Kira for making this platform for everybody to share their experience for us to build with each other.

Also seen your update and looking good.

Best Wishes and Eat Right!,


cure-ious4 said...

Hi all,
I came across this website in my desperation for dealing with this problem. I'm a 28 year old male and up until 10 months ago, I had never had any problems with skin conditions, not even acne when I was in high school. Then last year, seemingly out of nowhere I got a rash near each corner of my mouth. I had been drinking a lot of energy drinks at work prior to that so I figured once I stopped those it'd go away. Well, it didn't...and now, 10 months later, what I expected to be a quick problem is ruining my life and I don't understand it. I spent virtually all summer reading, researching things on the web. For the past 3 months I tried Traditional Chinese Medicine (unfortunately with no help). I don't understand what is going on. How can you be fine on day and all of a sudden develop an "incurable" condition? It's kinda nice to hear other people going through similar stuff. I thought I'd contribute and mention that in one of my many hours scouring the web for a cure and trying to understand what was going on in my body internally I came across another blog. It's not aimed at seborrheic dermatitis like this but chronicles a young guy's ordeal with SEVERE psoriasis...it was very interesting, inspirational and gave me some hope that for those of us with seborrheic dermatitis there may be an answer. If you search the words "Tommy + Molly Psoriasis" you will find the blog. And this is in no way a slight to diminish what people with psoriasis are suffering with, but I for one would prefer a condition where I can roll down my sleeves and go to work and have a normal day. My seborrheic dermatitis is so bad by the corners of my mouth that after several days of intolerable itching, burning, and ugly redness and flaking, the spots turn to THICK crusts. Normality feels like a world away. Just wanted to say that I understand what everyone on here is going through.

Anonymous said...

I have this SO badly too but have it under control for now. Some success with Promiseb, a I guess new-ish cream for this that doesn't have steroids. Prescription only but the best I've used so far, no smell or side effects. Also, I have been taking 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil as I read it kills of yeast overgrowth and is anti-fungal. Also take a probiotic. Only clean face with coconut oil (google oil method of cleaning shockingly it does not break you out, the alternate!), or I use Cetaphil if i'm in hurry. And no washing with hot water - that made a HUGE difference, cool to cold water only.

Benjamin said...


I just want to thank everyone for commenting. Having SD can be really embarassing (especially when it shows up on your face). I first noticed these weird patches of red on on the sides of my nose above my lip after shaving one day. Red patches also appeared where my sideburns had been. This all happened about 9 months ago.

I currently use Aveeno positively radiant cleanser and lotion on my face. It seems to work ok - it's at least very mild. The biggest thing I have to do is shave every 2 or 3 days - if I leave my beard to grow (like I did the past two weeks, big mistake) the red patches come back. I also have bad dandruff and the scalp at the hairline is often red. My hair has gotten very long and so I am very scared to see what my scalp will look like when my hair is short.

If you're a guy, you must shave regularly and (I assume) keep your hair short.

I am currently using Neutrogena T-Gel (coal tar) on my hair and it seems to work ok, as long as I use it every 3-4 days. I have also started to take a Biotin supplement in addition to my regular multivitamin. I am also going to start taking a Niacin supplement. I don't know if these will work, but I will try anything.

So, basically, for guys: keep your face shaven, your hair short, find a gentle cleanser and moisturizer for your face. I have had good success following this regimen (the red blotches on the face disappear, though the red blotches near the noise are clearly rougher of a different texture than the skin surrounding.)

Again, thanks to everyone for posting. It is really encouraging to hear your stories and to know I'm not alone in having this embarrassing condition.

Anonymous said...

I have had seb derm for 15 years. Long story short, I've tried everything from diet restrictions to stinky gross cremes from the Dr and glycolic scrubs. I just have it in various areas on my face. No single thing works for everyone of course but I wanted to share that this year I have had the best results I have ever had from the simplest regimen I have ever tried: I wash with Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Wash and use the same Cetaphil Restoraderm lotion, each 2x a day. These are new Cetaphil products are for "atopic"conditions like eczema, but it has done wonders for my SD. Thought I'd share b/c it might help someone else and it is just so simple.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with SD about 4 months ago (took 2 months to finally go to a derm, and then 2 months for him to diagnose). Tried prescription creams with a slight improvement, but the only thing (so far) that completely gets rid of it is Doxycycline.

I've only been experimenting with different things for a little while, but once I get frustrated and decide I can't take it anymore, I resort to the antibiotic, and the SD is gone in a couple days. Obviously, taking antibiotics is not a long term solution (and I don't even like it now), but I would still note (for other people) that the antibiotic gets rid of it completely. I know everyone is different though.

I really think it is food allergy related, and I'm currently thinking it may be a Biotin defficiency caused by the massive amount of eggs that I eat. So, no more eggs.

I really just wanted to post and hopefully give other people things to search on, namely eggs, biotin, and doxycycline.

And to Kira, thank you so much, truly. This was the most cohesive, and intelligently written notes on SD (other than the impenetrable med speak that you typically find) that I've found. Thank you.

Kira said...

I'm just really glad that others have found this collection of personal stories and responses helpful.

I found a bit of dryness below my mouth the other day, but a swipe of almond oil across the skin smoothed it all away.

Almond oil is my main moisturizer at this time. It does not cause me to break out, it does not smell funny, and it absorbs fairly quickly.

I finally told my GP the whole SD story, and his response was that it must be something with my skin/hair combo ... light and red (completely ignoring the dairy thing).

But something tells me that all of my commenters do not share this particular data set. And once again, I am reminded that unless you experience the issue, it is impossible to empathize.

I'm sending skin healing wishes your way ... Kira

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this blog and thank you very much for it. I have had SD for about 11 years now and only saw a dermatologist in '05. He had given me the steroid treatment but also suggested a soap called ZNP Bar. I haven't been able to read everyone's posts but I thought if anyone would like to try that soap there it is. It has been a big help for me and I never use the steroid cream because I've never liked the thought of steroids on my face or in my system. I usually only have bad breakouts in times of stress, a night out with makeup or when I forget to wash my face with my ZNP (which by the way is available at walmart w/o perscription). Melanie

dsd said...
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Anonymous said...

I had this condition for 20 years. Then had a stomach ailment which forced me not to eat and it cleared up in two days.

I found out it was processed sugar (sucrose) that did it - I switched to fruit sugar and I'm cured, more or less.

Julia said...

