8 Best Facial Cleansers for Seborrheic Dermatitis [2021]

8 Best Facial Cleansers for Seborrheic Dermatitis

If you buy through external links, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read our affiliate disclosure in full.

best facial cleanser seborrheic dermatitis
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE

ZELEN Life Cleanser

BEST FOR COMBINATION SKIN

DDF Sensitive Skin Cleansing Gel

As a dermatologist, seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most frequent conditions I see and talk about in my office.

One of the most common questions that pop up is the ideal skincare routine for seborrheic dermatitis, which may sound like a complicated term, but it affects around 1 in every 20 persons worldwide.(1)

One of the most important aspects of healthy skin is optimum cleansing. So I will talk about the best facial cleansers for seborrheic dermatitis for balanced cleansing and maintenance of the skin’s ecosystem, which is skewed in facial eczemas like seborrheic dermatitis.

It is important to handle it very gently while cleansing it thoroughly at the same time because uncleansed skin is also irritation-inducing on the skin.

In this article, I will discuss what to keep in mind while selecting a facial wash for seborrheic dermatitis, common mistakes to avoid, and then some of the best products that we recommend.

I will also talk about the pros and cons of the products and who would benefit the most from them.

Let us begin by talking about the considerations while buying a cleanser for seborrheic dermatitis.

Quick summary

Before you buy: 6 Things to keep in mind when choosing a facial cleanser for seborrheic dermatitis

1. Understand which factors play a role in causing seborrheic dermatitis

Even though it is not 100% clear what directly causes seborrheic dermatitis, we know the factors that contribute to it.

The most common association has been established with the fungus Malassezia furfur. M.furfur is a resident of our skin. Its overactivity in sebaceous areas (like around the nose, between the eyebrows, mustache area in males, etc.) is thought to be one of the prime reasons for seborrheic dermatitis.(2)

Now, everyone has M.furfur on their skin, but why do only some people get affected by seborrheic dermatitis?

The reason behind this is local immunity. Some react to the fungus more strongly, causing inflammation, redness, and flakiness. Others just let the fungus hang around without paying much attention and thus show no signs of irritation.(3)

With the inflammation and the fungal overgrowth, the skin barrier is compromised. Leading to itching and dryness, which eventually demands treatment.

2. Look for soothing ingredients to calm down the inflammation

Calming ingredients are a great addition to the cleansing routine. Usually, cleansing is one of the harshest steps of skincare.

If you could bring in some moisturizing ingredients and some soothing ones, you could neutralize the negative effect of cleansing on the irritated skin.

3. Use a pH balanced cleanser

This is non-negotiable. The gentleness of a cleanser is determined by its detergents and its pH. An alkaline pH (>7) harms the skin barrier and fuels inflammation.

A pH value of 4-5.5 is the ideal range to minimize skin damage during cleansing.(4)

4. Don’t use face washes with strong detergents

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, you don’t need a deep cleanse to get rid of seborrheic dermatitis. Even though oily areas are more prone to seborrheic dermatitis, cleansers can not differentiate between sebum (extra oil) and the skin’s natural fat layer, which prevents water loss.

Thus, using cleansers with strong detergents damages the skin’s natural lipid layer. Worsening water loss making it drier and more inflamed. For an angry skin type, always cleanse gently (as a matter of fact all skin types and conditions can benefit from gentle cleansing).

5. Instead of using one harsh cleanser, use double cleansing

For those who need to remove stubborn makeup or oil-based skincare products (like sunscreen), for the first round, use a cotton pad soaked with micellar water to remove the makeup and stubborn skincare products.

Make sure that you do this step gently without aggressive rubbing.

Follow that up with a gentle water-based cleanser to wash off the micellar water and last bits of dirt and grime from the facial skin. This is a better way for a thorough cleanse rather than harsh cleansers and makeup wipes.

6. If you are using medical-grade products, do not use a face wash with many strong, active ingredients

Using a lot of actives in the routine could do more harm than good. Using a cleanser with a lot of ingredients against seborrheic dermatitis-like antifungals, sulfur, salicylic acid with a medical-grade treatment could potentially irritate your skin further.

