How to treat Seborrheic Dermatitis on your face

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Walk into any pharmacy or drugstore and you’ll see a wide selection of dandruff shampoos.

The vast majority of these contain an active ingredient, designed to combat seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. This very site is devoted to the finding and recommending the gentlest, most effective dandruff shampoos on the market.

However, Seborrheic Dermatitis isn’t limited to the scalp. You are as likely to suffer from seb derm face, ears, eyebrows, beard and chest as on the scalp.

Going back to the pharmacy or drugstore that sells many dandruff shampoos. Try and find a seb derm treatment for your face, eyebrows, beard, ears or chest.

You’ll be looking a while…

The treatments do exist. There are lots of them too. They just take a little research.

So in typical dandruff deconstructed fashion, I’ve scoured the market, evaluated a ridiculous number of facial sd treatments and have recommended what I consider the best on the market today.

What we’ll cover in this article:

What is Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dandruff is the most famous manifestation of seb derm, but Seborrheic Dermatitis can affect the head, face, beard, eyebrows, ears or chest.   Anywhere we have a proliferation of sebaceous (oil) glands.

The typical symptoms are redness, inflammation, itchiness, flaking skin and thick crusts of build up.  In and in more severe cases sufferers will see yellow scaly pimples.   In some cases, people can suffer hair loss!

So what causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?

If I could answer that I’d be a millionaire! The cause of seb derm is still unknown. However, we’ve made a lot of advances over the years. And a type of yeast has been implicated in the condition [1].

The yeast is of the Malassezia species. This particular yeast is a lipophilic yeast meaning it requires an environment high in fats and oils to flourish. The yeast is actually present on all people, and it has been proposed that seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory response to this yeast [2].

Little is understood as to why some people develop the condition. But we do know that the yeast and the condition react to antifungal medications. There is also a strong correlation between the amount of the yeast and the severity of the condition in sufferers [3].

Although the exact reasons are unknown, a number of reasons have been suggested. One suggestion is that the sufferer has underlying abnormal immune response [4]. Another is that the sufferer has a defective skin barrier function [5].

The Skin Defense Barrier

There are many layers to the skin.

layers of the skin

The very outermost layer – the layer we can see and touch – is called the Stratum Corneum.

The Acid Mantle is comprised of our sebum and sweat. This layer of skin, oils and sweat forms a crucial first line of defense against unwanted bacteria, the sun, chemicals, pollutants and other potential irritants. Its function is absolutely crucial.

Think of the Stratum Corneum and the Acid Mantle as bricks and mortar; the cells of the skin form the bricks and the sebum and sweat form the mortar. This combination forms a waterproof moisture barrier that minimizes water loss and helps the skin retain moisture.

As we get older our skin naturally dries. As we reach 40, the lipids we produce decrease substantially. This is why we are more prone to dry skin at this age and beyond.

We are now starting to understand just how important this barrier is – it forms a key element in a number of skin conditions.

For example, people with atopic dermatitis have a weaker skin defense barrier than non-sufferers.
Rosacea sufferers also have an imbalanced skin barrier, improvement of which can significantly reduce symptoms of rosacea. [6]

You probably won’t be surprised to know that sufferers of Seborrheic Dermatitis also have an imbalanced skin barrier. It has been proposed that the specific composition of skin surface oils may be a factor in seb derm development [7].

More specifically, for sufferers of seb derm, triglycerides and cholesterol are elevated. However, squalene and free fatty acids are significantly decreased. Free fatty acids are formed from triglycerides produced by P. acnes. Interestingly, P. acnes has been found to be markedly reduced in SD.

This suggests that seb derm sufferers may have an imbalance of microbial flora (bacteria that naturally live on our skin) as well as an altered composition of skin lipids [5].

How to get rid of Seborrheic Dermatitis on your face

Ignore marketing phrases

Ignore phrases such as hypoallergenic or non Comedogenic. Dermatologically tested. Natural or Gentle. Ignore them all.There is no regulation about the use of these phrases. They don’t mean anything.Ignore them.

Protect your skin barrier

In short, having a healthy, balanced skin defense barrier is essential for a number of skin conditions. Fixing the skin defense barrier can reduce or even eliminate symptoms of these conditions. It is that simple.

There are a number of ways to protect your skin barrier.

