The “C” Cure – Eliminating The Cause

The skin is one of the body’s ways of signaling that something is wrong internally. While there’s plenty of external triggers that can cause an individual’s seborrheic dermatitis, the problem can also be internal. However, there is no single internal cause or reason for everyone’s seborrheic dermatitis. Each person is different and their body can react differently to various health issues or allergens. 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 up, and some may only get an upset stomach or a headache. In those examples, shell-fish is the trigger, and the reactions obviously differ. When an individual has seborrheic dermatitis, the reaction can be flare-up. Wonderful, huh? Well, it’s better than your throat closing! Seborrheic dermatitis is a reaction, and there are different causes for different people.

Allergies are not the only causes or triggers for seborrheic dermatitis. There are a multitude of other potential causes that can happen internally. As another example, let’s say there’s an issue with your liver and it’s overloaded with too many toxins. While the majority of waste and toxins are expelled through the liver and kidneys (with help from the urinary and digestive systems), toxins and waste can also be released through the skin. So if the liver or kidneys are overloaded, there can be an increase in toxins released through the skin; similar to a pot of water boiling over. In this example, the reaction is not due to an allergy, but has an internal cause.

While this may sound repetitive, it is very important to understand that everyone is different, and everyone has a different cause for seborrheic dermatitis. That simple fact not being understood is one of the largest reasons why there is so much misinformation out there from people sharing “what works” to cure seborrheic dermatitis. Let’s go back to the toxic liver example for a minute. Say that a person, “person A”, has an internal problem with liver toxicity. They do a liver detox and “viola!”, they cure their seborrheic dermatitis! That person then goes and tells “person B” that they have found the cure for seborrheic dermatitis and the answer is fixing liver toxicity. They then provide “person B” with their liver detox regimen. Meanwhile, what “person A” has failed to realize is that “person B” is completely healthy with no liver problems. “Person A” actually has an external cause; a sensitivity to the SLS ingredient commonly found in most shampoos that was causing seborrheic dermatitis. So “Person B” ends up wasting time, money, and heartache following this liver detox regimen, only to be disappointed that it did not work for them. This cycle goes on and on, until trying to find a solution through research and forums becomes overwhelming. That my friends, is why this website was created. The goal of this site is to help provide you with a broader understanding of seborrheic dermatitis, and a streamlined system to eliminating the cause of your seborrheic dermatitis.

If you have noticed, The “S” Cure is not only highly effective at healing, curing, and maintaining seborrheic dermatitis flare ups, but it also acts similarly to an elimination diet. For those not familiar, an elimination diet is the process of eliminating the most common food allergens from an individual’s diet, and slowly adding them back one at a time to identify the trigger food. The “S” Cure acts similarly by providing the most time efficient and logical steps to identify common external seborrheic dermatitis causes. If your cause happens to be an allergic reaction to an ingredient in your shampoo, face wash, moisturizer, or even your water…discovering that early prevents you from wasting time unecessarily pursuing other internal causes we elaborate on here in the “C” cure.

Ultimately, getting to the root of the cause is what each individual needs to discover for themselves and/or with the help of a medical professional. Since that can be difficult, it helps to have and holistic view of the condition and an efficient process to treat it. That is what this information aims to help you to do.

When you do identify and address the “cause”, whether with the “S” cure, the “C” cure, or both…seborrheic dermatitis will be a thing of the past! Just remember, seborrheic dermatitis is a reaction. It’s not just a case of, “sorry, this is how your particular skin works” as many believe. It doesn’t just happen, just like your throat would not close on it’s own if you didn’t eat the food allergen that triggers it. It’s a reaction, and there is a cause. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Identifying An Internal Cause

If  you have followed The “S” Cure regimen, one of two things have probably happened:

  1. Your seborrheic dermatitis has miraculously disappeared. Hooray!
  2. Your symptoms have improved, but the seborrheic dermatitis still persists sometimes.

If your seborrheic dermatitis is still persisting, it is time to start looking inside the body. So to start looking at the “C” cure, I like to initially break down internal causes into four categories:

  • General Health – Major Organs
  • Immune System
  • Stomach/Gut
  • Allergies

As we dive into these categories, its important to understand that they can overlap. So sometimes to cure one particular seborrheic dermatitis trigger, you may need to dig deeper and treat another one as well.

To use a personal example, I once purchased a very large bag of raw almonds when grocery shopping. I liked eating nuts, but they weren’t a major staple in my diet. So since I had this monster bag of raw almonds, I routinely snacked on them every day for about 1-2 months. During that time, I started having major digestive issues. My stomach always felt very bloated and was in a lot of pain. My overall health also started to noticeably decline. Seborrheic dermatitis started to rear it’s ugly head, and I had a list of other ailments I was experiencing with the rest of my body. When the bag of almonds ran out, my stomach and overall health started improving. It took about month to get back to normal. It wasn’t until two years later that I went to an allergist for something unrelated, and discovered that I had a new (or at least never known) allergy to Almonds. I know, kind of stinks huh? Anyway, the light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that the almonds had caused the inflammation in my stomach two years prior. More importantly, that chronic inflammation in my stomach had compromising my body’s immune system, which caused me to start developing multiple ailments. So you see, the ailments I experienced may have been caused by my immune system, but it was my almond allergy that ultimately caused my immune system to be compromised in the first place. What can become a little confusing is that the reverse can also happen. If the immune system does not function properly for various reasons, it can cause inflammation or even new allergies to develop.

