Thankfully, it’s easier than you think to find products for seborrheic dermatitis on the face.
This condition is also known as dandruff, and it’s usually on the scalp. But some people have it on their ears, nose, and eyebrows. It’s flaky and itchy.
How do you know if it’s facial dandruff and not just dry skin? It will look oily and scaly and will probably be redder than the rest of the skin.
It may be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but you can treat it at home. You may never need to see a dermatologist to clear it up (1).
An easy way to start is to cleanse your skin twice a day. Use the best face wash for seborrheic dermatitis. Let’s talk about how this works.
How do I treat seborrheic dermatitis on my face?
It may be tempting to pick, scratch, and scrub off the offending flakes and scales. But restrain yourself to prevent getting sores or an infection.
Switch to a mild face wash and use a washcloth if needed.
Continue washing your face twice a day, gently massaging to remove the dead skin. Use lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Then, apply one of the best moisturizers for seborrheic dermatitis on the face.
It will take time – from one week to one month – to clear up facial dandruff.
Stick with the plan because there are rewards in store. If you have acne, rosacea, or eczema, you’ll notice that something else is happening. Your skin will improve overall.
It’s worth it to be patient and persistent.
How to choose the best face wash for facial dandruff?
Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a fungus (2).
Pretty much everyone on the planet has this microorganism on their skin. It’s only when it gets out of control that it causes dandruff.
Sometimes the fungus interacts with sebum from the oil glands. Oily skin is especially prone to the problem.
But dry skin can also lead to dandruff. The sebaceous glands work overtime to compensate for the dryness, then the oil mixes with the dry flakes to create dandruff.
In both cases, the skin will be itchy, scaly, and flaky. The condition can worsen if you’re stressed, experiencing hormonal changes, taking hot showers, or dealing with cold weather.
Also, anti-aging and anti-acne facial products with retinoids or alpha hydroxy acid can aggravate the inflammation. Postpone using them for a few weeks.
Instead, switch to a fragrance-free and alcohol-free face wash and moisturizer to protect against irritation.
Best Face Wash for Seborrheic Dermatitis in 2023
Today, we divided the reviews into three categories. We’ll start with facial washes for dry skin, continue with ones for oily skin, and finish with anti-dandruff products for seborrheic dermatitis on the face.
Face washes for dry skin and dandruff
Gently remove flakes and rehydrate a dry complexion, starting with the way you wash.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
CeraVe makes more than one kind of facial cleanser. It’s crucial to pay attention to which one you’re getting as the packaging is very similar.
This one is specifically for soothing dry skin. It’s accepted by the National Eczema Association for treating that skin condition, and it’s excellent for seborrheic dermatitis, too.
It’s gentle enough to use twice a day because it doesn’t strip the natural moisture of the skin. However, it will take off makeup if you give it time to work. It doesn’t foam up like soap, so don’t expect a rich lather. It’s working all the same.
The rehydration effects last up to twenty-four hours, but that doesn’t exempt you from using a moisturizer. What’s nice is that your skin will feel soft after washing, never tight or covered in residue.
Moreover, the formula is free of artificial fragrances, parabens, and other drying ingredients and irritants. It’s from a dermatologist-recommended brand, after all.
What makes it work so well? It contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that attracts and holds a thousand times its weight in water. It also has ceramides that support healthy functioning of the skin’s natural barrier.
Burt’s Bees Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Allure gave this facial cleanser a Best of Beauty award. Plus, it carries the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
It’s a soap-free face wash. But why does the lack of soap matter?
Have you ever washed your face with a bar of bath soap? Did your skin feel tight and look dryer afterward? Regular soap is good for getting rid of oil, but at a cost. It also upsets the natural pH balance of the skin. Therefore, it dehydrates, which can trigger more facial dandruff.
When you switch to a moisturizing, gentle cleanser like this one, you add water back to thirsty skin. When your face isn’t dehydrated, it won’t try to make so much oil and flakes. Therefore, you end up with less dandruff!
The magic ingredients in this formula include cotton extract, rice, and aloe. These soothe and strengthen the skin.
First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
Folks with allergies appreciate this face wash.
It contains no gluten, nuts, soy, allergies, or nanoparticles. It’s also free from alcohol, dyes, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehyde, and other irritants.
Even though it lacks many of the ingredients common to an ordinary face wash, it can still take off makeup without stripping moisture.
Furthermore, it’s infused with antioxidants to counteract signs of aging and promote healing. It’s pH-balanced and perfect for dry, normal, and combination skin.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
Dermatologists frequently recommended Vanicream’s cleanser to persons with eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and other skin conditions. It’s hypoallergenic and has few ingredients.
For example, it contains no sulfates, betaine, gluten, formaldehyde releasers, preservatives, parabens, fragrances, masking fragrances, or artificial colors. There’s no oil to clog pores, either.
If every other face wash has let you down, it’s time to try Vanicream.
By the way, it struggles to remove waterproof makeup, so consider using a cleansing oil before finishing with this face wash.
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser
Neutrogena makes several face washes, including this one that’s unscented and fragrance-free. It’s ideal for sensitive, dry skin.
Apply the creamy cleanser to dry skin and massage it across your face first. Then use lukewarm water to rinse. It can take off long-wear makeup if you’re patient.
The formula is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic, making it perfect for seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, and acne-prone skin.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil also makes more than one type of face wash. This one is suitable for sensitive, dry skin. (There’s a different version for oily skin listed below). This is a dermatologist-recommended brand, by the way.
What makes this face wash stand out is that you don’t need water to use it.