Using a gentle face wash is a must – we review a number of them below.

And if none of them are gentle enough – you can even try washing using an aqueous cream!

Using a well-selected moisturizer is a must too.

Stop feeding the yeast

I can’t help but cringe when I hear of people with seb derm applying olive oil to their skin. Their intentions are good – it’s a natural healthy oil – however, some oils will irritate rather than help. For example, oils high in Oleic Acid can initiate a seb derm outbreak and worsen conditions [8][9].

In fact, Olive oil is actually used to feed fungus in lab conditions.

So smearing your face with Olive Oil (up to 85% Oleic Acid) is not a good idea if you suffer from seb derm.

It actually gets worse.

As many as 90%+ of moisturizers we apply daily contain fatty acids that feed seb derm.

Most species of Malassezia consume fatty acids with a carbon chain length of 11 through 24. [10]

If you look through the following list of fatty acids, only Octanoic Acid and Capric Acid will not feed the Malassezia yeast as they have carbon chain lengths of 8 and 10 respectively.

There are a number of invaluable references that comprehensively list fatty acids with their carbon chain lengths.

You need to make sure your moisturizers don’t contain these fatty acids.

Otherwise, you are feeding your seb derm.

It is that simple.

An alternative approach is to look for oil free moisturizers. There’s an abundance on the market these days. We review our favorites below.

Oh, and stop using aqueous cream as a moisturizer.  It’s an irritant.

Use a good anti-fungal treatment

Seborrheic Dermatitis is proven to respond to anti-fungals. No ifs or buts. Just fact.  [5]

The antifungal treatments SD is proven to respond to include:

There are creams, facewashes, soaps, moisturizers and who knows what else with these active ingredients.

We review our favorites below.

Patch test all products

Patch testing is an excellent way to determine if a product is for you.  Particularly if you have sensitive skin.

This is a great guide on how to patch test.

Try a natural or alternative treatment

While there are a whole host of snake oil salesmen to watch out for, there is growing anecdotal, medical and community-based evidence that there are a few natural/alternative treatments worth considering.


There are numerous studies that raw honey is effective at controlling seb derm.

I’ve personally never been fond of using it on my skin but there are plenty of people out there who swear buy it.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera is an anti-inflammatory effective at healing wounds. However, there are anecdotal claims that it’s effective at controlling or killing the biofilm that the Malassezia yeast can develop. Literally preventing the yeast from preventing itself.

There are numerous aloe vera gels and lotions available on Amazon.

Best Treatments for Facial Seb Derm

De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment


This sticky face mask contains 10% sulfur so it’s for serious cases of facial seb derm. But used correctly and, boy, is it worth it. Along with 10% sulfur, it contains only one ingredient – Polyethylene glycol – a petroleum byproduct. Typically I’d avoid using Petroleum byproducts on my skin – they are typically water insoluble and build up on the skin – but there are overwhelming amounts of research and patents on the healing and anti-inflammatory powers of this icky sticky substance.

As I said, this is a facemask. Use with care as 10% sulfur is as strong as it gets OTC. I patched tested it, used it for 10 minutes, then 20 minutes and use it now for an hour and the results have been extraordinarily good.

It may be sold as an acne treatment, but it’s also a great choice for rosacea too. And as far as facial seb derm treatments go – this is as good as it gets OTC.

Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser


This gentle face wash has been a firm favorite at Dandruff Deconstructed towers for a number of months now. Endorsed by National Eczema Association, this odorless face wash contains ceramides (lipids naturally present in our skin’s protective barrier), and a number of gentle moisturizing agents. It’s sulfate free and the surfactants are all extremely gentle.

Unfortunately the face wash contains parabens. Parabens are used to preserve the product, to give it a longer shelf life, but we all know about the bad press associated with them.

That said, parabens aside, this is an extremely innovative formulation.

If you suffer from facial sd, and want to wash while keeping your skin barrier in balance, you have to check this one out.

BIOM8 Skin Conditioning Oil

Skin Conditioning Oil

BIOM8 Skin Conditioning Oil is now part of my daily skincare routine. It’s as simple as that. I have lost count of the number of products I’ve reviewed over the years and I can count on one hand the number of products that have impacted me on this level.

