Though seborrheic dermatitis is mainly a skin condition of the scalp, it can also affect other parts of your face and body such as your eyebrows, nose, chest, arms, eyelids, and legs, says Dr. Azza Halim, M.D., a board-certified physician specializing in aesthetic medicine. When shopping for the best moisturizers for seborrheic dermatitis, look for humectants to enhance water absorption from the dermis to the epidermis (e.g. honey, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, panthenol, or urea); emollients to help with skin repair; or occlusives to create a barrier to protect your skin and prevent water loss, the doctor says. “Often times, a combination of the above categories of moisturizer are needed to soothe and heal areas of seborrheic dermatitis,” Dr. Halim adds.
Dr. Halim advises that patients avoid denatured alcohol and similar drying agents, as well as menthol and menthol derivatives, citrus oils or extracts, and fragrances. These ingredients can trigger flareups by increasing skin irritation and sensitivity or by over-drying your skin, which can lead to an unwanted increase in oil production. She also suggests staying on top of the condition by washing with a gentle, water-soluble cleanser to remove grease, oil, and dirt, using hydrating toners, gently exfoliating with beta-hydroxy acids, and applying soothing moisturizers and sunscreen daily. But since every person’s skin is unique, Dr. Halim says it’s smart to talk to your doctor to figure out the best treatment option for you.
With that in mind, scroll on to shop five of the best moisturizers for seborrheic dermatitis, whether you’re experiencing symptoms on your face or body.
1. Doctor’s Pick: The Best Face Moisturizer For Seborrheic Dermatitis
One of Dr. Halim’s suggested picks, Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme is made with licochalcone (licorice root extract) and the humectants glycerin and panthenol to effectively soothe and moisturize dry, irritated skin. The gel-cream formula is free of fragrance and oil, and is designed for people with a range of skin sensitivities, especially those in which redness is a common symptom.
2. Doctor’s Pick: The Best Face Moisturizer With SPF
For a convenient sunscreen and moisturizer in one, try the oil- and fragrance-free DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer from Cetaphil, which offers broad-spectrum sun protection and contains lots of skin-strengthening ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and allantoin. Designed to leave skin with a matte finish, it has an SPF of 30 and comes in a convenient (and hygienic!) pump-top bottle.
3. The Best AHA Body Moisturizer
AmLactin’s Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion is made with 12% lactic acid, which is not only a gentle exfoliant, but also a humectant, and one that’s typically well-tolerated by people with sensitive skin. Thanks to the lactic acid and glycerin in the formula, this fragrance-free lotion helps smooth out rough, dry, bumpy skin, and can be used all over your body — not your face, though — every day.
4. The Best BHA Body Moisturizer
Another fragrance-free body cream that’s full of good-for-skin ingredients, CeraVe’s Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream is made with ceramides, urea, glycerin, niacinamide, lactic acid, and 2% salicylic acid — almost all of the doctor-recommended ingredients for treating seborrheic dermatitis. Dr. Halim says that salicylic acid, a BHA, can be effective for people with seborrheic dermatitis since it may be able to help calm erythema (a type of skin reaction) and inhibit bacteria production.
5. The Best Balm For Dry Patches
There’s a strong correlation between the severity of seborrheic dermatitis and the integrity of skin barrier function, Dr. Halim says, so you might find it helpful to pair your all-over face or body moisturizer with an extra-rich balm to spot treat any particularly chapped, irritated patches. For that, try the extremely nourishing La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm, which is made with glycerin, shea butter, panthenol, and thermal spring water. It’s soothing and gentle enough to use all over your face and body, including on your lips, and is even safe to use on the extra-delicate skin of babies.
Dr. Azza Halim, a board-certified physician specializing in aesthetic medicine and anti-aging treatment plans.