You could combine a medical-grade product with a cleanser containing soothing ingredients, though.

In short, the goals of cleansing in seborrheic dermatitis patients are to remove extra oil, dirt and product residue, flaky skin, unwanted organisms without damaging the skin barrier.

The 8 best facial cleansers and face washes for seborrheic dermatitis

ZELEN Life Cleanser (Best for clean skincare)

ZELEN Life Cleanser Image


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Made individually by hand
  • Organic formula with soothing and antifungal properties
  • Matte silver airless pump bottle avoids contamination

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

Clean skincare enthusiasts. It is suitable for all skin types, particularly those prone to redness.

Notable ingredients:

Jojoba, aloe vera, sunflower

Overview:

The ZELEN Life Cleanser is a pH-balanced product packed with the choicest of botanical ingredients. It cleanses, soothes, and balances the skin without disturbing the skin barrier.

This cleanser is a gentle yet powerful hydrating cream that is kind on sensitive skin. Being chemical-free and made with ingredients that have antifungal and soothing qualities, it has much to offer when it comes to seborrheic dermatitis.

It contains jojoba oil, which is an anti-inflammatory and controls sebum production (remember how seborrheic dermatitis only affects ‘sebaceous’ areas).(5) Dermatologists have traditionally advised sunflower oil for children suffering from eczemas because it repairs the skin barrier and imparts moisture to the skin while cleansing.(6) Aloe Vera extract has been proven to be beneficial in seborrheic dermatitis.(7) It is mainly because of its soothing effect, and to top it all off; it also has antifungal activity.(8)

I like this cleanser’s lightweight texture and action. It has the right blend of being thick and strong enough to clear all dirt and debris from your skin, while not clogging your pores.

So, how does it smell?

Due to its botanical mix, it comes with a naturally derived citrus scent. I like it. But as it’s our in-house product, I would say that, wouldn’t I? But in all seriousness, it does smell great! Even though it is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, you should take into consideration that it does contain plant extracts. We all have different tastes and this light aroma might not be to everyone’s liking.

Now, if you really what to stimulate your sensory system as you cleanse, on our list you will see the Malin + Goetz Face Cleanser, which has an even stronger citrus scent. On the other end of the scale, if you prefer an unscented cleanser (i.e., you smell nothing when you use it), then scroll down to the next product on our list, as Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Cleanser may be more suitable for you.

And, how does it look?

The cream is packaged in a well-constructed bottle with a shiny silver pump and matte-silver cap. The useful thing about this product is the pump bottle is airless. Meaning that it is a secure unit and no air or water particles can enter. This is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from skin concerns as contaminated creams lead to the growth of bacteria and microbes, which can make the skin worse. An airless container eliminates that risk.

If however, you like the look of this cleanser but the packaging is not high on your priority list. Then consider the likes of Caudalie’s Gentle Cleansing Milk which has a more simple pump bottle. It is also the same quantity as this cleanser at 3.4 fl oz / 100 ml and contains a natural element in its formula. However, its ingredients are not as organically active as the ZELEN Life Cleanser.

The good:

  • pH balanced cleanser
  • Ingredients with antifungal and soothing action
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Suits all skin types

Things to think about:

  • The product is formulated as hypoallergenic, but a mix of plant extracts could sometimes cause sensitization. People who are prone to multiple contact allergies from botanical ingredients should exercise caution

The bottom line:

ZELEN Life’s Mild Natural Cleanser for men and women comes in handy in phases of seborrheic dermatitis, as well as when your skin is behaving well to cleanse and comfort your skin at the same time.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser (Best for on the go)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Specially designed to work against inflammation
  • Can be washed off or removed with a cotton pad
  • Gluten-free

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

People on the go, who are looking for uncomplicated cleansing.

Notable ingredients:

Bisabolol, ginger root extract, oat kernel extract

Overview:

The Dermalogica Cleanser is not a ‘natural’ product but contains several very beneficial ingredients for seborrheic dermatitis.