That’s right, you can take it camping in the wilderness where the nearest faucet is miles away. It’s also handy for folks who are bedbound.
If you choose to use it without water, it works best when applied to a cotton pad and wipe across the skin to remove grime and makeup. You can repeat the process if needed.
Otherwise, smooth it on, and rinse it off with lukewarm water. It doesn’t make a lot of suds, but it leaves the skin smooth and comfortable.
The formula is pH-balanced and has no artificial fragrance.
SeboCalm Sensitive Skin Face Wash
Have you heard about sulfates? They are surfactants that make the lather and dissolve the grease whether you’re washing your face or the dishes.
Unfortunately, sulfates can leave your skin dry and tight. That’s why face washes without them are better for treating facial dandruff.
This one uses a mild surfactant that cleanses without dehydrating. It has no parabens, either.
The active ingredients come from natural sources like coconut, cornmeal, chamomile, and seaweed.
Honeyskin Face and Body Wash with Manuka Honey
We’ve had a few days lately where we wished we were in New Zealand. The closest we could get was this face wash with Manuka honey.
Manuka grows in New Zealand, and the honey made with it is like medicine for the skin. It’s what makes this cleanser soothing and healthy for the face.
The pH-based formula also features organic aloe, vitamin E, and coconut oil. It’s fragrance-free and does not contain sulfates, gluten, or parabens.
Cetaphil Redness Control Daily Foaming Face Wash
We had a hard time deciding where to put this face cleanser as it’s handy for all skin types, including dry and oily. The critical factor is whether you want to diminish redness.
Whether it’s irritation from rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, or acne, this face wash can calm it down. You’ll likely notice a positive difference after only one use. But keep washing with it twice a day to reap all the benefits.
It’s non-comedogenic and extra soothing with allantoin, licorice, and caffeine.
Face wash for oily skin
If you have an oily complexion, you may be prone to seborrheic dermatitis. Happily, you can keep the oiliness under control without drying out your skin.
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
This bottle looks similar to CeraVe’s cleanser for dry skin, so be careful that you’ve chosen the correct product. This one is best for normal to oily skin. Dermatologists recommend it for acne-prone skin, too.
It’s a gel cleanser with much more lather than the dry skin version. It has no artificial fragrance, and it won’t clog pores. (Unfortunately, it contains parabens).
Although it gets rid of makeup and excess oil, it doesn’t leave the face tight or dry. That’s because it has hyaluronic acid and ceramides. The former draws in moisture, and the latter helps the skin retain it.
There’s also a dose of niacinamide for skin repair.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel Cleanser
Here’s a face wash that’s been customized for oily skin. It purifies with zinc pidolate that also minimizes shine. Try it if you’re tired of blotting throughout the day.
On the good side, it’s free of oil, parabens, and alcohol.
On the downside, it has an artificial fragrance, but it’s the last ingredient. Most reviewers seem pleased with how the face wash reduces breakouts and doesn’t irritate their skin.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal To Oily Skin
Cetaphil’s oily skin cleanser smells like soap – at least, that’s what users say. It’s formulated for oily, sensitive skin as it’s non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic.
It’s a low-lather face wash, mild enough for twice-daily use. Yes, it removes makeup.
What soap is best for seborrheic dermatitis? (Wait, didn’t we say to stay away from soap?)
If you prefer bar soap to liquid, check out the three options below. Otherwise, skip to the anti-dandruff shampoo that’s mild enough to use on your face.
Vanicream Z-Bar | Medicated Cleansing Bar
What kills seborrheic dermatitis? Zinc pyrithione is a good place to start. It’s found in many anti-dandruff shampoos as well as this soap.
It’s an anti-fungal agent that clears up itching and flaking. It’s also gentle enough to use on children.
Vanicream’s medicated soap clears up facial dandruff and body dandruff without exposing you to harsh chemicals.
It contains no fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, artificial colors, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde releasers. It won’t clog pores, and unlike most soap, it’s pH-balanced.
DERMAdoctor Calm Cool Cleanser
Here’s another soap with pyrithione zinc to clear up seborrheic dermatitis.
The pros include a moisturizing formula with no artificial fragrance or color.
The cons include parabens and sulfates.
DermaHarmony 2% Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) Bar Soap
A better choice may be this bar soap for treating facial dandruff, psoriasis, acne, and other skin conditions. It’s mild enough for use on babies and can clear up cradle cap and diaper rash.
It depends on natural ingredients, not artificial dyes, fragrances, sulfates, or parabens. The manufacturer is an American company that supports livable wages.
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo
What about seborrheic dermatitis shampoo? Here’s one that’s gentle enough to use on your face, not just your scalp.
It’s a baby body wash and shampoo that removes cradle cap. But it’s also helpful for adults with facial dandruff. It gets rid of the redness, itching, and flaking regardless of the age of the user.
The active ingredient is pyrithione zinc. There’s also licorice root that soothes irritated skin. For best results, leave it on the skin for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
It will probably take a week to see significant improvement.
We like how the shampoo is free from sulfates, parabens, alcohol, dyes, and fragrances. There’s not even BPA in the bottle.
Start clearing up facial dandruff with the way you wash. Use a gentle cleanser that treats seborrheic dermatitis by removing flakes, skills, and oily skin.
Finish by applying a moisturizer. Repeat the process morning and night, and you’ll soon see an improvement.
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/facial-dandruff Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — Written by Kristeen Cherney on February 19, 2020, accessed February 15, 2021
2. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/seborrheic-dermatitis/ accessed February 15, 2021