Ultimately your immune system plays an important role in your skin care and treating seborrheic dermatitis. So it is important to consider it when trying to identify a cause for seborrheic dermatitis. Moreover, to consider overlapping categories that can effect it.

General Health Check Up

So where should you start? When trying to solve a problem it’s again always a good practice to make sure there is a solid foundation. If you have any major underlying medical conditions, they could be impacting your immune system, maybe causing autoimmune disorders, or even more serious medical issues. So it’s always best to go see a doctor and get a general check-up to make sure there are no obvious major health concerns. I try to do this now at least once an year and my doctor will run basic tests on liver function, pancreas, blood pressure, etcetera. It’s a good routine to have in general, and important for your health. If everything is good with a general check up, you’ve started to eliminate potential top level causes, and are doing so in the most logical way.

The Immune System And Seborrheic Dermatitis

It is commonly theorized that there is a direct correlation between seborrheic dermatitis and the immune system. The reason for this is based largely on the high percentage of individuals with autoimmune diseases that also have seborrheic dermatitis. This conclusion has a lot of merit, and is actually quite fascinating. However, detailing how the immune system functions with the skin is a very elaborate topic. So I will try to summarize it for our purposes: A compromised immune system can contribute to, or cause, the following: skin inflammation, a compromised skin barrier, and skin that is susceptible to developing seborrheic dermatitis.

There are two key components to the immune system and seborrheic dermatitis to consider. The first, is the overall strength of the immune system. Sometimes the immune system is working properly, but it’s overall strength or ability to perform is weakened. When that is the case, it’s ability to fight off disease, bacteria, etcetera, will also be decreased. A weakened immune system can cause a person to get sick easily, develop other medical conditions, and even cause seborrheic dermatitis. Factors that can contribute to a weakened immune system include lack of sleep, stress, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, poor diet, vitamin deficiency, etc. So maintaining a strong immune system with a healthy lifestyle can potentially eliminate, or considerably improve seborrheic dermatitis.

The second immune system factor, is how it is functioning. Meaning, not is it weak or strong, but is it working properly? Sometimes the immune system does not operating as it should. When this happens, the immune system starts firing off the wrong signals in the body, causing the body to attack cells it should not be attacking. This can result in various forms of inflammation, and can actually cause some pretty serious medical conditions depending on what “signals” the immune system is misfiring. This is called an autoimmune disorder, and there are many different types. Some autoimmune issues are severe and easy to diagnose right away due to obvious symptoms. However, many go under the radar, because the symptoms can mimic other common ailments not associated with autoimmune disorders.

Considering the connection that the immune system has on seborrheic dermatitis, it is worth having a doctor run some test to see if your immune system is functioning properly. In the meantime, do your best to eliminate factors in your lifestyle that weaken the immune system. You can do this through exercise, healthy diet, not smoking, strengthening your gut, and even various herbal supplements. There are many ways you can help boost your immune system, and they can all be very beneficial to seborrheic dermatitis.

How Your Gut Can Effect Seborrheic Dermatitis

The health of the stomach/gut is directly related to the immune system. Therefore, it can also be directly related to seborrheic dermatitis. With the amount of processed foods we eat today, digestive issues in our society are the highest they have ever been. So it’s not surprising that the same goes for skin ailments. It seems that more and more people are developing skin “disorders” every year, and many of the reasons for that can be related to the gut. First, is the amount of antibiotics people have consumed over the years. While antibiotics have saved an incredible amount of lives, they have also come with some drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is killing the good bacteria in your gut and disrupting the balance of stomach flora. Your gut normally has a balance of good and bad bacteria. If the bad bacteria start to overpopulate your gut and digestive system, digestive issues will inevitably follow. Moreover, there is very strong evidence that the over growth of bad bacteria can cause the body to develop a myriad of different diseases and ailments. One of those developments is allergies. That said, it should come as no surprise that allergies have been on the rise globally as well.

So if you happen to have digestive issues, there is a strong possibility that it is negatively effecting your immune system as a result. Moreover, there is a possibility that a compromised immune system could cause the development of new allergies or sensitivities.

If you have taken too many antibiotics or have a diet heavy in processed foods, you may want to look at taking probiotics. Probiotics are a good way to rebalance the flora in your gut, and can help with digestive issues. I myself was having some medical issues with my digestion/gut, and I now take probiotics every day. They have helped tremendously. If you are going to take probiotics, I would highly suggest doing your research before hand. The probiotics world has exploded over the last few years and there are so many brands and gimmicks out there. I remember reading a report by ConsumerLabs a year or two ago that showed a high percentage of probiotics on the market only contained 20-55% of the active bacteria they claimed. So just make sure you really check reviews and any quality tests you can find on them first. renew life ProbioticsThe brand I use is called Renew Life and I take the RenewLife 50 Billion count. I chose them because they have a good reputation, and they contained something like 98-99% of the claimed active bacteria when independently tested. You can pick them up at most natural foods stores in the US, and I buy mine at WholeFoods for $30. If they are not available locally to you, I’ve added links in the text and picture here, so you can check them out on Amazon if you’d like.