I was diagnosed in Jan of this year. I had red dryness around the fold of my nose. Very itchy all over nose and even inside of my nose with no redness. My nose also tingles on the tip and a burning feeling sometimes. Is this really SD or was I misdiagnosed? Did anyone have my symptoms without redness. Again I only have redness around the creases of my nose. Also my pores on my nose are very oily like never before and have increased in size. please let me know your thoughts. Thanks, Julia

Anonymous said...

Hello there

I've had SD all my life and was diagnosed with Candida a couple of years ago. Since then I have cut down on sugar, yeast and mushrooms in my diet and it has improved my skin overall. So this is what works for me: I eat a balanced vegetarian diet, exercise when I get the chance and use Faith in Nature Neem or Tea Tree Oil Shampoo & Aloe Vera soap. For my face I use Suki products (soap, balancing toner, balancing moisturiser & clay mask) which are very expensive, but definitely worth it for me.
Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

I havr suffered for about 10yrs, i have tried all the medical topical creams and washes etc, I have yet to find a single cure or even somthing that helps reduce the condition. I suffer with SD on the face, it has gradually got worse over the years and now its so bad i hate going anywhere. Im currently trying Tea Tree oil, but its only been a couple of days, it seams to imflame the condition so far, but i will give it a week and see how it goes.

graemebryce said...


graemebryce said...

Hello, I have suffered with facial SD for 10yrs, you cant get rid of this disease, BUT, you can 100% control it. After many years of trying different things, I have settled for 4 products that work well for me, they are all over the counter products and really work well. In the morning and nights I use a 2% salicylic acid wash called oil-free acne stress control power cream wash by Neutrogena, after the night wash I apply a 5% benzoyl peroxide cream from Clearasil called clearasil Ultra Extra strength acne treatment control. I than will somtimes apply a moisturizer from Aleeno called Aleeno naturels for dry skin. The last and least used product is a hydrocortisone 0.5% cream made by EGO pharmasuticals called DermAid cream. Now I only ever use this cream for extreem outbreaks, and I rarely get them unless I become lazy with my above daily rutine, so probably the most I ever use the hydrocotisone is once every few months or so, say like after I go out on the town and drink alcohol, get hungover and become to usless to clean my face the next day lol. But seriously, these products work by targeting the food source of the bacteria on youre face, they are clynicaly proven and work for me.
Hope someone can get the relief I have got.

Anonymous said...

I had to split this up in 2 parts because I exceeded the word limit.


For anyone who suffers from Seborrheic Dermatitis, Eczema, etc. please consult with a naturopathic doctor and/or nutritionist. They are better equipped at dealing with this condition than any M.D. or Dermatologist can. The only thing you're going to get from conventional medicine is pharmaceuticals thrown at you and the old stand-by, "this is a disease you have to live with for the rest of your life, there is no cure." That's total crap. Your skin is waving a red flag to alert you that something within your body is out-of-balance. Masking it with steroid cremes and shampoos does not address the root cause of your symptoms. The likely culprits are inflammation and an over-growth of yeast brought on by acidity due to our westernized diets. It isn't a condition that suddenly comes out of nowhere. It has taken several months to several years to get to the point where your body begins to react to things it never did before, namely certain foods. Your body decides to attack these foods (wheat, diary, soy, corn, etc.) recognizing them as an allergen and works at expelling them out of your body through your bodies biggest organ -- your skin.

If your gut and small intestines are inundated with an overgrowth of yeast it weakens your body's immune system and taxes your liver to work even harder at removing the foreign invader (allergens). However, in many cases your liver may have been already been compromised in the form of fatty liver. Fatty liver is a build-up of fat within the ducts of your liver which causes inflammation within the organ. Fatty liver has fast become an epidemic in westernized cultures because of our diets which rely heavily on processed foods, sugars, saturated fats and carbohydrates. If left unchecked, fatty liver can lead to scarring of the liver which is called cirrhosis -- you don't want that.

The key is to reverse your fatty liver through diet and exercise which will help your liver flush out toxins efficiently once again. A liver cleansing diet is very alkalizing which is bad news for the overgrowth of yeast in your gut because they primarily rely on sugar and acid to keep living and multiplying. It typically takes 3 weeks for SD/eczema symptoms to show any signs of retreating so don't be discouraged the first couple of weeks if you don't see any improvement. It takes this long for your intestinal tract to completely rid itself of that particular allergen you're reacting to. Every week after that you should notice marked improvement in your skin and overall well-being. Again, don't be discouraged if it doesn't go away overnight. As I said earlier, it has taken months, if not years, for your body to get to this point so patience is key.

Anonymous said...


Remember, if you discover you have food allergies, it's not the end of the world. You simply eliminate the offending food for a period of time while the immune system strengthens itself and forgets about the allergen (typically three months for those blood cells to die), take probiotics daily to reseed healthy gut flora, follow a strict alkalizing diet such as a liver cleansing diet and then rotate the foods that were causing the inflammation back in moderately.

Once your skin is all clear be sure to make an appointment with your M.D. and/or dermatologist to show them how it's done naturally without the use of their expensive and often dangerous steroid cremes and shampoo's. This is the only way the medical establishment will learn is by us showing them the way. Above all else, remember that seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, etc. are NOT diseases, just symptoms. If you follow these simple instructions, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel and begin to enjoy life again with beautiful, clear, soft skin. I speak from direct experience.

For more information visit Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD at: http://www.kitchentablemedicine.com/natural-treatment-for-seborrheic-dermatitis-cradle-cap-dandruff-and-itchy-scalp/

For Liver-Cleansing and weight loss info visit Dr. Sandra Cabot at: http://www.weightcontroldoctor.com/index.php

Anonymous said...

Just want to say a big thanks to whoever started this blog. Very helpful indeed. I've suffered from SD for ages and after doing loads of research have discovered some things that work for me.

I noticed that I would develop a really bad butterfly rash across my face during periods where my diet changed quite considerably: eg when I left home to go to university and when I moved to Japan for 3 years from the UK. This lead me to believe that my SD was a reaction to either a deficiency or excess of something in my diet. I decided to do an elimination diet (I did one called the Dax Moy eliminator) for a few months to remove all the 'toxins' from my body such as wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol etc. After this period I started to reintroduce foods which I'd been avoiding to see how my body reacted to it. I discovered that my SD would flare up badly when I ate wheat and some dairy products. Beers and lagers also caused a bad reaction. It was pretty gruelling going without all my favourite foods, but worth it as now I know which foods to avoid and my condition has cleared up considerably and the redness/flakiness calmed right down.