If you suffer from dry skin, facial seb derm or rosacea I simply can’t recommend this product highly enough.

It even makes a good beard oil!

Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Wash


This silky smooth body wash is a firm favorite here at Dandruff Deconstructed. It’s free of harsh sulfates and betaines while containing a number of gentle surfactants commonly used in baby products. The body wash also contains some innovative skin conditioning agents such as Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Sodium PCA which is naturally found on our skin. The company has added two of my favorite ingredients full stop. Allantoin is commonly found in anti-aging products as it promotes skin cell regeneration and helps smooth the skin. Commonly found in anti-aging products. Arginine is an antioxidant that helps build collagen production.

There are two oils present worth mentioning. Shea Butter and Sunflower Seed Oil are both excellent moisturizers, but they are both high in fatty acids that seb derm loves. Be sure to really rinse this product after washing.

It also contains Tocopheryl Acetate. While it sounds nasty, it is actually Vitamin E. Some people are known to react to this ingredient. They’ve also added Potassium Sorbate to prevent mold growth. Unfortunately, this is also a known contact allergen in some of us.

If you’re not sensitive to these ingredients, this is one of the (if not the) best bodywashes on the market right now.

SebClair Non-Steroidal Cream

Medicated Moisturizer

SebClair Non-Steroidal Cream is an anti-fungal, Piroctone Olamine based treatment partnered with a trophy cabinet of natural anti-inflammatory actives. If you have a mild to moderate case of seb derm, hate steroids and love naturals SebClair is for you. Best bit – there’s only two known allergens or irritants.

Uriage DS Emulsion

Medicated Moisturizer

This medicated moisturizer contains one of my favorite active ingredients at the moment – Piroctone Olamine. While the moisturizer is light and contains a number of novel, gentle skin conditioning agents, it is worth noting that it contains shea butter – which is essentially a meal for the Malassezia yeast.

That said, if Piroctone Olamine works for you then you can’t go far wrong with this excellent medicated moisturizer.

Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Oil Free Moisturizer

This is a unique oil free moisturizer, using Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides as the base ingredients to moisturize the skin.

Like the Cerave face wash (above), this moisturizer contains ceramides which are essentially lipids naturally present in our skin’s protective barrier. It also contains a number of innovative skin conditioning agents such as Hyaluronic Acid which you’ll find in your connective tissue.

This is highly, highly recommended.

Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel

Oil Free Moisturizer

This gentle oil free moisturizer contains Aloe Vera to help calm the skin, Sorbitol/Panthenol/Sodium Hyaluronate to help moisturize the skin and Allantoin to promote skin cell regeneration and smooth the skin.

It does however contain Propylene Glycol and Phenoxyethanol which we know are both irritants.

However, if you aren’t sensitive to either ingredient this is an excellent alternative to the usual oil based moisturizers.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil Free Moisturiser

Oil Free Moisturizer

Another oil free option that contains roughly 50 different ingredients.

As well as a whole list of skin conditioning agents, this moisturizer contains Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid is excellent for short term usage at combatting facial seb derm, it can dry the skin after prolonged usage.

There are a few other alcohol based ingredients that can further dry the skin. And unfortunately, the company have chosen parabens to preserve the moisturizer.

This is recommended for short term useage though.

Margarite Zinc Cream

Medicated Cream

Superb. A life saver.

Despite the name, this is a 4% sulfur cream that also contains zinc oxide.

It’s also a tinted cream, indicating it can be used during the day, however I leave this cream on affected areas overnight. The results have been absolutely outstanding.

This innovative formula uses zinc oxide to provide the tint – an ingredient that also makes a great safe sunscreen. In addition, it contains a number of fatty moisturizing alcohols, waxes and oils.

But it’s the performance that counts and if you suffer from facial seb derm, acne or rosacea, this is a quite superb treatment.

It can dry the skin after prolonged usage, but it’s in my weekly routine and it has been a lifesaver.

I simply urge you to try it.

Dermaharmony Sulfur Soap

Medicated Soap

Sulfur is one of my new favorite active ingredients. Not least because it is also superb at combatting facial redness, rosacea and acne – conditions I suffer from as well as seb derm.

This soap is enhanced by the presence of salicylic acid – a keratolytic that will soften any existing build up and help the sulfur penetrate your skin more easily. I love the potential of these two ingredients combined.