Seborrheic Dermatitis and Allergies

It’s no secret that allergies can cause seborrheic dermatitis. In reality, many seborrheic dermatitis cases tend to be a reaction to some kind of allergy or sensitivity. Some of the more common allergies and sensitivities that can cause seborrheic dermatitis include:

  • Foods, and food ingredients (gluten, wheat, dairy, etc.)
  • Sulfates (e.g. SLS) in shampoos
  • Parabens, fragrances, and a laundry list of chemicals in skin products
  • Chemicals like chlorine, or even fire retardants used in mattresses
  • The environment (dust mites, pet dander, pollen, etc.)

While those are just some common allergies, the list of allergies that can trigger skin reactions is extensive. People can be allergic to almost anything, and their allergic reactions can be different for each individual allergy. Someone might break out in hives for a penicillin allergy, but their reaction to a cat allergy is puffy/watery eyes. In addition, some allergic reactions are not always immediate. Food intolerances can take 1-3 days to react in the body, making it very challenging to figure out which food or ingredient it was that caused the reaction.

So while it is great to pinpoint an allergy or sensitivity and avoid it, the identification process can also be very time consuming. Sometimes it is easier to try eliminate the root (gut, immune system, etc.) of the allergy instead, if possible.

Tying It All Together

If you have noticed, medical issues can often have a snowball effect. Each of the four main categories I discussed can create causes and effects for one another. So that possibility is always something to take into consideration when trying to eliminate seborrheic dermatitis. For example, let’s say a person’s stomach flora became out of balance due to a course of antibiotics. Over time the bad bacteria started to grow out of control and their immune system started to deteriorate. Eventually they developed an autoimmune system disorder. That autoimmune disorder then caused them to develop various new allergies (i.e. foods, products, environment, etc.). As you can see, one condition caused another. The root “cause” in that example was the flora being out of balance, but the allergy ultimately took all the spotlight for the seborrheic dermatitis reaction. So rebalancing one’s gut flora might be able to eliminate the immune system disorder, an ultimately eliminate the allergic reaction causing their seborrheic dermatitis. That is just one example. The same snowball effect can happen just as easily with something like a major underlying illness effecting other parts of the body and the immune system. So it is important to keep in mind how various functions in your body can effect one another.

That said, the most logical process to follow in identifying a “C” cure would be to:

  1. Check for any underlying major health issues (organs functioning properly, medical conditions, etc.)
  2. Check the immune system as a whole for any improper functioning
  3. Check your gut (digestive issues, medical conditions, etc)
  4. Check for allergies

Tying this all together may be a quick process for some, and a longer one for others. Using some common sense while keeping the broader picture in mind, will go a long way. If there is one thing that you take away from this website, it is that there’s not one specific solution that will cure seborrheic dermatitis for everyone. When people lose sight of that, they perpetuate misinformation that confuses themselves and others to the point that finding a cure seems hopeless. Hopefully I’ve been able to provide you with some tools and understanding to carry with you along your journey.

As always, please feel free to share your experiences, questions, and stories with others in the forum and comments sections.

38 Comments on “Curing The Cause”

  1. cristie

    I have experience the results of going to a dermatologist for my set,. term. only to discover that
    the prescriptions they prescribe only made it worst. The Pharma. industry makes billions on their
    products so that we can spend our money and time trying to manage our horrible condition. they
    found cures for leprozy , ebola, small pox just to name a few CONTAGIOUS diseases THAT ARE
    CONTAGIOUS, ( I wonder why ? ? ? ). I am started using using CURAD silver solution which worked
    very quickly and reapply after cleaning off with water 2 or. 3 times a day. works great (find at
    Walmart I order 12 tubes over the counter . to be sure I don”t run out . After 2 years decided to
    try alternating with CLOTRIMAZOLE (active ingredient in LOTRIMIN). as suggested by my primary
    physician ) apply very little it works great (bought at family $ store ) doesn’t leave my face shiny .
    For scalp use NIZORAL 1% every day – no matter how long left on hair Leaves it in beautiful condition
    prescription ketoazole 2%. has a little oil and comletely different ingredients ? ? ?. every 3 days I
    alternate with NEUTRAGINA 3% coal tar. Leave on 5 minutes. use only 1 day . NIZORAL 3 days
    works very well to manage my 2 year severe seb. Derm. Yes STRESS , LACK OF SLEEP , COFFIE,
    DEPRESSION, DIET does make a difference too. PRAY FOR A CURE. MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS !

    THANK YOU MATT ! for this terrific web site. ( you really helped me by advising to stay away from
    any type of oil. – that sent me in a new direction. You saved me . I have chronic bronchitis. I didn’t
    need Seb. Derm. to make my life unbearable.

