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Seb derm - Treating seborrheic dermatitis with raw honey and virgin coconut oil.

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  • Seb derm - Treating seborrheic dermatitis with raw honey and virgin coconut oil.

    These pages should answer all of your questions.

    Please be sure to read the FAQ before posting questions about this treatment.


    Takes time: three hours, every-other-day, during four weeks, for the masks.
    You must strictly adhere to the routine.


    You only use two 100% natural substances on your skin.
    Your skin gets a break from chemicals.
    It helps the skin repair its barrier.
    It's inexpensive.


    Raw honey and virgin coconut oil are excellent skin conditioners and both have antifungal, antiinflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

    The raw honey mask does its magic while sitting on the skin for three hours. The virgin coconut oil absorbs quickly, treating the skin from below, so to speak, as you go about your day. Virgin coconut oil is not like any other oil you may have tried, btw.

    I have successfully treated my seb derm with raw honey masks and using virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer. I have been symptom-free since mid June '09.

    Cleansing twice daily with raw honey has also proven to be extremely helpful (survived the winter months and very dry indoor air with no flares even though dry air aggravates the condition).

    Many members of this forum have adopted this treatment with very good results.

    If you would like to give this treatment a try, all you need to do is:

    Mix raw honey with 10% room temperature non-chlorinated water and apply this to your face, ears and scalp.

    Leave the honey mask on for three hours then rinse with water only, pat dry and moisturize with a very small amount of virgin coconut oil.

    You'll do this every-other-day for four weeks. You'll start seeing results within a week. It may take four weeks for the flakes and seb derm related-inflammation and redness to completely subside, a bit longer if you've been using steroid creams on your face/scalp.

    On the days you apply the raw honey mask, cleanse with raw honey only in the morning if you are doing the mask in the evening. If you wear makeup, cleanse before applying the mask.

    On the days you don't apply the raw honey mask, just cleanse with raw honey twice daily, morning and evening, and moisturize with the oil. (Use the honey as you would a liquid cleanser, rinse off and pat dry; about a 1/4 teaspoon of honey should be enough.)

    The areas where the seb derm is active will feel dry and leathery and seem redder during the first two weeks; applying more oil will not make any difference. Don't freak out, it will pass.

    For face and scalp, start with two generous teaspoons of raw honey mixed with about 1/2 teaspoon of water (90% honey/10% non-chlorinated water). Note: Mixing the honey with water is necessary, please don't skip this step as applying raw honey undiluted will not have the desired effect.

    Part your hair using a long-tailed comb or a chopstick and apply to scalp only (wet and towel-dry your hair first). Keep parting the hair all over, the entire scalp must be treated.

    Treat ears inside and out. Treating the scalp and ears is of paramount importance.

    Two very important things about the coconut oil:

    - The oil melts at 76 F so, in warm weather, keep it in the fridge because it's easier to measure when in solid form.

    - If you apply virgin coconut oil as you would a lotion or baby oil, it can cause pimples/rashes. You've got to be very stingy with this oil.

    Don't apply the oil directly from the jar, as you would a regular moisturizer.

    Take a tiny bit of the solid oil (the size of a small pea), rub it between your hands to melt it and apply to face right after cleansing, while the skin is still somehow damp. It will feel like you haven't applied enough oil and that's exactly what you want, the littlest amount of oil on your face. Your skin should not look shiny after the oil has absorbed. If it does, you've applied too much.

    It is also important not to let hot water, shampoo or soap touch your face. In the shower, use a hand held shower head to rinse your head.

    ** Never let hot water touch your face. Hot water irritates and dries out your skin.**

    During the first two weeks of the treatment the redness and flaking may seem to fluctuate and the areas of your face where the seb derm is still active may feel drier, kind of rough to the touch, this is normal, please don't give up.

    This thread will give you a very good idea of what can be expected during these four weeks, it contains helpful posts and photos:

    After four weeks, if all symptoms have subsided, you can safely switch to weekly maintenance treatments. Continue cleansing with the honey and moisturizing with the oil twice daily. This will keep your seb derm in check.

    Try not to miss the weekly maintenance treatments because, if you do, your seb derm will come back (the flakes and itching will return first, then the redness/inflammation) and you'll have to start with the every-other-day masks again for a few weeks (been there, done that).

    The weekly maintenance treatments will also help you survive cold/dry weather, without a seb derm flare. In time, you'll be able to space these treatments out, as long as you continue cleansing with the raw honey and moisturizing with the coconut oil, twice daily.

