The Best Products for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease that causes an itchy rash with flaky scales. It causes redness on light skin and light patches on darker skin. It’s also called dandruff, cradle cap, seborrhea, seborrheic eczema, and seborrheic psoriasis. It might look similar to psoriasis, eczema, or an allergic reaction. It usually happens on your scalp, but you can get it anywhere on your body.

If you have seborrheic dermatitis on your scalp, use an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo with one of these ingredients: ketoconazole, ciclopiroxselenium sulfide, zinc pyrithionecoal tar, and salicylic acid, used twice weekly for at least a month and if necessary, indefinitely.

  • Zinc Pyrithione: Zinc pyrithione is an antimicrobial that is often listed as the active ingredient in OTC dandruff shampoos. Because zinc has powerful antifungal properties, it’s good at killing yeast overgrowth. It may also be available as a cream and is often recommended for daily use.  
  • Selenium Sulfide: Selenium sulfide is an antifungal that can slow down the overgrowth of yeast on your scalp and skin. Some products contain both selenium sulfide and zinc pyrithione. It can be a little harsher than zinc pyrithione, though, so it’s best to start slow by using the product only a couple of times per week at first (then building up from there), keeping an eye out for skin irritation. 
  • Ketoconazole: This antifungal has more uses than some of the other antifungals on this list, and can be prescribed to treat everything from athlete’s foot to tinea versicolor to ringworm. If you do opt for the shampoo, make sure to follow the directions on the packaging; it’s usually recommended that you only use it twice per week or every three days on the scalp.
  • Salicylic Acid: if your seborrheic dermatitis consists of thick crust or patchy scales, it can help to choose a shampoo with salicylic acid. This beta-hydroxy acid removes the dead cells that build up on the surface of the skin, forming unsightly, stubborn, and itchy patches of scaly or flaky skin.

Zinc Pyrithione

VANICREAM

Vanicream Z-Bar Medicated Cleansing Bar

Maximum OTC strength zinc pyrithione 2% for the control and reduction of the symptoms of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.Non-comedogenic (does not cause blackheads), free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers. Oil-free. pH balanced. Sulfate-free, phosphate-free, and gluten-free.

*At the time of publishing


Selenium Sulfide

Selsun blue

Selsun Blue Medicated Shampoo

Specially formulated to control the itching and flaking of serious dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. It contains Selenium Sulfite 1%, medicated with menthol. Healthier hair. Healthier scalp!

*At the time of publishing


Ketoconazole

Nizoral

Nizoral AD AntiDandruff Shampoo

Gentle, yet strong enough to kill any dandruff outbreak, Nizoral is one of the most highly trusted anti-dandruff shampoos on the market. It contains 1% ketoconazole, an antifungal that works by preventing fungus growth, and relieves the flaking, scaling, and itching caused by dandruff. This shampoo lathers quickly, seeping into the scalp to relieve common symptoms caused by dandruff and leaving your hair smelling fresh. In order to see the best results, it’s recommended to use this shampoo every three to four days for up to eight weeks.

*At the time of publishing


Salicylic Acid

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

You’re likely used to seeing salicylic acid in skincare (specifically acne-fighting products), but it can be equally beneficial in an eczema shampoo. The beta-hydroxy acid is choice for dissolving excess oil, making this formula a good pick for those dealing not only with seborrheic dermatitis but also dandruff or psoriasis. It also has the added benefit of being fragrance-free.

*At the time of publishing

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