Two years in the making, here it is: my most highly requesting blog post. I have tried to simplify this as much as possible since it’s a big topic that relies on a lot of different factors. Not to mention it was ~2 years ago so I’m relying on memory and past blog posts 🙂
For those of you who are new here: two years ago while working an internship I developed Perioral Dermatitis, or PD. PD is bitch. There is no 100% known cause, cure, or even exactly what it is. To the best of my knowledge, here is what PD is:
- It’s not acne. It’s not eczema. It’s some obnoxious, pain in the ass in-between skin condition. It’s called perioral because it’s typically around the mouth/nose. PD is raised, red, usually dry/itchy bumps. They cannot be popped/drained. The best way to describe it is very irritating rash, I suppose.
- Many people who get it have never had acne in their lives.
- There is no known cause.
- There is no known cure. Some people swear by certain things, then when others try them it causes theirs to inflame. Some things that worked for a short time for me, ended up not working down the road.
- Typically, sufferers of PD are prescribed a steroid cream. Based on my own research (hours…and hours… and hours…) these tend to work then cause the PD to get worse once discontinued.
Let’s start with a brief, personal skin history:
- I never suffered with acne or skin conditions until I developed PD in 2014. In fact, I had flawless skin most my life.
- I have dry/combination skin. During the winter my skin is very dry.
- I was in my early 20’s when I got PD.
- At the time I was using 100% natural/organic skincare that I had been using for a while.
- At the time I was eating plant-based, but still occasionally consumed meat/dairy.
How my PD revealed itself:
I initially had a small patch at the corner of my mouth. Over a short period of time it grew more inflamed, irritated, and itchy. It gradually spread to the majority of the skin around my mouth.
Possible causes for my PD:
- Hormonal imbalance// I had been on the birth control pill for several years, but it’s possible that the Pill combined with natural hormone changes because of my age caused the flare up.
- Environment// At the time I was working a cubicle office job at a bio-tech company. There was a lab near where I worked so the air was kept very cold. Because of this, I also kept a little space heater under my desk. I am very suspicious that the constant recirculation of air (hot/cold/hot/cold) caused the breakout.
- Gastrointestinal issues// Gettin’ personal here… Like I said, at the time I had a 40-hour a week desk internship. I am normally very active, so pretty much overnight I when from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one. Because of this I started having a lot of stomach/digestion issues. I think it possibly caused (or flared up) IBD. The gut is very connected to your skin, so this is a big possibility.
What DIDN’T help my PD:
- Over cleaning my face. Initially, before I knew what it was, I thought it was just a little patch of breakouts. I washed it, scrubbed it, exfoliated it, and, of course, none of that helped.
- Masks. I tried all kinds of masks ranging for purifying charcoal to soothing aloe. Some would seem to sooth it temporarily, but then it would come back with vengeance.
- Oils. Whether they were to dry it up (tea tree) or hydrate (jojoba), my attempts were futile.
- Honey. A lot of people swear that using nothing but honey helps PD. It really didn’t do anything for mine.
- Taking vitamins/supplements.
- Using “sensitive skin” cleansers/face products.
- Switching birth control methods.
- Stressing out about it!
What MAYBE helped my PD:
- Not using ANY products on it. NONE. Nothing. Nada. The rest of my face I used a gentle cleanser, but I avoided getting ANY product on my PD. This kept it from flaring up.
- HOWEVER, I did get a sample of Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Soap as my PD started to fade on it’s own, and I do really think it helped! It was designed by a person who struggles with PD. It may have been timing, but I think this soap did do something!
- And yes, this meant NO MAKEUP! I covered my PD for a while, but eventually decided to just suck it up and not put any makeup on it.
- Getting healthy! My internship at the time made me really sedentary! I had put on some weight and wasn’t staying active. Once it was over I got back into my usual health routine.
- The ending of my internship. It was 10 weeks, and after moving back to San Diego for school once summer was over, my PD faded (very slowly and gradually) within a month or so.
That’s it! My PD master post! I know this isn’t the most helpful thing ever since PD is such a damn mystery, but I hope it gave you some insight on what could possibly be causing your PD and what could possibly help it. I wish I had a concrete solution for you, but like all PD sufferers, I don’t.
I will say though, I have not had it again since this bout. It lasted about 4 months, but I haven’t had it return since.
I hope this has helped. Feel free to comment below with your suggestions!