Is kefir good for seborrheic dermatitis?

Kefir is a probiotic drink that is chock-full of good gut bacteria. It contains three times more probiotics than yogurt and has a wider variety of microorganisms.

Some people with seborrheic dermatitis have reported that consuming kefir or using it topically on the skin can help to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine how much kefir you actually need to use.

Let’s check out kefir for ourselves:

What is kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a tart, fizzy taste that is made by adding kefir grains (a combination of bacteria and yeast) to milk. The grains are a living culture that ferment the lactose in the milk, resulting in a product that is slightly sour and carbonated.

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Kefir is rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract and can help to improve the health of the gut by restoring the balance of good and bad bacteria. Kefir is also a good source of calcium, protein, and other nutrients.

The drink orginated from the Caucasus Mountains of Russia and has become increasingly popular around the world due to its health benefits. It contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast which aid digestion and boost immune function.

Does kefir help with seborrheic dermatitis?

There are anecdotal stories of people who have successfully treated their seb derm with kefir. These people report either consuming it as a drink or using it topically on the skin to reduce inflammation and restore the skin bacteria.

There is actually no evidence whatsoever that kefir can be used to treat seborrheic dermatitis.

However, we can draw some conclusions from kefir studies in other skin conditions. A study published in 2021 found that consuming homemade kefir for 8 weeks improved both skin barrier and skin redness.

Kefir is also proven to improve your immune system, and have even shown promise in improving certain auto-immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. As seb derm rash occurs from our immune system’s hyper-reactive response to Malassezia, we hope kefir will calm it down.

A systematic review found that topical probiotics (not specifically kefir but kefir has lots of probiotics) increase ceramide production and improves skin hydration. In patients with sensitive skin, it decreased skin sensitivity.

Is kefir antifungal?

Some studies have found that certain strains of bacteria present in kefir have antifungal activity against certain types of fungi, including Candida, Saccharomyces, Rhodotorula, Microsporum and Trichopyton species.

However, there have been no studies investigating the antifungal effect of kefir on Malassezia.

How much kefir should you be consuming to help seborrheic dermatitis?

The short answer is, nobody knows.

But if you pressed me for an answer, any answer, I’ll say 100 ml a day for 8 weeks.

That’s because this study showed that drinking 100 ml of kefir a day for 8 weeks improved skin barrier and skin redness.

On a more practical and sustainable basis, I would say some is better than none and more is better than less.

It’s more important to continue having some kefir regularly throughout your life than to drink a cup a day for 8 weeks then stop forever.

Ways to drink kefir

The tangy sour taste of kefir may not be for everyone. If you’ve had  yogurt, kefir looks like a diluted version of it but tastes like a concentrated version of yogurt.

Some people have kefir straight but if like me, you find the taste too sour for your liking, you can dress it up with some healthy options:

  • frozen berries
  • muesli
  • honey or other sweetener of your choice

You can also cook with kefir but you’ll kill all the good bacteria in it, which defeats the purpose of consuming it in the first place.

If you’ve tried kefir but find you just hate the taste, consider kefir capsules, yogurt or a probiotic capsule instead (What probiotics are good for seborrheic dermatitis?). 

Would dairy kefir trigger seborrheic dermatitis?

Even if milk was one of your triggers for seb derm, you may be able to tolerate dairy kefir. Kefir contains much less lactose than milk and its fermentation process helps break down the lactose even further. Many people who are lactose intolerant have been able to drink milk kefir without experiencing any adverse effects.

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As you know, everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. I think kefir is a good drink with many amazing benefits but if you think kefir is triggering your seb derm, stop it for a few weeks to see if your seb derm clears up.

Potential side effects of kefir consumption

Kefir is generally considered safe to consume, and most people don’t experience any side effects. However, as with any food product, it’s possible for some people to have an allergic reaction to kefir. Symptoms of a kefir allergy may include skin rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Consuming too much kefir may cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea or even constipation. This is usually due to the high levels of probiotics in kefir, which can cause an overgrowth of good bacteria in the gut. To reduce the risk of digestive issues, it is recommended to start with a small amount of kefir and gradually increase your intake over time.

It’s also worth noting that kefir is made from milk, so if you have a milk allergy, you may experience digestive issues or other allergic reactions after consuming kefir. If you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, avoid milk-based kefir. Look for non-milk kefir like soy kefir or water kefir instead. You could even try a kefir capsule:

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Is topical kefir good for your skin?

As discussed above, there is limited evidence that slathering kefir on your skin can help seb derm. However, kefir is rich in nutrients and beneficial bacteria which can help improve your skin’s condition by restoring the balance of good and bad bacteria on the skin’s surface.

Kefir has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and inflammation. Kefir also contains beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins and zinc which are known to reduce irritation and dryness.

They even have kefir skincare products such as this Elemis Kefir and Green Tea Face Mist:

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What’s the difference between yogurt and kefir?

Kefir and yogurt are both fermented milk products that contain beneficial bacteria, but they are made using different cultures and have some distinct differences.

One of the main differences between kefir and yogurt is the type of bacteria used to ferment the milk. Kefir is made using kefir grains, which are a combination of bacteria and yeast, while yogurt is made using a specific type of bacteria called Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

Another difference is the texture and consistency of the finished product. Kefir is a thin, liquidy fermented milk drink, while yogurt is thick and creamy. Kefir is also slightly carbonated due to the fermentation process, while yogurt is not.

In terms of taste, kefir is typically slightly sour and tangy, while yogurt has a more mild, creamy flavor.

Both kefir and yogurt are rich in probiotics and have been linked to a variety of health benefits, such as improved digestion and a stronger immune system. However, kefir has much more probiotics (up to three times more) and a wider variety of beneficial bacteria compared to yogurt.

4 thoughts on “Is kefir good for seborrheic dermatitis?”

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