Saving Face:
Perioral Dermatitis

We get a lot of skin questions sent to us at Beauty Heroes, sometimes accompanied with pictures and pleas for help. We always respond with product recommendations, and often a warning; skin conditions are rarely solved by just putting something ON your skin. Diet, hormones and lifestyle often underlie the most common skin concerns. In my personal experience, chronic skin conditions complex and triggered by a combination of factors. I battled cystic acne for 20 years and tried putting anything and everything on my skin to treat it before I discovered a major hormone imbalance, that once addressed, resolved my acne for good. Lately, we have been receiving questions about a skin condition that looks like a cross between eczema and acne around the mouth called Perioral Dermatitis.

The severity of Perioral Dermatitis can be mild to severe with red, itchy, flaky and inflamed skin around the mouth and nose. I have not been affected by it myself, but my friend Dr. Sarah Villafranco, Founder of Osmia, has, and developed several products in her line so that she could use them and keep her Perioral Dermatitis in check. We often recommend these products to our clients who write in with symptoms that are related to the condition, and even created a whole category of Perioral-Dermatitis-safe products in our Beauty Store.

In this video, hear directly from Dr. Sarah Villafranco herself as she describes her personal experience with Perioral Dermatitis.

Fast Facts about Perioral Dermatitis

Who does Perioral Dermatitis Affect?

Most frequently Perioral Dermatitis affects women, ages 20-45, although it has been diagnosed in rare instances in children and the elderly.

What causes Perioral Dermatitis?

According to Sarah, “There are many theories about the cause of Perioral Dermatitis, none of which are definitive.” One of the known causes is the use of steroid creams on the face or around the mouth, so stay away from those. While there are many theories, based on the population most affected (women between 20-45) Perioral Dermatitis could very well be linked to hormone fluctuations.

Osmia for Perioral DermatitisHow can I treat it?

As Sarah outlined in her video, try eliminating sodium laureth sulfate, a common lathering ingredient in facial cleansers, toothpaste and hair care, as a first step. She also recommends staying away from products or foods that contain cinnamon. When it comes to skincare, Perioral Dermatitis likes to keep it light, with mostly water and light cream products, less is better (you know I love that). In general, you want to avoid lots of oils and heavy moisturizers on skin inflamed with Perioral Dermatitis, so you won’t find any oil based products in this category in our beauty store, except for Osmia’s Nectar, which Sarah has said has worked fine for her skin. And last, don’t scrub or exfoliate the area if you have Perioral Dermatitis.

Some sage advice from Sarah:

Above all – do less.  And, for your own sanity, keep track of the things you do, and try to think of them as pieces of a management strategy for PD, rather than looking for one “miracle cure”.

If you do see an allopathic doctor, don’t be surprised if you’re prescribed topical antibiotics to treat Perioral Dermatitis. This is the go-to treatment for most Western doctors. If you choose this path, we encourage you to balance out the effects that antibiotics can have on the system by integrating diet and lifestyle changes to support the healing process. A few suggestions include taking probiotics, avoiding heavy creams and oils, and whatever you do, resist the temptation to exfoliate! It will only exacerbate the problem. During this healing time, results will be more immediate if you also avoid sugar, caffeine or other stimulants. Remember, Perioral Dermatitis is a result of inflammation, so it’s best to choose foods and behaviors that have a soothing, calming effect. And finally, practice patience.

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