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Best Natural Remedies For Seborrheic Dermatitis, Dandruff, and Malassezia
You've tried all the chemical treatments under the sun, but your seborrheic dermatitis never improved. Maybe you've experienced some side effects from antifungal therapies. Or you just so happen to be allergic to medicated creams and shampoos.
It's understandably frustrating when NOTHING seems to work.
Does this mean you'll have to live with your seborrheic dermatitis symptoms for good?
No, you don't have to.
In this guide, we'll walk you through some of the best natural treatment options for seborrheic dermatitis. It may take some experimentation before you find something for your skin, but these remedies may be the solution to the problem.
With that said, let's dive into it.
What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
An all-too-familiar itch, red patches of tender skin, and massive dandruff flakes—do these symptoms ring a bell?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by itchy, inflamed skin, severe dandruff, and scaly patches. The symptoms usually affect areas of your body rich in sebaceous glands, such as your scalp, chest, and back .
But how is seborrheic dermatitis usually diagnosed?
Well, it can be tricky to differentiate this from other skin ailments. Still, your doctor will likely be able to make a diagnosis by performing a physical examination of the affected areas.
They may also observe the skin cells under a microscope to rule out other skin conditions that may present similarly to seborrheic dermatitis, such as scalp psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, or tinea.
How Is Seborrheic Dermatitis Usually Treated?
Treating seborrheic dermatitis is no walk in the park.
And as of yet, there isn't any permanent cure for seborrheic dermatitis.
Nonetheless, there are still various ways to treat this skin ailment. Treatment mainly helps alleviate symptoms, provide relief, and maintain remission rather than cure the disease entirely.
The treatment approach will vary from person to person but generally trickles into various aspects, including good skincare and topical antifungals.
Your healthcare professional may recommend different types of medical treatment, depending on the location and severity of your condition. Some topical treatments may include antifungal creams, medicated shampoos, and topical corticosteroids .
The main culprit responsible for seborrheic dermatitis is a type of fungus called Malassezia. Hence, antifungals such as miconazole, ketoconazole, and selenium sulfide are the primary agents in medicated creams and shampoos .
Meanwhile, corticosteroid creams are usually reserved for more significant and problematic cases . Your doctor may also prescribe oral antifungals in highly persistent cases. But this isn't typically the first option due to the risk of side effects and drug interactions.
These medical treatments may be effective for some people—but others have not experienced significant benefits from trialing them.
There are several reasons why someone may opt for natural remedies to combat seborrheic dermatitis symptoms. They may have experienced significant side effects or developed an allergic reaction to medicated treatment. Some people are wary of the strong chemicals present in them, while others are using them alongside medications to bolster efficacy and foster better recovery.
Natural remedies can still cause side effects or allergic reactions, and some supplements may interact with the oral medications you're on. But they may provide an effective alternative solution to medical treatment.
8 Seborrheic Dermatitis Natural Treatments For Topical Use
Natural remedies may not work for everyone. Hence, it may still take some experimentation with these natural remedies before finding something that fosters skin healing best.
We've put together an extensive list of some commonly used natural antidotes backed by scientific evidence or anecdotal reports.
Let's look at some of the top natural remedies to treat seborrheic dermatitis.
Note: Before using any topical treatment, perform a skin patch test to cross out the possibility of an allergic reaction.
Using sea salt to treat seborrheic dermatitis is based more on personal reports rather than solid, large-scale research.
Nonetheless, the results from one promising study have demonstrated that bathing in dead sea salt solution helped enhance the skin barrier function and reduce skin irritation and redness in participants with atopic dermatitis . Furthermore, sea salt possesses impressive antifungal properties . Hence, people with seborrheic dermatitis may benefit from this natural treatment.
To use sea salt for your skin, dissolve some sea salt in warm water before massaging the mixture into your scalp and leaving it on for a few hours. Alternatively, you may use a clean cloth to soak up the sea salt solution. Apply the wet cloth to the affected regions for a few minutes.
