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Seborrheic Dermatitis Diet: Food For Clear Skin

November 3, 2023

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A healthy diet can do wonders for our skin, but did you know that there are specific foods you can eat to combat seborrheic dermatitis? Seborrheic dermatitis is a common and chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by scaly patches, redness, and itching. Although it can occur on any part of the body, it’s particularly common on the scalp and face, particularly around areas with plenty of sebaceous glands.

While there’s no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, changes in your diet can help manage its symptoms. In this post, we’ll discuss creating a healthy seborrheic dermatitis diet and delve into the vagaries of food-related factors which will give you a better means of managing your skin health.

Diet And Seborrheic Dermatitis – What’s The Link?

The relationship between diet and seborrheic dermatitis is not fully established. Limited studies have been conducted on the subject, and the findings are mostly inconclusive. However, some experts suggest that certain dietary patterns may be associated with the development and flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis.

A 2019 study analyzed the lifestyle and specific dietary patterns of individuals with and without seborrheic dermatitis. Although the study did not establish a causal link between diet and the condition, it found that individuals with high fruit intake had a lower chance of developing seborrheic dermatitis.

On the other hand, seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups were more common in individuals with a Western diet high in meat and processed foods, lacking healthy fruit dietary patterns.

While scientific institutions do not consider dietary patterns as a potential cause of seborrheic dermatitis, it is worth noting that maintaining a healthy diet can have overall benefits for skin health and may help manage the condition. Identifying modifiable lifestyle factors and implementing active changes is one way to combat seborrheic flare-ups.

Is Your Current Diet Responsible For Seborrheic Flare-Ups?

There isn’t much scientific evidence to support the claim of a diet directly affects seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups, however, certain foods and drinks can affect the severity and frequency of seborrheic flare-ups.

So, by default, seborrheic dermatitis patients can make smart adjustments to their diet to better manage their irritable flare-ups. The following are some risk factors to avoid when tackling seborrheic flare-ups.

Foods To Avoid

One of the key triggers for seborrheic flare-ups is foods that are high in sugars and saturated fats, largely the culprit consumed by patients with metabolic syndrome. These include processed snacks, sugary drinks, fried foods, and sugary desserts. Dairy products are also a culprit, especially cheeses and milk that contain hormones and fatty acids.

Reducing the intake of these foods is a good strategy to manage seborrheic dermatitis and its associated food allergies. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources such as fish, olive oil, and healthy fats such as avocados and nuts.


Alcohol has been shown to trigger seborrheic dermatitis in some individuals. Excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt the immune system and dry out your skin cells, causing dehydration and inflammation that can lead to flares. This means that even if you’re not a heavy drinker, moderate alcohol intake can still impact the condition of your skin.

As much as possible, limit your alcohol intake and, if you can, opt for drinks that are low in sugar, such as wine or beer.

Professional coffee brewing machine


Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages have a mild diuretic effect which can contribute to dehydration. Dehydration has been linked to increased seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups. This is because an overly dry environment triggers seborrheic dermatitis.

The solution is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Not only will it keep your body hydrated, but it also helps flush toxins from your system. To stay hydrated and avoid flare-ups, you can also opt for herbal teas packed with anti-inflammatory properties or other beverages low in caffeine.


Research shows that gluten sensitivity can lead to seborrheic dermatitis. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, and is the main ingredient in many bread, pasta, and cereal products. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, try cutting out gluten from your diet for a while to see how it affects your skin.

It is also important to keep track of how you feel, as a sensitivity to gluten can cause other gastrointestinal symptoms

Food For Clear Skin: Tackling Inflammatory Skin Diseases

Skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis (SD) can be a real pain and can cause not only physical discomfort but also emotional distress. Chronic skin inflammation is not something you want to deal with regularly, and finding a solution can be difficult.

The following suggestions will provide not only temporary relief but when followed with consistency will reduce skin irritation and help you manage your skin condition without trouble. All you need to do is identify modifiable lifestyle factors to help reduce the burden of living with this condition.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Certain foods can reduce inflammation in your body, providing relief for conditions like arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and – yes – seborrheic dermatitis. Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, dark chocolate, and leafy greens, have been shown to reduce inflammation levels and protect your skin from damaging toxins that cause inflammation.

Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna, walnuts, and flaxseeds, have strong anti-inflammatory properties as well, which makes them perfect for managing seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are great for your gut, and they can also support healthy skin. Research has shown that probiotics help protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals, while also maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria on your skin. Foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and miso are all excellent sources of probiotics, helping you keep your skin healthy and glowing.

  • Zinc-Rich Foods

Zinc is a mineral that is essential for healthy skin, particularly its role in supporting the immune system. Research has found that zinc can help reduce inflammation, strengthen cell membranes, and promote healthy skin growth. Foods like shellfish, legumes (like chickpeas), nuts and seeds (like pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds), and dairy products are all excellent sources of zinc.

Assorted food sources rich in vitamin E that are excellent for seborrheic dermatitis diet

  • Vitamin E-Rich Foods

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and provide relief for SD sufferers. A study showed that applying vitamin E topically on SD lesions can help reduce inflammation and symptoms. Foods high in vitamin E include nuts and seeds (like sunflower seeds and almonds), leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), and plant oils (like olive oil and coconut oil).

  • Antioxidant Foods

The damage caused by harmful environmental factors such as pollution, UV rays, and stress can be reduced by incorporating anti-oxidant-rich foods into our diet. Berries like blueberries and strawberries, vegetables like spinach and sweet potatoes, and legumes like kidney beans and black beans are rich sources of antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene.

Antioxidants not only protect the skin from environmental damage but also help in repairing the skin’s natural barrier, reducing flakiness and dryness.

  • Gluten-Free Foods

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and some studies have shown a connection between gluten intake and skin inflammation. For individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, consuming gluten can trigger seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups due to substantial small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Incorporating gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, and millet can help combat skin inflammation and reduce the chances of skin problems.

  • Hydrating Foods

Adequate hydration is crucial for healthy skin, and certain foods contain high amounts of water, aiding in keeping the skin adequately hydrated. Fruits like watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries contain over 90% water and are perfect for those looking to hydrate their skin. Vegetables like celery and lettuce also contain high water content and are excellent additions to a skin-friendly diet.

Selection of healthy food fish, vegetables, antioxidants and sources of omega 3

Nutritional Supplements To Manage Seborrheic Dermatitis

Similar to how a dietary supplement can do wonders for overall skin health, nutritional supplements also help manage chronic inflammation associated with seborrheic dermatitis. We explore a few such supplements that will help alleviate symptoms.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are vital for maintaining healthy skin and reducing inflammation. Foods that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, and flaxseeds. If you’re not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from your diet, you can consider taking supplements.

Fish oil supplements that contain high levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are recommended to reduce inflammation and itching associated with seborrheic dermatitis.

2. Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut and help maintain a healthy immune system. When we take antibiotics or eat an unhealthy diet, the balance of gut bacteria may be disrupted, leading to a weakened immune system and increased inflammation.

Supplementing with probiotics can help restore the healthy bacteria balance and improve skin health. Studies have shown that taking probiotics can significantly reduce symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.

3. Biotin

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient that helps maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. A biotin deficiency can cause skin rashes and dermatitis. In addition, biotin can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is beneficial for managing seborrheic dermatitis symptoms.

Some foods packed with biotin include spinach, eggs, sweet potatoes, and nuts. Biotin supplements are also available if you’re not getting enough of this nutrient from your diet.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in skin health, immune function, and inflammation control. Supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to improve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D from your diet, you can consider taking a supplement.

5. Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that is vital for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Zinc plays a significant role in immune function and wound healing. Zinc supplements can help reduce inflammation, itching, and scaling associated with seborrheic dermatitis. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, beef, chicken, and pumpkin seeds.

Bottled tea tree essential oil

Herbal Remedies To Tackle Seborrheic Dermatitis

Undertaking a seborrheic dermatitis diet isn’t the only means of nourishing your troubled skin. Try some herbal remedies to soothe your skin naturally in addition to adopting a healthy lifestyle.