This particular soap also contains oatmeal which can really help to calm eczema prone skin.

As with all soaps, the presence of oils can feed the Malassezia yeast so make sure you rinse completely.

Dermaharmony Zinc Soap

Medicated Soap

Zinc Pyrithione is possibly the most widely used active ingredient on the market today. While it isn’t the strongest anti-fungal agent out there, it is widely tolerated, hugely popular and can help those with mild cases of facial seb derm.

Dr Bronners Tea Tree Pure Castille Bar Soap

Medicated Soap

A fantastic medicated soap containing tea tree oil. The combination of oils e.g. coconut, palm, olive and jojoba will all feed your seb derm so make sure you rinse completely after washing. They also prevent this from drying your skin, like so many soaps can.

Pelican Deitanseki Soap

Medicated Soap

This is a novel soap. We have long known about the benefits of mineral son our skin. This Japanese soap contains:

Kaolin – a kind of clay used topically to help treat wounds and burns. Can help dry over-oily skin.

Bentonite – used for centuries as a topical treatment for eczema, seb derm and other inflammatory conditions.

Carbon – a bit of a wonder treatment for many skin conditions. It helps makes pores smaller, regulates sebum on the skin, absorbs toxins and is an anti-inflammatory.

Which is a fantastic start. I’ve never seen so many other in a bar of soap though. Some of them are questionable. Etidronic Acid is present in a couple of guises and this is a known irritant. In addition, they’ve added perfume.

That said, if you aren’t particularly sensitive to perfumes, the minerals alone make this treatment worth a try.



Aquaphor is a vaseline like water free oily substance very popular with those who suffer from exceptionally dry skin.

It’s also a great moisturizer and healing ointment for those of us who suffer from seb derm as the carbon chain lengths of this ointment fall way outside the range that Malassezia feeds.

There is also anecdotal evidence that it destroys or damages the biofilm of the Malassezia yeast.

While this is a very sticky, messy substance to apply, if you suffer from extremely dry skin and facial seb derm then this is really worth trying.


1. Hay RJ, Graham-Brown RA. Dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis: causes and management. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1997;22:3–6.
2. Parry ME, Sharpe GR. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is not caused by an altered immune response to Malassezia yeast. Br J Dermatol. 1998;139:254–63.
3. Zaidi Z, Wahid Z, Cochinwala R, Soomro M, Qureishi A. Correlation of the density of yeast Malassezia with the clinical severity of seborrhoeic dermatitis. J Pak Med Assoc. 2002;52(11):504-506.
4. Orfanos CE, Zouboulis CC. Oral retinoids in the treatment of seborrhoea and acne. Dermatology. 1998;196:140–7.
5. DeAngelis YM, Gemmer CM, Kaczvinsky JR, et al. Three etiologic facets of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis: Malassezia fungi, sebaceous lipids, and individual sensitivity. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2005;10(3):295-297.
6. Flavia Alvim, Sant’Anna Addor Skin barrier in rosacea. An Bras Dermatol. 2016 Jan-Feb; 91(1): 59–63.
7. Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Rapini RP, et al. Dermatology. 2. Spain: Elsevier; 2008.
8. Dawson TL Jr Malassezia globosa and restricta: breakthrough understanding of the etiology and treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis through whole-genome analysis. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2007 Dec;12(2):15-9.
9. Yvonne M. DeAngelis, et al. Three Etiologic Facets of Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis: Malassezia Fungi, Sebaceous Lipids, and Individual Sensitivity December 2005 Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 295–297
10. Peter F Wilde, Patrick S Stewart A Study of the Fatty Acid Metabolism of the Yeast Pityrosporum ovale Biochem. J. (1968) 108, 225


  • The site owner. I founded, and have ran this site for too many years now. I have extremely sensitive skin, have suffered from seb derm for all my adult life and this site is my way of doing something about it. Check out my sister site at

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  • Master of Pharmacy Ethan graduated a number of years ago after studying pharmacy in the UK, and is now a practicing pharmacist by day. By night he writes the most stunning articles on a whole range of pharmaceutical subjects both here, and on our sister site at

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50 thoughts on “How to treat Seborrheic Dermatitis on your face”

  1. So what exact skin care routine would you recommend for seb derm. Currently I use a make up remover, a face wash, a toner, a serum and then a moisturizer. I’ve purchased a face wash, a zinc cream, a face mask and a moisturizer to treat my seb derm, but what about a toner? Thanks for your help.