    Every now and then you may still see teeny tiny white flakes only visible in a 10X magnifying mirror. They'll come and go, just ignore them. This happened to me a few times when the indoor air was very dry.

    You may find that the virgin coconut oil conditions your skin so nicely that you don't need to go back to commercial moisturizers. I've been using nothing but this oil on my very sensitive skin. It keeps the skin supple and the pores tight.

    For more info about the study this treatment is based on, my own experience and how I came up with this protocol, follow this link:

    You may want to print these pages for future reference.


    * Will the raw honey & virgin coconut oil treatment cure my seb derm?

    No, it won't because seb derm is a chronic condition and, so far, there's no cure for it but it can be controlled and this treatment does so quite nicely. You can expect the seb derm to clear at least by 85%, if you follow the treatment to the letter.

    * Does this treatment work for everybody?

    Prescription drugs don't work for everyone and neither do natural treatments. However, of the many people I know who have tried it, only a few reported no results or that "after a few honey masks they had to stop because their skin didn't like it." I hope they read this FAQ and give the treatment another try.

    * Does this treatment work for rosacea?

    This is not a rosacea treatment but both raw honey and virgin coconut oil are excellent skin conditioners and help repair the skin barrier. Forum members with rosacea have reported calmer skin, less redness and, in a couple of cases, fewer pustules & papules. While for some the raw honey masks alone seem to do the trick, others have found moisturizing with virgin coconut oil most helpful.

    * How long will I have to do maintenance treatments?

    Until someone finally finds the cure. If this treatment works for you, once your skin clears you will only need to do the honey masks once a week. If you stop the maintenance treatments the seb derm will become active again and you'll have to go back to the every other day routine. However, if you keep cleansing with raw honey and moisturizing with virgin coconut oil twice daily, you will be able to space out the maintenance treatments more, eventually. My skin has been clear since June '09 and now I'm doing a honey mask every three weeks.

    * Auburn, how severe was your seb derm when you started treating it with raw honey?

    My face was tomato red, inflamed and the itching was unbearable. Nose, inner cheeks, eyelids and eyebrows were flaky. There were a couple of scaly spots inside my ears, which also itched.

    When the seb derm started to react to the treatment, my cheeks felt very rough and I thought I was having an allergic reaction to a new kind of red peppers I had bought for the first time that week and had been adding to a couple of meals. Later on I realized that the reaction was not a flare or a breakout caused by an allergen but a "die-off effect" (a temporary intensification of the disease symptoms, after which the healing becomes apparent). A few days later my face started to look and feel a lot better.

    * I bought a cream that has honey in it. Can I just use this?

    No. For this treatment you must use raw honey with nothing added to it.

    * Why can't I use regular honey?

    Because regular honey has been heated and therefore contains no live enzymes.

    * Where do I find raw honey?

    Try to find locally produced honey. There are beekeepers in your area, just ask around.

    Best sources during honey season (spring, summer and autumn): Farmer markets, fairs, co-ops, shops selling local produce/foods.

    Health food shops/natural foods section in some supermarkets sell raw honey though it may not be locally produced.

    If you have to order online be sure to purchase only from vendors who clearly state that their honey is unheated/unprocessed.

    * Is pure honey the same as raw honey?

    No. Pure honey may have been heated/processed.

    * Should I get Manuka honey for this treatment?

    Save your money. This treatment works with regular raw honey. My seb derm cleared within a month and I've never used Manuka.

    * The label says "gently warmed." Is that OK?

    Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures above 104 F (40 C).

    * Can raw honey be in liquid form?

    Raw honey is in liquid form (pourable) when the beekeeper bottles it, and it will remain in liquid form for a relatively short period of time before it sets (crystallizes).

    Beekeepers start collecting honey in the spring and the last collection is in the fall. So, if you buy fresh raw honey anytime between late spring and autumn, it should be in liquid form - if it's crystallized then it might've been collected the previous year.

    If you buy raw honey in the middle of the winter and it is still liquid, as long as you can trust the source, it may just mean that it hasn't yet set.

    * Is it OK to heat crystallized honey back to a liquid?

    Well, from experience, I can tell you that it isn't easy to liquefy crystallized honey without cooking it. Unless, of course, you happen to have an appliance that can keep the honey container at a constant temperature between 80 F and 95 F (that's the average temperature inside a bee hive). If you submerge a jar of crystallized honey in hot water, the enzymes near the glass will be destroyed before the center of the jar reaches 80 F.