Bisabolol and ginger extract function as anti-inflammatory agents, and cucumber soothes and reduces the swelling of aggrieved skin.(9)(10) Oat kernel extract reduces the itch associated with seborrheic dermatitis.(11)

This is a gentle, non-foaming gel/cream that is very lightweight. I believe it provides a good balance when it comes to cleaning the skin and the level of moisturization it provides. After use, it makes the skin feel really clean but not overly dry. I think this balance is highly useful for oily skin types who want their skin to feel like it has had a good cleanse, but without being stripped of moisture. It also suits those who have dry skin by being hydrating yet non-greasy.

Like all of the facial cleansers on our list, it is highly suitable for sensitive skin. But what separates this product from the others, is that it is so easy to rinse away or wipe off. It is very convenient to use when you don’t have access to running water as it can be directly massaged on the skin and then removed from the skin with a cotton pad.

On the other hand, as it is designed to be ultra-sensitive and leave minimal residue after use, it may not have a strong enough action to remove makeup residues from the skin though. If you are a frequent makeup user, perhaps DDF’s Cleansing Gel or Caudalie’s Cleansing Milk is a more suitable option.

Bear in mind that there is no scent to this product. If you prefer a light aroma to your cleansing experience then consider the ZELEN Life Cleanser. I am not particularly excited by the packaging but the minimal/clean white color scheme does send a clinical message.

This cleanser is priced in the middle-to-high range. There are cheaper options on this list such as Uriage DS and Cerave Cleanser, but when taking into account the performance of this product, I feel it represents good value for money.

Pro tip:

You don’t even need running water to use this cleanser. After use, you can simply tissue off if you wish.

The good:

  • Can be removed without running water when you are on the go
  • Soothing ingredients like cucumber, ginger extract, and bisabolol
  • Anti-itch function

Things to think about:

  • Higher price tag
  • Not ideal for rosacea skin
  • Natural essence from lemon and lavender can be irritating on skin allergic to fragrance

Bottom line:

Dermalogica’s Cleanser has a lot going on for it in terms of ease of use and ingredients targeted for soothing seborrheic dermatitis. However, you may want to avoid it if you are rosacea-prone or have a fragrance allergy.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

DDF Sensitive Skin Cleansing Gel (Best for combination skin)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Mild surfactants
  • Gentle ‘foaming cleanser’
  • Antioxidants

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

Combination skin with a tendency for seborrheic dermatitis.

Notable ingredients:

Glycerin, panthenol, allantoin, aloe

Overview:

DDF is a dermatologist-developed brand, and this gentle gel-based cleanser has a with a hydrating action that is specially developed for dry and sensitive skin types.

The surfactants (detergents) in this cleanser are really mild- the ones used for baby skin cleansers. Glycerin and Panthenol(12) make sure that your skin’s hydration is taken care of during cleansing, and allantoin(13) with aloe vera soothes the irritation and helps the skin to heal quicker after a rough phase. This cleanser has a nice, balanced aloe scent.

DDF claim that it avoids that “dry and tight” feeling after washing. This may be the case for most users, however, those with very dry skin should be a little cautious. Despite its undoubted hydrating properties, it is possible that some may find it a little drying. This is supported by some users reporting that their skin felt a little too ‘squeaky’ clean.

Compared to the other products on our list, the packaging is more on the premium side which you would expect from a higher-end brand and price tag. It is a bit pricey but the quality is undeniable. I think when you take everything into account it offers good value for money.

If you attracted by the premium look but concerned that the product may leave your skin a little tight, then the ZELEN Life Moisturizer might be the one for you. Alternatively, if a premium look is not on your radar, Dermalogica’s Cleanser matches up with DDF’s Cleanser in many other departments.

Pro tip:

This product is more suitable in the warmer months. Perhaps, not ideal in winter.

The good:

  • Moisturizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Has antioxidants like vitamin E to offer some anti-aging support
  • It is a potent cleanser that can ever remove makeup to a good extent

Things to think about:

  • Can leave the a little too ‘squeaky’ clean and tight after use.

Bottom line:

The DDF Cleanser is perfect for those who like their cleanser to get the work done in one step without involving harsh surfactants. It may sometimes leave the skin feeling a little tight so keep your moisturizer handy after the cleanse.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

Murad Clarifying Cream Cleanser (Best for anti-aging)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Designed for oily skin- controls shine without overdrying
  • Ideal for those fighting with seborrheic dermatitis and acne

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

Oily, acne-prone skin.