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a potent natural antifungal agent that can help reduce the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Its antimicrobial properties can help kill the yeast that causes the condition, while its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce redness and itching.

To use tea tree oil for seborrheic dermatitis, mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply it to the affected areas. Alternatively, you can add a few drops to your shampoo and use it to wash your hair.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a soothing natural remedy that can help reduce inflammation and itching associated with seborrheic dermatitis. Its antibacterial properties can also help prevent further infections in the affected areas. To apply aloe vera to the scalp, simply cut a leaf of the plant and extract the gel. Massage it into your scalp and allow it to get absorbed for 30 minutes minimum before rinsing.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent that can help control yeast growth on the skin. It can also help restore the skin’s natural pH balance, which is often disrupted in people with seborrheic dermatitis. To use apple cider vinegar for seborrheic dermatitis, mix equal parts of the vinegar and water and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it for a few minutes before rinsing it off.

4. Chamomile

Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory and soothing agent that can help reduce redness, itching, and irritation associated with seborrheic dermatitis. It can also help improve the skin’s moisture levels, which can prevent dryness and flaking. To use chamomile for seborrheic dermatitis, steep a few chamomile tea bags in hot water, let it cool down, and apply it to the affected areas with a cotton ball.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil acts as a natural moisturizer, soothing dry skin caused by seborrheic dermatitis. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce the symptoms of the condition. To use coconut oil for seborrheic dermatitis, heat a few tablespoons of the oil and apply it to the affected areas. Leave to rest for 30 minutes before rinsing,

6. Turmeric

Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, making it a potent treatment for seborrheic dermatitis. A paste made with turmeric powder and water can help reduce inflammation and redness. Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of water to make a paste and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and rinse with water.

Proper hydration is essential in any seborrheic dermatitis diet

Tips To Manage A Consistent Seborrheic Dermatitis Diet

Managing a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet can be challenging, but it is essential for effective symptom management. Here, we will share some tips to help you manage a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet.

1. Eat Foods That Are Rich In Nutrients

The first tip to manage a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet is to make sure that you are eating foods that are rich in nutrients. This means dark, leafy greens, lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

The vitamins and minerals found in these foods are essential for healthy skin, and they can help to reduce inflammation as well. Make sure that you are getting enough vitamins A, B, and C, as well as minerals such as zinc and selenium.

2. Avoid Trigger Foods

The second tip for managing a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet is to avoid trigger foods. This will vary from person to person, but some common trigger foods are sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods. You may also need to avoid foods that you are allergic to or sensitive to, such as dairy or gluten. Keeping a food diary can help you to identify trigger foods and avoid them.

3. Supplement Your Diet

The third tip for managing a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet is to supplement your diet with additional nutrients. You may need to take supplements to make up for any nutrient deficiencies that you may have or to support your immune system. A few helpful supplements include probiotics, Vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Drink Plenty Of Water

The fourth tip for managing a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet is to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is essential for healthy skin, and it can help to reduce inflammation and prevent dryness. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day, and consider drinking herbal teas or coconut water for added hydration.

5. Practice Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Finally, don’t forget to practice healthy lifestyle habits to manage a consistent seborrheic dermatitis diet. This means getting enough sleep, managing stress, and exercising regularly. Stress and lack of sleep can trigger flare-ups, while exercise can help to reduce inflammation and support overall health.

Final Thoughts On Seborrheic Dermatitis Diet: Food For Clear Skin

When it comes to clearing up seborrheic dermatitis, the focus is often on topical treatments or medications. Remember that what we eat can have a big impact on the health of our skin. Following a seborrheic dermatitis diet that’s rich in nutrients and avoids trigger foods can be a valuable tool in managing symptoms and achieving clearer skin.

Foods like leafy green vegetables, salmon, and avocados are chock full of vitamins and minerals that help support healthy skin. While it may take some time and experimentation to find the right balance of foods, adopting a balanced and nourishing diet can be a powerful way to support our skin health from the inside out.

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