I was also worried about the continuos use of steroid creams. instead I've found that using a zinc oxide cream such as Sudocrem is an excellent alternative.

Richard L

RLewis said...

What finally cured me of SD was proper diet and dietary supplements. According to Earl Mindell's book "Vitamin Bible", THE CAUSE FOR SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS IS A DEFICIENCY IN VITAMIN B6 (pyridoxine)! This revelation is made on page 34 of his book. Dr. Mindell also warns that vitamins can do nothing without minerals, and both of these facts support my experience in curing my own seborrhea. For an excellent source of information on nutrition, please get a copy of the audiocassette "Dead Doctor's Don't Lie" by Dr. Joel Wallach - it's an absolute classic, and will stress the importance of sound nutrition and dietary supplements to live disease free. If you would like to read Dr. Wallach's specific vitamin recommendations for seborrhea dermatitis, then I would urge you to purchase his book "Let's Play Doc" for $12.95 plus S&H.
May God Bless You
Ron L

Amy said...

I just wanted to thank you Kira, and everyone who has commented, for your advice! I don't think I even realized how much this was dominating my thoughts until today after doing some of these simple actions and looking so much better! I almost cried from happiness when I looked in the mirror this morning. My condition was incredibly mild compared to what some are describing, just a raw, red patch of skin that wouldn't heal at my nose folds. I had been thinking it was zits/clogged pores and so was scrubbing it with exfoliators and using harsh acne treatments. What a mistake!

After reading your advice I tentatively applied some of my husband's Selsun Blue to the red patch under my nose and let it sit for about 10 minutes in the shower. By the time I got out it was completely smooth with no flakes. Still red and tight, but so much less angry. Then I used some of my baby's aquaphor as a moisturizer overnight. It says right on the bottle "for dry, itchy, flaky skin"...it just never occured to me to use it on myself before reading about it here! I'm like a new person this morning, and hope that with a few more days of treatment this will be completely under control. Thank you again, and good luck to everyone else trying to manage this.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to pass along an idea here. My mom has just had her third and severe, fast-spreading bout with sebhorreic dermatitis, according to three doctors -- steriod injections, creams, etc. It begins in same area and spreads -- buttock, back, etc. We think she's been having a reaction to the fabric guard on her sofa, which was sprayed professionally. We've just been talking long distance about it this morning, one idea lead to another, and just now she covered her sofa with a heavy blanket, so see if that might be the culprit. Even her poor dogs go through periods of intense itching, biting feet and sides. I looked at the MSDS sheets for what was in the product she believed they used, and sure enough -- dermatitis, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, flu-like symps (all of these symps occurred since she bought the sofa in December 2010). Maybe we figured it out on our own all this time. But maybe this gives you something to investigate, as well -- anything treated in your home, like sofas, carpets, pillows, etc.? Good luck to you and others!

Anonymous said...

I've been suffering from this discomforting condition for 17 years now and I've tried every medicine/treatment available. Nothing worked and everything I did in my daily active life seemed to bring on an outbreak but recently I've started using this product I bought online. It's called Reef Relief. I can't believe how well it works. It's cheap and doesn't cause irritation on my already sensitive skin. http://www.heatrashandsweatrash.com/

Anonymous said...

Hi. My son, age 10, was diagnosed with SD last winter. He has never had any of the SD in his hair, but around his nose, mouth and chin are very angry looking and his nostrils are sore. The dermatologist has prescribed several creams, which have not really helped at all. He had a bout of poison ivy last month and was put on a pill form of steroids for 3 weeks and his face completely cleared up, but a couple days after the steriod was finished it has come back and looks terrible. The kids in his class have been asking him about it and wanting to know if they can catch it, which embarrasses him. I try to make sure his face is clean but other than the dermatologist's medicines I have not tried anything else. My son loves milk and I am not sure how I can cut out dairy, since he is only 10, but I think the dermatolgoist and his medications are a joke and waste of time. I will try some of the things that have been suggested here, but if anyone has some tips for my son, since he is so young, I would truly appreciate it.


Lukas said...

Foods that can cause seborrheic dermatitis to flare up-

Cow's milk
Brewers yeast
Bakers yeast
Various nuts

Anonymous said...


I read your story because I was doing some research on SD. I was diagnosed with this horrific disorder when I was 14. The doctor told me I was the worst case she'd ever seen...it was literally like the adult cradle cap and my entire scalp had a thick crust over it and it itched terribly. I had even developed it under my eyebrows which was even more embarassing. Years later after using fluocinonide solutions and tea tree shampoos, i still have it, but not as bad. I decided to become a vegan as well this year and after eliminating dairy, egg yolks and most wheat products, it has gotten a lot better. I have grown to believe that a lot diseases/disorders are influenced by one's diet habits and in certain situations, I've been right I also use natural makeup and moisturizers and this might seem odd, but I don't wash my hair everyday either because that could irritate my scalp even more.

Thank you so much for writing this blog, it's helpful to know that people with this awfulness are not alone in this struggle.

raz said...

I am a lot better after using Propolis. Check out my story here: http://seborrheic-dermatitis-treatment.blogspot.com

Josanne said...