  2. These were all helpful. I have Seb Derm in my eye brows and doing the shampoo routine isn’t enough because they feel dry after showering. I struggle with breakouts in my brows if it is an oily product. So, what would you recommend to put in my brows to add some moisture for the flakes? I have been using a tea tree oil + Jojoba blend that seems to not hurt…but if it feeds off the oil then I shouldn’t continue.

    • Hi Mary – if the Tea Tree Jojoba blend works then continue using it. The anti-fungal effects of the tea tree must be strong enough to balance the jojoba oil. Another oil worth looking at is the bio m8. Again, they seem to have the anti fungal balance just right. The soaps are worth a look too as is SebClair cream – I’m publishing a review for that in a couple of days which is excellent.

      Best of luck.

      • I looked up the ingredients for the sebclair cream and came across some ingredients (high up the list) that fall in the category of Malassazia feeders, don’t they?
        This is the list: Aqua, Isohexadecane, Butyrospermum parkii, Pentylene glycol, Ethylhexyl palmitate, Ceraalba, PEG-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, Bisabolol, Polyglyceryl-6 polyrycynoleate, Tocopheryl acetate, Hydrogenated castor oil, Lactic acid, Solanum lycopersicum, Citrus limonum, Vaccinum myrtilus, Citric acid, Malic acid, Allantoin glycyrrhentinic acid, Butylene glicol, Magnesium sulphate, Piroctone olamine, Magnesium stearate, Disodium EDTA, Vitis vinifera, Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, Propyl gallate, Telmesteine.
        The shea butter feeds the yeast I think? And the ester (fifth on the list)?

    • Use some Ketoconazole 2% cream. I’ve used it and it is one of the only products I’ve had success with regards to Seb Dem. Works very well for dry scaling inflamed patches of skim . It might seem that you need to add moisture, but I’m not sure this is really correct. The flaking and inflammation is the skin reacting to something not being right.

    • Hello, Try auquaphor on your eyebrows and where ever else you have the scaling flakes. Put it on somewhat liberally at night. Give it a try along with your regular routine…. I speak from experience. If you have the same results as I have then in about 2 days you will be amazed. (BTW I am not a doctor. just want to share this information to help others….It changed my life)

  3. Hi Chris, you never mentioned Coconut oil. I’ll read it both kills the fungus but also feeds it with Oleic acid. Do you recommend using it?

    • I personally don’t use it, and use biom8 instead as it contains a higher quantity of the two anti-fungals present in coconut oil. but different strokes for different folks – what works for me doesn’t necessarily work on other people.

    • I was using coconut oil and my sebderm got much, much worse! I am now trying a skin care line through my doctor’s office (I know, a bit weird but they are into skin care as well) and I notice is has PEG this and that, which I discover is mineral oil, which is derived from Petroleum and is one of the “dirty oils” even if refined for cosmetics. My face felt so much better with this product line initially, now it’s getting worse again! I have an aloe vera plant, I’m going to try that … so hard to live with this constant itch, redness, patchiness, eyebrows red and itchy, side of face … arghhhhh. I have finally switched (after trying many products) to the regular old H&S dandruff shampoo and that seems to work best, although I always scoffed at that shampoo for years … I find it is actually working. I also have Rosacia of course 🙁 May the force be with us!

  4. Hi, I currently use Dakacort cream on my eyebrows/side of nose & parts of chin (prescribed by my GP.) I’ve been using this for a couple of years and it does nothing to remove it, just keeps it down for a while. Can you tell me the absolute best thing to try. I also have Blepharitis so don’t know if it’s all connected?

    • Hi Kate – it’s impossible to state any medication is the absolute best thing to try. We all react differently to different medications. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. If you’ve been prescribed medication for 2 years and its not working, I would ask your GP to perhaps look into an alternative?

  5. I really appreciate your research and recommendations! Thank you so much. I have already wasted a lot of money on products that sounded good on Amazon or OTC. I am impatient as my face is getting worse by the week, so maybe I don’t give the products enough time to work. Expecting miraculous results. My entire face is affected – forehead, cheeks, chin (as well as the usual sites – nasal folds, ears). Is it unusual for it to be SO extensive?

