Hi everyone. I have been receiving some comments and questions recently on my blog post about my perioral dermatitis. This post has been my most-viewed post this month, so I thought I would give an update on where my skin has been and some things that have really helped me the past couple months, and hopefully can help some of you if you are dealing with this condition. For those if you who do not know, perioral dermatitis is a facial rash that occurs around the mouth and nose and is often red, scaly, or bumpy. Itching is mild, and it can also appear around the eyelids. Perioral dermatitis may come and go for months or years. There are many causes including topical steroid creams, heavy face creams, moisturizers, fluoride toothpastes and rosacea.
If you have already done the following:
- Stop using toothpaste with flouride.
- Stop using all heavy creams and moisturizers, ESPECIALLY with the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Stop using steroid creams, or steroid sprays (such as nasal allergy sprays)
- Eating a healthy diet, preferably gluten and dairy free, including tons of fruits/vegetables, drinking water etc.
- Taking supplements (most importantly probiotics) to help heal the gut.
…And you still have dermatitis, do not get discouraged. This annoying condition can take months to go away, and even if it does go away for a bit, it can still come back. I get dermatitis flare ups around my period, but I am now much better about dealing with them. Here are some tips that have really helped me deal with this frustrating conditions:
- My holy grail product during period flare ups is this one. I use Osmia Organics Black clay facial soap for my face wash, and the cream for my moisturizer. That is it. The only time my dermatitis gets much worse is around that time of the month. This is because my estrogen levels are raised, which causes my skin to go out of whack, showing up in the form of dermatitis spots around my mouth and nose. To combat these spots, I like to apply this oil treatment that I found off Etsy. This product is handcrafted in tiny batches and is absolutely wonderful. It contains special ingredients that specifically combat dermatitis like calendula, tea tree and oregano. It is super cost effective and a wonderful product. Try to avoid using any sort of makeup on the area as well, this will help expedite healing.
- Sunshine. I know everyone tells you to stay out of the sun, but I have found that moderate sun exposure has done wonders for my skin. I like to apply this natural sun product that only contains pure ingredients on my face when I am sun-tanning. Zinc is known to be awesome for breakouts. Another thing I love is sea salt for skin. I find that whenever I am on vacation and going in salt water everyday, my skin is nearly perfect. Of course, you can make your own sea salt water at home. Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of pure sea salt into 1 cup of filtered water. Put this in a glass spray bottle and you have the ocean right at home. I love this as a facial toner to refresh my skin.
- Diet is also very important to combating dermatitis. I have dramatically reduced the amount of grains that I eat and soy. When I was plant-based I was eating a lot of processed soy products and grains. Even gluten free grains I found were not good for my skin and caused my dermatitis to get worse. I now eat a mostly paleo diet (no grains or added sugars) and it has really improved my skin quality. I eat quinoa occasionally because it’s very high in protein, but for the most part I tend to avoid grains, even gluten-free grains.
- Don’t obsess. I know it’s so much easier said than done. But once you focus on other aspects of life that you love and are passionate about and stop focusing on your skin all the time, it does get better. Stressing about your skin is the worst thing for it. Stress causes inflammation and skin issues are a direct result of inflammation in the body. There are several things you can do to reduce stress. Do yoga, read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, see your best friend. Realize that the people who love you don’t care about how your skin looks and there are so many beautiful aspects to you as a person. It’s not as bad as you think it is.
- Self affirmations and journaling. This kind of goes along with the above bullet, but it is so important it deserves its own. Loving yourself in your own skin and showing your self love is the thing that I believe is so crucial to happiness. Write down reasons you are grateful every night. At least three. It could be the simplest thing, like being able to drink clean water. This helps you put things into perspective and will shift your outlook. When you look into the mirror instead of freaking out about your skin, tell yourself a reason you are beautiful; for example, I love my eyes, they are a pretty color. I know it seems weird at first but over time you will begin to believe the affirmations and they will help with your confidence even if you are dealing with a skin condition.
- Talk to someone. You don’t have to battle this alone. I remember feeling so lonely and ugly like I was the only one who had this condition. When my roommate was dealing with the same thing, it was so nice to be able to talk to her and share tips about skin care and treatment. There are thousands of online forums about this. Remember you are not the only one. If you are feeling super desperate, definitely speak to a dermatologist. I would be extremely hesitant about accepting an antibiotic prescription, but perhaps you can ask your dermatologist about a low-dose antibiotic option, or a prescription cream like sulfur that could maybe help your skin. It can be nice to speak to someone who can sympathize with you, and offer some consolidation for what you are going through. I recommend going to a dermatologist only if everything else fails, because of course, going the all-natural route is always better than using harsh drugs or creams.
I know that this condition is super frustrating and annoying to deal with. It can make you feel super insecure. I remember not wanting to show my face at all when my dermatitis was super bad (and of course makeup just makes it look worse).
Note: Everything I recommend in this post are products I have personally tried and loved. I am not sponsored or affiliated with any of these companies.