Notable ingredients:

Salicylic acid 0.5%, hyaluronic acid, sesame oil, tea tree oil.

Overview:

Seborrheic dermatitis affects all types of skin, but the ones with oily skin are often hit worse. Most of the cleansers for eczema skin are hydrating and not mattifying enough for oily skin.

The ones for oily skin often leave the skin drier, flaring up the inflammation from seborrheic dermatitis. Murad clarifying cream cleanser strikes a delicate balance between the two by giving a cleanser with salicylic acid to clarify the pores as well as hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin.

Salicylic acid also helps in reducing the flaking associated with seborrheic dermatitis.(16) Tea tree oil also acts as an antimicrobial and antifungal.

How this cleanser stacks up:

Even though this is a ‘creamy cleanser,’ it does dry out the face a little. So it is not meant for dry skin. If you have dry skin, you’d be better off with a more moisturizing cleanser, such as Dermalogica’s or the ZELEN Life Moisturizer. For similar reasons, it is also perhaps not the best option for very sensitive skin.

But if you have oily and acne-prone skin, this is where this product stands head and shoulders above the rest. It’s a little pricey but if are looking for a cleanser that helps both seborrheic dermatitis and acne in one, this a worthy investment. It is also a decent size at 6.75 fl oz, which is larger than some of the others on our list.

Pro tip:

A little goes a long way. A pea-sized amount is enough for every application.

The good:

  • Can be used on oily and acne-prone skin
  • Salicylic acid provides relief from flaking
  • Tea tree oil with dual action- anti-fungal as well as anti-acne

Things to think about:

  • Not meant for dry skin
  • Users with sensitive skin all over the face have reported rashes with it

Bottom line:

I recommend Murad’s Clarifying Cream Cleanser if you have oily acne-prone skin with seborrheic dermatitis by virtue of tea tree and salicylic acid in it. Not a great fit if you have very sensitive skin though.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

Malin + Goetz Face Cleanser, Grapefruit (Best for men)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Mild surfactants which are coconut-based for a robust yet mild cleaning
  • Grapefruit oil is a natural antioxidant and brightening agent
  • Amino acids improve skin health

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

Oily to combination skin with a love for a little foam.

Notable ingredients:

Glycerin, grapefruit oil

Overview:

Malin and Goetz is a luxury product line that caters to minimalistic and uncomplicated skincare lovers. It is a unisex cleanser and a very good option for men.

This face cleanser has mild surfactants with an array of amino acids, which are building blocks that repair the damaged skin and restore skin health. Grapefruit oil is a natural antimicrobial, antioxidant that helps in reversing the signs of skin aging.(18) The cleanser is pH balanced and contains glycerin, which is a humectant and attracts moisture.

What I like about this cleanser is its versatility. It’s a cleanser and toner in one, and if needed, it is an effective makeup remover.

How it compares to the others:

Similar to Murad’s Cleanser, this product is not the most suitable for dry skin types. Even though most users would find this gentle cleanser non-drying and even revitalizing, it is possible that the skin may feel on the drier side after use. For dry skin types, the ZELEN Life Cleanser and Dermalogica Cleanser are more suitable.

However, this cleanser stacks up better for oily skin. It is not aggressive as Murad’s, so it is better suited for those who have oily skin and who are sensitive. Whereas, Murad’s Cleanser is more geared towards acne.

The packaging design is minimal and follows a similar style to a lot of the others, such as Dermalogica, Murad, and Uriage. However, the bottle’s usability is a bit of a weak area. I find that you always end up squeezing out way more product than you need.

This cleanser is similar price range as the others, but you get more quantity for your money as the size is 8 fl oz / 236ml.

Pro tip:

Avoid being heavy-handed when squeezing the bottle on this cleanser, as you may use more than you require.