Thanks to Kira and everyone to contributing to this blog, so very helpful. I have read everyone’s posts and have learnt so much from all of you. My story, in December 2010-January, 2011 I started getting two red angry, itchy, burning patches on my chin just below my mouth. I went to see the dermatologist but was unable to see the actual doctor but the PA diagnosed Rosacea and gave me Metronidazole .75% Gel and to apply 2x a day. I know nothing works overnight and tried to be patient, so I did try to give each of the doctor’s protocols time to work. 5 weeks later it was not getting better so back to the dermatologist and now the actual doctor says – Perioral Dermatitis and put me on Tetracycline 500 mg 2 x a day. I did that for 2 months and it was somewhat better but still bad and so itchy and burning all the time. I did research on Perioral Dermatitis and removed all the possible causes, Fluoride, SLS, parabens etc and was using baby products to wash and moisturize my face. I could not get into see my original dermatologist so made an appointment at another office. This doctor said yes, you have Perioral Dermatitis and gave me 3 months of Doxycycline 50 mg 2 x a day. After 3 months, not much better still have these two burning and itching red patches on my chin. I go back and now I am told you had Perioral Dermatitis but now it looks like Seborrheic Dermatitis. So I am given, Ketoconazole 2%, Promiseb and Cloderm .1%. Use only the Cloderm on Saturday and Sunday, the others Monday – Friday 2 x a day. By week 4 it is also on my cheek under my left eye and the skin around my eyes is so red and sore and nothing is making it better. I decided to try to address some other concerns and visit a nutritional consulting service. They use the BioMeridian Stress Assessment system to suggest particular areas of your health that deserve attention, and use that same instrument to identify possible nutritional supplements that will be most effective for you. I was already following a loose gluten free diet because gluten caused me issues, that showed up and so did dairy as potential foods to try to eliminate and then slowly re-introduce. Back in December, 2010 my regular doctor had told me my Vit. D was very low and to increase my calcium, so I had been eating yogurt, cheese, ice-cream etc. In the past I seemed to have been lactose intolerant with tummy troubles but this time it did not seem to bother me so I kept eating it. Three days into the no dairy my face started to stop being so red, inflamed, burning and itching and so I realized that possibly all this time I had been eating dairy and causing my face issues. I find this blog and feel like maybe I am finally on the right track. It’s only been 6 days but my face is not itchy, it is still red/flaky and dry but it is starting to calm down. I did have one bad day this week after I ate gluten free bread and peanut butter. Not sure what food caused the problem but once I am truly better I may try one and then the other to see. I know that I have months to get my system back on track and hopefully my face will improve week by week. I will post an update (hopefully positive) later to give an update. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a lot of the remedies here are confusing Rosacea with SD. I happen to have both. The Rosacea flares up with temperature extremes, and sometimes with foods for me. It causes red patches on my face and when it gets bad, raised pimples on my forehead. The MetroGel works well at relieving the redness and bumps from the Rosacea.

For the SD, I have been using the psoriasin gel that Kira mentions in her initial post. That works great at getting rid of the dry and loose skin. But the smell is bad, so to moisturize, I use Coconut Oil. It seems thick and I would have thought it would clog my pores but nothing like that. It works great. Now I only have to use the psoriasin gel every couple days or so, and I use the coconut oil to keep my skin moist. I also use Ketoconazole shampoo a couple times a week along with Denorex or Selsun. Each one has a different active ingredient and I read on another website that you can build up a tolerance to one, so switching between them occasionally helps. Doing much better now.

Anonymous said...

Candida is what causes SD. See a homeopathic dr. and they will help you cure it. You can do it on your own too, but it's a lot of committment. No sugars, grains, fruit - once you kill the Candida (you have to starve it, believe me - you will feel like crap the first few weeks when it's dying off
) that has taken over your immune system, you will kill the SD forever! it takes a while... - it took me five months. Lost 60 lbs as well. But, it Worked for me. Haid lost grew back as well. i have never felt better. It's a hard diet, but now is a life style change. Please google candida and seborrheic dermatitis - it's related. you can get tested by muscle test/kinesiology if you want to be sure that you have Candida.

Anonymous said...

I have had SD since I was a kid. I'm 43 now. I have my own treatment, one that I never realised was a treatment until I stopped using it - I just thought I was cured. But this treatment is not something I can implement for the rest of my life (I don't think). My SD has come back very quickly since taking a break from my treatment, after being free from symptoms for years. It's been so long since I had SD symptoms that I forgot how irritating it is.

The treatment? Its not something everyone can implement, and its too time consuming to do just for curing SD. What is it? Its Marathon Running. Yep. Up until I decided to take a break recently, I ran 50-80 miles per week. I have been doing that for the last few years, and have not had so much as a single itch, or a single flake of dandruff.

I stopped running a week and a half ago, on account of other priorities for this winter. Now I am flaking like it's snowing, to the point that I sought out this issue and came across your entry.

I have no idea why running resolved the issue for me, but am interested if someone can make any correlations. I'm not sure either if its marathoning per se, or just vigorous exercise, but for me, it's like night and day. So I totally agree with your last couple of sentences in your post.

Anonymous said...

I've always had some small amount of dandruff on my scalp & was prescribed Nizoral 2% & it was wiped out for a good 15 years, didn't even have to use regular over the counter dandruff shampoo for maintenance. Then I got some weird flu/pneumonia & per the doctor the reason why I got the sebbhorric dermatitis was due to my immune system being compromised for a long time?? Okay I guess?

Anyway, after a ton of internet & book research I thought for sure I had Candida I thought I had all the symptoms but like a lot of things we find or learn on the internet there are a lot of symptoms that mimic each other. I took a blood test for it & it came up negative.

Dermatologist started me with a Vaseline type steroid which would knock out the SD for months, then it went to weeks then a few days. Another Dermatologist was horrified to find out I was using it & put me on another lighter steroid that was foam based. I really liked it because it absorbed so quickly & was much lighter & not as harsh on the skin but like the vaseline style it worked well at first then the body got used to it & now it only helps for a few days at a time.

What really bothers me is this disease seems so simple & not some Cancer or super serious disease yet doctors have no idea how to cure let alone have an effective treatment to at least live with it without resorting to steroids.

Doesn't the medical or science community ever cure anything anymore??

Anonymous said...

Oh to follow up on the foam steroid I was taking. I stopped because my insurance stopped covering it. A small can of foam 1/2 the size of a can of shaving foam was over $200!!!

That is just plane highway robbery! Thanks healthcare system.

Anonymous said...

Hi i have suffered from SD on my scalp and face for the last 20 years i have tried just about every lotion and potion there is to control this and nothing worked until i tried a cleanser called "verite" cleanser by estee lauder, the product range is for extremely sensitive skin and it is not well advertised you normally have to ask for it, some stores stock it under the counter or you can get online, this does not get rid of it but it keeps it under control and prevents flare ups, it seems to leave a protective film on the skin which the SD cannot get through, unfortunately this only protects the face not the scalp, but i can live with it on my scalp but not on my face! i hope this helps anyone who tries it, ask in the store to try a sample they should be willing to let you have a sample size for free to try. I also have an allergy to milk but find it impossible to eliminate completely

Josanne said...