Manuka honey is a dark type of honey that is harvested from manuka trees in New Zealand and Australia. Manuka honey is typically utilized to treat burns, wounds, and other skin conditions.
Though the effects of manuka honey on seborrheic dermatitis have not been extensively studied, this substance possesses anti-inflammatory properties and could help combat skin redness, inflammation, and itchiness .
It can be applied directly to the affected areas of the skin, but due to its sticky and thick texture, you may prefer to dilute it with some water before application. As a word of warning, you may not wish to leave it on overnight—unless you'd like to be greeted by ants in the morning!
MCT oil is a supplement that consists of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
Unlike many other types of oil, MCT oil is much less likely to fuel the growth of the Malassezia fungus. Quite the opposite, this supplement has antifungal properties that may help inhibit the spread and growth of Malassezia. On top of that, MCT oil can also help enhance the hydration of your skin, combat dandruff, and stifle that nagging itch caused by seborrheic dermatitis.
Nonetheless, most of these benefits come from anecdotal evidence and have yet to be well-supported by scientific research. It could still be worth a shot since members of the seb derm community have shared the benefits they experienced from using topical MCT oil.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is undoubtedly one of the most popular home remedies for treating seborrheic dermatitis. Apple cider vinegar has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help combat seborrheic dermatitis .
Because apple cider vinegar is an acidic substance, you must dilute it with water before application to limit the risk of experiencing chemical burns, irritation, or an unpleasant burning sensation.
A commonly used ratio is one part vinegar to four parts water, though it may take a little experimentation to find the perfect balance for your skin. You can massage this concoction into your scalp or spray it onto the affected area while taking a shower.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is a popular, naturally-soothing remedy that many people swear by. Deemed a household staple by many, this substance is used to treat various conditions, including seborrheic eczema and dandruff.
Based on research studies, aloe vera gel successfully treated some of the main symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis in over half of the participants. The findings showed a decrease in scaliness, itchy skin, and the number of areas affected by seborrheic dermatitis .
If you're keen on trying this natural remedy, you can massage the gel into your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes. Do this two to three times each week or as frequently as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Colloidal silver has been a hotly debated supplement in the holistic wellness space. The main concern regarding colloidal silver is the bluish discoloration of the skin, which is a side effect.
Fortunately, you will not have to consume colloidal silver for seborrheic dermatitis. And the topical application of colloidal silver to the skin in moderate amounts is unlikely to cause this side effect.
Based on research studies, topical colloidal silver displayed impressive antifungal benefits against the Malassezia fungus . When mixed into antifungal and anti-dandruff shampoos, colloidal silver could also further enhance the efficacy of these agents . If you wish to use colloidal silver on your skin, always pick a high-quality, third-party tested source.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a type of essential oil that is said to have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral activity. In fact, one research study found that a 5% tea tree oil effectively alleviated seborrheic dermatitis symptoms, including inflammation, itching, scaling, and greasy crusts .
While you could opt for tea tree oil shampoo, you could also purchase a pure formulation and dilute it with another substance, such as aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, or your own shampoo. Apple cider vinegar can be very potent in its pure form, so you should always dilute it before applying it to your skin or scalp.
The Calming Seborrheic Serum
Some of the above natural treatments for seborrheic dermatitis may be a hassle to prepare and wash off.
We're talking about leaving on sticky, sweet honey overnight. Meanwhile, some options like tea tree oil, sea salt, and apple cider vinegar require you to dilute the substance carefully before application.
If you're looking for a hassle-free alternative crafted with your skin in mind, the Calming Seborrheic Serum is a fantastic candidate. The serum contains the perfect mix of a few of the above natural remedies and other skin-friendly, soothing ingredients, forming a holistic blend.
This gentle formulation helps clear away the Malassezia fungus, calms skin irritation, reduces inflammation, and alleviates itching. It's easy to apply and wash off, so you get the best of everything!