The good:

  • Works well for oily skin
  • Mild surfactants for a gentle cleansing
  • Antioxidant
  • Skin repair ingredient for dermatitis relief

Things to think about:

  • Impractical packaging
  • Could dry out the skin
  • Citrus (grapefruit) oil doesn’t suit everyone’s skin

Bottom line:

Malin and Goetz is a luxury cleanser for you if you like feeling pampered even while washing your skin and like a ‘squeaky clean’ feel after the wash and at the same time not hurt your skin health.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk (Best for makeup users)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Mild makeup remover for seborrheic dermatitis skin
  • Decent for travel

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

Makeup users with seborrheic dermatitis and/or dry skin and aging skin.

Notable ingredients:

Grapeseed oil, shea butter, polyphenols, cornflower extract, fragrance.

Overview:

Who says that you can’t fight some of those free radicals while cleansing the skin.

If you suffer from seborrheic eczema and dive into two-step cleansing for removing water-resistant makeup or sunscreen, Caudalie cleansing milk is a great addition. It is rich in some of the best natural antioxidants like grapeseed and polyphenols.(14)

In addition, it has shea butter to leave the skin hydrated and plump after the cleansing process.

It makes me sad to see fragrance listed so high in the ingredient list. If you don’t mind it, and your skin doesn’t too- it is a gentle and effective makeup removing tool.

But if fragrance is not your thing, Dermalogica’s is an unscented option but it not going to be as effective if you have stubborn makeup. For a more balanced scent that still does the job for removing makeup residue, think about DDF’s Cleansing Gel on our list.

The pump bottle comes in handy to ensure you only use what you need for each application. Generally speaking, Caudalie’s packaging can be a hit or a miss with me. On some of their products, it looks very premium, and on others, more basic. I’d say this swings to the more basic side but the label design makes it look good on the eye. Also, its reasonable price point should come into the equation.

If however, you are willing to spend a little bit more money on a higher quality bottle, then look no further than the ZELEN Life Cleanser. Alternatively, if you want to strip back on the packaging, and get a basic pump then consider Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser.

It is worth noting, that this product is advertised as a travel size, but it’s still a modest 3.4 fl oz / 100 ml, so it should last you around 3-4 weeks if you use the pump correctly. Nevertheless, I would have no hesitation throwing this cleanser into my suitcase for my next excursion. If however, you are looking for a cleanser with greater volume, Murad’s, DDF’s, Dermalogica’s and Malin + Goetz’ are all approximately double the size.

The good:

  • Gentle makeup remover that leaves the skin feeling nourished and soft
  • Filled with antioxidants. Has a commendable ingredient list.
  • Can be left on without washing on the skin to let it bask in the antioxidant goodness

Things to think about:

  • Contains fragrances

Bottom line:

Bustling with antioxidants, Caudalie’s Gentle Cleansing Milk is a perfect addition to your anti-aging skincare routine if you have seborrheic dermatitis-prone skin and love to play with makeup.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Uriage D.S. Regulating Foaming Gel (Best for all-in-one)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Specially designed to regulate the receptors causing inflammation with the patented TLR2 regul technology
  • Has piroctone olamine, which acts as an antifungal and helps against seborrheic dermatitis
  • Multi-purpose

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

People looking for an all-in-one product- Shampoo, face, and body cleanser.

Notable ingredients:

Thermal spring water, piroctone olamine, phytosphingosine, asiaticoside.

Overview:

Uriage DS regulating foaming gel is a unique product that could be your best companion if you like to travel light.

Thanks to its potent but not aggressive surfactants, anti-fungal ingredient piroctone olamine, conditioning, and repairing agents like phytosphingosine and centella asiatica extract (asiaticoside),(17) it can be used not just for the face but for hair and body too.

Since seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp and chest too, it is a practical and effective solution to all your eczema woes.

What I like about this product:

Not only is it skin-friendly. It is pocket-friendly thanks to its multi-purpose approach. This is the only product that can specifically double up as a shampoo (and body wash). This makes it a great option for use in the shower and addressing multiple body areas in one go.

Thinking more broadly, I also like the Uriage “story” and the said benefits of their thermal spring water. They state that their water has flowed through the rocks of the French Alps for decades and in the process has become enriched with minerals and trace elements, which can protect the skin by reinforcing its barrier. Now, I have not seen these waters, but if true, it sounds pretty impressive. A compromised skin barrier plays a major role in many dermatoses and can make the skin more prone to become irritated.