  2. Having endured a brief period of seb. derm. on my cheeks when I was 14ish years of age, I suffered a period of flare ups in my thirties. I have moved abroad to a hotter climate and enjoyed a 4 year flare up free period (Ok, maybe one or two). Now I am suffering a persistent flare up around my eyebrows and cheeks as well as a new area, my neck. I have to shave almost daily and even extreme heat/sweating sets it off. I am very sensitive to stress and work in an environment where I go from hot/warm to very cold. This is not ideal and I intend to change my work role to avoid this as it’s having an effect on my skin. Having said that, I do think it is linked to hormones and a reaction to stress. I haven’t observed any dietary links.

  3. Profile photo of Missy Tester

    I have been fighting dermatitis on my scalp over 10 years. It’s really thick , very itchy and painful. I keep a lot on my mind and I pick all the time on my scalp witch will bleed . How do you Recommend treatment with the Dead Sea salt on my scalp for dermatitis. How do I mix the solution up for my scalp with sea salt. Thank you so much

    1. Have you tried Selsun Blue? I used to mainly get it on my scalp, I used to comb (scrape gently) out the flakes then wash.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this information. I’m 24 and have had seb derm on my scalp for years and years… I decided to stop using selenium sulphide shampoo two weeks ago (this is the only thing that has ever given me relief- I was prescribed a series of coal tar shampoos and all sorts before) because it had seemed to stop working as well and after doing some research I realised that I needed to find a natural, long- term solution; this is in line with me also deciding to reduce the amount of chemicals I am putting in my body, stop drinking as regularly, use natural products and generally work towards being healthier. As you will know, I have had a really bad flare up on my scalp after stopping using the selenium sulphide shampoo, and when I found your website I was about to make a concoction of different natural oils!

    It makes perfect sense what you say about feeding the problem. I also have an underactive thyroid which is caused by autoimmunity, and I believe that this problem too is caused by something that my body isn’t tolerating. I am starting the process of elimination now, not eating gluten is one of the things that seems to be a good idea for both my thyroid and my skin.

    I have been out and brought dead sea salt and aveeno and used them for the first time last night. Head is still very itchy today and I am going on holiday on friday and am fighting the urge to run to the store and buy selenium shampoo as I can’t bare this whilst on holiday, but I am going to persevere until friday with the sea salt and aveeno. I have a 1/2 pint spray bottle (0.28 L) which I have put a teaspoon of sea salt in with bottled spring water, and I plan to spray it on to my scalp, leave for 1/2 an hour then rinse with bottled spring water. Do you think this dilution seems ok? I tried to convert using the 1/2 cup per gallon ratio but I am using such a small bottle I couldn’t really work it out properly.

    My question is, I have brought some ‘faith in nature’ fragrance free shampoo, I have made sure it has no oil and that it doesn’t contain any ingredients that I read on another site to stay away from, here are the ingredients: Aqua (Water), Ammonium laureth sulfate*, Maris sal (Sea salt), Cocamidopropyl betaine*, Glycerin*, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate,Citric acid*

    Do you think this will be ok to use along with your regime? I have long thick hair and really feel like I need something more than just water to refresh it and stop the itching- if I washed it every day before, that’s the only way it wouldn’t drive me mad. If not, do you have any other suggestions that I could use to wash my hair?

    Next question, I can’t afford to buy fragrance free conditioner too because I wash my hair frequently and am spending an a fortune on products to try and find a cure at the moment 🙁 do you think it’s OK to use a bit of oil (macadamia) or just a bit of normal conditioner just on the ends of my hair, or will this still be absorbed into my scalp?

    Thanks so much in advance,

    Nichola

  5. Hello Matt. I have a question about diet. There’s a few people on YouTube that say diet is a big cause of SD due to a lack of digestion etc. they follow a vegan high carb low fat diet. do you think there is a certain diet that one should follow? How do yoh feel about grains and meat? Thanks

  6. Try the elimination diet and eliminate all the specified food groups for 2-3 weeks. But from what you said, I don’t believe you’re sensitive to gluten but you could still be sentive to wheat or other grains. The only way to know for sure if you have a sensitivity to a certain food is to do the elimination diet.

  7. It’s been one year since I am having a really dry, flacking and burning face ,neck and ear.I regularly visit my dermatologist but their is no improvement.my dermatologist provides me with topical and systemic steroids . He also gives me antihistamines but I don’t think they really work. Deflazocort really keeps my flare ups away for some days but as soon as I stop them my flare ups breaks out.currently I suffered the most dreadful and burning flare up.it has not healed inspite of a regular dose of def 6 mg two times a day with antihistamines.my neck is also peeling. My dermatologist says it’s bcoz of an allergy . Is it seborrheic dermatitis.but my skin never itches but burns like hell.plz tell me what to do.

  8. I have found that eating “sour cream” flavored pretzels gets rid of the symptoms in one or two days. But it will keep on coming back if I don’t eat more of the pretzels.

    Is there any scientist out there who can tell us what is the needed ingredient? is it something like chopped chives?

