A lot of people often think that as a beauty blogger my skin is always perfect and glowing. Ha! So not the case. I struggle like anyone else with skin issues and insecurities. And one of my biggest struggles a handful of years back was a struggle with perioral dermatitis. It took some research on my own and with the guidance of my naturopathic doctor I was able to figure out how to treat perioral dermatitis at home and naturally. And I am sharing all of it with you!
*As always I am not a doctor, please always consult with your physician before taking on any new regimen that you are unsure of. I’m merely sharing what worked for me after researching, and reading other stories. Everyone is different and every case of perioral dermatitis is different.
*Suzi (Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
What is perioral dermatitis?
Perioral dermatitis is an inflammatory rash eruption involving the skin around the mouth. The rash may spread up to the nose or even the eyes. It usually appears as a scaly or bumpy rash around the lips. It can also sometimes weep clear fluid. Redness and slight itching and burning can also occur.
It looks a lot like a rash on your skin. The condition is most common in women ages 15-45.
In my case, I first started to notice a difference in the skin around my left nose. It spread out a little past the area, ending around my mouth. It was red, dry, itchy, and scabby looking. Eventually it spread to my chin area as well but not as bad. It never was anywhere else on my body. I noted these changes to my skin right when I found out I was pregnant.
So it was January and I thought oh my skin must just be extra dry due to the weather. I exfoliated the skin around my nose and heavily moisturized daily. It got worse! The redness got redder, the flaking got flakier, and there were now raised bumps. It had been six weeks since I first noticed it and realized it wasn’t just some mild dryness caused by the weather…something else was in play.
What are the possible causes of perioral dermatitis?
It can be really hard to pinpoint what causes perioral dermatitis but what I found was this:
- Topical Steroid Creams
- Makeup, Cleansers, Facial Products
- Hormone Factors in Women
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Fluoride in Toothpaste
- Exposure to Harsh Temps.
- Birth Control Pills
I do think for most women it’s not a clear cut road in diagnosing the condition. I think it can be an accumulation of factors that bring it about. Personally, I wasn’t using any topical steroid creams (nor have I ever), I don’t use products with SLS, fluoride isn’t in my toothpaste, and Washington isn’t really known for harsh temps. I was intrigued about the makeup, cleansers, and facial products being a cause, and quickly dove more into researching about it. After all, that was one area I felt could be the culprit.
What I found is heavy creams, lotions and foundations can cause perioral dermatitis. Really, the overuse and changing it up often can be the cause. Well, that definitely was me. As a clean beauty blogger, I’m constantly switching up my skincare routine to try out new products. Over the year prior to when I first noted the perioral dermatitis, it had been at an all time high.
Another cause that a lot of people don’t mention, but I found may be true with my situation is pregnancy. Being pregnant, my hormones were obviously all over the place. Also, gut flora can be out of balance when pregnant. Having too much yeast in the gut is also a common issue among pregnant women, and this can cause a lot of skin issues. Candida is the condition where there is an overgrowth of yeast. It is a fungus. I knew all of these things could be true in my case.
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Conventional Treatments for Perioral DermatitisSaveSave
If you choose to go the conventional route with treating perioral dermatitis, you are more than likely going to be first given some sort of topical treatment. Whether it be a topical antibiotic or antifungal medication. If this doesn’t improve the condition, oral antibiotics will be prescribed.
***It must be noted that topical corticosteroids should not be used. Although topical corticosteroids may provide a temporary benefit, when they are discontinued, the rash can often flare and worsen***
How I Healed My Perioral Oral Dermatitis at Home and Naturally
Can I be honest? There were points where I wanted to just take something and have it go away. I was so close to going to the drugstore and getting some over the counter anti-fungal cream. I remember right before Indie Beauty Expo in early May thinking I would just give in and go the traditional prescription drug route.
After all, I didn’t want to show up to the blogger’s conference focused on beauty and have my skin acting up. BUT, common sense and a strong desire to figure out the natural way is what caused me to keep on until it was completely gone. Plus, being pregnant I didn’t want to put anything crazy on my body. It got better over time too.
