I Have A Skin Disease and I Need to Talk About It!

Healing Perioral Dermatitis

That’s quite a title and it’s totally true.  It’s time to come clean because running a skin care blog with bad skin ain’t easy.  I feel my journey to healing could be helpful to some of you and a good example that when choosing to treat the body naturally, it can take time because you are addressing the body as a whole rather then remedying symptoms of something bigger.

Around 4 mos. ago I woke up to a small patch of tiny red bumps on the right side of my face near my mouth.  Assuming it was no biggie I carried on as usual.  Fast forward 2 mos. later and the rash has spread to both sides of my mouth, chin and around my eyes.  Talk about frustrating and unsightly.  The show must go on because I had 2 makeup posts scheduled so air brushing was a necessary evil.  After 2 mos. of no improvement and it spreading I realized this rash was going no where anytime soon and it was time to figure out what was going on.  After much research, it was abundantly clear that I have Perioral Dermatitis.

I wanted to talk about this skin issue because I believe it effects a large percentage of people.  There is so much information out there on how to cure it with a ton of bad information that could greatly prolong your recovery.

I must say, it is painful to post these pictures of myself.  My skin looks horrible and my case is mild.  I couldn’t talk about this skin issue without revealing what it looks like personally.  Because of my skin condition, I’m finding it very hard to maintain this skin care blog-ironic isn’t it?  I’m pushing myself to be in public and being in a new relationship and feeling yucky about my skin just plain sucks.  In fact, early in the relationship my BF came by unexpectedly and I had no makeup on.  He later told me he was relieved that I looked good without it.  He’s totally eating those words now!

I might add-the below pics show much improvement around my mouth. I am recovering and these pictures don’t reflect a flair up.  My eyes are the worst and most days I look like I’m sick.

What is Perioral Dermatitis?

There is a broad definition of this skin disorder but basically it is a rash on the face that is bacterial and fungal.  It is characterized by a circular patch of tiny bumps and redness around the laugh lines.  In some cases it effects the skin around the nostrils and in the creases of the nose.  It can also spread to the outer corners around the eye.  The rash is usually not painful but can be slightly itchy and burn at times.  It mainly effects women around 15-45 but can effect everyone.

Causes of Perioral Dermatitis:

An exact cause is unknown.  Everyone is different, but the most common cause is steroid exposure.

  1. Topical steroids can cause and greatly exacerbate PD.  Even inhalers that contain steroids can cause a skin reaction.
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can also cause PD.  SLS is found in toothpaste (including Tom’s) and is a common foaming agent in shampoos and cleansers.  SLS should be avoided.
  3. Fluoride in water and toothpaste can cause PD.  Fluoride free toothpaste and water filters are always a good idea.
  4. Prolonged irritation
  5. Unbalanced hormones
  6. Yeast overgrowth
  7. Over moisturizing-I really want to address this cause because I am constantly preaching that facial oils will keep the skin from premature aging.  However, in some cases too much moisturizing can cause the skin not to moisturize itself.  Your own sebum is by far the best form of moisturizer.  It is custom made for your skin.  Sometimes when using a facial oil or balm your pores can become blocked, making it hard for the skin to detox itself.

Should you Involve a Doctor?

In my opinion this skin disorder is coming from the inside out.  It is up to you to take care of your body by eating properly and simplifying your skin care regime.  Most doctors will resort to oral antibiotics and an antibiotic cream.  I believe that because I gave into a round of antibiotics this summer, this compromised my gut and opened me up to this condition.  More antibiotics might clear the rash up in the moment, but compromising your gut will pretty much insure PD will come back.  It is very hard to restore gut health after antibiotics.  

Topical antibiotics is something I haven’t tried and know it’s not ideal.  An antibiotic cream will not treat the root of the issue but it could improve the rash’s appearance if proper diet is seriously put in place.

I have read that there are cases of doctors prescribing topical steroids with PD.  While a steroid cream will work immediately, it will wreak havoc after a few applications.  I tried hydrocortisone cream and saw immediate improvement but after a few applications, my rash came back with a vengeance.  Not one testimonial claimed that steroid cream helped their PD longterm.  Everything I read stated that steroid cream made the condition much worse.  I can not stress enough to not use a steroid on your skin.  The side effects are not worth it.

In Conclusion:

A few things I’ve learned about PD is that it wants to be left alone.  Exfoliation is out of the question and the majority of your skin care routine should be water based.  Your skin care should also be simplified.  Less is more.  I’ve also found that what you ingest can greatly effect your rash.  For me, sugar and alcohol cause my PD to flare up.

I am taking 1-2 TBSP. of apple cider vinegar in water 2x daily.  This helps a number of issues but it is anti fungal and can go a long way with detoxing. You should  take 1 tsp.-1 TBSP of ACV in water before each meal or twice a day, preferably on an empty stomach.

Supplements can help.  I am taking zinc, large doses of b5 (1,000mg), krill oil, multivitamins, probiotics and magnesium.  Getting your gut right is imperative so probiotics are vital.  From my research, zinc and b5 have been proven to greatly reduce the rash.  So far I have not found this to be true for me personally.  I just started THIS probiotic and believe it is hands down the best I’ve ever taken. Read more on it HERE.

I have also amped up my smoothie plus I make sure I have one daily-NO EXCUSES.  I take THIS collagen in my smoothie daily.  Collagen is extremely healing to the skin.  I’ve also added 1 tbsp. of unrefined coconut oil.  Remember coconut oil is anti fungal.  I’ve continued adding a handful of greens, chia seeds and kefir or yogurt.

Because perioral dermatitis is very similar to rosacea, spicy food, coffee, cinnamon, alcohol and sugar should be greatly reduced if not avoided totally.

Also, as you can see form the pics and especially if you have a more prominent case of PD, it often can be misdiagnoses as acne. PD must never be treated like acne.  It is totally different and an acne treatment will make PD much, much worse.

Topically, apple cider vinegar has been known to help this condition greatly.  Be sure to dilute it 50/50 with water and apply with a cotton pad.  I know I mentioned side effects of using too much oil on your skin but I am finding that a tiny amount of coconut oil is healing, calming and relieving my dry skin since my discontinued use of facial oils.

At this point I feel that this rash is a blessing in disguise.  Coming off a very indulgent holiday season, I am forced to tighten my routine greatly.  This rash is making it pretty clear I’ve got a gut issue once again.

Moving forward, I will continue to drop in and update you on what I find and my personal progress.  Don’t kill me, but I just read today that athlete’s foot cream has cleared up PD almost instantly.  I’m considering trying this.  If you’ve experienced PD, you know how frustrating it can be and how desperate you become.  Covering it with concealer and foundation is an impossible task, not to mention horrible for recovery.

All though most days I feel defeated, I do have hope that this skin disorder can be remedied.  Patience is key.  Please comment below if you have this condition!!  I could use some support and after the many hours of research I’ve done, I might be able to help!

xx, Jenni


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