    Thanks

  9. what is a recommended shampoo to use? it seems like ever shampoo out there has oils in it and from the sounds of things you want to avoid oils at all costs

    I have found using ACV on my scalp works great but i need a shampoo to actually wash my hair

    suggestions please

  10. My nephew has had SD on his scalp for a few years. He has tried all shampoos and lotions, etc., recommended from various web sites and nothing worked. It spread to his entire face, and he looked like he had a really bad sunburn with flakes. He switched to unscented glycerin soap (365 from Whole Foods) and his head and face has healed. Simply amazing : )

    1. Hello D. Swider:

      The comment you made on the benefits of unscented glycerin soap is very interesting. Does your nephew now use that soap to wash his face and hair on a daily basis?

      The reason I ask is that I have not been able to find a suitable facial wash for the stubborn seb derm on my forehead. The Dead Sea Salt wash leaves my forehead too dry, irritated, and angry (moisturizers make it worse). I have tried many different mild facial soaps over the years with minimal success. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for this article. I was diagnosed with SD many years ago and have been on the hunt for a cure ever since. Many of the Rx’s can keep symptoms at bay for a short time but they always return. (My SD is on my scalp and the medications really have a rough go on my hair!) I’ve been gluten free for 3 months now to see if that’s a cause however I don’t have gut sensitivity to gluten. Perhaps that means it’s not a limey cause? What do you think? Should I continue GF or move on to elimate other possible allergens?

  12. I have been predicted with initial stage of SD on scalp alone. Do reply on my email on how to use this treatment for scalp. Im not having red patches. My scalp is dry and if i touch white dots are falling.

  13. MATT, I think i found the issue of my SD, after 3 weeks of having intensely spreading all around my face, and trying ..everything that gone through my mind…I went to pool two days ago stayed in the sun only with moisturizer applied on face no more than one hour and now my SD dropped in intensity by 50%.
    However is far from being cured,and I think this is a step forward , i’ll try to stay each day 15-20 mins in sun and see how this will pay off, i’ll keep you updated.

    1. Profile photo of Matt

      Hi,
      I can say that sun has always helped my own SD as well. That’s not the case for everyone, but I think for most people with SD getting some sun usually helps quite a bit.

  14. Matt, i’m using 2liters(0,6gallons I think) of warm pure water(bottled or filtered, depends), with 1/2 cup of dead sea salt and then I wait for water to dry on my face and then I rinse with another 2L of cold pure water. However after I put the warm water with salt on my face and I wait for it to dry off, I can see the dead skin started to be produced.Should I soak even more? maybe raise the warm water quantity?

    When I shower I don’t even touch my face with the chlorinated water, i’m washing only the body.This can still affect my face? Also I shower in the morning after I come from the gym,and don’t apply any moisturizer all day.

    1. Profile photo of Matt

      The measurement is 1/2 cup per gallon. So you are using almost double the amount of salt needed. That is probably the problem right there.

      I would try using less than a half a 1/4 cup of sea salt for 2 liters, and you may want to try simply washing with fresh water only for a few days. I’d apply a layer of Aveeno after to help any dryness as the skin balances out and recovers a bit.

  15. Hello Matt, I am following your advice with pure water and Dead Sea salt for few months now.My face was 90% cured and it didn’t seemed to heal any more… However a week ago my dermatitis exploded from one tiny point it spread all around my face. I didn’t change anything in my diet or life…and now doesn’t matter how much i wash my face with Dead Sea salt and pure water it just doesn’t seem to go away….Is it normal that after I wash my face with Dead Sea salt and rinse it off with cold water, there is some dead skin produced right where my dermatitis is situated?

    1. Profile photo of Matt

      Hi Cristi,

      I’m not sure exactly how you are washing your skin, but always make sure to really soak the area. You want to let your skin soften up enough so that any dead skin can be easily removed while you wash. Also, make sure you are not over washing and stripping your skin. That will damage it’s protective barrier and cause more irritation. You want to try and keep your skin balanced. Personally, I only wash my face in the evenings and then I’ll wash with only fresh water in the morning. It just depends on your particular skin, climate, etc…

      Something to keep in mind is that dermatitis takes many forms. Those different forms can provide you hints in finding the potential cause. For instance, some people have seborrheic dermatitis that comes and goes. They’ll have lengthy periods where their skin is relatively fine, and then boom, they get a bad flareup all of a sudden. Other people may have more persistent dermatitis which falls in the seborrheic dermatitis category. Meaning, everyday their skin is an issue and it only looks slightly better some days vs. others. Those different scenarios can point you in different directions. So something that’s persistent every day would make me focus more on constants in their life. Things like their water, products used, or internal health (infections, gut, medical conditions, etc). Seborrheic dermatitis that pops up every once in a while for a few days or a week at a time…I might think more along the lines of true “triggers” like allergic reactions, maybe look for similarities during flareup periods, etc. It helps a lot to analyze constants vs. variables.

      Based on the “90% clear” part of your comment, I’m assuming this is more of a daily persistent dermatitis for you? I’d be curious to know what kind of water are you using as pure water? A lot of people say they are using “pure” water, but in actuality they’re not. For example, if you shower in water with chloramines and then wash your face with “pure” water, you could still have an issue. In that situation the sea salt solution helps to keep things at bay by constantly re-healing the skin, while the chlorine/chloramines continue to damage it. Just know that chlorine/chloramines get ABSORBED into the skin. It’s not simply a layer left on the skin that can be rinsed away. Check out this youtube video to see a great demonstration. Your skin is like a sponge. If you ever really wanted to test this, you can try not showering for a few days and only washing your skin with the bottled water. You might be surprised. Yeah, it may seem a little gross, but people in the old days used to wash this way (standing in small bowls filled with water and a rag). If hospital patients have bed baths for months or even years at a time, a few days won’t kill anyone. It’s just a temporary test to identify the problem and see if a more permanent water solution needs to be implemented.

