Okay, let me begin by saying that I’ve had Seborrheic Dermatitis for over 18 years. So I know what you are going through, and I DO have a cure (or CURES I should say) for you. I have tried everything you can possibly imagine over the years, done thousands of hours of research, tested natural sources (oils, etc.), diet, allergens, and even made my own concoctions. There is not a doctor or person out there that is going to tell me about this condition. While I have seen some people providing information that is on the right track, a HUGE percentage is seriously misguided or incomplete.
Before I get into this, here is some immediate action to take:
1.) If you are putting any natural oils or butters on your face, coconut oil, jojoba oil, neem oil, tee tree oil, almond oil, lavender, oil of oregano, olive leaf oil, etc. (you’ll notice I mentioned many anti-fungals, and the list goes on)…STOP immediately!!
2.) If you are using a soap of any kind, natural or otherwise, STOP immediately!!
3.) If you are using steroid creams, cordizones, or various prescriptions with side effects too numerous to mention…for the love of God..STOP immediately!!
There are more action items, but I’ll cover them later. For now the first thing we need to address is Seborrheic dermatitis itself (and this applies to psoriasis, enzcema, rosacea as well), what and why it is happening, and what it is I mean by “cures” (plural). There are two cures that I am referring and need defining. The first is the “cure” for your symptoms. Depending on how bad your flare up is, this information will get rid of your flare up completely from within HOURS to 1-3 days. And then they are gone. That’s right, not weeks like other “solutions”…which I will touch on later. In most cases you will see a DRASTIC change overnight that will make you say “holy crap” when you look in the mirror. The second cure is the cure for what is causing your Dermatitis. I consider “cured” to be when you have absolutely no symptoms and you no longer have a skin problem. You have probably heard many people say “it’s a food allergy!”, or “it’s your diet and toxins”, or “it’s your detergent”, or “it’s SLS
in your shampoo and toothpaste” and confidently proclaim their cure. In some regard, they are correct, but they are also very misguided and incomplete from what I have seen. So this info is to help you to understand everything better avoid all of the wild goose chases this skin issue (and people) can send you on. Here is goes:
CURE #1, Dermatitis and Your Symptoms
Without getting too in depth, Seborrheic Dermatitis or dermatitis in general, is causing your skin to flare up because of yeast; more specifically Mallassezia yeast. This yeast grows on everyone’s skin and feeds off of the sebum (oil) that your body/skin produces. With dermatitis, you are producing more oil than normal in the areas of your flare ups, while also overproducing skin cells. The Mallassezia yeast feeds on this oil (and lipids…in soap!) and grow themselves. This causes skin irritation and flaky skin, due to the rapid oil and skin cell production. The rapid skin cell production, rapid oil, and yeast production, go hand in hand with flare ups. That said, any oil you put on your face is providing a feeding ground for yeast to thrive. Various natural oils, or creams that contain natural oils, may provide you some burning relief temporarily…but you are taking one step forward and two-three steps back! There are many oils that have anti-fungal properties that can help kill or diminish the yeast. HOWEVER, you are still providing food for them to grow! Moreover, you are providing A LOT of that food. It’s more food and growth than you are killing. Most dermatitis is also usually secluded to particular areas of your body or face and scalp. Those are the areas that are overproducing oil, while the other areas are not. So when you start adding additional oil to those areas, AND to the areas that are not overproducing, you are actually encouraging the yeast to spread to areas it normally wouldn’t. Think about it, now there is food there too! Just know that anti-fungal oils may hurt the yeast a little bit in theory, but the amount you are feeding the yeast is WAY more! Go ahead and try putting coconut oil on a flare up for a long period of time. While coconut oil can do wonders for skin…it will sky rocket and spread your flare up over time. The people who have had any cure success with oils is because they UKNOWINGLY solved their “cure #2” (discussed below) problem when switching to natural oil based solutions. Meaning, they may have been allergic to SLS, or something in their previous cream, or the flare up caused them to switch detergents, diet, etc., etc. It was definitely not the oil. Soaps are also no good! Soaps tend to clog your pores no matter how natural, and more importantly, almost all are made of lipids which yeast also feeds on. So in a way you are almost trapping the yeast with an additional food source along with the over production of oil you are producing in that area. So stay away from soaps and oils! What you need is something that has no oils, no soap or lipids, no chemicals, fragrances, irritants, etc., that cleans your pours/skin and kills the yeast. Forget about coal/pine tar soaps or shampoos, pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or any of those soaps/shampoos. Yes, they have good anti-fungal properties that can be effective, but they also have other properties and chemicals that will not work for many people and can be causing or adding to the problem. So what do you use then, right? The answer is Sea Salt
- unrefined, no frangrances, PURE Sea Salt
with trace minerals. The best, hands down, is Dead Sea Salt
. The more trace minerals that are in the salt, the better. I use on be the company Minera, but if you are in a pinch just go to any natural foods store and pick up a pure sea salt that has lots of trace minerals. It will work VERY well. The Dead Sea Salt just takes it to a whole other level. Just research if you want to know why. It’s the lowest elevation on earth and has properties found nowhere else on earth. So here’s what to do:
1.) Take a small bowl and fill it with warm water, mixing in a generous amount of the sea salt.