By the time the Indie Beauty Expo arrived, my perioral dermatitis wasn’t that bad, and with makeup on probably not noticeable to most. Here are the 5 things that I think helped me heal from perioral dermatitis (PD) the most:
1. DON’T WEAR MAKEUP! Yes, I’m going to keep saying this until you listen, put down the makeup. Trust me I get it; I was once in your same shoes. I understand. You have to go to work, parties, events- basically, you have to be in public. But the thing is makeup is only going to aggravate it more. When I fully stopped wearing makeup, I started to notice the biggest change in my skin. The burning and itching went down, the redness slowly got less, and I could tell my skin was on its way to healing. I just stopped caring what people thought. I knew they were looking at my skin, but I knew that I didn’t want it to get worse but better. Plus, the fact that I get to share my story with you now and help you, makes it ALL worth it! Just remember you’re not alone. There are so many other people struggling with PD. Stop caring what people think and ditch the makeup. I’m rooting you on!
2. STOP EATING SUGAR! I know you might have just started to cry…well maybe not but it might sound kind of extreme. But here’s the thing. PD is basically a by-product of what’s going on internally often. It can be caused by an overgrowth of candida in your gut. Candida is a fungus. How does fungus live? SUGAR and lots of it! Ditch the sugar and processed food and while you’re at it, just eat real whole foods. This was huge for me. I had just come off of the holidays when I knew I was eating too much sugar. I literally could tell my skin started to look less puffy and inflamed when I stopped with all the extra sweets. Plus, I felt so much better, less bloated, and had more energy. Instead of feeding the candida I was starving it which was helping to calm my PD down. If the thought of going cold turkey is intimidating then just start by eliminating sugar a few days a week. Then gradually add more sugar free days once you can tolerate it. I promise you will feel better in no time!
3. TAKE A PROBIOTIC. Since you just learned that the gut can be majorly messed up when you have PD, you probably are understanding why taking a probiotic is a good idea. When you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut, you need some of the good bacteria to counteract it. This is where probiotics come in. They feed your gut the good bacteria which helps to fight the bad bacteria. When your bad bacteria start to get minimized skin conditions such as PD often can start to improve because your gut isn’t inflamed. I wouldn’t take just probiotics. I would make sure it’s from a reputable source. I really like Seeking Health’s Probiotics. I know they’re made by a doctor and NSF certified which means they practice good manufacturing practices as far as quality, purity, and strength. This is the one I took here.
4. DON’T TOUCH THE AREA! This sounds weird but I found that touching it would make it worst. Instead I would only touch it when I was applying specific creams and ointments every night. Otherwise, I didn’t touch it or mess around with it. No exfoliating, cleansing, etc. This helped a ton! In the beginning I would still wash my face for the first month and apply oil to the area. I quickly learned that it only made it worse. I kept researching and reading up on what others did and the key factor for those that healed their PD was they only touched it when absolutely necessary. It was so hard because I would want to pick at it, but I found when I left it alone, it got better. So, resist the urge to touch it, or apply all the products. There were only a few products I would apply to my skin and they helped a ton, but most of them if you’re not careful will only make it worse!
5. STOP STRESSING! I know easier said than done but really, chill out. This was a hard one for me. The thing is when you’re stressed out your adrenals pump out cortisol, which floods the body with glucose. Imagine if you’re constantly stressed out? Your body is just emerged in glucose. Where does all this glucose end up? On your skin! Well, not technically but it causes your skin to be inflamed. Inflamed skin can look like a variety of things one of them being PD. Maybe you need to exercise to burn off some stress. Do a yoga class. Meditate or have some quiet time for 10 minutes in the morning. Maybe you need to say no more and yes to quiet time for yourself. Whatever it is, do the thing that is going to help you manage your stress levels. For me, it was having some quiet time in the morning and planning my days at night. I still plan my days at night and its been the best thing. I literally know what’s going to happen the next day for the most part and it eases my mind. I find I even sleep better because I’ve unloaded my schedule for the next day before I go to bed. Remember if you don’t take care of yourself well, then it will be hard to take care of anyone else!
So how long did I have it? It first started at the beginning of January and lasted until the very end of May.
The typical time for it to clear up really depends from person to person from what I have read. Anywhere from months to a year.