      Anyway, hope this helps.

      1. Hi Matt, is there any remedies for sd of the scalp. It’s so itchy burns some and there are many scabs all over my head. Also I noticed that my lympnodes or glands just below and just above my hairline In the back of my neck get enlarged and sometimes are sore. So frustrated. Please help

        1. I have the same symptoms. The SB is so bad that I get blisters and they get infected. I already had antibiotics on two occasions and they come back after I finish the course…

  16. I am a 39 year old woman & I believe that I have seb derm based on the online research I’ve done & then discovering you online. It began in April and has been appearing once a month for about a week or so around my mouth, jaw line, & the sides of my nose. I’ve noticed it seems to occur during the time I menstruate & gets really out of control as my period gets heavier; I’ll have big flakes covering that whole area & even chapping my lips!

    I think I may have had it my whole life because I’ve always had issues with dry scalp and flaking of the scalp but I’ve never experienced what I’ve recently been suffering with on my face. Back in February I developed atopic eczema dermatitis on my hands (I received this diagnosis from a dermatologist). I’m at a point where I’m wondering if there’s any correlation between the dermatitis on my hands and/or my menstrual cycle.

    It was recommended to me to use Dead Sea salt by my boss because she suffers horribly from eczema and psoriasis, but when she got a chance to go to the Dead Sea she swam in it & it cleared her up. A co-worker gave me a pouch of sea salt from Jordan and last week I began using it as a soak. However I learned, especially from finding your site online, that I was ruining the effects by then slathering coconut oil all over the area. It was a shame because I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t getting any better, but in fact seemingly worse. Discovering your site has shown me in the last few days that just by doing the soak, rinsing with cold water, & going light on moisturizer (I’ve been using Cerave or raw honey), I’m starting to clear up. However, my period is dying down, which leads me further to my earlier question–is there a connection between my hormones & my flare ups?

    1. Lauren:

      I don’t think there is any doubt of the connection between your seb derm flare ups and hormones. Personally, I didn’t start getting severe seb derm flare ups on my forehead until my late 40s. I intend to get my hormones fully tested and will report back to this website on any findings.

      My seb derm symptoms were extremely severe this past Fall and Winter and my osteopath suggested I get a hormone called estradiol (male estrogen) tested. It was in fact way too high (0-30 best for males my age and my estradiol was 59). After using a supplement (Chrysin) for several months and donating blood every 3 months, my estradiol is now normal at 26. Lo and behold, my seb derm flare ups are now much less intense when they occur (but they do still occur).

      I am starting to believe that anyone who develops severe seb derm in their 30s, 40s, and 50s should strongly consider hormone testing to see if any hormone in particular is in an abnormal range. Abnormal hormone levels could be a potential solution to the “curing of the cause” that Matt writes about. Good luck!

      1. Profile photo of Matt

        Hi Robert & Lauren,

        Your comments particularly caught my eye. There’s something I have not really shared on this site…

        Over the last year or two my health took a turn for the worse. It’s been quite difficult, and I’m not sure if I want to get into all the details. But one of the side effects I experienced was my facial skin acting up like never before. It was different than normal though, and more intense than your typical seborrheic dermatitis. It was almost of mix of seborrheic dermatitis and eczema. While I was able to keep signs of it from showing with my routine, my skin was persistently going nuts and difficult to manage.

        It turned out that I had two tumors on my left adrenal gland and one was about 6cm in size. This was causing all sorts of issues in my body (including my skin). The morning before Christmas Eve this year I had surgery to remove the tumors and they also removed my left adrenal glad all together.

        For those not aware, your adrenal glads control all your stress hormones like adrenalin, cortisol, cortisone, etc. Those hormones can cause so many different health issues and can be quite serious (even fatal). In tests, my hormone levels where through the roof almost across the board, and the effects were really debilitating. It’s taken me some time to recover after surgery, but one of the pleasant results was my skin completely settling down.

        Anyway, I hope this story is insightful and maybe helps someone experiencing similar issues. There’s no doubt that hormone levels can effect the skin.

        1. How did you find out you had these tumors? Did you have side or abdomen pain and then get an ultrasound? I ask, because I have had side pain lately.

  17. I began noticing dandruff and my eyebrows Etc about 2 years ago.. Every now and then other parts of my face would start to get red.. Well about a 6 months ago ago I finally went to the dr. because the normal spots where you get seb derm had become really inflamed and itchy and Flaky.. Needless to say I was diagnosed with web derm.