As promised here is the latest in my saga continued from my post of November. I continued with the no dairy/casein, no gluten/wheat diet but still having issues with my face. I finally went to see another brand new dermatologist and explained my year long issue and what I had taken or used prior. At this point I had stopped all medication and was just using Super by Dr. Perricone for washing and moisturizing. These were the only products that did not burn on contact. She took a biopsy and gave me some Protopic to use until the results were in. In less than a week my face was 80% better, this is after a whole year of nothing working. I had one bad day after I used some SPF but that resolved after a day or 2. That was on 12/17 and I have had 2 checkups with her and 100% cleared up. I am using the Protopic once a day and am going down to every other day to see what happens. I feel confident for the first time that I have the right solution. I am still doing a dairy/gluten free diet, watching my sugar intake, drinking lots of water and exercising the same amount. The other benefit has been that I lost 11 lbs and feel so much better. I was not overweight but seemed to be bloated and feeling puffy all the time. My doctor said that I may never know what caused my skin issues but I am hoping with my diet changes and having a medication that works and keeping my product use to just Super I will be ok. Wish everyone the best on this frustrating journey.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted that Candida causes SD, not true. I've never heard there is a definitive cause. If it was Candida, you could cure it with Diflucan.

This is from the Mayo Clinic:

By Mayo Clinic staff

Doctors don't yet know the cause of seborrheic dermatitis. Factors that may play a role include:

A yeast (fungus) called Malassezia. This fungus is one of the normal microscopic life forms that grow, along with certain bacteria, in your skin's oily secretion (sebum). Creams, foams or lotions containing an antifungal agent, such as ketoconazole (Ketozole, Extina), often help reduce flare-ups, supporting the idea that this yeast is a contributing factor. But seborrheic dermatitis itself isn't considered an infection, and it's not contagious.

Change of season. Episodes are often worse in winter.

Neurological conditions. Seborrheic dermatitis may occur more frequently in people who have Parkinson's disease and certain other neurological disorders.

Stress and fatigue. Stressful life events and situations may help trigger an episode or make it worse through mechanisms that aren't yet understood. The role of neurological disorders and stress may be related through effects on the nervous system.

HIV/AIDS. Seborrheic dermatitis may occur more commonly and tend to be more severe in those with HIV/AIDS.

Mark said...

This is my first blog and proud that I might have found what works for my SD. last Monday I had a really bad outbreak of my SD frustrated as all hell. After coming home from a funeral and having to put up with my flacky, reddened, dry skin I went into my pantry and opened up the medicine box looking for something that had anti fungal ingredient. TINACTIN anti fungal cream also used for "Cures & prevents most athlete's foot" yes for your feet. I first washed my face and used a dry towel to rub some of the flacks off my face then applied a thin layer ofcream to my face and rub it in order not to see the cream. I am not a Doctor but a Nurse I am not prescribing this to no one but since I applied it to my face after three days the flakiness has gone away and the redness is almost gone I still continue to put it on my face each morning since monday 2-17-12. I have been doing this twice a day.
My coworker have also noticed a big difference. my email is mjb66062@att.net. Stick in there. Mark

Mark said...


Update from two days ago flakiness and redness almost gone. I asked my wife to touch my face and she honestly said "your face looks a lot better and soft" I still continue to do my same routine twice a day. Apply a thin layer of TINACTIN just as it states on the tube and apply another layer after I get home from work around 3 or 4P.......As I said before I am not a Physician but a Nurse I am not prescribing this to no one. This is my life living with SD.....Mark

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I've left a comment before and this is an update on my condition. I have been trying to cure my SD using natural methods and I think I might have found my ideal way of dealing with it. In September last year a nutritionist diagnosed me with Casein intolerance, and since avoiding diary my skin has changed dramatically. I feel better generally and have had less colds this winter, which were also gone within a few days. I have also found a company which specialises in products for sensitive/dermatitis prone skin, called Essential Care, they do a coconut cleanser and a repair lotion for itchy skin. They are affordable products and really do work!
Good luck to everyone & hope this helps :)

Konstantin said...

Hello dear people,

I've just been amazed with the amount of people suffering from this horrible disease not only in my country Bulgaria, but around the world.I've been fighting seborrheic-dermatitis more then 10years without result.While I've managed to severely reduce and almost fully eradicate my dandruff, the disease on my face is awful,all the skin on face around my nose, eyes, even my mustache, would often go red itchy, the skin would then begin to crumble and under it no new good skin grows, its hard and not soft like normal skin.This torment I've lived with for so long and I've tried hundreds of cures prescribed from the best dermatologist in my country, yet the best effects I've ever had was 2months of normal skin.After that the sickness resumes with increased power.I've went to homeopath docs as well, one made me so sick that I had almost gone blind when the sickness even covered my eyes for a while.It took me 3weeks to recover after his "treatment".From what I've researched about this condition: few things I know for sure:
-Drastic and fast temperature changes affect it.
-Anger outburst,shock, worsen it greatly.
-Spicy foods are absolutely forbidden.

There is treatment that lasts forever and I know doctors keep telling us this condition can not be cured.This is A LIE!Our normal docs are ignorant, I've recently researched the one healing science that is known to have cured ALL known sicknesses on earth, including cancer,the Indian medical science - Aurveda.Currently I'm testing on myself various recommended herbs against this seborrhea,so try that I'm sure you have Aurveda medical center in your country.I'm studying and looking for proper book to learn this knowledge and someday I will go to India so I can study there and help people like you and me, to relieve them of all sicknesses.

Richard said...

Hi all,

I have lived with Seb. derm. for most of my adult life. For many days of a typical week I would look fine but with some chronic low-grade redness in the typical areas (temples, cheeks etc.) but then suddenly (it seemed) that my face would become inflamed on random days. Like many people here I could not establish a direct link between what I ate/drank and the facial results. It seemed I could eat eggs for example on one day and be fine and eat them again the next day and my face would erupt.

After consulting a good dermatologist I did become more aware of my diet and sleep etc and achieved generally improved results. However, the biggest breakthrough has been with using digestive enzymes! I take at least one with any meal (sometimes more - I am still experimenting with dosage according to food type). I feel and look better! There are plenty of references which people can google but I recommend Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf and Dr Mercola as just three to start with.