And, of course, your purchase comes with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, meaning we'll process a full refund for you if you aren't amazed by the results.
Natural Supplements For Seborrheic Dermatitis
Some nutritional supplements may help with seborrheic dermatitis, though there isn't a success-guaranteed supplement. Supplements may not be suitable for everyone, so it's best to consult your dermatologist or healthcare professional before commencing any of them. They would also be able to recommend the right dose based on your condition.
These are some supplements that you may find helpful while navigating your treatment journey.
Vitamin D3 +K2
Vitamin D3 is also known as the sunlight vitamin, simply because your body naturally produces this vitamin when in contact with the sun. Many people don't spend enough time outdoors, hence, lack this vital nutrient.
One study had demonstrated that oral vitamin D successfully reduced the occurrence of seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups in participants who had a vitamin D deficiency .
Vitamin D3 is often combined with vitamin K2 to ensure your body delivers the vitamin D to where it's needed, rather than depositing it in your arteries.
Fish oil supplements are among the hottest-selling and most popular supplements in the market, so it's no surprise that they have been a topic of discussion in the seb derm community.
Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, this supplement is said to help with reducing skin inflammation and redness. However, there isn't enough scientific evidence to routinely recommend fish oil supplements to treat seborrheic dermatitis.
Probiotics offer a host of gut and health benefits, so it's no wonder that this supplement joins fish oil as one of the most popular in the market.
The question is, "What does your gut health have to do with your skin?"
Well, one study discovered that participants who took probiotics daily found that it helped with alleviating scalp dandruff, seborrhea symptoms, and scalp inflammation. Drawing from that, researchers concluded that these supplements could help restore the optimal balance of microorganisms residing on your scalp and bolster the skin barrier and immune function .
As one of the most versatile supplements on the market, vitamin C is said to have impressive antioxidant effects. Research studies have shown that supplements containing this vitamin could significantly enhance skin hydration, elasticity, and texture [13, 14].
Vitamin C is available in both topical creams and oral supplementation. But it is, of course, more effective when applied directly to your skin.
Popular 'Remedies' That May Actually Cause More Harm than Good
Coconut oil and olive oil are two innocent-looking remedies that offer many health benefits—but not so much for your seborrheic dermatitis.
While this may not apply to everyone, coconut oil and olive oil are two sneaky culprits responsible for seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups and aggravation. Yet, they're always recommended as a safe and natural therapy for this skin condition.
So, what's the big deal about these two oils?
Both coconut oil and olive oil actually feed the Malassezia fungus, fueling its growth.
The Malassezia mainly feeds on oils that contain longer-chain fatty acids, which are fatty acids with a higher number of carbon atoms (between 11-24 carbons). Such long-chain fatty acids include lauric acid (12-carbon chain) and oleic acid (18-carbon chain).
So how do the pieces of this puzzle fit together?
The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, while the main fatty acid in olive oil is none other than oleic acid. So, putting it all together, these two oils are likely to be food and fuel for the Malassezia fungus—a big no-no!
We're not saying that every person who uses these oils will experience worsening symptoms or flare-ups. But there is no pressing reason to use them for your seborrheic dermatitis when there are tons are safer options out there. We say better than safe than sorry, in this case.
Final Takeway: Best Natural Therapies For Seborrheic Dermatitis
Finding something that works for your skin can take a lot of trial and error. It's frustrating dealing with flare-ups and being kept awake at night by an itch that won't go away. Not to mention that the symptoms can affect how you view and perceive yourself.
But there are alternative treatment options that may help. You may test them out one at a time, preferably at lower concentrations or dosages. Stacking remedies makes it hard to pinpoint which help and which don't.
If you're looking for something quick and easy to apply and wash off, the Calming Seborrheic Serum is a fantastic choice. It gently soothes irritated skin, reduces itching and flaking, and clears away the Malassezia fungus while nourishing the skin.
Also, we've made it a risk-free purchase—you're covered by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
We would love to be part of your healing journey and support your recovery each step of the way.