  6. I wish I could find something to help me, Ive tried almost everything. Living with this is so depressing. My skin was so beautiful and now I don’t even want to go out. I have to use 3 layers of make up just to leave me house and by the end of the day, my face is dry and flaky. I wish there was a cure………….

  7. Ciao, puoi per favore elencare il nome di un prodotto valido (o anche più di uno, se ne conosci) che non sia una crema idratante (acquosa) e che aiuti a ripristinare la barriera cutanea alterata, possibilmente privo di oli che alimentano la dermatite seborroica? L’articolo è molto interessante e spiegate davvero bene, ma servirebbe sapere COSA usare davvero. Grazie. Luke 🙂

  8. I suffer from seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea both on my face so treating one can make the other worse.
    My face seems to get worse and hurts so much and even burns. What calming type could I use on my face as it gets red and hurts . My doctor has given me some medications to use. What do you think will also help so that my skin will not get irritated when cleaning it in the shower and when i dry off.. please help !!

  9. Hallo,
    Hier ook een man van 48 die last heeft/had van alle nare gezichtsaandoeningen .
    Mijn darmen hebben het zwaar te verduren gehad met poliepen
    Daardoor mijn gezichtshuid aangetast doordat ik geen stoffen aanmaak tegen de uitbraken van nu weer rosacea. .
    Voorheen had ik een hele witte huid/jeugdpuisten/littekens/vette huid /en ben obsessief bezig geweest met mijn gezicht. Wat mij onzeker maakte en vaak ongelukkig stemde .
    Mooi om mens te zijn pfff
    Remedie heb ik niet sorry. Maar acceptatie en reiniging is belangrijk en vooral niet alles kopen en smeren .
    Goeie zonbescherming en veel reinigen. 2 liter water. Maar dan ook water en geen afgeleiden ervan .
    Succes en sterkte allemaal met die melaatse ziekte die wij zelf voeden door er zoveel aandacht aan te geven. Tip 2x per dag in de spiegel kijken maakt jou gelukkiger en het zal minder worden .
    Gods zegen

  10. For those following this forum – can you provide your daily regimen? Just curious – there are so many products above – I can’t imagine you use them all daily but it would be helpful to know which ones you do use daily – which ones for flare ups, or do you rotate (what my SD dermatologist told me to do for shampoos), thanks.

  11. I’m in Mexico so I don’t know if you’ll be able to get the same stuff I use. I’ve been very successful with the following routine:

    1. Effaclar – wash face before applying all other things. Morning and night.
    2. Kelual DS – Cream. Use every morning and night in affected zones.
    3. (only If I have a breakout) Triderm – Cream. Use after applying Kelual DS. Put a small amount in affected zones. This is really powerful stuff, but I read you can become dependent on it. So I try to use a small amount, only when I have breakouts.
    4. (morning) Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer – Cream. Apply in all your face after Kelual DS and Triderm.
    4. (night) Cera Ve PM Facial moisturizer.
    4. (If you’ll be out in the sun) Neutrogena Age Shield Face – apply in all your face instead of moisturizer.

  12. Hello,
    Thank you for this post! I was wondering what makes the sea buckthorn oil in the BIOM8 Skin Conditioning Oil malassezia safe? Isn’t the oil just feeding the fungus? I appreciate if you can clarify as I’m looking into it but confused as to why this would be different that any other malassezia feeding oil. Thanks!!! 🙂


    • I have no idea tbh Lauren, they just seem to have the balance right. If you read Michael’s posts on skindrone, he had to really play with the combination of oils, boosting the content of the Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides until it worked. Also, from subsequent conversations with Michael, his focus was on repairing the skin’s defense barrier which is faulty in seb derm sufferers, rather than act as an anti fungal agent.

      It’s all very interesting!

      • Thank you so much for your reply! It does make sense that a strong skin barrier would be able to ward of the fungus. I myself have found that using acids, although my skin can tolerate them fine, eventually leads to scaly seb. derma. patches. Iw ill look into the posts you mentioned as this is all very interesting. Thanks again!