By the way I doubt there is a link between the intake of saturated fat as saturated fat makes up most of the fat component of a typical human body and is an essential fat. Maybe it concerns the percentage of fats / carbs / protein - more likely too many carbs and/or Omega 6 fats. Again Mark Sisson is an excellent reference point here.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever had awful SD for years, only to have it vanish when you moved to another country, state, or climate? I live in Oregon and have had a disgusting red rash on and off for the past year on and around my nose and forehead, but whenever I go on vacation (Montana, Iowa, Tennessee, and the best: california) my SD disappears within the first few days. I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this. I'm going to school in Kentucky next fall and am wondering whether or not the relief is permanent. If so, that would be a load off my mind

Anonymous said...

wow im so glad i found this blog. i have tried soooo many things after being affected by this horrible skin disorder for over 4 years, and working as a beauty therapist, someone who is supposed to be a skincare proffessional to have bad skin herself has been hard! i have tried soo many natural things, but am yet to give up. i thought i was definately onto something with the coconut oil, and it started working but i ended up having a major allergic reaction. i have definately noticed i wil have a bad reaction after a big night out, so have greatly reduced my drinking and have started goin back to the gym hard and eating super healthy cutting out almost all bread and fatty/fried foods. i have noticed a slight improvement but its still there. my doctor has reffered me onto a dermatologist which is in another city 3 and a half hours drive away and at $200 PER visit I dont think im guna take that up! i have found a naturopath near me and have emailed them an enquiry wondering if its a food allergy so see how that goes.. i am also moving to australia from new zealand in 4 weeks so it will be interesting to see if it has any affect on my skin, hopefully for the good!! i definately stoked i came accross this blog!' thanks for sharing everyone and keep em coming!!!

Ruan said...

I've been struggling on & off with a similar condition to SD for the last 5 years or so. This year I've experienced some of my worst flare-ups.

I was so fortunate to come accross this blog, which contains tons of helpful information that doctors never tell me. My story is the same, cortisone creams & gels, shampoos, everything. Ive done some further digging and came accross this blog, which also contains a lot of natural remedies which you may try. I'm going to give them a go.

Also, I've been on Herbalife products for the past month, and I'm about to order the Aloe gel concentrate, which I hope will make an improvement. I will come back in a few weeks to let you all know about my progress & which remedies worked the best.

Best of luck to everyone suffering from this horrible condition.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone. just an update. i have discovered i have candida overgrowth. this has been my problem for alllll these years. google candida and the symptoms. ud be surprised!! it totally explained why probiotica helped, coconut oil helpd, low bread/wheat helped, but didnt completely clear it up as i was still comsuming sugars like lots of fruit which feed the candida. it also explains why i used to hav major flare ups after drinking alcohol or cave in to a sweets craving, which the sweet cravings are from the candida. the only way to get rid of it is taking pills called candigest which kill the candida and let the body process the candida to waste, and following a strict candida diet. after you have been on the diet u can ease off a bit, but daily i make sure i consume plenty of anti candida foods, eg coconut oil and cinnamon in my morning poridge, less sugar possible. even tho i have the odd slip up every now and then like having a few wines! then that will cause me to hav a flare up but i know whats causing it now. no doctor has helped me at all, except when i was prescribed antifungals but the candida can become resistant to these and come back worse. it sux to have to sacrifice a few things, well alot, but id rather do that than have horrible red itchy rashy thickened skin on my face neck and chest. do some research on it guys!! good luck!!

jc ie said...

Have suffered from sd for over 25 years.
having used only natural shampoo, sun cream etc it has improved however as i travel a lot for work I noticed my outbreaks increased quite often.
I now think that the laundry detergent used in some hotels is triggering an outbreak.
Has anyone experienced this?

Kira said...

jc ie,

Detergents, soaps, and shampoos are all hotel items that can trigger skin issues for me. I've been trying to figure out how to carry enough soap with me on a trip, but there is still the towels and sheets to worry about.

I know some companies make travel towels that dry quickly and silky cocoon type sleeping sacks that you put between the sheets or on top of the sheets, as you wish. Considering your frequent travel, you might look into these options to reduce your exposure levels.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone, I also suffered from seborrheic dermatitis, I then used seboclear lotion which is available in a shampoo base. My dandruff was gone and also the hair on that scalp area was badly affected, I was able to save the roots, and I think I know now as to why I developed dandruff. This is because I used to oil my hair each night, not just hair but scalp also and also a great deal of scalp massage. That massage was helping me to grow new hairs on my head, but the sebaceous glands become over active I think. After my hair is now well treated with seboclear shampoo, I am trying my level best to get my hair back on that area by applying onion juice on the scalp mixed with parachute coconut oil, that is actually helping me, in growing newer hairs slowly and existing hairs faster, but that problem has started again, that dandruff I just noticed, its there in a very small area. I want some advice, I want all of my hair back, that onion therapy is really helping me, but keeping ur head always massaged and oily, also poses some threats to it. I am thinking of applyin glemon juice mixed with coconut oil at least once a week to prevent dandruff, or may be trying a ketoconazole shampoo once a week. If someone has any other remedy, please write here.

Arun said...

Hey I am Arun. I am suffering from SD for past 05 years. After going to reputed dermatologists one after other, I realized that they dont have a solution.I have tried almost all available medicines but all become useless after some time.

Last year I went to an ayurvedic doctor. It has come down. The treatment consisted of ointments, oils, ketazone shampoo, nasal drops, glycerine soap and different types of herbal medicines.

Diet is infact an important aspects which dermatologist ignores. Avoid citric food, take Vegetarian diet, less sugar, milk will help. scalp should not be dry also and not oily also. That is why my ayurvedic doctor asked to apply herbal ointment and oil before bath and wash off with keto shamapoo once in two days.Taking vitamins will help. Applying lightly heated coconut (may be olive)oil will also help to loosen the scalp for further application of keto shampoo. I would like to know if vitamin E is useful.

Anonymous said...

haha..i thought i was the only one suffering from this horrific disease and none of the doctors could help me to tackle this.I have tried every odd shampoo there is to treat this but the flakes and the dead skin would return within 2 days.
I would go late to office every other day as I had to scrub my scalp with shampoo hoping this time it will be cured.
but finally after reading this blog I decided to isolate the bloody allergen and I now know its milk for me.
God knows how I became allergic to it but stopping to take it has considerably brought down my problem.I will say about 80% of my problem is solved.Now i just need to take good care of my scalp and avoid milk and milk products.
I really want to thank the author of this blog and other people who have left their valuable comments.
For others suffering the same problem, I will urge to take matter in your own hands and isolate the problem food.
-Mangesh Patil

Kira said...


I'm so glad you found your main allergen, and that I was able to help.

I've been watching the recent statistical linkage of salt intake with some autoimmune diseases. I wonder if this could be a primary or secondary issue with SD sufferers (not that any research institute would bother with the funding ... but that doesn't stop us, does it?)

Health to us all,

Josh said...

Hey all,

So I have had SD for about two years now. I have had bad dandruff for most of my life, but I never had red skin until a couple of years ago when my girlfriend broke up with me. After she did that, it slowly began to appear on my face and neck. Usually in the same spots as a lot of people here ( nose, under the eyes, eyebrows, temples, under the nose and the chin). As time went on, it also started appearing on my back and chest.

