What is it?
Perioral dermatitis (PD) is a very common condition of the facial skin, consisting of small inflammatory rashes, sometimes red in colour, that appear around the mouth, seemingly out of nowhere, especially in women of menstruating age. It is frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and acts like a cross between acne and eczema. The fact that these two diseases behave very differently may, in part, explain why it is so poorly understood, and so troublesome to treat. This blog is an effort to understand perioral dermatitis a bit more and suggest a gentle skincare regime that would help you.
Why does it happen?
Every case of perioral dermatitis is different. In some cases, it is clear cut, and directly linked to a particular cause. But in most women, the causes are multiple, uniquely combined, and ever-changing (making it even more difficult to treat!). It varies in severity. In mild cases, it consists of patches of slightly bumpy, red or irritated looking skin, often with some mild flaking of the skin around the mouth, chin, and nose.
The exact cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown. It has multiple environmental exposures linked to its etiology - sensitizing steroids in prescription ointments, nasal sprays and creams, hormonal imbalances, birth control pills, PCOD, caffeine, infectious sources like fungus and bacteria, fluoridated toothpaste and certain harsh and sensitizing cosmetic products and ingredients such as petrolatum and paraffin bases, even beeswax. Certain sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone also can cause this
How should we treat Perioral Dermatitis with natural means?
Dermatologists usually treat this condition with topical or oral antibiotics, and there is a moderate success rate with this of course, as well as a relatively high relapse rate too. That is because perioral dermatitis needs a holistic approach including lifestyle changes. Any good dermat would tell you that too. While we always recommend that you should get a dermat’s opinion for conditions like these, we would advise you to avoid steroid creams at all cost, as they are suspected of having a causative relationship to PD and several other skin ailments. During her personal experience with PD, our founder has found that whether antibiotics are involved or not, that relapse is very likely without lifestyle modifications.
Check your toothpaste label, even if it’s the same one you had been using for years!
The first two changes we suggest are eliminating fluoride in toothpaste, and sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) in oral, facial, and hair care products - as they are major triggers for PD.
Topical skincare allows you to deliver targeted skin treatment and nourishment
As for skincare, we created Rejuvenating Serum and Antioxidant Lip Balm that would help soothe and nourish your skin, while handling the dryness and flaking of the skin. These natural perioral dermatitis skin support products were initially formulated by our founder to soothe and calm her own angry and irritated skin. We have had people telling us that their symptoms have decreased substantially and sometimes completely cured too with the Daughter Earth regime and lifestyle changes. Both the serum and lip balm have a dose of botanicals which have anti-inflammatory properties such as turmeric, marigold and licorice, and several skin-nourishing active botanicals that can support your skin’s own healing process.
The point is that you will have to resist the urge to scrub your face and heap products on it. Exfoliating acids are a strict NO. Even physical exfoliators which are abrasive in nature. Even threading around your lips can exacerbate the condition.
Perioral dermatitis wants to be dealt with a toxic-free, minimal skincare regime that supports skin’s natural healing process without altering its structure. Like our Rejuvenating Serum which has bioactive botanicals and works alongside the circadian cycle (biological sleep clock) of our body. It rejuvenates and supports the skin in the most natural way as our bodies rest.
Stress, always your no.1 enemy!
All this said it is important to understand that stress is one factor in every case of PD. The more you stress about the condition, the worse it gets. Instead, we would suggest you observe yourself and try to think of your lifestyle and routine as pieces of a management strategy for PD, rather than looking for one miracle cure. This is what our founder did, and according to her, a balanced vegetarian diet, religious skincare regime with Rejuvenating Serum and Antioxidant Lip Balm, gentle cleansing with pure neem ubtan, good sleep, and meditation have helped her more than anything else.
Are your pillows making you sick?
If you use foam pillows, this is likely a cause for skin issues. You are probably breathing the chemicals released from foam, including toluene diisocyanate and formaldehyde, which can cause allergic reactions.
Most mattresses and pillows are filled with chemical-drenched synthetic fibers such as polyurethane foam that release chemicals into the air for years. These airborne toxins can even cause headaches and nausea, and lead to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a condition that stems from exposure to toxic chemicals and results in a myriad of crippling symptoms.
Additionally, microscopic dust mites frequently infest mattresses, pillows, and carpeting, leading to skin allergies and respiratory problems including coughing and sinus congestion.
When you are dealing with PD, the idea is to reduce the load of toxins and inflammation/ allergy-causing chemicals in your life. So, yes, check your pillow and perhaps replace it with a soft cotton pillow.
Gut is where it all starts!
A healthy, immunity-boosting and gut cleansing plant-based diet with supplements like B-complex and probiotics and attention to beneficial fats and grain or legume-based proteins will make a positive change in almost any skin type. Sufficient water intake will help maintain intracellular water levels in the skin, as well. Eating ingredients that have anti-inflammatory properties, such as turmeric, ginger, jeera also can alleviate the symptoms.
Turn this into an opportunity to understand your body!
PD will likely be a condition that comes and goes over the course of some years, acting as a call from your internal environment. Remember your skin is a mirror to what’s happening inside your body. You may think of your PD as an effort by your skin to tell you that some things (or several things) are out of balance and require support from you. Your skin is not doing this to upset you—it's just asking for a little help. Treat this condition as an opportunity to look within yourself, observing what you put inside and outside your body, the type of thoughts you feed you mind with, how stressed you are and how your body is coping. What better way to show some self-love!