    I was going through a lot of stress in my life I was barely sleeping and drinking tons of coffee everyday. apparently I am sensitive to caffeine anyway because even one cup of coffee in the morning I noticed would keep me awake at night I literally went weeks sometimes without really falling asleep

    during this time I became addicted to caffeine basically after being diagnosed I begin paying attention when I noticed my skin would start flaking almost immediately after I had a cup of coffee.. Assuming it wasn’t already flaking so I became suspicious of coffee unfortunately I was addicted.

    however starting about 6 months ago I began really cutting back on coffee and all caffeine at first I was able to go every other day and then every 2 days and then I would relapse or something and start drinking again everyday.

    but I did notice one important thing.. Sleep! I began sleeping better almost immediately for me that means I would actually fall asleep Some Nights 4 or 5 sometimes 6 or 7 hours in a night a few times a week.. Although I did still have trouble at times because I had not given coffee up completely f****** Starbucks..

    today it’s been 2 weeks and my Cravings have almost disappeared.. I sleep about 7 hours a night sometimes more and this is nearly every night although there are a few nights I have trouble.

    I have not seen greate improvement yet with my seb derm what finally made me quit 2 weeks ago was an incredible flare up after drinking coffee and caffeine for a few days..

    I actually had good results using butenafine …an antifungal for probably a month and a half previous but for some reason the anti-fungal quit working in the flare up and got really bad so I had to reach for Hydrocortisone which of course clear it right up now I’m using a combination of tea tree oil, antifungal ointment and aloe vera and trying to control the condition without steroids I’ve also started taking several different kinds of vitamins and taking aspirin once a day I also sit out in the sun as much as possible insofar it’s been a few days since I had the hydrocortisone.. Things aren’t perfect but they look a little better than they did except today my skin was basically peeling off part of the day

    the good news is I’m going to stop at nothing to fix this my next step is to try an Elimination Diet and if that doesn’t work to go 2 the Allergy Clinic

    why is there no immediate cure for this? Why hasn’t billions of dollars being poured into finding a cure? anyway thank you for your site I appreciate it.. I’ll let you know how much skin does after I’ve been off of caffeine for a full month

  18. Hi
    I’m turned 15 this year and I’ve had seborrheic dermatitis for about 3 years. I began getting it when I was about 12 and those 2 years have been horrible for me. I had red patches all over my scalp and dandruff approx 2-3mm large. Back then, if someone just were to touch my hair in the slightest, flakes would fall. I’ve tries coconut oil, didn’t work, apple vinegar, other oils and treatments, nothing helped. Only late last year I began using T- Gel from Neutragena, and that worked wonders for me, it’s the best thing I’ve used so far, I am 90% relieved of it, I still get a few flakes but they are very small. I don’t have any red patches anymore and regained more of my self confidence but not fully, I’m still very self conscious of it. Seeing that the cause of my SD if because of hormonal changes and genetic related, I am still unsure if there’s a way for me to get rid of this for good. I’ve done a lot of research and I pray that one day I’d find my cure for it because it seriously affects my self confidence and my self esteem. What hits me the hardest is watching all my friends and people on the internet with fantastic hair, enjoying their hair, free of it, while I’m here with it. I think to myself, “Why couldn’t I be lucky like them? I have the same hair as them but I can’t enjoy it the way they can.” I’m so sick and tired of it…..

  19. My daughter has suffered from SD for years but recently had two dreadful flare ups. After trying everything,she took your advice and stopped all the creams and potions. After a week the redness has disappeared and her skin is less dry every day. She used sea salt and bottled water and now just drinks a great deal of water to hydrate the skin on her face. It was a revelation to discover that the creams were actually feeding the condition,I had noticed that her skin always looked more angry if she applied cream.
    One thing you have not mentioned as a possible cause is stress. Her condition is always worse when she is very busy at work or worried about things.
    Does she need to use the salt every so often when her skin in OK.
    Thank you so much for your fantastic advice.

    1. Profile photo of Matt

      Hi Joy,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad the information helped your daughter. It makes me very happy whenever I here stories like yours. You are 100% correct about stress being a factor and it’s one of the tips I mention in my 5 Tips to Prevent Seborrheic Dermatitis Flare-Ups. Drinking more water is also very important and I’m glad she took that initiative. Not many people realize how much skin moisture levels are effected from lifestyle choices and their environment. Things like smoking, not drinking enough water, diet, exercise, coffee, and climate (just to name a few), can all effect the moisture levels and overall health of your skin. The same goes for the amount of sebum/oil your skin produces. Keep in mind, it’s important to not only consider stress, but to also consider things that effect stress hormones released in your body by the adrenal gland.

