They say that you’re never fully dressed without a smile and while here at CONNECTED we also believe this, we also understand that feeling your best, most joyful self can be hard when dealing with skin ailments around the mouth. Today we’re talking about Perioral Dermatitis and how to treat it to help turn that frown upside down.
WHAT IS PERIORAL DERMATITIS?
Perioral Dermatitis (aka “POD” or “PD”) means literally “inflammatory disease around the mouth.” Women get it more frequently than men and 20-45 year olds get it more frequently than older folks or children/teens. Night-droolers get it more frequently than people who sleep like Disney princesses.
“Dermatitis” is a catch-all term for skin inflammation and includes a range of conditions such as eczema and contact dermatitis. Dermatitis symptoms can be similar, but causes, triggers, and treatment can be different. This is important because the steroid creams that are often used to treat other forms of dermatitis can make the PD better initially, then make it much worse. If you are using or have used steroid creams, let your doctor know; this information can help with your diagnosis.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE?
Sometimes the rash is red or pink, sometimes it is more flesh coloured. Sometimes the bumps are just bumps, and sometimes they come with whiteheads. Sometimes it’s over a itty-bitty area, and sometimes it’s just everywhere. It can also peel. It ranges in severity from mild irritation to full on cracking and bleeding.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIORAL DERMATITIS
• Rash-like clusters of pink or red bumps around the mouth and chin (or nose and eyes) that just don’t ever seem to go away
• Whiteheads may appear on top of the rash
• The skin may flake or peel
• Discomfort – itching, burning, or stinging
• There may be blisters, cracked skin, or bleeding
• It may come and go
WHAT CAUSES PERIORAL DERMATITIS?
While the exact cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown, there are certain triggers that are associated with:
• Hormonal fluctuations
• Topical and nasal steroid use
• Cosmetics and oil-heavy skincare products
• Environmental factors such as wind and heat
• Candida overgrowth
• Fluoride or SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) in toothpaste and other products
9 THINGS TO DO IF FACING A FLARE UP
1. Stop using makeup in the affected area.
2. Stop washing face in hot water.
3. Avoid the sun, or at least wear a big ol’ hat.
4. Avoid applying known irritating products to the affected area (retinoids, AHAs, BHAs, etc)
5. Cut out as many other cosmetics and skin care products as possible.
6. Avoid any products containing oils or foaming agents/surfactants.
7. Cut out spicy foods and cinnamon.
8. Switch your pillowcase daily.
9. Visit your Naturopathic Doctor as soon as possible.
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