As with everyone else, the dermatologists has been absolutely useless. All I got were steroid creams and shampoos that dont work at all. In fact, I have yet to find a moisturizer that works. Pretty much everything either does nothing, or makes my skin feel like its on fire. Any of the shampoos they give me usually dont do anything and do nothing to prevent my dandruff.

About a year ago I deployed to Afghanistan. At first my skin was the worst its ever been. The lack of available showers and lack of skin care products mean my skin got really bad. Everywhere was dry, cracked, and flaky. However, after a few months there, taking a little bit of doxycycline to prevent malaria, and applying some hydro cortisone daily...my SD was almost completley gone, save for a little redness on my nose and under my eyes. I didnt need to put lotion on it or anything. My dandruff was still really bad, but it always has been terrible.

Flash Forward to post deployment back in the states...and my SD came back in force. Once again, all over my face, neck, back, and chest.

I use a glycerin bar soap to shower with, and usually some sort of T-gel tar shampoo. Head and Shoulders clinical strength sometimes works, but it leaves my scalp extremely dry. Usually I take very cold showers too, the hot showers dry out my skin . My skin is usually very dry whenever I step out of the shower regardless of the soap i use and regardless of the water temperature, but i have found the cold showers help a bit.

Anyways, right after i step out of the shower, I immediatley apply Baby oil w/ Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to the affected areas. This is where things get interesting.

For the first time in my life my dandruff has gone away and my scalp looks and feels great. Having a military haircut, I can see that it is not red and that there are no flakes in it! Great news right?

Well my other affected areas are still incredibly bad. Any treatments that help them now work for a week or two at best, and then a new resistant form of my SD seems to come back. Hydro cortisone continues to work fairly well when applied, but i applied the stuff almost daily for a year just trying to keep it under control, and I now know that is very bad for your skin, so I try and keep the steroid use to a minimum.

I have not been tested for food allergies, but I really dont think it could be that for me. In Afghanistan, I ate what I was served, didnt matter what it was. I ate dairy, seafood, meats, vegetables, grains, bread...everything...and somehow still my SD cleared up. Back here in the states I stick to a fruit and vegetable diet mostly, with a few things of chicken. I do have a lot of rice, and I do have a lot of milk, but I have never really noticed a connection between SD and food. I cant rule it out though, and after reading some of these stories its making me wonder.

Josh said...

Also, most of you said excecise seems to make it worse. Excercise definetly seems to help for me. And not just excercise, but sweating. Sweating seems almost crucial for me. The more I sweat, the better my SD seems to be. The less I sweat, the worse it seems to be.

Now in the last 2 weeks, my SD was doing fairly well, and then suddenly, it got very very bad again. No significant changes to my diet, still working out twice a day and sweating quite a bit, although I have been more stressed about things and I i did start applying a more liberal amount of the baby oil to the affected areas on my face, chest, and back. The baby oil defiantly keeps those areas from becoming dry, but it also makes them very very red and very noticeable.

Im still looking for my miracle cure. Maybe it was the weather? Humidity? I dont know.

Good luck to everyone, Josh

A.Michelle said...

Hi Kira! Thank-you so much for posting this. I have had SB for about a year now and it is the worst. Your post was so helpful. I,too, took the steroidal route, and even though it does work while I'm using it, the SB comes back a few days after stoping. I never even thought about scrubs being harmful. I've been using a scrub every day to get rid of the flakey layer on top. It hasn't really been working though. I also have been using a moisturizer with sunscreen in it and aside from the fact that it causes my face to break out (I'm 22, I rarely have breakouts) it also irritates the SB. I will be referring to you post alot in the future. Thanks again!


Kishan said...

Hi Kira and everybody else,

Let me come to the point.

Everybody has a typical skin type and needs to try a different solution.

SD is related to our immune system and skin condition. We might not be successful at immunizing ourselves, but we could probably improve our skin conditions.

Zinc oxide as suggested by Larry sounds one viable option and Oil of oregano is another one suggested by a doctor on this website http://www.drbaileyskincare.com/blog/tips-for-facial-seborrheic-dermatitis-control/

I just read all of this today and shall try the oil or Oregano first, in a couple of weeks.

I used to have severe SD flareup on my scalp for years, probably 10-12 years now. Initially I did not realize I had it, until 5-6 years ago, when I had flare-ups and bumps on my scalp. Regular shampooing help ease up the flare-ups but does not cure anything. It is a temp fix. I have tried all kinds of shampoos that you could imagine of. All of those provide temporary relief as do the steroids.

However, the best thing that has provide me longer term relief so far is the Mustard oil. It has very good properties but very bad smell. It has been the most effective solution so far.

With one application a week for few hours, it gives me a weeklong clear scalp and behind ear relief.

Recently, I took a diflucan tablet for yeast infection and this has cleared all of my symptoms for over a week now. I presume this is a temporary relief too because I do not believe in miracles.

Now for some history.

I am nearly vegetarian, come from tropic climate of Bombay, India. I left Bombay 20 years ago with scalp full of hair (not a speck of dandruff)and amazing skin. I live in Dubai for 8 years with improper diet (meals at odd times and pepsi with dinner). I gained about 25 pounds in weight, developed allergies and sinus issues, lost 35% of my hair, which thinned gradually, and developed a weaker immune system.

I live in Canada for 11 years now, and have SD for probably that length of time. However, it became evident only once I started taking Vitamin E capsules. Prior to that I simply had minor flaking and probably regular dandruff or a milder version of SD with no flare-ups. After I stopped the vitamin E, the flare-ups were occasional and happened only when I skipped shampooing my hair for days. I would think shampoo is drying my scalp but that was not the case. My hair is oily and it needs regular cleansing. Head and shoulders is effective for me and I surviving with the mustard oil applications.

I am sure most of us guzzle large amounts of soda not realizing the after affects it might have on our system. I believe the pepsi I consumed on daily basis, over a decade ago, did work in lowering my immune response.

I wanted to share my experience with others and I hope this helps someone get some relief from the miserable feeling we all have been living through.

Thanks and goodluck.

Anonymous said...

After reading the following article about MI, in the news online, I checked all the products I was using. Sure enough...body wash, shampoo, etc., etc., etc. I immediately discarded and replaced with products that did not contain MI. In one day my seborrheic dermatitis cleared up. Know everyone is different, but it worked for me...so just passing it along.

