The Best Moisturizers for Seborrheic Dermatitis (and Sensitive Skin in General!)

Seborrheic dermatitis is a confusing skin disorder – it’s presents like dry skin . . . but it’s also kinda greasy. It’s red and easily irritated . . . but you can’t just baby it, or you’ll never kill the bacteria/fungus causing all the drama. This makes choosing a moisturizer for seborrheic dermatitis plagued skin a difficult task.

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Moisturizer for Seborrheic DermatitisFor years, I thought I had DRY sensitive skin. I’d SLATHER on thick creams and goopy oils. It would soften up the scales so I thought it was working. But my skin still had a rashy quality and the flakes always came back. I’ve learned that seborrheic dermatitis is really OILY skin, that is somewhat sensitive, but mostly just cursed with a weird fungal rash.

Through much research and a lot of personal trial and error, I’ve discovered some amazing skincare products for seborrheic dermatitis. Let’s start with daytime moisturizers! Three of these hover around $10 so there’s something for every price point.

1. Paula’s Choice Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion: This one is perfect for those of you wanting to treat your seborrheic dermatitis, but you also want to ward off wrinkles. (Not that I’d know anything about that. Wink, wink.) A lot of anti-aging stuff is far too irritating for those of us struggling with SD, rosacea or sensitive skin. This is super light and labeled “For Extra Sensitive Skin.” It provides a matte finish and works great under makeup. Paula’s Choice also makes a similar product with mineral sunscreen added!

2. Cetaphil DermaControl Moisturize with SPF 30: What a catch-22 . . . To protect our skin, we need sunblock. To keep your skin healthy and clean, the last thing we need is sunblock. But wait! I finally found a high-SPF daily moisturizer that smells neutral, offers a matter appearance, doesn’t irritate, won’t clog pores and actually HELPS prevent acne or seborrheic dermatitis flares. This is my day-to-day lotion now, since I spend a lot of time outside with my kids and God got real cheap with the melanin when he made me.

3. Eucerin Redness Relief Daily Perfecting Lotion SPF 15: If redness is rival, this should be your daily go-to. It contains extract from licorice root, which soothes inflammation. And of course it is oil-free, fragrance-fee and has a specially-formulated gentle sunscreen added. But the real perk? A subtle green tint which contracts red skin tone! Love.

4. PCA Skin Anti-Redness Serum: This is another great option for reducing redness. Many dermatologist recommend PCA because they use only premium ingredients that deliver excellent results. Though a little more pricy, this serum offers great redness reduction for most who try it.

5. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin: Our most affordable option comes from, this is the choice for you if you just want to keep it simple. Oil-free, alcohol-free, fragrance free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic. Just good, basic, very light moisturizer for sensitive, oily skin.

I’d love to hear your recommendations! What’s your favorite daytime moisturizer?

16 thoughts on “The Best Moisturizers for Seborrheic Dermatitis (and Sensitive Skin in General!)

  1. Thank you for this post, and your entire blog! My skin went from fine to BAD in the last six months out of nowhere, and I have to admit I’ve been kind of panicked about dealing with it. I was officially diagnosed with SD by the dermatologist, but he just gave me some ketoconazole cream and sent me on my way. I feel like this has helped, but not extensively. I still have red patches on my cheeks with large patchy areas that just won’t go away. I’m trying to figure out a skincare routine to help clear things up, and your site is exactly what I have been looking for!

    Can I ask if you have ever tried apple cider vinegar as a toner? I have heard some good things about it and thought it was a cheap solution if it helps.

    Thanks so much!


    1. It will get better! But you do need to keep trying different things, keep your skin guessing. As far as apple cider vinegar, I saw a great video by an estatician where she debunked a bunch of “natural” cures touted all over the Internet. She said to never use vinegar on your face! I will find this video and post it but let me say that she was very convincing. But I do love toner … Used in moderation! Too much and you’ll overdry which leads to inevitable excess oil. It’s all about balance!


  2. I love the paula’s choice recommendation. I once tried the eucerin. It made me look like a ghost, because of the green colour. I have rosacea, not seb derm (well not on my face anyway) and it was irritating.


  3. SD is such a pain to deal with. I’ll try a new product or foundation, and my face will clear suddenly & I will mistakenly think “I”ve found my holy grail product’. Nope. Everything comes back after a few days/week. So you’re right about keep your skin guessing part! Thanks for these product demonstrations. I was using some milk of magnesium on my face last year which helped for a while. I’ve fungal cream too & its been good.


  4. I tried the apple cider vinegar on my face for SD and it irritated my face even more. I tried it 3 times and always the same results, so I wouldn’t recommend it.


  5. Great blog! I find your writing good and strait to the point. I even enjoy your sense of humor 😉

    I always(!) shower before bed and use fungural shampo on my face for 3 min. Then I clean it off and remove, as gentle as possible, all dead skin-cells while in the shower. After that I use a thin layer of protopic. The result is a skin that isn’t flaky and feels elastic.