2.) Put the bowl aside and splash your face with regular warm water for 10-30 seconds to open up your pores. You can do this with a warm wash cloth if you wish. The goal is just to open your pores and make sure they are open when you wash with the sea salt water.
3.) Now wash your face with the sea salt water. If you have a flare up or get in in your eyes, it will sting. But it’s going to be the same sting you would have if you went for a dip in the ocean in your current state. The sting is fine for your eyes too (unlike stings from chemicals) and hurts only initially the same as if you opened your eyes under water in the ocean. So continue to wash your face with the salt water for a few minutes. If you can soak your face in it, even better, as you really want it to soak in and clean good.
4.) Now rinse your face with cold water and pat dry with a clean wash cloth.
5.) If your skin does not feel tight or overly dry after, then leave it alone and don’t put anything else on it. That is ideal. But if it you need to put a moisturizer on, I would recommend small amount of Aveeno Eczema Therapy lotion. It’s oatmeal based, not greasy, fragrance free, and tends not to sting flare ups like many lotions. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Aveeno products, but this one is in a different class. Do not dump tons all over your face. Rub a small amount in, see how your face feels after a few minutes, and if it’s too tight or dry rub in just a little more if needed. Do that until you are comfortable. I suggest patting your face after moisturizing to remove any excess. When your skin is completely healed soon, you won’t even need the moisturizer.
If you do this routine morning and night, your skin will have dramatic results almost immediately. You will be shocked! A friend of mine had a very bad flare up for weeks with the severe sunburn look all over his face because he was spreading it with natural oils. I obviously gave him this information, and he told me that within an hour he saw a 75% improvement and was almost 100% clear the next day. He actually didn’t have the Aveeno until the next morning so he used a very light layer of Neosporin all over his face, then splashed cold water on and patted dry. He wanted as little on as possible that could be greasy which is correct! Anyway, I don’t know about the Neosporin, but whatever works!
CURE #2 – The “real” cure
As I mentioned earlier, the skin is the body’s first line of defense signaling that something is wrong. And let me tell you, something IS wrong. Everyone is different and their body’s react differently to things. Take a shell-fish allergy for example. Some people may break out in hives, some may get lock-jaw, some may have their throat close. In this case shell-fish is the cause, and the reactions can obviously differ. But various body reactions don’t just happen with allergies, they can happen with a myriad of issues. For example, when there’s too much bad flora in your gut and your liver has too many toxins. This is quite difficult to clear and takes a very strict diet/detoxing over time to heal. This is not an allergy, but something that the body will react to. In my, or your case, our body reacts with dermatitis! Wonderful, huh? Hey, it’s better than throat closing! Anyway, what you need to understand is that everyone is different and everyone has a different cause. The causes are mainly going to be an allergies, or something health related. THAT is what YOU need to figure out. When you do, and you address it…Seborrheic Dermatitis is GONE! Just remember, the dermatitis you have is a reaction. It’s not just “hey sorry, this is how your body works” like doctors may have you believe. It doesn’t just happen, just like your throat wouldn’t close under healthy/normal conditions. It’s a reaction…so find your cause. That said, your cause could be an allergy to food, environment, detergent, SLS
in shampoos, any chemical out there, or you name it. If it’s health related, it could be bad flora ( Candida Overgrowth
) in the gut needing probiotics and diet detox, or it could be a vitamin deficiency where your body is not functioning properly for example. So it’s not JUST a food allergy, or JUST a health problem. It’s different for everyone. The next time you see someone ranting or even selling their “it’s 100% a food allergy” cure, know that they might be helping some people who it actually is a food allergy, and seriously misguiding many others at the same time. I would try and get health blood tests and allergy blood tests (food and elemental) and see if you can pin point it. PS – I hate to say this but it could be more than one issue - like bad gut, and multiple allergies, etc.. However, remember that the body can react differently to different allergies. In the meantime, try to cut out some obvious bad habits you might currently have. If your eating a lot of crap food, smoking, drinking lots of coffee, alcohol, eating high amounts of sugars, etc., to help your cause. Also keep your skin as clean and dry as possible. Some moisturizing is okay and in most cases needed off the bat, but keep it to a minimum and you’ll be okay.
I know how awful, embarrassing, frustrating, and self-esteem killing dermatitis can be, so I’m really hoping this make a positive difference for people. It’s taken a long time to collect, understand, and experiment. So I’d love to hear peoples’ experience using this, and would be happy to answer any questions.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
If you would like more information, or answers to frequently asked questions, you can visit
This is also the best way to contact me.
Edited and added on December 8 2014
I just want to address some of the most common questions I see. Before I do so, I want to point out that reading this post should be informative for you and used with common sense. Please pay attention to some of the principles in the post, as that will answer many questions for you.
1.) Will this work for the scalp or other areas of the body?