Where it falls down compared to the others:

Even though it is formulated with non-harsh sulfates, in my opinion, the formula can still be a little too strong for dry skin. If you have very dry skin or redness, consider a more hydrating cleanser such as, Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser (synthetic option) or the ZELEN Life Cleanser (natural option).

The good:

  • One product to treat multiple body areas with seborrheic dermatitis
  • Antifungal and barrier repairing ingredient
  • pH balanced

Things to think about:

  • A little too strong for dry skin

Bottom line:

Uriage D.S. Regulating Foaming Cleanser with its patented anti-inflammatory technology is for you if you love a multitasking product, which is pocket, travel, and skin-friendly.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser (Best for allergies)


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • No fluff all-purpose cleanser
  • Contains multiple ceramides to repair the skin barrier

Best facial cleanser/wash for:

Combination skin with medical-grade treatment and problem skin having intolerance/allergies.

Notable ingredients:

Ceramides, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate.

Overview:

Cerave is perhaps a one-size-fits-all, one of the most prescribed cleansers by dermatologists for all skin woes. It contains mild and moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.

Like all other products of the Cerave range, it also boasts ceramides in the ingredient list, which strengthens the lipid barrier of the skin.

As we discussed above, in seborrheic dermatitis, the lipid buried is disturbed, and a better barrier means less water loss, less dryness, and eventually less irritation. That is why ceramides are proven to improve seborrheic dermatitis and increase the absorption of other medications.(15)

This cleanser is a safe play zone. It’s the best way I can describe it.

Why?

  1. It’s reliable. There’s no-nonsense with this cleanser, you’re not going to get a nasty surprise.
  2. It has an affordable price tag. You’re not going to “break the bank” with his, and it is a whopping 16 fl oz / 473 ml.
  3. It has decent ingredients that promote skin barrier health

However, playing safe is not always the most advantageous. This cleanser doesn’t contain any ingredients that will upset your skin, but on the other hand, it doesn’t contain any ‘treatment’ actives against seborrheic dermatitis. If you are looking for a more targeted approach, then take another glance at the products above. You are spoiled for choice. Also, bear in mind it is a little thick and might not remove all residue. Again, if you prefer a lightweight yet powerful cleanser, then we have covered plenty of options for you.

The good:

  • Very gentle and hydrating on the skin
  • Improve the skin barrier strength
  • No irritating ingredients

Things to think about:

  • Lacking seborrheic dermatitis ‘treatment’ actives
  • Not very effective in removing makeup

Bottom line:

Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser is a great everyday cleanser if your skin does not tolerate a lot of actives or if you are already being treated for seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

How we chose these products

Our way of shortlisting products relies heavily on our understanding of the needs of the user (as users ourselves and as experts), analyzing the product, and also bringing the real-world experience of not just one person but a plethora of users into play.

We also understand that good quality is just as important as the names of the ingredients, so we only consider the brands that we trust.

We try to find something for every budget and age bracket because love for perfect skin knows no age and bank balance limits.

We shortlisted the gentle calming cleansers for seborrheic dermatitis and performed an ingredient analysis to find out what would work the best on inflamed, irritated, and damaged skin.

We kept in mind various requirements. From makeup remover to a foaming cleanser so that you don’t have to compromise on your preferences.

And then, finally, it came down to the user feedback. We checked various fora for reliable reviews. Both according to volume and source and noted positive as well as negative feedback to bring forward an all-around picture to you.

We aimed to find an ideal cleanser for everyone suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, and I hope you found yours.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know that I have seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is inflamed itchy skin on ‘seborrheic’ areas like the scalp, around the nose, between the eyebrows, chest, and sometimes genital areas.

This is also often associated with scaling, which means you would notice dry, flaky skin on the affected areas.

Is seborrheic dermatitis curable?

Unfortunately, it is not. If you have a predisposition to get seborrheic dermatitis, you may get flares every once in a while, especially in stressful situations and sicknesses.

However, it is possible to effectively control it with a combination of right skincare, controlling the stress levels, and medical treatment during bad phases.