    My biggest rival is the redness. Thats the main reason I shower in the evening. I am always red after a shower and a good nights sleep helps with that. But it isn’t enough. It seems like my skin color never recovers to the natural tone. I suspect overuse of steroid based creams in the past may have damaged it or something. I`ve been experimenting with mineral powder with different tones and it helps a bit. But it seems like it trigger more oil production and that`s something we absolutely doesn’t need.

    Maybe Eucerin Redness Relief is my answer. I am going to try it. Is amazone the best site to order the product? None of the stores in Norway seems to have it.


    1. Hi! This is an interesting case you have. I’m going to work on some research but my first instinct is that maybe you can reduce how often you use the anti-fungal shampoo/exfoliate. I have a post coming soon on makeup! Keep me updated on what is working for you.


  6. Thank you for sharing your SD experiences.
    I have mild SD. I’ve been using La Roche Posay Kerium DS cream for my face and eye area for more than a year and I’m quite happy with it. I am a medical student and I tried to be scientific when searching for a product that i can use on a daily basis. Than I found out that proctamine oleate, an antifungal agent, is commonly used in products against SD. I tried LRP Kerium DS which has that antifungal property in small amount and this cream was effective enough to give my face its elasticity, erase the fine wrinkles and flakes. I guess other moisturisers containing proctamine oleate would work as well as this one. For those with severe SD this may not be enough but it could be an option for the skincare routine.


  7. I just want to thank you so much. I have very oily skin and breakouts, I admit I pick at it. A few weeks ago it started to crust over and then flake off over and over, I was becoming desperate and was waiting for a doc appt. I started using Burt Bees sensitive facial cleansing towelettes and Eucerin Redness Relief daily perfecting lotion. That felt weird because normally I cannot use lotion on my oily skin but after a day my skin started to soften and the crusts slowly came off. Stay away from any soap on your skin. I have no idea what this is from but stay away from all of that. You can use the towelette to gently wipe away dead skin. I also stopped eating bananas, the only think I can think is that I have fibromyaltia (immune compromised) and I was eating too much sugar and getting no sun in all this rain. I am also taking a high vitamin multi(rainbow light menopausal formula) and 5000 IU of D3 every day. I know the D fights fungal infections and viruses. I wish you all luck.


  8. Thanks for the post.
    Personally I found Coconut Oil very helpful. The only thing that it didn’t help with was the flaking, but it reduced the lumps, redness and itchiness. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and it still makes my skin feel soft and normal.

    Most creams and remedies only seem to irritate it. I even tried Turmeric and I swear I had to wait 3 days for the red bumps to fade away, it was atrocious.

    Anyway, before the coconut oil I used olive oil because I used to get a lot of atopic dermatitis all over my fingers, but the problem with olive oil is that it rubs off everywhere and leaves my sheets super greasy (and they stink after a couple of days). Mixing oil with nivea cream (the traditional one with the glass jar) saved me during most of my adult life whenever I had a flare up.


  9. Thank you for writing this blog. I also suffer from SD. My dermatologist recommended that I use dandruff shampoo on my face. With some trial and error, here’s the process that seems to work for me: During my morning shower, I use Nizoral, a dandruff shampoo, on my face. I only have dandruff on my face, not on my scalp. I’ve tried Head and Shoulders, but it has too much fragrance and that irritated my skin. Just before exiting the shower, I gently exfoliate with a washcloth (I only use white washcloths and towels because they can be bleached. I’m hoping that kills off whatever causes the SD and maybe minimizes its spread). After drying off, I immediately apply a light layer of Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream by Clinique. Then I apply a lotion containing pyrothizone zinc called Nobel Formula. This process eliminates my flakiness for most of the day, but if I touch up my makeup to go out in the evening, BAM…flakes, again. If I rewash my face and follow the procedure again…no flakes! If I skip any of these steps, then my flakiness comes back with a vengeance. It gets worse. Also, every time I stay at a hotel, my SD flares up. Maybe it’s the dry air, I don’t know. Additionally, I just started using ROC night cream for sensitive skin. It has retinol, but I’m not sure if it truly works like Retin-A, which is a prescription that helps to get your skin cells to turn over more rapidly. I used to use Retin-A in the evenings, but I stopped going to the dermatologist, so that I could have time to get regular shots for allergies. I was hoping allergy treatments might help my skin. I have dust mite allergies, and there might be some connection with that allergy and rosacea…Anyway, I just don’t have time to go to two doctors’ offices on a regular basis.

    The downside is that this process causes my skin to get redder, but at least I can wear make up to cover up the redness, my pores, and blemishes. My struggle is finding long-lasting makeup that covers the redness and doesn’t need to be touched up, otherwise, I get flakes.

    One trick that also has proven useful, if you do get a little spot of flakiness after applying foundation, I’ve learned that you can spray finishing spray on a foundation brush and lightly dab the flakes, Poof! They disappear. If my whole face is flaky, then the best bet is to start over and wash off the makeup. The finishing spray trick only works on a little patch. When attempting to fix the whole face, the foundation doesn’t look smooth.


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