I will say I noticed improvements each month. The biggest factor with perioral dermatitis is the time it takes to help heal the area-don’t rush it.
Skin issues can be so annoying to deal with and at times, life altering in their own way. I hope this post can shed some light on natural ways to cope with perioral dermatitis and give hope to those who are suffering from it. Please leave me a comment if you’ve dealt with it, and what you did to help heal it! Also, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
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I am not able to download your tips for getting rid of this, when I click on it it says something about click funnel account being paused? I’ve recently starting have issues with this and am very interested to see what helped you. Thanks!
It’s working now!
I did not see a link for whichSeeking Health Probiotic you used. I went to the website and there are several different types. Please specify. Thanks for your help.
Hi! Sorry about that, I used to use Probiota Woman. Now I use Just Thrive Probiotics and love them. They actually are able to survive through the digestive tract to your gut which I love. Here’s a link to the Just Thrive Probiotics if you want to check them out. https://justthrivehealth.com/products/probiotic?rfsn=6962080.cf26dc
Been dealing with PD since July. Take a probiotic, use hello toothpaste (sulfate free), exercise and try to eat a clean diet. Seems to flareup with hormone changes, etc.
You mentioned a few products but didnt specify which. I’ve found this site and thr moisturizer helpful. I also just tried the Soothing Dup from company in Australia called Amperna so still seeing if the products help. It takes a lot of patience for sure.
Hi! I really liked Honest Diaper Cream. Worked so well to help calm my skin and flareups. I would apply at night and during the day if I stayed home. I also liked using just a basic argan oil. It didn’t cause my skin to flare up.
Suzuki, thank you so much for writing this article! I have struggled for years with PD, and am at my end. I usually receive doxycycline and a cream from my doctor to treat it, but it just returns once I stop the doxy. I have spend hundreds on “clean”moisturizers, but many still trigger the reaction- and makeup DEFINITELY DOES! Do you have any suggestions for SAFE facial moisturizers and foundation. There are times when I need these products, but I can’t find any that won’t trigger the PD. Please help! 🙂
I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! It can be a pain for sure. Honestly, there aren’t any safe products. Makeup can aggravate PD in general. The closest thing to not being comedogenic is a mineral powder. Alima Pure has a powder. Something really basic, that isn’t going to have coconut oil in it. For a moisturizer check out squalene oil by indie lee. It just has squalene oil in it, nothing else. It can really help to repair skin.
I have been struggling with it for years. It gets better and then worse and the cycle has been going on forever but I haven’t found something that makes it go away completely.
I used prescribed creams from the doctor and a steroid cream only when it gets super bad, and it helps a little bit doesn’t cure it.
Can you help me out? What specific products did you use? Maybe some more details would be helpful 😭♥️
I’m so sorry! It really is the worst. I didn’t use much, I think that’s the trick the more I’ve talked to people. I didn’t touch the area at all and wouldn’t wear makeup on it. I used just zinc diaper cream on the area as much as I could. Honest Diaper Cream. Zinc is very soothing for it and helped so much. I would barley wash that area too. I would look into VaniCream Wash. It’s a cleanser I used and it’s great for calming the skin with minimal ingredients.
Hey there! Thank you for the informative post about this… dealing with this currently and trying to find the products you mentioned that you use please. Thanks so much,
I used Vanicream facial cleanser, honest baby diaper cream, and squalene oil from Indie Lee. I only applied the squalene oil on parts of my face that didn’t have PD. The diaper cream is for the areas you do have PD. And then just don’t wear makeup. 🙂
Hi, Suzi, My name is Eni, I come from Indonesia, I am struggling PD for the last 5 months. I went to several dermatologists and the PD hasn’t been relieved yet. Just when I browsed the PD treatment on the website and it brought me to your blog. I have several questions for you. Did you get pustule acne? Because I do, the topical gel (erythromycin ointment) seems doesn’t work on me. How about you? Did you get a specific topical gel as well?. You mentioned about zinc cream, do you apply the zinc cream on your chin area? I really appreciate if you can put some details. Thanks
I did not get pustule acne. I haven’t done the topical gel you mentioned. I applied the zinc cream anywhere I had PD. Best to apply it and not wear makeup and try not to touch your face.