Perioral Dermatitis--Helpful Info

Feb 28, 2001

The Bottom Line Perioral Dermatitis can be very embarassing and irritating to most people. This article will help you understand and treat this skin disease with helpful product information.

Perioral dermatitis is something I have been living with for the last 8 years. Only now have I found a way to suppress this disease. With little or no help from my doctors, I decided to research this on my own. Good thing I did because I found many helpful facts that have helped me tremendously in the past month.

What is Perioral Dermatitis?

Perioral Dermatitis, quite simply is a disease that affects the skin on the face. It occurs mainly in women between the ages of 20 and 45 years old, but CAN be found on anyone. The disease looks much like acne but the skin is very red underneath and it itches a lot. The blemishes are fluid filled and should not be touched. Extreme temperatures cause flare ups, very cold or very hot. I have found this to be very true. After showers and baths, my chin area will be very red and irritable for a very long time. Perioral Dermatitis is usually found around the mouth, usually the chin area, but can be sometimes located around the eyes as well. Perioral Dermatitis, although not fatal in the least, can be very damaging on one’s ego. Expect a lot of depression to set in if you know someone with this “disease”. (boy do I hate that word!)

What Causes Perioral Dermatitis?

The disease was formerly thought to be caused by fluoride in toothpastes. Only those with hyper sensitive skin should worry about getting Perioral Dermatitis. My skin is VERY sensitive and reacts to the slightest change. The fluoride theory is what I was told 8 years ago and even when I quit using the toothpastes with fluoride, I would still have breakouts. About 2 years ago after another visit with a different dermatologist, he told me that the fluoride “theory” was wrong, and explained another off the wall cause. I was nursing at the time so I couldn’t take the antibiotics needed for treatment, so I was given a light topical steroid to put on my face. That DID suppress it for a while, but when I stopped using the steroid, my face broke up about 10 times worse than before. My face had become “addicted” (literally) to the steroid. After some research I have done on my own, I found out that what happened to me happens to a lot of others with this particular dermatitis. Steroids are very addicting to the skin and should be used sparingly, if at all. I will get to the treatment in a bit.

The true causes of Perioral Dermatitis were quite startling for me. In fact, the main cause was something that I used EVERY day and was in just about EVERY product that I used to wash!! Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, (SLS) as well as Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) are the two MAIN contributors to this skin affliction. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is what is added to soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, dish detergents etc... for the lather and suds. Even if I stopped using soap on my face, the chemicals in the shampoo can be dissolved into the scalp, and will still irritate. SLS is something most people appreciate. Without all the bubbles, a lot of people just don’t get that “clean” feeling. I know it took me a while to get used to NOT having the over abundance of suds in my hair or all over my body while bathing. But it was possible, and I’ll explain more about that very soon.

Perioral Dermatitis can also be flared up by alcohol, spicy foods and caffeine. three favorite things! :) I have found that since I did not have a “very severe” case of this skin disease, I was able to still enjoy my spicy foods and caffeine without a flare up.

What Can I Do To Prevent Flare Ups

Stop taking baths and stop brushing your teeth. No, I’m just kidding! Really, it’s very simple. A little more expensive than you might be used to, but it’s totally worth it if you have Perioral Dermatitis. First you need to find ALL NATURAL skin care products! That means absolutely NO chemicals...and that means no products without anything that you cannot pronounce! Just recently I have found a wonderful website, based out of California that makes all natural products. The address to the site is Their products are ALL NATURAL. The main target for their products are babies, children and adults with extra sensitive skin. The products are on the costly side, but they are totally worth it for the results. I first ordered there a “small” bottle of shampoo to test out the product. That small bottle cost over $8.00 plus shipping. But they sent me a free sample of their wonderful moisturizer called, “Calendula Cream”. This is a non greasy, all natural skin moisturizer that they claim even has healing effects to patients with eczema. I’ve tried it and my skin has never been smoother! I totally recommend their company if you have sensitive skin! They will soon have an oral hygiene product line, and you better believe I’ll be there to get whatever I can.

There are MANY different companies like this and they aren’t that hard to find, but you have to be aware of imitators. Many companies claim to have “all natural” ingredients, so you have to make sure to at least write and ask for a full list of ingredients before buying or check yourself. I haven’t had any luck with store bought products so the net has been a major skin care relief for me. Right now I am using California Baby shampoo, body wash and moisturizing cream. To brush my teeth I use baking soda and peroxide and rinse with Listerine. Yes, very very gross and I gag the whole time I’m brushing my teeth, but you know what? My face is clearer than it has been in 8 years and I can finally NOT wear makeup and I feel good about myself. My skin is soft and I’m happy and full of self confidence when I’m talking to someone, not constantly looking at the ground or covering my face.

And yes, there is medication that should be taken as well for this. The main treatment is Tetracycline 2-4 times a day depending on how bad the case is for anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. Perioral Dermatitis can be suppressed and sometimes it goes away and never comes back, but with others it’s a constant battle of out breaks of itching and dry patchy skin. Much like eczema, Perioral Dermatitis will dry out the skin and make it flake. A very gentle moisturizer IS needed for that. I have even found PURE Aloe to work wonders with healing and dry skin, although the Calendula Cream worked 100% better.

Perioral Dermatitis as well as any other skin disease can be very heart breaking and depressing for the person who has it. If you know anyone who could benefit from this article, please print it out or pass it along. I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this kind of embarrassment and even ridicule at times, that is why I’m sharing this with you all. Telling about this is not something that is easy for me but I am doing it to possibly help someone else who is as clueless as I once was about this disease. It can be very discouraging and extremely painful to ones self esteem.

I hope I have helped at least ONE person today.

Thanks for reading.

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