If you currently have perioral or periorficial dermatitis this page is for you! I am here to help you find a natural remedy/treatment that actually works instead of using doctor prescribed creams, medicines, and antibiotics. On this page you will find my experience, what perioral (periorificial) dermatitis is, the causes, and the natural remedies that worked to treat it. Because of a terrible experience with doctors I ended up treating this all on my own through research, trial/error, and dedication. Healing this kind of dermatitis takes time, commitment, and hard work that is well worth the effort, but it can be done. Chances are you came to this page looking for answers and natural solutions. My goal is that you find them here along with hope if you have been in despair and feel like you will never find a solution. The truth is, perioral dermatitis affects each person who has it differently and there is no "one size fits all treatment".
I will keep my story short and sweet. . . .
It may be hard to imagine, but my perioral (periorificial) dermatitis used to be 10x worse than what is seen in these pictures, which were all taken in 2015 during the middle of the summer.
The first time the dermatitis showed up was in March, and it was a little round dot on the left side of my face on my temple. I also have psoriasis and so I put a topical steroid cream on it thinking that it was the same thing. Unknowingly, this was just about the worst thing I could do for it. It went away, but then came back worse and continued to grow (but I still put steroid cream on it...I cringe as I write these words, because that is one of the number one thing you don't want to do).
That spring I visited a dermatologist who diagnosed me with perioral dermatitis, she didn't give me much advice or useful information, and prescribe me antibiotics (doxycycline) which I started to take. She said not to put on the steroid cream, but not why. So I put it on anyways (which made the dermatitis so much worse!). When other spots started to pop up by my nose and mouth, I saw a general family doctor who didn't know me at all (big mistake) and he prescribe me more steroid cream! The pharmacists was actually more helpful than the doctor I saw. By this point I knew that steroid cream makes this kind of dermatitis go away and then come back even worse. Against my better judgement I used it and sure enough it went away and came back even worse.
At Its Worst:
I literally looked like I had gotten hit in the face by a softball! The dermatitis had gotten so large that it completely covered the circle on my face and into my hair in one solid mass, was on and in my nose, and slightly below my mouth on the left side. Then for fun, lets add two 2 stys at the tip of my left eye into the mix. YIKES! Remember, the picture you are seeing are whn the dermatitis was literally 150% better/healed. I was a mess and had gained a new nickname from my family. . . . . Patch. To make matters worse I was starting a internship in June to meet a college degree requirements . . .what a way to make a first impression!
Perioral (Periorbital) Dermatitis
"Typically, small red or pink lumpy spots develop on the skin anywhere around the outside of the mouth. That is, they may appear on the chin, cheeks and the skin next to and below the nose. They look a little like acne spots but perioral dermatitis is not acne. The skin under and next to each spot is often red or pink. If there are a lot of spots next to each other then the area of affected skin can just look red and lumpy. Sometimes the skin surface can become dry and flaky.
Typically, the skin just next to the lips is not affected, or is affected much less than the skin just a little further away from the lips. So, in some cases, it looks like the rash forms almost a ring around the mouth but sparing a small border of skin next to the lips. Occasionally, the skin around the eyes is also affected.
The severity of the rash can vary from a few minor spots that are barely noticeable, to a definite and obvious lumpy rash that is around the mouth. The rash is not usually painful or itchy. However, some people report a mild burning or itchy feeling. Others report that the affected skin feels tense. The rash is not serious and is not associated with any underlying disease. However, it can be unsightly" (Patient.com; link to source here)
Burning irritation and dry/flaky skin can also develop. The dermatitis may also be present by the nose, eyelid, and temple.
Who develops it? It occurs most commonly in young women between 15 and 45 years old and rarely in men and children. (Patient.com; link to source here)
Steroid creams and ointments are one of the biggest triggers.
Make-up, cleansers and cosmetics applied to the area affected on the face. It may be that certain ingredients of cosmetics may act as the trigger. Sodium lauryl sulfate (one of the most dangerous chemicals used in skin and hair products) and chemical based skins/beauty products are not good for the skin. See SLSFree.net (link here) and SmartKlean.com (link here)
Physical factors such as strong winds and ultraviolet (UV) light.
Fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash.
Yeasts and germs (bacteria) that live on the skin and hair. ( perioral dermatitis is not just a simple skin infection.)
Hormone imbalance or change. Some women get this right before a period
The oral contraceptive pill may be a factor.
