Perioral Dermatitis: The rash that continues to haunt me

In this post, I wanted to share my experience with perioral dermatitis in hopes that it will provide advice/insight to anyone out there  looking for answers. Trust me, I understand how frustrating this rash is and how hopeless it makes you feel. I avoided eye contact with people, I avoided being near bright lights, I even avoided social situations because I was so self-conscious about how my skin looked.

My story begins back in November of 2015. I had just started college, and I definitely had a lot of stress in my life at that time. I was in a new place, separated from my friends and boyfriend at the time, and I was having a lot of trouble making friends.

I noticed that I started having red bumps around my mouth area, under my nose, and also outside of my eyes. I was confused because I never had any skin issues growing up, just the occasional pimple here and there. Frustrated, I began to dab acne medication on the red spots hoping they would go away. To my horror, they did not go away and in fact continued to spread upwards on my cheeks and even appeared on the center of my forehead. My self-esteem plummeted and I would only go out on rare occasions. If I did go out, I would be constantly looking in the mirror to check my skin and I would barely look at people because I was so insecure about my face.

As time went on, I became more and more frustrated with the rash and began googling. I found a condition called “perioral dermatitis” and the symptoms lined up exactly to what I had. I saw a few remedies such as coconut oil and calendula cream, which I tried that night and it did nothing at all to help the condition. I realized I had to go to a dermatologist to get the proper treatment, so I made an appointment for the next day. The dermatologist was extremely kind and understanding. She prescribed Metrogel and a Doxycycline pill. I took two pills of the Doxycycline for two weeks, then tapered off it for another couple of weeks. The rash cleared up COMPLETELY and I was so happy. Finally, I had clear skin again! A blissful seven months later, and I began to notice bumps cropping up again. I was devastated.

I didn’t want to take pills again, so instead I tried literally everything under the sun. This includes:

  • Apple cider vinegar blotted on the areas
  • Calendula cream
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Himalaya Botaniques Antiseptic cream
  • Proskin eczema cream
  • Manuka honey
  • Violet extract
  • Colloidal silver
  • Anti-fungal cream

Unfortunately, none of these methods gave me long term results. The only thing that may have helped is the Apple cider vinegar combined with the Proskin, which gave me short term relief while I was on vacation. I also had limited stress so that could be another reason that the rash seemed to flare down for about a week during the summer.

When I got back from vacation, I got so depressed about my skin that I literally would avoid all social situations. I decided to take matters into my own hands and see another dermatologist. She immediately said it was perioral dermatitis, and gave me another prescription for Doxycycline, and also Elidel cream. I took my first pill of Doxycycline today, and will take two pills a day over the next four weeks in hopes to get rid of this thing. I’m also using the Elidel, as it seems to get rid of the bumps.

If there’s anything I can recommend to you guys struggling with this terrible condition, here is what I have found:

*AVOID ALL STEROIDS: This is so important and it includes all types of steroids, even nasal steroids like Flonase for allergies. I was using this for two years and believe it may have triggered my perioral dermatitis (especially the terrible redness under my nose)

*CHANGE PRODUCTS: Switch your shampoo, body wash, face wash, and so on to an all natural brand (I recommend Osmia Organics because the owner herself struggles with this condition)

*DON’T TOUCH, PICK OR EXFOLIATE: Leave the rash alone. Touching and obsessing over it will make it look redder and more irritated.

*MANAGE YOUR STRESS AND EAT HEALTHY: Do yoga, exercise, get fresh and sunshine. Eat healthy foods, including lots of vegetables and fruits. Relax. Breathe. People still love you even if you have this condition. It’s not as bad as you think it is. Hang in there, it will get better.

*CONSIDER A GUT HEALING PROTOCOL: I do not recommend taking drugs for this condition because long term, it does more harm than good. Instead, you should look into healing your gut. Naturopaths are very knowledgeable about this information. You can read about how to heal your gut in this post.

If any of you have questions about this condition, feel free to ask me!

3 thoughts on “Perioral Dermatitis: The rash that continues to haunt me

  1. Hi Katie,

    I’m not sure if you are still struggling with perioral dermatitis, but I struggled with mine for 3 years. I started using Rodan and Fields Soothe regimen back in September of 2016 and I haven’t had any redness or bumps since I started. I loved my results so much that I started selling the products, and now I want to reach out to others with perioral dermatitis because I know how frustrating it can be!!! If you are still looking for answers for how to manage this, let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mackenzie thank you so much for your suggestion! I will try that out. I am currently using the Osmia Organics Black Clay soap and it seems to keep the dermatitis pretty calm, but I definitely will try out that product and see if the dermatitis goes away.


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