      I myself actually had surgery to remove one of my adrenal glands (located just above your kidney), and a tumor that had decided to make friends with it. That is a story for another day, but I became quite familiar with adrenal function and effects on the body. One of the most common triggers that goes overlooked in this regard, is caffeine and coffee. Drinking coffee increases stress hormones released in your body. If I drink a cup of coffee (which I love by the way) my skin not only looks horrible in general, but it will become quite red and cause inflammation. Now, keep in mind that your overall health plays a big part in this too. If I am exercising, eating well, and healthy overall I can drink coffee here and there with minimal reactions. If I am rundown, stressed out, not sleeping enough, not drinking enough water, etc., or drinking coffee multiple days in a row, it will have have disastrous results. If you notice, most of the factors I just mentioned directly effect the immune system. It is interesting that such a high percentage of people with HIV and a compromised immune system have seborrheic dermatitis. It is very strong evidence that the immune system plays an important role in seborrheic dermatitis. That does not mean that everyone with seborrheic dermatitis has HIV. It is simply a compelling statistic that suggests a correlation between the immune system and seborrheic dermatitis. There are many, many, autoimmune disorders that could potentially contribute to, or cause, seborrheic dermatitis. Even something like IBS which is ultimately an autoimmune response causing inflammation could cause a flareup if that person’s immune response is seborrheic dermatitis. All that said, one of my immediate tips for anyone with seb derm is to stop drinking coffee for at least a week. The same applies for energy drinks and similar products, but coffee is probably the worst offender. This is not to say you can never drink coffee again, it should just be consumed in moderation and in a ratio that is applicable to your overall health (low immune health = no/low coffee, high immune health = in moderation), if that makes sense?

      Regarding needing to continue the sea salt regimen when her skin is okay – I would say no. There are many people I know that use absolutely nothing on their skin and their skin looks great (they also tend to be quite healthy and into fitness, from observation). They don’t use cleansers, or moisturizers, and simply wash their face with only water everyday in the shower. For those people, their lifestyle and health habits probably contribute to having better skin moisture levels. A friend of mine constantly had blotchy red skin using various cleansing/moisturizer products. Once he stopped them all together his skin cleared up, balanced itself, and remained clear ever since. He never read my website or heard anything about the topic from me. It was just something he mentioned one day in a random conversation. So I would say that it’s not necessary for your daughter to continue using the sea salt solution if her skin is doing well on it’s own. She should just pay attention to her skin, try to keep it balanced, and increase healthy habits as she is doing with drinking more water etc. Over time she will learn what fine tuning is needed to keep her skin balanced.

  20. I’ve been dealing with seborrheic dermatitis in my scalp for over ten years now. It began in my early twenties;I’m 33 now. At first it was just above my neck, right on the lower part of my head. It went away and now it’s permanently on top of my head in two areas. There’s also been some hair loss along with it.

    I visited a dermatologist years ago, and she advised me to keep my hair short, not to wear any hats and no hair gel.

    I battled my scalp condition to a point where I didn’t care anymore. I also went through a somewhat vegan diet for a while too.
    Anyway, after being on vacation recently, and being told it improved somewhat, I decided to check this website again. (I only skimmed through it thr fit’s time a couple years back)

    I remember reading about how some people’s condition improved when under low stress or exposed to both sea water and filtered hotel water systems.

    You sound very educated on the matter so I decided to fight this thing one more time without spending hundreds on a dermatologist. I believe what you say on here to be true because the immune system along with our external exposure to things indeed has a big impact. One example I can feel instantly doing harm cheese and beer. I enjoy beer like the next person so I seldomly do now.

    Now, I like to use hair gel because I need it. That may be a problem, but I will definitely try the sea salt solution and begin taking my vitamins again. I use MG217 shampoo for now, but will research a natural shampoo without any oil extracts. I remember the last time I bought a natural shampoo I made sure it had tea tree oil and jojob because i learned it was good. Only to find out that it was irritating my affected areas more.

    I will also buy a water filter system soon, and obviously I’ll check the chlorine levels first.

    What’s your experience or advice in trying honey to fight seborrheic dermatitis?

    I visit the beach more often now since my vacation. Thanks for keeping this site running still.

    Moises

  21. I will definitely try this out. Ive been suffering with this for quite sometime now, and no doctor is able to help me out with a cure.
    I have lost good part of my front hair (where it started), and now its spreading to the back side of my head, and also my face.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, I know that there are thousands of people out there suffering with this, and not many share their experience in such detailed way like you did.

    Thank you!

  22. First, the advise given is spot on! Sea salt worked wonders! Since I am a biologist I can tell you that microbio growth such as fungus, does not grow on a salt medium. So applied science is in your favor already. Hey, that’s why fungus and bacteria do not grow on jelly, it has a high solute concentration so water in the fungus moves into the salt and the fungus dies.
    I had dermatitis for 2 years, and was apparently related to a vitamin and mineral deficiency. I am a vegetarian, the diet was fine but I initially got anemia, I supplemented with iron but did not follow up. Also, my B vitamins and multi mineral levels were low as was my protein and amino acids. Yes, my caloric intake was fine with good healthy foods, even juicing daily, but intake and absorption are two different matters.
    So, I started with iron, ferrous sulfate, a B complex, protein powder organic shakes and the sea salt for the symptoms. Within a few days the salt worked ( you must adhere to the protocol described exactly, 1/2 cup and 1 gallon and zero water, no tap) and the vitamin supplement worked tremendously.
    So, the take home message is that all cases are different, its not a one size fits all. If your diet is strict don’t forget to supplement and use organic products all the way. Hope this helps

  23. May I say I’ve recently had a blood test for food intolerances and consultation with a doctor and I pretty much agree with everything you are saying. I’ve been told by the doctor to get on a “low-fodmap” diet which takes care of your gut as some foods react and break down into catalyst chemicals to the cause.

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