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- Experts believe seborrheic dermatitis may relate to an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast on the scalp.
- Shampoos with antifungal agents like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, and zinc pyrithione can help.
- Dermatologists also recommend avoiding shampoos with parabens, sulfates, dyes, and added fragrance.
Scaly patches, skin flaking, scabs, an itchy rash — these are just a few of the bothersome symptoms that come with seborrheic dermatitis. This common skin condition often affects oily areas of the body, like the scalp and face.
While experts still don’t know exactly what causes seborrheic dermatitis, it most likely relates to an overproduction of Malassezia yeast. This type of yeast lives on everyone’s skin, says Dr. Dustin Portela, a board-certified dermatologist with Treasure Valley Dermatology — but an overgrowth can trigger inflammation, causing issues like itching and flaking.
I’ve dealt with this condition for a long time — in fact, in my first year of life I had cradle cap, the infant version of seborrheic dermatitis.
Over the years, I’ve learned firsthand the importance of using the right shampoo — since, as Portela emphasizes, many commercial shampoos contain harsh ingredients that can further irritate the scalp and worsen your symptoms.
While I do still experience flare-ups — especially in the winter — they’re far less frequent when I use hair products specifically formulated to treat seborrheic dermatitis. These shampoos typically contain antifungal ingredients to address the yeast imbalance on the scalp.
With all that in mind, here are eight shampoos that can help ease seborrheic dermatitis symptoms and promote a healthier scalp, according to dermatologists.