Change in the gut micro-biome or an overabundance of yeast in the gut, such as a candida infection.
Some foods may also be a trigger (keep a food journal)
Natural Remedies &Treatment: What I Did
1.) Treatment period: several months to a year (these things take time and won't go away overnight).
2.) Less is more when it comes to healing. Don't put anything other than what you are treating it with on your face. Don't wear/use makeup/cosmetics, creams, ointments, topical steroids.
3.) Only washed the face with water.
4.) Stop using fluoride based products (toothpaste and mouthwash), and foods high in flouride such as raisins, cinnamon, and tomatoes.
5.) Keep the affected area out the sun by wearing a wide brimmed hat and only using a sunscreen designed for sensitive skin if necessary.
6.) To soothe irritation, heal, and moisturize apply 2-3 times a day or after washing with what works for you from the following list: coconut oil, vitamin E oil, Aloe Vera gel (with no dyes), grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, zinc cream aka diaper rash cream, calendula cream, oregano essential oil, greek yogurt, manuka honey, magnesium oil, castor oil flax seed oil, and tea tree oil. I personally used coconut oil, zinc cream, vitamin E extract, and Aloe Vera gel.
7.) Use African black soap, it is gentle on the skin and great for cleansing; contains water, ashes of plantain skins, cocoa pod powder, and palm oil. Another option is Black Clay soap. (I didn't use either, but read that they helps).
8.) Eat high probiotic foods (especially yogurt).
9.) Supplement with Acidiphilus, biotin, and primrose extract. In addition I also supplemented with coconut oil (to destroy harmful bacteria), calcium (plays a role in the skin barrier and thyroid function), zinc, and vitamin B12 (strengthens skin with calcium).
10.) I stopped taking my antibiotics (I still destroyed my gut bacteria in the time I took them).
11.) Eat less processed foods, gluten, and grains. Focus on whole healthy fats, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Eating more apple cider vinegar and coconut oil may also help.
11.) Wash the face with Fragrance Free Spectro gel (link here)
12.) My secret: putting unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar on the affected area. Putting acid on the face is very counter intuitive, but it works! (see details below)
13.) Be vigilant and keep on top of treatment. The treatment process takes a while, but it will go away eventually. Trust is key.
My Daily ACV Routine:
1.) Soak a flat cotton pad with apple cider vinegar (unfiltered and raw). Place on the affected area and leave for 1-2 minutes or until the burning sensation stops. I will not lie, this feels terrible and burns like crazy. You may be jumping up and down fighting through the pain, but just push through because it is worth it. Sometimes I would do this twice.
2.) After the burning has diminished or stopped rinse with luke-warm water.
3.) Apply moisturizer of choice and continue to moisturize throughout the day. I used coconut oil.
4.)Repeat the ACV treatment again later in the day.
4.) Eventually I got to a point where the ACV wasn't working anymore. Then I apply zinc cream (AKA diaper rash cream) in a thick layer and made sure to rub it in. The pictures above where I have cream on my face is when I used zinc cream, which I applied 3-4 times a day. (Read the zinc connection here)
*The whole premise behind this treatment is to literally "burn" the skin and then heal it.
This experience has taught me:
It doesn't matter what I look like.
I don't need makeup to be beautiful.
People can judge me all they want I don't care what they think. In the end in will be between God and me anyway.
I am confident in who I am.
Not to judge others on appearance or first meetings alone because you never know their story or history.
Doctors don't know everything and take what they say with a great assault unless you trust them.
I am my own best advocate for my well being and health. Nobody knows me as well as I do.
There are alternatives to conventional medicine that work.
I learned to pay attention to what is is the products I put on my skin and now only use products without sodium lauryl sulfate made with natural whole ingredients from brands I trust (this includes lotions, shampoos, soap, and makeup)
Each person has their own story and way to healing. It is not a "one size fits all" kind of treatment.
I hope that my story helps if you are struggling with perioral dermatitis and are searching for natural healing remedies of which I hope you found in my list of possible treatments.
My story shows that doctors aren't always right and it is important to by your own advocate for your health and well being. Just because a doctor prescribes antibiotics or a certain drug/cream doesn't mean that it is always the right or best thing. That is why it is so important to conduct research on the topic from multiple credible sources to see if there are any alternative treatments out there that fit with your values and lifestyle.