Seborrheic dermatitis is a confusing skin disorder – it’s presents like dry skin . . . but it’s also kinda greasy. It’s red and easily irritated . . . but you can’t just baby it, or you’ll never kill the bacteria/fungus causing all the drama. This makes choosing a moisturizer for seborrheic dermatitis plagued skin a difficult task.
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For years, I thought I had DRY sensitive skin. I’d SLATHER on thick creams and goopy oils. It would soften up the scales so I thought it was working. But my skin still had a rashy quality and the flakes always came back. I’ve learned that seborrheic dermatitis is really OILY skin, that is somewhat sensitive, but mostly just cursed with a weird fungal rash.
Through much research and a lot of personal trial and error, I’ve discovered some amazing skincare products for seborrheic dermatitis. Let’s start with daytime moisturizers! Three of these hover around $10 so there’s something for every price point.
1. Paula’s Choice Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion: This one is perfect for those of you wanting to treat your seborrheic dermatitis, but you also want to ward off wrinkles. (Not that I’d know anything about that. Wink, wink.) A lot of anti-aging stuff is far too irritating for those of us struggling with SD, rosacea or sensitive skin. This is super light and labeled “For Extra Sensitive Skin.” It provides a matte finish and works great under makeup. Paula’s Choice also makes a similar product with mineral sunscreen added!
2. Cetaphil DermaControl Moisturize with SPF 30: What a catch-22 . . . To protect our skin, we need sunblock. To keep your skin healthy and clean, the last thing we need is sunblock. But wait! I finally found a high-SPF daily moisturizer that smells neutral, offers a matter appearance, doesn’t irritate, won’t clog pores and actually HELPS prevent acne or seborrheic dermatitis flares. This is my day-to-day lotion now, since I spend a lot of time outside with my kids and God got real cheap with the melanin when he made me.
3. Eucerin Redness Relief Daily Perfecting Lotion SPF 15: If redness is rival, this should be your daily go-to. It contains extract from licorice root, which soothes inflammation. And of course it is oil-free, fragrance-fee and has a specially-formulated gentle sunscreen added. But the real perk? A subtle green tint which contracts red skin tone! Love.
4. PCA Skin Anti-Redness Serum: This is another great option for reducing redness. Many dermatologist recommend PCA because they use only premium ingredients that deliver excellent results. Though a little more pricy, this serum offers great redness reduction for most who try it.
5. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin: Our most affordable option comes from, this is the choice for you if you just want to keep it simple. Oil-free, alcohol-free, fragrance free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic. Just good, basic, very light moisturizer for sensitive, oily skin.
I’d love to hear your recommendations! What’s your favorite daytime moisturizer?
While discussing seborrheic dermatitis with a friend, she asked if I had looked at my diet as source for a cure. This is a common response these days . . . but I’ll admit I’m a skeptic that food can cure seborrheic dermatitis.
I try to consume lots of veggies, fatty fish, yogurt/kefir (yay probiotics!) and good ol’ H2O. I think (hope?) these simple steps give my skin (and overall health of course) a nice boost. But personally, I’m not willing to make dramatic diet changes in order to save myself from face dandruff. Why? The same reason I won’t make dramatic diet changes to save myself from fatness. Twenty years of dieting (or even the more acceptable term “eating healthier”) have taught me that restriction leads to binges. (Read this great article full of reasons nots to diet.) So for me, no food is off limits.
That said, I certainly understand that some people may really have very real food sensitivities that contribute to skin conditions. One commenter on our site said that pork flares up his skin problems! (A bummer to give up bacon, but worth it I think.) You can experiment on your own or find a good food sensitivity test practitioner.
Eat in a way that feels wholesome and right for YOU. I combed the web to find a few of the most common nutrition cures for seborrheic dermatitis. Do your own research and talk to your doctor before diving in.
Gluten free: Big surprise, right? But truly, dandruff CAN actually be a symptom of Celiac’s Disease. And there are anecdotal accounts of seborrheic dermatitis due to a gluten sensitivity.
Paleo: Did cavemen have seborrheic dermatitis? Hmmm. This diet eschews grains, dairy and sugar. All sorts of health benefits have been touted by adherents to this popular way of eating, including a decrease in dandruff.
Low-fat: Totally opposite of paleo! It is said that malassezia (the yeasty fungus that is destroying your skin/life) feeds on saturated fat. So some have found that reducing the fat in their diet, especially of the saturated variety, sends SD packing.
Alkaline diet: This diet is all about reducing acidic foods, which some believe will aggravate dermatitis. Acidic foods include oats, barley, berries, peanuts, butter, olive oil, coffee, squash, corn . . . ok, the list goes on and on. You can also go to town with alkaline foods like alfalfa, broccoli and pumpkin to name a few. This just sounds complicated. Good luck being a dinner party guest.
Yeast-reducing diet: SD is a result of malassezia yeast, so it’s a just connect-the-dots concept to reduce yeast in the diet. That means giving up baked goods, cheese, mushrooms, soy sauce and all booze. Reduce or eliminate sugar, which promotes yeast. So pretty much everything wonderful in life. Sigh.
Supplements/nutrients: Ah, why not just pop a few supplements? I’m skeptical of vitamins but I did try biotin when I had the post-birth hair loss after my second baby. My hair grew back (thank to the biotin? who knows!) but I did not see a change in my skin. Other supplements touted as miracles for seborrheic dermatitis include folic acid, zinc, selenium, potassium, B12 and fish oil. Probiotics are also a common suggestion from the natural cure crowd. I’m not sure if it helps my skin, but I try to get a yogurt or kefir serving in most days to help my digestive and immune systems.
What diets or supplements have YOU tried to help your seborrheic dermatitis? Have you seen results?