Warning over 'epidemic’ of skin allergies from chemical in cosmetics and household products

A chemical found in everyday cosmetics and household cleaning products may be responsible for an "epidemic" of painful skin allergies, doctors have warned.

The preservative – known as MI – is used in a wide range of shampoos, moisturisers and shower gels as well as make-up and baby wipes.

But dermatologists warn people are being exposed to much higher doses than before, leading to a steep rise in allergies known as contact dermatitis where the skin becomes red and itchy and can sting and blister.

Experts say the chemical is second only to nickel in causing contact allergies. One in 12 adults and one in five children in the UK now have eczema, of which contact dermatitis is one of the most common types.

MI, which is short for methylisothiazolinone, is a preservative which is also found in paint. It is added to products to prevent unwanted growth of bacteria and yeasts.

Well-known products that contain MI found on sale in shops included Nivea body lotion, Wet Ones and Boots men's face wash.

Anonymous said...

This was such a helpful blog. I have been suffering from SD for five years now. I have a flare up about once a month, usually if I have been sweating a lot or during periods of high stress. It also seems that when I let my facial hair grow out too long I have a break out that originates from where my beard is growing (maybe it traps additional sweat.) Like many of you, I went to several dermatologist and they all provided me different variations of the same topical creams. I was given a cortisone shot once also. Nothing seemed to help, except over the counter cortisone cream. One of the doctors told me to just use that, so I did for a long time, but eventually learned that cortisone has lasting damaging effects. Lately, I have made serious changes in my diet and lifestyle to try to control my SD. I have gone almost vegan (I still occasionally break from it) and I have cut out almost all gluten. I wash my face daily with Dr. Cynthia Bailey's facial redness relief kit (http://www.drbaileyskincare.com/facial-redness-relief-kit-paraben-free.shtml). I found using the kit to help, but not fully keep my skin under control if I only use that so I also occasional use pure tea tree oil on my face and scalp.

Anonymous said...


I've discovered that Selenium Sulfide shampoo had an effect on my facial SD whenever I washed my hair with it. So I now use it once or twice a week on my face, and moisturize with E45 cream mixed with essential oils of Avocado & Tea tree.

Has been keeping my SD in check for a few months now, and I'm having only mild flare ups.
I strongly recommend research into selenium sulfide. The one I use is Selsun & Selsun Blue


Anonymous said...

My guess is that it's due to the fluoride in the water. I know this topic is controversial, but I truly believe it is not good for our body since it is toxic. Fluoride is poisonous, look it up.

Anonymous said...

Anju, I am searching for a cure for my face but I have found the cure for my hair. Yes, use SLS free shampoo. Wash only when your hair feels dirty, but aim for less than every day, but when you wash, do the wash rinse repeat routine ending with a very thorough rinse. And most importantly: brush twice daily with a 100% boar bristle brush from the scalp. Boar bristle pulls oils from the scalp and it has changed my life. I've never again picked up steroids for my scalp or antifungal shampoo.

I sincerely hope this helps you. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arun,

I saw your post on this website and am now in my third week of ayruvedic treatment. I have seen no results so far but am on a 3 month detox.

How long did the treatment take to work? I am really interested in your story as there are no other people which have tried this treatment for their SD.

Please email me on: alex_farry13@hotmail.com

I would like to chat.



Nick Woodruff said...

I had all types of fungal diseases as a kid. I had an outbreak of SD at 36 onwards, now 39. My flare ups are random and becoming less frequent. Stress and lack of sleep plays a role. I drink quite a bit of red wine and never have problems unless I have a late night with it which leads me back to the lack of sleep thing. Always been a little depressed and worry a lot so maybe thats an issue. I think its a combination of issues and is different for all of us. I know I have GI problems..IBS, acid reflux etc so I am looking into that but everyone is different and maybe thats why nobody knows how to cure it. One thing for sure is that steroids won't help. only make it worse for longer, deeper flare ups. Found them ok for light flares. Good luck to all.

Mango Dash said...

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Keep Posting:)

Iskandar said...

Thanks for the blog post and all the comments to those that commented above! I have had Seborrheic Dermatitis for 7 years, it started when I was about to turn 13 and now I am almost 20 years old in 3 months. Before I was 13 I also had dandruff to deal with when I was 10 and onward. I've done tons of research and tried tons of things, but there is now quick or easy fix I have learned. I manage my SD with oregano oil diluted in jojoba oil, I apply this topically. It works quite well for me. I don't use a face wash, and I don't really have acne problems, my skin is oily though. Anyways, I used to use a lot of things, but all I really want is for my face to learn how to fend for itself. I want my body to be self-regulating. I don't want to use a plethora of face washes and other products to keep my skin "alive." Lately I have been chewing my food more thoroughly and drinking ore water. I've also taken up Qigong (Spring Forest Qigong), but I cannot attest to the efficacy of it just yet because I have only been studying and practicing for a few days.

GUESS WHAT, nothing you do will matter UNLESS you do it CONSISTENTLY! It matters more what you do every day than what you do occasionally when you remember to. This is crucial, you have to be consistent, something which I have failed at time and time in the past.

That's about it, best of luck to you all, I hope that we all can be rid of this together.

(I won't be able to get notifications if you reply, but I will visit this webpage again in a few months or so, best of wishes)


Dr Health Clinic said...

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Mr. Jacob said...

Hey guys I have been battling with facial seborreheic dermatitis for almost2 years now. It have gotten so bad that my face looks red and raw if I go out in the sun to long. I must let you all know that I have been also diagnosed with EBV virus prior to the time i saw my face flaking which has made it even worst. I believe my condition is because of my weak immune system or maybe because of my liver because of the virus. I have fully recovered from EBV but the seborreheic dermatitis hasn't gone away. I have been to many Dermatologist and they prescribe corticosteroids and oral ketaconazole like Elrux which has not helped but provoke my skin. My face is on occasions gets dry and flaky alot that i used Protopic to the point that I'm addicted to always using it every night for the past two years. This is the only thing that brings back my skin colour in the red parts.

It's real embarassing when I have to talk with someone not knowing if my face is cracking and peeling around my nose and my mouth. People often scorn me alot. It's especially hard on me because I'm brown skin that my symptoms is noticeable. It's light brown and flaky. I'm grateful that it stop burns but I want it gone for good. I have been taking GNC mega men multivitamins, probiotics and omega 3 along with Cetaphil mild cleanser facial wash and Cetaphil sun screen. Also because of the nature of my job I don't sleep much and I exercise for hours a time a day.

Can anyone help me into what can be done to cure this problem.