What is Perioral Dermatitis?
Perioral dermatitis is a facial rash that causes bumps to appear around the mouth. In some cases a similar rash may appear around the eyes, nose or forehead. Speaking from experience this can be a frustrating skin condition to have. Triggers are mostly unknown and if you want to avoid treating with antibiotics it involves a lot of patience, trial, and error. I wanted to share with you my findings in a hope to speed up the process for you, or someone you know.
Perioral dermatitis can trick you into thinking you may have acne or rocesea, as it has similar markers. The rash itself will be red, inflamed and blotchy, it can be itchy and sore all at the same time. Within the redness small spots appear, these are actually little blisters. Whatever you do do not try to squeeze them, the skin will break and it becomes really sore.
Unfortunately for the female readers the condition is mostly seen in women – around 90% of cases. But it can affect men and children as well.
So why does it appear overnight with no warning?
It is unknown what the actual trigger is, and everyone is different. Experts put it down to a few factors so you can start by eliminating these:
Birth control pills
Toothpaste containing fluoride
What Can I do?
Over time I found a system that worked for me. Unfortunately stress is one of my triggers, not just in the traditional sense but stress on the body. If I’m severely jet lagged or run down my Perioral Dermatitis will flare up. The skin is the largest organ in the body. Consequently it’s your best friend for telling you when something is wrong inside. When I see it coming I strip my skincare routine right back. Which doesn’t consist of much now anyway. I take a close look at my diet. Am I eating more foods that I know create an inflammatory response in my body? e.g gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol.
I make sure I clean up my diet to give my immune system a chance to recover and have the strength to heal my skin from the inside out. Within 6 weeks of healing your body on the inside results will appear on the outside. If you don’t know what your food intolerances or allergies are I highly recommend seeing a nutritionist, kinesiologist. Alternatively you can even buy kits online now that require some saliva or a prick of blood and you can find out. Knowledge is power. The more you understand your own body the more power you have to fix it naturally. I learnt this this really long way!
Products you can try…
Remove any skincare products that are heavily chemical based, natural balanced skincare products really are the best. Remove scrubs, don’t be tempted to try and scrub it off or use any retinols or acids. You will make it 10x worse, I promise. I think switching my toothpaste has also made a difference, I use Dr Bronners– peppermint, but their are lots on the market. Take a look at your mouthwash too.
Try and not shock the skin with temperature. Avoid hot showers, saunas and lying in the sun. Unfortunately sunscreen makes me flare and I’m still on the hunt to find one that doesn’t. When my Perioral Dermatitis is at its height I will wash my face before bed, apply my face oil. Then in the morning I don’t wash my face again with cleanser. Instead I just splash some water in the shower, reapply my face oil and go from there. Less is more with Perioral Dermatitis. Diluted apple cider vinegar applied to the area on a cotton pad can also help to rebalance. You won’t smell great through.
I highly recommend Keweko – daily ritual gentle cleanser. It’s organic, natural and really kind to the skin, another one is Dr Hauschka– Cleansing milk again calm and natural. Use a clean soft facecloth and warm water, apply the cleanser with your hands and gently remove with your damp cloth, avoid scrubbing. Pat off excess water, I follow this with Kyushi Chamomile & Helichrysum to calm & reduce inflammation, it’s non comedogenic so won’t block your pores. Because the High azulene content in the German Chamomile has been shown to have dramatic anti inflammatory effects and will stop the deterioration of skin cells. (It also makes it blue!)
Non-Cosmetic Based Products
On top of this I strongly recommend sleeping on a silk pillowcase you can buy theses online for as little as £8 per slip (I’ve linked a fancy organic one but you can find cheaper) it’s much kinder on the skin than cotton and won’t absorb all the skincare you’ve just put on your face. Make sure you are washing in non bio washing powder/liquid, Ecover is a personal favourite of mine. If you travel take a slip with you, not a white one though you’ll lose it to the hotel. The bleaching and harsh detergents used in most hotels can cause a flare up so be careful.
Other Top Tips
If you’ve gone from having clear skin to having Perioral Dermatitis it can be quite a shock and it’s a nightmare to cover even as a makeup artist. It’s dry, flakey, bumpy red and sore. My daily game plan was I always had my face oil in my bag as it got flakey again during the day, along with a concealer. I used a combination of By Terry – touch expert concealer as it’s something you can reapply throughout the day, RMS – cover up concealer is a great one too and natural. For a one off event or something where you don’t want to worry for a few ours, it cosmetics – bye bye undereye will cover it but it is drier so you may have to moisten up with oil and reapply. It’s a trial and error situation, if you don’t have to wear makeup don’t, and let it breathe but I fully understand the confidence knock it can create. Keep it light and liquid, don’t be tempted by something heavy and matte, it will cover in the short term but dry and flake really quickly.
Take Home Message
My biggest piece of advice is less is more. Be patient. Look outside the box, your body is one machine, normally if you have a flare up on your skin something is going on somewhere else in your body or life. Stop take a moment, note any recent changes to diet or lifestyle and start eliminating. It will get worse before it gets better which is always fun isn’t it! Don’t be disheartened you will get there.
This is what worked for me, remember everyone is different. If you’re at your wits end then I recommend going to see a dermatologist and see what they can do for you. Do pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any more help or support.