Perioral dermatitis is probably one of the most common skin conditions you’ve never heard of. Unless of course you are one of the tens of thousands of women who have been diagnosed with this harmless yet annoying rash. And if you’re reading this article chances are you’re looking for ways to relieve perioral dermatitis naturally.
What is Perioral Dermatitis & What Causes It?
Affecting the face, especially the areas around the nose and mouth, perioral dermatitis most commonly occur in women between the ages of 16 and 45 years. Perioral dermatitis is characterized by patches of slightly bumpy, red or irritated-looking skin, often going hand-in-hand with some flaking of the affected skin. In more severe cases, the skin becomes severely inflamed, with the flakes or scabs sometimes ending up bleeding and becoming infected.
Since perioral dermatitis can look like, and also often acts like acne, it’s frequently misdiagnosed, misunderstood and difficult to treat, even by medical professionals. What also makes it diagnosis and treatment troublesome is the fact that there isn’t one specific underlying cause of it, and each case emerging from a fluctuating set of circumstances unique to each patient.
In many cases the cause of perioral dermatitis is pretty clear with steroidal creams or nasal sprays, birth control pills or pregnancy often being the main culprit. But in many more cases, the symptoms are caused by a combination of factors such as stress, hormonal imbalances and even dietary deficiencies that ends up pushing the skin into a state of distress.
The most common causes of perioral dermatitis are:
- Steroid creams on the face (prescribed ubiquitously by western dermatologists)
- Steroid inhalers
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate (foaming agent) in toothpaste and cosmetic products
- Immune function with either an over- or underachieve immunity
- Dietary deficiencies and/or food intolerances
The usual course of treatment by doctors and dermatologists is to prescribe a hydrocortisone ointment or steroid cream. However, since steroids and cortisones are often what causes perioral dermatitis in the first place, once the treatment is stopped, it comes back with a vengeance, often worse than it was before. Oftentimes a three-month course of antibiotics, or in milder cases an antibiotic cream, is prescribed, often with the same outcome. The reason for this is because antibiotics disrupt the natural microbiome which is necessary for a healthy skin and gut.
That is why many women who are suffering from it are looking to treat perioral dermatitis naturally. And because perioral dermatitis doesn’t go away until its good and ready to do so, for many women symptom management and relief is their top priority as well as often being their best strategy.
How to Relieve Perioral Dermatitis Naturally
So how should you relieve your perioral dermatitis naturally? Unfortunately their is no one-size-fits-all panacea, and finding what works for you is a lot of trial and error. That said, there are some immediate changes you can make that does seem to do the job.
Relieve Perioral Dermatitis Naturally: Things to Avoid
The first is to stop using any oral or cosmetic products which contain Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate (SLS) as this is a known skin irritant. The second is to eliminate fluoride as it not only exasperates, but can also cause inflammation.
Other things you should avoid and things that make perioral dermatitis worse is:
- Over exfoliation which is a natural urge due to the flaking – perioral dermatitis wants to be left alone
- Chemical or fruit-acid exfoliants (especially those in higher concentrations)
- Heavy creams and oils
- Vitamin C serums
- Essential oils
- Spray on hair products because they come into contact with your face, too
- Fragrance in all skincare and makeup products (labeled as Parfum or Fragrance)
- Topical and/or oral antibiotics
- Excessive coffee drinking as these can cause dehydration as well as put additional stress on your hormonal balance
- Cinnamon flavoring
- Monthly hormone fluctuations, birth control pills or pregnancy
- Refined sugar and gluten which can cause/aggravate inflammation
Relieve Perioral Dermatitis Naturally: Things to Do
The first thing to do is to eat a healthy diet made up predominantly of organic meats, fish, eggs, vegetables and whole-grains. Also focus on eating enough foods with beneficial omega-3 fats such as nuts, seeds, grass-fed meat, eggs, fatty fish, avocados, coconut oil, etc. as your skin’s barrier cannot fully repair itself without enough healthy fats and protein. Drinking a lot of water and herbal teas is also important as good hydration will help maintain intracellular water levels in the skin. And of course, managing your stress is also super important as this will help stabilize hormones (especially cortisol) and help your body to fight off inflammation more effectively.
Other things you should do include:
- Resist the urge to scrub your face and/or heap products onto the skin
- Use water based, simple products. When it comes to perioral dermatitis, less is more
- Keep track of what you’re doing both skin care and food wise to see if anything makes your perioral dermatitis flare up or worsen
- Try to think of treating your perioral dermatitis as more of a management strategy rather than looking for a miracle cure. As mentioned before, perioral dermatitis is a condition that does not fully go away until it wants to and stressing about finding a cure will only make it worse
- Reduce your stress levels as this is often one of the main underlying factors causing perioral dermatitis
- Supplement with cannabidiol (CBD) to help fight inflammation and balance out your body system wide. Try a CBD product like Geovana’s CBD capsules or CBD oils as these are formulated with broad-spectrum CBD-Rich Hemp oil as well as evening primrose oil, both of which are rich in fatty acids and omega 3.
- Supplement with probiotics to help repopulate and rebalance your gut microbiome as it is vital for the maintenance of healthy and clear skin.
- Supplement with zinc and selenium as both of these minerals are critical in cell function, repair, and regeneration. In addition, research suggests a link between zinc deficiency and perioral dermatitis. Many women also find that using birth control makes their perioral dermatitis flare up and the reason for this may be due to a zinc deficiency.
How long before it goes away?
You need to have realistic expectations when it comes to treating perioral dermatitis naturally as it is more often than not a skin disorder that can last weeks, months and in some women even years. How long you have your treatment will last largely depends on the causes and triggers of your perioral dermatitis.
Something else that you need to keep in mind is that many women find is that there are periods during which it gets better, just to flare up again a week or two later. So think of your perioral dermatitis treatment as a marathon rather than a sprint. In other words, stick to your treatment regimen and trust in the process. Just remember that stressing about it is only going to make it worse. Keep things in perspective and know that your beauty is more than skin-deep, that there are people who love and value you, and in the end, everything will be okay.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with a physician if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. A doctor’s advice should always be sought before before embarking on any new treatment.