    * Can I microwave the raw honey for just a few seconds?


    * Why do I have to mix the honey with water?

    For this treatment to work, the honey must be mixed with 10% chlorine-free water for this produces a natural hydrogen peroxide which is formed in a slow-release manner by the enzyme glucose oxidase present in honey.

    * Do you mix the water with each application or can you do a whole batch for later use?

    You mix a new batch for every mask. Do not add water to the raw honey jar because it will cause it to ferment.

    * Tap water or bottled water?

    Tap water usually contains chlorine, which destroys enzymes. Use bottled water to mix with the honey, for the masks, and to splash on your face before cleansing with honey. You may use tap water to rinse the honey off.

    * What time of the day should I do the honey masks?

    It is best to do the masks in the evenings so that the skin can rest and heal while you sleep. Your face will look calmer in the morning.

    * Wouldn't it be better to do the honey masks every day?

    No. The skin needs to rest between treatments. Forum members who tried daily masks reported increased redness, irritation.

    * My skin itches when the honey mask is on, is this normal?

    Yes. It is the seb derm reacting to the honey. Just press on the itchy spots gently with your fingertips and it will pass. The itching will subside as the treatment progresses.

    * I think the honey is causing my skin to break out. Should I stop the treatment?

    If this is happening during the first two weeks of the treatment and by "break out" you mean redness and a leathery/rough texture only on the seb derm areas, this is normal and it means that the treatment is working. Your face will start to clear soon.

    * Do I have to use the virgin coconut oil?

    You don't have to but you will get better results if you do.

    * I can't use coconut oil because I'm allergic to nuts.

    Coconut is not a nut. It's classified as a seed botanically, the seed of a drupaceous (stone) fruit, which has typically not been restricted in the diets of people with tree nut allergy.

    * Does the oil have to be organic?

    No, it doesn't.

    * I bought a lotion that contains coconut oil. Can I just use this?

    For this treatment please use pure virgin coconut oil with nothing added to it.

    * What are the best virgin coconut oil brands?

    There are a number of good brands out there. You want virgin coconut oil with no additives, just pure and unrefined. It should be snow white when in solid form, completely clear when liquid (the oil solidifies at temperatures below 75 F) and have a slight coconut scent.

    * Should I keep the virgin coconut oil in the fridge?

    Yes. It's easier to visualize the "pea-sized" amount when the oil is solid. In any case, keep in mind that a tablespoon of oil is more than enough for your entire body. You must apply it very sparingly.

    * How do I apply the oil to my skin?

    Melt a pea-sized amount of solid oil between your hands and gently massage onto face. It will feel as if you haven't applied enough and that's what you want. Do not apply straight from the jar and as liberally as you would baby oil or lotion because it can saturate your skin and cause pimples. More is NOT better with this oil.

    * Is it safe to apply the oil to the eyelids?


    * I think the oil is causing my skin to break out. Should I continue using it?

    If you are getting small pimples, you may be using too much oil. If your skin looks shiny ten minutes after applying the oil, blot with a tissue. If you are using the tiniest amount of oil and still get pimples, try using it less often or discontinue.

    * I might be sensitive to coconut oil. Is there something else I could use?

    A few forum members have used Salcura Zeoderm with good results. This product is currently distributed only in Australia, Germany, Holland, Spain, and the United Kingdom but a number of online vendors carry it.

    * Will raw honey hurt or damage my skin?

    No, unless you happen to be allergic to honey or sensitive to salicylates.

    * How long do I leave the honey or the oil on for a patch test?

    At least three hours.

    * Should I patch test? Where?

    Yes. The skin on your face may be more sensitive than the skin on other parts of your body. Test on a small area of your face or behind the ears.

    * I don't think this treatment is working for me. I see more redness and my skin feels dry.

    During the first and second week the areas of your face where the seb derm is active will appear to be redder. They will also feel dry to the touch, even rough. This is supposed to happen. Do not stop the treatment now! The honey and the oil are killing the fungus that causes the seb derm. During the third week these symptoms will subside.

    * It's week two and I still see some flakes. Is this normal?


    * Do I have to cleanse with raw honey?

    Cleansing with raw honey provides extra benefits and it is very effective against blepharitis.

    * Does cleansing with raw honey remove eye makeup?