Would deep cleansers be better for seborrheic dermatitis since they occur in areas with the highest oil production?

No, seborrheic dermatitis is different from seborrhea/oily skin. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin (derm: skin, -itis: inflammation). It is important to understand that when dealing with seborrheic dermatitis, the skin is damaged and needs repair and not deep cleansing.

Deep cleansing could irritate the skin further by drying it out. In fact, as a feedback mechanism, it could even stimulate the production of more oil, leading to worsening of seborrheic dermatitis. Always prefer a gentle skin cleanser if your skin is eczema-prone.

How should I cleanse the face during a seborrheic dermatitis flare?

Ideally, once or maximum twice a day with just a gentle cleanser using lukewarm water. Avoid layering a lot of makeup or skincare during a flare so that a single gentle cleanse suffices for removing everything.

I am doing everything right in my skincare routine, and I am still itching in the seborrheic areas. Am I missing something?

When you are treating seborrheic dermatitis on the face, it is advisable to treat the scalp concomitantly too. Very often, scalp skin does not itch a lot, and since it is not visible, the inflammation goes unnoticed too.

Suppose you suffer from frequent flares on the face. In that case, you should consider adding an antifungal shampoo with ingredients like ketoconazole, ciclopirox, or selenium sulfide to your hair care routine once a week.

Use it under the shower, keep it on for 2-3 minutes before washing it off. You can also apply the shampoo foam on other seborrheic dermatitis-affected areas on the face and chest for a minute before washing.

Conclusion

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition which not only irritates the skin, makes it look red and flaky but also damages the skin barrier in the long term.

With necessary medical care during bad phases, it is also important to craft a skincare routine that is compatible with your skin type, needs and also does not flare up seborrheic dermatitis.

We try to help you to take the first step towards that and hope that we were helpful.

Do you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis? What cleansers have helped you to keep the flares at bay? Let us know in the comments.

Know someone who is struggling to build a skincare routine with seborrheic dermatitis?

Share this article and make them, and us, happy.

Did you find this article useful? Enter your email to receive subscriber-only skincare advice to help you perfect your routine and achieve radiant skin. Get tips and tricks, how to's and exclusive offers direct to your inbox...

References

1. Del Rosso JQ. Adult seborrheic dermatitis: a status report on practical topical management. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2011;4(5):32-38.

2. Gupta AK, Boekhout T, Theelen B, Summerbell R, Batra R. Identification and typing of Malassezia species by amplified fragment length polymorphism and sequence analyses of the internal transcribed spacer and large-subunit regions of ribosomal DNA. J Clin Microbiol. 2004;42(9):4253-4260. doi:10.1128/JCM.42.9.4253-4260.2004

3. DeAngelis YM, Gemmer CM, Kaczvinsky JR, Kenneally DC, Schwartz JR, Dawson TL Jr. 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. doi:10.1111/j.1087-0024.2005.10119.x

4. Blaak J, Staib P. The Relation of pH and Skin Cleansing. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2018;54:132-142. doi:10.1159/000489527

5. Lin, T.-K.; Zhong, L.; Santiago, J.L. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 70.

6. Danby SG, AlEnezi T, Sultan A, et al. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatr Dermatol. 2013;30(1):42-50. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1470.2012.01865.x

7. Vardy, D., Cohen, A., Tchetov, T., Medvedovsky, E., & Biton, A. (1999). A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of anAloe vera (A. barbadensis)emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 10(1), 7–11. doi:10.3109/09546639909055904

8. Mendy, T. K., Misran, A., Mahmud, T. M. ., & Ismail, S. . (2019). Antifungal properties of Aloe vera through in vitro and in vivo screening against postharvest pathogens of papaya fruit. Scientia Horticulturae, 257, 108767. doi:10.1016/j.scienta.2019.108767

9. Maurya AK, Singh M, Dubey V, Srivastava S, Luqman S, Bawankule DU. α-(-)-bisabolol reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production and ameliorates skin inflammation. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2014;15(2):173-181. doi:10.2174/1389201015666140528152946

10. Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Maity N, Sarkar BK. Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber. Fitoterapia. 2013;84:227-236. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2012.10.003

11. Reynertson KA, Garay M, Nebus J, et al. Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(1):43-48.

12. Camargo FB Jr, Gaspar LR, Maia Campos PM. Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations. J Cosmet Sci. 2011;62(4):361-370.

