What is Perioral Dermatitis and What are Its Symptoms?
Perioral dermatitis (PD) is a common skin condition that is characterized by small, red, and itchy bumps around the mouth, nose, and eyes. It can be a frustrating and persistent condition to manage, and many people find that conventional treatments like antibiotics and steroid creams only offer temporary relief.
In my experience, managing PD requires a holistic approach that addresses the underlying causes of the condition. This includes making changes to your diet, lifestyle, and skincare routine to reduce inflammation and support healthy skin.
How Do Dermatologists Treat Perioral Dermatitis and Why That's a Problem?
Conventionally, dermatologists will typically prescribe a combination of antibiotics and topical steroids to treat PD. Antibiotics are prescribed to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin, while topical steroids are used to reduce inflammation and itching. While this approach may provide temporary relief from symptoms, it is not a long-term solution and can actually make PD worse over time.
The problem with using antibiotics for an extended period of time is that it can lead to antibiotic resistance. This means that the bacteria that cause PD can become resistant to antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat. Additionally, using antibiotics for an extended period of time can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to a host of other health problems.
Topical steroids can also be problematic when used for an extended period of time. Steroids can thin the skin and cause it to become more sensitive and reactive. This can make PD worse over time, as the skin becomes more susceptible to irritation and inflammation.
Furthermore, once the use of topical steroids is stopped, PD can often come back in full force, known as a rebound effect. This is because steroids suppress the immune system, which can allow the bacteria that cause PD to proliferate and make symptoms worse.
For these reasons, relying on antibiotics and topical steroids as the primary treatment for PD can be a bad idea. Instead, it is important to focus on treating the underlying causes of PD, such as a compromised skin barrier, bacterial overgrowth, and inflammation.
There are many natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can help to effectively manage PD without resorting to antibiotics and steroids. In addition, addressing gut health through probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as getting enough Vitamin D, can help to support healthy skin and reduce the likelihood of developing PD.
How to Treat Perioral Dermatitis Naturally
I was diagnosed with Perioral Dermatitis at age 27. My dermatologist recommended long-term use of antibiotics and steroid creams, which I wasn't about to do. The list of side effects was pretty alarming to me. As frustrated as I was, I wasn't about to sacrifice health for beauty!
So I put on my curious, problem-solver & researcher hat and went to work attempting to find the best possible solutions. 18 years later, and I am still managing to keep PD away. If I have the occasional flare-up, I am able to treat it using simple remedies. It often goes away after a day or two.
The first step to treating PD is understanding the triggers. Being a beauty professional I was using an inordinate amount of skincare and makeup that was filled with toxins, irritants, and fragrances. All that had to go. I had no choice anyway, at the time, as I developed a severe immune response to most products and developed major allergies. I truly attribute my condition to the accumulation of all the ingredients from years of use of conventional beauty products.
Let's get to it!
What are the Triggers of Perioral Dermatitis that you Should Avoid?
Spicy and salty foods
Spicy and salty foods can aggravate PD and make your symptoms worse. Try to avoid these foods or limit your intake especially if you're experiencing a flare-up. I still consume them in moderation, but If I have a flare-up, they gotta go for a couple of days until my skin settles down, allowing for it to heal.
Spices like cinnamon
Excessive alcohol intake
Avoid using soap
How I Healed My Perioral Dermatitis and Continued to Manage Flare-ups
Blue light therapy
Use fragrance-free skincare products
Use a gentle lactic acid mask
Honey and tea tree oil
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that our bodies need for many important functions, including skin health. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can have anti-inflammatory effects, which may be helpful in managing inflammatory skin conditions like perioral dermatitis.
One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduced the severity of acne in a group of young adults. The researchers hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids were responsible for the improvement in acne.
Another study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements improved the symptoms of psoriasis in a group of patients. The researchers noted that omega-3 fatty acids were effective at reducing inflammation and scaling, two of the primary symptoms of psoriasis.
While there is limited research on the specific effects of omega-3 fatty acids on perioral dermatitis, the anti-inflammatory properties of these fats suggest that they may be helpful in managing the condition. Incorporating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and chia seeds, into your diet may be helpful in improving skin health and managing perioral dermatitis.
Research has shown that the use of probiotics can positively impact skin health by supporting a healthy gut microbiome and improving immune system function.
Perioral dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that has been linked to disruptions in the gut microbiome and immune system dysfunction. Studies have shown that probiotics can help to restore balance in the gut microbiome, leading to improvements in skin health.
One study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that the use of probiotics improved the symptoms of rosacea, a skin condition that shares similarities with perioral dermatitis. The researchers noted that probiotics helped to restore balance in the gut microbiome and reduce inflammation, leading to improvements in skin health.
Another study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science found that the use of probiotics improved the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, another inflammatory skin condition. The researchers hypothesized that probiotics worked by improving immune system function and reducing inflammation.Look for probiotic supplements that contain strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
A Few More Tips To Help Manage Perioral Dermatitis
Managing PD requires patience and persistence, as it can be a chronic condition that flares up from time to time. It's important to take a holistic approach to managing your PD, addressing the underlying causes of the condition and making lifestyle changes that support healthy skin.
Moisturize regularly: Moisturizing your skin can help soothe and hydrate your PD. Look for a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer that is formulated for sensitive skin and apply it twice a day.
Avoid touching your face: Touching your face can transfer bacteria and irritants to your skin, exacerbating PD symptoms. Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible and wash your hands regularly.
Blue light therapy for PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941863/
Fragrance-free skincare for PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6061679/
Lactic acid for PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596942/
Aloe vera for PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6330525/
Honey and tea tree oil for PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4452273/
Omega-3 fatty acids for skin health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131553/
Probiotics for skin health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048199/
Vitamin D for skin health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5722768/
Oral contraceptives and PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7149593/
Fluoride and PD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803587/
Essential oils and skin irritation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/
Alcohol and skin health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826889/
Soap and skin health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6272894/
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