Answer: Yes, understanding the principles...is there any reason to believe this would not work on any other skin areas? I have also been asked for best ways to apply this to the scalp. I do not do it myself so I don't have a scalp routine. It would not be hard to find your own by being creative. Just think that a swim in the ocean would be good for your scalp/skin...so how can I replicate that at home.
2.) I had great results with Sea Salt at first and then my skin got used to it or was irritated.
Answer: You are over drying and irritating your skin. Probably using too much salt or washing too often. The sea salt if great for established flare ups. It can reduce the redness and help heal the skin. However, after you have helped heal your skin, you need to be careful and gentle with it. Try washing your face with regular water every other day and just use a small bit of Aveeno (I tend to use just the regular aveeno with the green label these days) in a sparing amount. See what happens and learn your skin dryness and oil levels. Try to keep it balanced. As I mentioned, sea salt is a great way to clean the skin...and heal skin. When you have a cut and go swimming in the ocean, it stings like a mother. But it usually heals the cut quite quickly too if you ever taken notice.
3.) "This is your cure? This is not a cure."
Answer: [deep sigh] These people have obviously not read the entire post. So let me be clear. Everyone is different and the reason for their Seborrheic dermatitis is different. The sea salt and guidelines for staying away from topical oils, shampoos that dry the hell out of your skin, etc...are strictly to help your flare ups and heal the "cut" or "flare up" that you have and help manage it.
While there is a possibility that your flare ups are from an allergy or reaction a particular allergen (chemicals in shampoos, creams, detergent, food, etc, etc), I feel that a majority of dermatitis is an internal problem that is making it's way out to your skin.
You should take a look at your general health as a starting point. I also believe that most forms of dermatitis are a sign of infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal). If you have a lot of stomach issues for example, that should be a red flashing light to start identifying your cure for the cause internally. Let me give you two analogies to think about that may help. First is the animal kingdom and "survival of the fittest". The weak and sick will perish and the strong and healthy survive. So how does nature help this process (again in my opinion, but seems to be common sense)? By visible signs in an animal's/person's appearance. An animal can detect signs of sickness or illness that would deter reproducing with that sick animal.
Dermatitis in many cases is a sign that something is wrong or an illness or infection is present. Second, I like to think of the body and skin like a boiling pot of sudsy water with a lid on it. As the pot boils the foamy water will eventually start to seep from the edges of the lid. You can take a towel and wipe away suds, but they will keep coming back unless the flame is turned down or off. This is basically what you are doing with your skin to control flare ups. The sea salt is very good when the suds have been seeping out or the pot for a while, have started to rust the pot and cause damage. It helps clean the suds up and repair the damage. If there was no damage to your skin, your face would not sting when you go swimming in the ocean.
3.) Where should I start to identify the source of my SD?
Answer: This is impossible for me to answer. I would need to talk to someone for a while and ask many questions to try and help. However, here are a few little tips:
A) An Rotation-Elimination Diet
Yes, I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's a good test. Even if for just 4-5 days. See what happens. If you notice a major improvement, you are on to something.
B) Take a break from coffee, smoking, sugar, and forms of caffeine. For me, if I drink coffee or even a chai latte with soy milk (experimentation), my face will get flush and red-ish for the day even if was clear before drinking.
C) Something worth trying as a first step if there is an internal infection (whether it be candida, bacterial, or even viral) is turmeric. It's pretty amazing and you can have a teaspoon each day as a drink (I heat up milk in a pan, add honey, a little bit of ginger, and cinnamon...very good), or simply add a good amount of it to your cooking. It's very tasty. It can kill candida and a variety of bugs. Personally, I use turmeric as a staple, and I will drink echinacea tea as well. I will also take large doses of Vitamin C when I can and l-lysine good. I mix these up but the Turmeric, echinacea, and vitamin C are a great starting point. It's amazing what these items can fight off. If you just want to test it out, I would try the turmeric for a week. Maybe a teaspoon of turmeric powder a day however you would like to ingest it. Since it has a pretty broad scope of things it can fight, you might be very surprised.
D) Chlorine in your tap/shower water. I personally have a sensitivity to chlorine. many people do, and chlorine in general is very harsh on the skin. i don't have time to go into a lot of detail on this, but it is worth looking into. Read up on chlorine and chloromines in tap water.
Chloromines are very difficult to filter, but possible. You should test your water for mineral hardness and chlorine. Both harsh on the skin. Before making any drastic changes to you water or getting filters etc., try washing your face with bottled water for a few days. The best scenario would be to not shower at all and just wash your face with the bottled water. When you take a shower (even for 5 minutes) your skin absorbs everything like a sponge...even the steam in the air. Apparently it's equivalent to drinking numerous glasses of that water your showering in. Anyway...it's something to consider that could offer immediate relief or possibly a complete solution to your problem.
Lastly, regarding finding an internal cause if that is your cause...use some common sense.
For example, if you happen to have a lot of stomach issues/pain...and took a lot of antibiotics...you might want to look into adding probiotics.
In that scenario, I personally would start by trying turmeric and some echinacea tea with honey, and take probiotics. I would probably wait a week before adding the probiotics just so I can identify the effects of the turmeric and echinacea.
This is just an example, but hopefully makes sense?