    You'll likely need to remove eye mascara/liner first and then cleanse with the raw honey or just cleanse with honey in the morning and with something else in the evening.

    * My raw honey has crystals, will they irritate my skin?

    Most of the crystals should dissolve during step #3 above. Massage gently.

    * My face feels very tight and dry after a shower.

    Try cleansing and moisturizing your face before stepping into the shower and don't let the water/shampoo touch your face at all while showering. This really helps and you'll notice that your face stays cool. If you don't have one, consider installing a hand held shower head.

    * Why are sugars particularly important to avoid?

    Seb derm is caused by a yeast-like fungus (Malassezia furfur). Sugar in the diet can greatly contribute to fungus overgrowth. Yeast lives on sugar and some strains of yeast, e.g. Candida, can grow very quickly.

    * I have used steroid creams in the past. Can I still get good results with the honey/oil treatment?

    Yes, you can. But it may take longer than four weeks for the seb derm to clear.

    * Can I use the steroid cream with this treatment to speed things up?

    Please do not. Throw the tube away. Steroid creams do not help seb derm, they make it worse.

    * I just have a little bit of seb derm, do I still have to treat the whole face?

    Yes, to stop the seb derm from colonizing areas which are not treated.

    * Why do I need to treat my scalp and ears as well?

    Because that's where the problem starts.

    * I try to get my scalp as best I can, but it's very difficult to get the honey where I want it and not just all in my hair.

    Wet your hair (as if you were going to wash it), towel dry and then apply the honey.

    * I still shampoo my face with anti-dandruff shampoo, should I stop doing this?

    Yes. Anti-dandruff shampoos tend to irritate the skin and thus cause more redness.

    * I have dandruff, should I continue washing my hair with anti-dandruff shampoo during the treatment?

    You may continue, if you wish, perhaps only once a week, but it is not necessary.

    * What kind of shampoo should I use?

    Any gentle shampoo containing no SLS or parabens.

    * I read that some people are leaving the honey mask longer than three hours. Is this safe?

    It's safer to stick to the three-hour routine, at least during the first weeks. Once you know how your skin reacts to the treatment, you may try leaving the masks longer, if you wish, and see how that works for you.

    * My cheeks seem to be getting kind of red. I don't know if I should be treating every other day. Maybe only once or twice a week?

    Keep treating every other day. The increased redness is only temporary, it will subside as the seb derm clears. Apply the honey mask in the evening, you'll get better results and your skin will look calmer the following morning.

    * I read that taking the coconut oil internally helps. Why?

    If you google "medium-chain fatty acids" you'll learn about the health benefits of this oil.

    * Do I have to stop wearing makeup during these four weeks?

    Wear makeup as usual, if it doesn't irritate your skin, but if you can afford to stop wearing makeup during these four weeks you'll give your skin a much needed break from chemicals.

    * How long does it take for the redness to go away?

    It takes about four weeks for the seb derm-induced redness to subside.

    * My skin feels dry but it's also very oily. Will this treatment help with that?

    The raw honey and the coconut oil are excellent skin conditioners. They will help the skin heal itself. Once the skin barrier is repaired, your skin will feel supple and a lot less oily. Be sure to drink plenty of water, a minimum of two quarts per day.

    * I have rosacea and seb derm and am using a product to treat the rosacea. Would it be OK to use the two treatments together?

    Yes. If at all possible, do the raw honey masks, followed by the virgin coconut oil, in the evenings so that your face gets a chance to regenerate overnight and you may want to apply the rosacea treatment in the AM, on the days you do the raw honey mask, and in the PM the days you don't apply the mask.

    * I have tried this treatment a few times. Each time I did the mask, I ended up with some itching and new spots. I don't think this is working for me.

    A few times doesn't really cut it. You have to apply the honey as instructed and give it, at least, four weeks for the seb derm to clear. Itching, fluctuating redness and dry/rough patches are normal during the first two weeks. Be patient and give this the time it needs.

    * I'd like to try this but my skin is in very bad shape and I am afraid of using anything that may make things worse.

    What's the alternative? If you are reading this is because none of the prescription/OTC formulas (containing an array of chemicals) you've tried so far has worked.

    With this treatment you would be using only two 100% natural substances on your skin, and both substances have proven healing properties: anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial. Doctors treat burn patients with raw (crude) honey.

    I've treated seb derm successfully with raw honey and virgin coconut oil and have been symptom-free since June '09. Follow this ---> link <--- for details.