  13. I just thought I’d mention that some people can react badly to niacinamide (it causes a burning sensation on my skin — which can last for up to 2 hours, even when the product containing niacinamide was washed off immediately, and soothing products were applied on the area). It is showing up in a lot of Cerave and La Roche Posay products “for sensitive skin”, which I am disappointed about.
    Also, as I mentioned yesterday under another article on this site, some people react badly to salycilic acid. I can’t use it at all – it gives me deep, painful pimples/bumps that last for weeks, in the area where it is applied to my skin. Salycilic acid is added to a lot of face and hair products, even those for the mainstream market (not people looking to heal dermatitis/dandruff/etc.), so I have to read all labels carefully.
    I mention this because articles that promote these ingredients for people for whom they work well (and that is the majority, of course) often don’t mention that some people have a bad reaction to them. So if you are not having a good experience with a product that has helped many other people, you might keep using it, doubling down on it, thinking that your dermatitis is just being intractable and that you have to “stay the course”, but do consider whether the treatment might actually be doing more harm than good by giving your skin another problem to deal with.

  14. I must say, I read tons of articles about SD, including Mayo Clinic and other pro references. Your article Chris explains exactly what I have been through. None of them mention that oils such as Olive oil can feed SD. In my experience, my case exploded when I was using an olive oil soap, and I didn’t know. Then I was applying coconot and olive oil on my face, and I must say, it got it worse, precisely last week with coconut oil. I do have an Aloe Vera plant and would like to try to use it raw on my skin and watch for effects. Would be great if you have any suggestions on how to do it.

    • Great to hear – but unfortunately I’ve never tried applying aloe vera on my skin. I’m currently using biom8 and have done for a number of months now -I need to get a resources page together to show my current regime.

  15. Hi!
    I use the Dermadoctor CCC cream. Calm, cool and corrected. I find it’s the best I have tried all these years. I’ve had seb derm for 20 years. The CCC is quite expensive, but I have found it worth it. I still find stress makes it worse, though.

  16. Thanks for this helpful information! I’ve done a lot of research on this condition and have tried almost every option out there. My derm gave me something called Desonide lotion which is a type of corticosteroid, but apparently it’s safer than hydrocortisone. I’m only 2 days in, and the flaky red patches near the corners of my eyes and my forehead are 60% gone. I suspect in another day or so I will be totally clear. Like others, I was hesitant to use a steroid cream, but I was getting so frustrated not seeing results with anything else. So, I will use the desonide for a week and then hopefully a good moisturizer will keep the seb derm from coming back.

  17. This is a very helpful page. Your comments on oils got me to thinking that moisturizers have only ever seemed to make my seb derm worse. Then I thought about it some more and realized that traditional soaps also make my skin dry and most soaps are primarily lye and fat. So I did two things. First, I quit using regular soap on my face, I now use fragrance free dishsoap on my face. I know it sounds crazy but dish soap has no fats or fatty acids.

    I also started using the de la cruz sulfur and rose water on a regular basis. If I note any dryness I use Cerave PM. My skin has not been this clear in at LEAST 10 years. I could not be happier, I can actually look in the mirror without a sense of dread. The red patches that had been with me nonstop for an extremely long time have nearly faded away completely over the last couple of months. I have no more flared up crusty bleeding spots. Prior to this the only thing that could get my skin to being anything like this was powerful steroids.


    • Great to hear! This is what its all about to be honest. I’ve actually stopped using any sort of soap on my face and wash with water. I use biom8 if my skin dries and the sulfur cream if my face starts to break out. It’s working a treat so far, although it took weeks for my face to settle down with the water washing routine. I was actually irritated by my own facial oils. It’s amazing really. What we’ve done to ourselves.

  18. Hi Chris,
    I found your post very helpful that I added it in my favorites. This recently years that I have had problem with sebderm, I have tried to find my suitable night cream to help with my aging wrinkle and also keep me away from sebderm. I have tried many moisterizers that many persons reccommend and spent a lot of money and sadly to say that I still could not find the right one for me. I would like to try Biom8 but unfortunately I could not find it in Japan and others that you reccommended I found some in amazon here but the prices are too expensive to try because they are imported. Though I still felt thankful to your article that helped me realize that many oil is not work and the horse oil which is famous here that I had been using it for months made my face worse and I have stopped it already. I am using the prescribed medicine from the doctor which I had tried to avoid it and will stop it as soon as I recover. Are the soap and cream for atopies good for SD too? Are you familiar with placenta cream? Are they good for SD? Those placenta cream have good reviews here and I wonder if they can be used and not harm my face skin. The one that I would like to give it a try comes from pig and it is rather expensive if it might not work with SD.

