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Seborrheic Dermatitis Diet: What Foods Should You Avoid

Seborrheic Dermatitis Diet What Food Do You Need to Avoid new

Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema that appears most frequently on the nose, scalp, and upper back. These are areas that have more oil-producing glands than other areas of the body. Often when in the scalp, it gives the appearance of dandruff. When babies have this type of dermatitis, it is referred to as “cradle cap.”

The rash presents itself as a red, scaly, slightly raised patch of skin. It is generally painful and itches. If you have experienced an outbreak of this condition, you know you feel embarrassed about how it looks and just want it to go away. You may refuse to go out of the house or interact with your friends. You do your best to hide and cover up your rash. You tell your friends it is not contagious, but you still feel self-conscious.

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, however, there are triggers, such as:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Illness in general
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals
  • Cold dry weather

Recent studies have focused on whether there may be a connection between diet and this condition.

Is There a Connection Between Diet and Seborrheic?

While studies seem to establish a link between atopic dermatitis and diet, few studies have been done on whether certain foods trigger an outbreak of seborrheic dermatitis. Livestrong.com recently reported on two separate studies about whether there is a connection between diet and seborrheic dermatitis.

The results of both studies left scientists still puzzled about the cause of the condition. They were unable to find a relationship between diet and seborrheic dermatitis. There were no dietary patterns that could be associated with an increased risk of contracting the condition or of increasing an outbreak of the condition.

The “Rotterdam Study” Published in January 2019

An observational study, referenced as the Rotterdam Study (RS) and published in the January 2019 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, examined the eating habits of 4,739 people. This included 639 people known to have seborrheic dermatitis. The study concluded that “a high fruit intake was associated with less seborrheic dermatitis, whereas high adherence to a ‘Western’ dietary pattern in females was associated with more seborrheic dermatitis.” A western diet is one that is rich in fats.

The “Dermatol Online” Study

A study published in Dermatol Online in March 2018 involved 23 men and 28 women. All 51 people suffered from seborrheic dermatitis. There was also a control group of 50 people who did not have the condition. Study participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire which evaluated the frequency of their intake of certain foods including meat, processed meat, chicken, fish, egg, legume, milk, dairy products, fruit, vegetable, bread, tea, coffee, coke, fast food, sugar, pasta, rice, chocolate, cake, cookie, and pie.

The questionnaire asked participants to consider their habits of eating these foods for the previous five years. The results “showed that dietary habits were not associated with increased risk of seborrheic dermatitis.”

Conclusion: Medical Organizations do not Consider Dietary Factors as Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis

The Livestrong article notes that the National Eczema Association (NEA), the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and the Mayo Clinic, “don’t consider dietary factors as a cause of this condition.” They advise those who suffer from seborrheic dermatitis to not focus on dietary factors. Instead, they should work with their healthcare practitioners to learn about other potential causes of their condition.

For more information about your specific condition and to learn how we can help, contact us at Valley Skin Institute to make an appointment with one of our medical professionals


Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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