4 Ways to Relieve Seborrheic Dermatitis

I, like many others, developed a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis when I was younger. For so long, I thought I was suffering from typical dandruff, until I did some research and noticed it was something else. If you’ve ever experienced seborrheic dermatitis, then I’m sure, like me, you’ve tried almost every trick in the book (or on the internet) to cure it. While there is no miracle cure that magically erases it forever for everyone (don’t we all wish!), there are steps you can take to control flareups and provide relief. Today, I want to share some tips for controlling your seborrheic dermatitis that I stand by. I want to reiterate that these treatments will never cure it, but they will help if you stick to a steady regimen.

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis exactly?

To understand what seborrheic dermatitis is, you have to start off by thinking about normal dandruff. Technically, dandruff is a non inflamed form of seborrheic dermatitis and is the result of fungus building up on the scalp. However, this fungus continues to grow and spread, which can result in seborrhoea, but can also result in psoriasis. Although both seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis can affect other parts of the body, their effects on the scalp can cause extreme discomfort, embarrassment and pain. While it’s easy to confuse seborrhoea with dandruff and psoriasis, there are a few symptoms that are distinguishable. Seborrheic dermatitis creates an oily type of flake while psoriasis is characterized by a thick flake-like crust.

Causes and Types of Seborrheic Dermatitis

One type of seborrheic dermatitis that usually goes unnoticed is scalp eczema on babies known as “cradle cap.” Cradle cap is actually the buildup of excessive sebum (like I mentioned earlier) and can create yellow or brown flaky patches on a baby’s head. Unlike it’s genetic chronic twin, most babies end up growing out of cradle cap, but the symptoms can still be rather painful.

Another type causes waxy, greasy hair in certain patches around the scalp. This may be an adult version of cradle cap and can be quite unsightly and embarrassing for adults.

So what causes seborrhoea? Well – it’s unknown. Many believe that the condition might be linked to an abnormality of oil glands or hair follicles, while others believe it to be caused by the production of hormones, yeast fungus, fatigue, heavy drinking, stress and more. Whatever the case may be, there are steps you can take to treat the symptoms externally and internally.

Priority One : Internal Healing

Before I discuss some treatments you can use to diminish the appearance and nuisance of seborrhoea, I’d like to first point out the importance of healing yourself internally first. Like I mentioned, many forms of seborrhoea are caused by yeast fungus, heavy drinking or can be from hormonal imbalances. It’s important to understand that eating or drinking something our body might be mildy allergic or sensitive to can cause an adverse skin reaction.

Learn more about how to identify a Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity Vs. Food Intolerance.

It’s always best to start an elimination diet to find out if you can naturally relieve your seborrhoea by changing the food you consume. If you’re already eating healthy or have tried an elimination diet and are still experiencing symptoms, consider trying some seborrheic dermatitis natural treatments.

Here are a few tricks that have helped me to manage seborrheic dermatitis.

1) Brush Your Hair

Although many people, especially those with curly hair, might not brush their hair often, this simple trick really helps. The best brushes to opt for are brush and scalp invigorators. These little rubber brushes are made for the shower to work shampoo in and massage the scalp while eliminating flakes.

2) Treat & Cleanse the Scalp

For a dry scaly scalp, we recommend this SDFreedom Scalp Oil. It moisturizes with 100% pure sunflower oil and treats seb derm with a blend of Chinese herbs made specifically for dry skin and dandruff.

If your scalp is more greasy, then try SDFreedom Scalp Tincture (with apple cider vinegar). This formula works really well for weeping, crusting skin.

Now, for soaps and shampoos, many people who suffer from psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis stand by using coal or pine tar soap to treat the scalp or body. The smell can be a bit strong at first, but the results are worth it. If you’re looking for a body wash or shampoo, try this one from Emily Skin Soothers. It was formulated by an acupuncturist to help his infant daughter’s dermatitis and contains Chinese herbs to soothe and heal itchy, flaky skin. Another option is a shampoo containing tea tree oil,  known for its natural ability to control bacteria and fungus, which makes it a perfect solution for your scalp! For all the soaps and shampoos mentioned, make sure to massage the product in well and let it sit for a few minutes, so it can really penetrate and treat the skin. But DO NOT leave any conventional soap or shampoo that is NOT intended to specifically treat dermatitis on the skin long at all – rinse it off immediately so you don’t further irritate and dry out your skin.

3) Apple Cider Vinegar

Lastly – this is my go-to for controlling my worst breakouts. Honestly, apple cider vinegar helps almost everything and definitely helps seborrheic dermatitis and all forms of eczema – it’s why I love the tincture above.

Learn more about why Apple Cider Vinegar baths are great for dermatitis.

After washing my head with some hot water to open my pores, I’ll pour 1/3 cup of unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar on my scalp and wrap my hair up in a shower cap so that it stores the heat. Full disclosure – applying apple cider vinegar might cause a burning sensation. If you find it to be too much, you can always dilute the cider with water (using equal parts water and vinegar: 1/3 cup vinegar and 1/3 cup water) and add a few drops of tea tree oil (optional).

4) Body Treatment

Although I’ve mostly discussed seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, the condition does appear on the body as well. If you’re experiencing oily flaky patches on your skin and want to provide natural relief, it’s always best to go with a natural moisturizer. Two great options are Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream for its antibacterial properties or Emily’s Skin Soother with Chinese herbs.

Seborrheic dermatitis can be an embarrassing and all together annoying condition. Although there is no cure, there are natural products out there that can reduce inflammation and flakes, as well as provide relief. My seborrhoea is in no way cured, but with a tight regimen and healthy diet, I’ve managed to keep it under control.

Do you suffer relentlessly from seborrheic dermatitis? Share your story with us in the comment section below!


  1. Joey Wong on November 3, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Hello – Just wanted to add I have had a great experiences with Polytar shampoo ( a type of prescription shampoo) – using it once or twice on top of the methods here would be a killer combination. I am not sure if Polytar is still around, I hope they are still, as my own bottle is running out for this type of Eczema!

  2. venkatesh on January 16, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    I had dandruff for more than 7 years, which I tried to get rid off by using normal shampoos like Head&Shoulders etc. It never occurred to me that the persistent dandruff and itching could be a symptom of an underlying cause. Now, when it dawned on me that I have a disease which is responsible for the flaky skin on my scalp and side of my nose I quickly started googling for the treatment etc. I wasn’t really sure what I had. dermatitis, eczema, tinea etc were some of the guesses. First, the doctor gave me corticosteroid. Needless to say, it didn’t cure me. Then I tried Nizral which is 2% ketoconazole shampoo. I had high expectations for it, but alas, it didn’t work either. Finally, my dad recommended me the Candid shampoo. Here is the link https://www.amazon.com/Glenmark-Treatment-Dandruff-Versicolo-Suspension/dp/B01K4UU8O8/ref=pd_rhf_cr_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=F7V9H69Y0JD0MVVZJXVJ I used Candid after every 3 days and it cured all the dandruff and flaky skin on my nose in a month. If you have the same problems I highly recommend you to try this shampoo once.
    I don’t know if this information is helpful but I will write it anyway. I have oily skin. I lived in areas with very hot and humid climate. My symptoms were flaky skin on scalp and side of nose. My scalp used to itch a lot when I was outside in hot weather and sunlight.

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