  19. Hi Chris, thank you so much for these insights. My question is: what about squalene? Does pure squalene feed the yeast? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi there – do you meane squalene or squalane oil? I haven’t used either but some studies indicate squalene can worsen your condition but so many people swear by squalane oil. I may do a review of it tbh.

      • I did a little research and apparently it has a carbon chain length of less than 11, so it’s a good oil to use on your face if you have seb dem.

  20. Hi, just wanted to warn people, I bought CeraVe moisturising lotion however I have just checked the ingredients and it contains Palmitic acid – strangely enough it doesnt show this ingredient on the product on the website however it does show it on the back of the label.

  21. Thanks for the site Chris. Been suffering with Seb Derm or at least what I’m told is Seb Derm for a decade now. I found the BioM8 to be effective for some time and then it seemed to begin to irritate. I haven’t gone back to it but am curious if you have had any rollback in it’s effectiveness. I’ve been trying tea tree oil and Manuka honey for a bit now with mixed results. I can never seem to isolate what is helping or hurting, or which product or specific ingredients. Maddening. Any moisturizing seems to exacerbate. Currently only moisturizing with Aloe Vera gel and even that if I do too often seems to create too many moments of moisture that the condition seems to want in order to thrive. I also want to say that I’ve had some success with a Global Health formulation that contains natural antifungals, enzymes and a probiotic called Mycozil. Any other good/new recommendations for products that have just a few elemental ingredients? Thanks

    • Hi Dave – could you send over the link to the Global Health formulation? It sounds promising. I still use Biom8 but as infrequently as possible – I try to use as few medicated products as possible but my face is where I’m struggling more than any other right now.

  22. Thank you so much for this fact-based, woo-less information. I have a history of auto-immune issues, systemic inflammation, and and a compromised skin mantle – so I guess it’s not surprising that I just developed Seb Derm. (It erupted within the perfect cocktail of conditions: 3 months of high stress in an exceptionally dry environment, with bad nutrition and not enough exercise.). Anyway, the info here has been excellent. I have a question and a note of caution. Question: do you have any recommendations for a daily moisturizer with the correct fatty acids that also contains sunscreen? And my note of Don’t Do What I Did: I used a bit of Nizoral on my seb dem areas: hairline, eyebrows, eye corners (risky), sides of nose, around lips, and chest. I saw some improvement, but there was still so much flaking that I did it again. I didn’t see much of a change. So then I tried the De La Cruz 10%sulphur ointment. It went on really thick, so it was spread beyond just my affected areas. And I was super tired, so I just took a wet wash cloth and wiped it off. I woke up the next morning with my face almost entirely burned and swollen. I look like a monster! When my husband saw me, his eyes widened and reflexively put his hands over his mouth. It’s so extreme, it’s almost funny. It could be that I shouldn’t have used such a strong treatment right after two dosages of Nizoral, or I left it on too long, or I didn’t do a good job of washing it off. It’s very strong stuff, so be cautious. I’m now trying to figure out what to do. I’ve been slathering on Squalane oil every couple of hours (my skin is sucking it up), putting ice packs on my face, and taking some ibuprofen to reduce inflammation because my face is so swollen. I’ve been looking online for recommendations for treatment of sulphur burn to the face. I see many instances of warning about it, but no advice about what to do if it happens. It also created some thick rough patches on my cheeks as well. I’m hoping that this won’t be permanent. Anyone have any ideas?

  23. Are there any natural oils with carbon chain lengths of 8 and 10?
    It’s so hard to find a product for hydrating my hair and scalp without oils.

    • It’s incredibly tough – I use biom8 on my face but I haven’t tried using oils on my scalp – my hair is too long!

  24. May I also reccommend Eucetin Redness Relief Cleanser. Very gentle, makes a real impact on seb derm, and when I’m good about using it really consistently, twice a day, it seems to prevent flare-ups.

  25. Pingback: The 5 Best Moisturizers For Seborrheic Dermatitis – Mild Skincare

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