13. Araújo LU, Grabe-Guimarães A, Mosqueira VC, Carneiro CM, Silva-Barcellos NM. Profile of wound healing process induced by allantoin. Acta Cir Bras. 2010;25(5):460-466. doi:10.1590/s0102-86502010000500014

14. Nichols JA, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010;302(2):71-83. doi:10.1007/s00403-009-1001-3

15. https://practicaldermatology.com/articles/2009-jan/PD0109_05-php

16. Gary G. Optimizing treatment approaches in seborrheic dermatitis. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013;6(2):44-49.

17. Bylka W, Znajdek-Awiżeń P, Studzińska-Sroka E, Brzezińska M. Centella asiatica in cosmetology. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2013;30(1):46-49. doi:10.5114/pdia.2013.33378

18. Nobile V, Michelotti A, Cestone E, et al. Skin photoprotective and antiageing effects of a combination of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) polyphenols. Food Nutr Res. 2016;60:31871. Published 2016 Jul 1. doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.31871

ZELEN Life Cleanser
BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE
ZELEN Life Cleanser
  • Gentle yet powerful cleanse, suitable for sensitive skin
  • Contains soothing and hydrating Aloe Vera, Jojoba and Sunflower
  • Balances pH and calms inflammation
All skin types
All skin types
Check It Out
Our score:
Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser
BEST FOR ON THE GO
Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser
  • Soothes and helps inflammation
  • Easy to use formula, no water needed
  • Reduces itchiness
All skin types
All skin types
Check on Amazon
Our score:
DDF Sensitive Skin Cleansing Gel
BEST FOR COMBINATION SKIN
DDF Sensitive Skin Cleansing Gel
  • Gentle foaming action
  • Strong cleanser, anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant formula
Combination skin
Combination skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Murad Clarifying Cream Cleanser
BEST FOR ANTI-AGING
Murad Clarifying Cream Cleanser
  • Contains tea tree oil, antifungal
  • Salicylic acid helps flaking skin
  • Also suitable for oily, acne-prone skin
Oily, acne-prone skin
Oily, acne-prone skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Malin + Goetz Face Cleanser, Grapefruit
BEST FOR MEN
Malin + Goetz Face Cleanser, Grapefruit
  • Has mild surfactants for a gentle cleanse
  • pH balanced and mantains moisture
  • Helps skin repair
Oily skin
Oily skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk
BEST FOR MAKEUP USERS
Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk
  • Nourishing action, can be left on skin
  • Packed with antioxidants
  • Suitable as a makeup remover
Dry skin
Dry skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Uriage D.S. Regulating Foaming Gel
BEST FOR ALL-IN-ONE
Uriage D.S. Regulating Foaming Gel
  • All-in-one cleanser - face, hair and body
  • pH balancing
  • Repairs skin barrier and antifungal
Oily skin
Oily skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
BEST FOR ALLERGIES
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
  • Uncomplicated all-purpose cleanser
  • Gentle and hydrating
  • Strengthens skin barrier, contains ceramides
Combination skin
Combination skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:

About The Author

Dr. Rashmi Singh DDVL
Dr. Rashmi Singh DDVL

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Singh studied dermatology from one of the most prestigious medical colleges of India – Stanley Medical College, Chennai. After finishing her post-graduation she went on to work as a consultant dermatologist in one of the largest cosmetology clinic chains in India – Kaya skin clinic. Working alongside expert aesthetic dermatologists of India, she worked extensively with customized skincare as well as lasers and injectables. Alongside, training under famous hair transplant surgeon – Dr. Venkataram Mysore, she learnt the nitty gritties of hair treatments. After doing two traveling fellowships in dermatology in Germany, she decided to settle there. Currently dividing her time between practicing dermatology and aesthetic medicine, she finds immense joy in educating people about the science behind skincare and haircare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE shipping above $40 in US, CA, UK & EU (delivery 2 - 5 days). Above $75, internationally (delivery 7 - 14 days).