It started out as a couple of bumps around my nose. Then, several doctors visits and aggressive skin creams later, I found out I had Perioral Dermatitis. Although this skin condition can come and go as easily as the tides, I found there are some things that helped me make it disappear. And it still does to date! This is the story about how I managed to cure Perioral Dermatitis – in the hopes of helping others beat it too!
I know this story isn’t applicable to most of my readers. Yet since I have a blog focusing on both mental and physical health, I felt I had to take the opportunity to reach that particular audience which is desperately looking for solutions.
How I managed to get Perioral Dermatitis
One day I looked closely at my cat, and saw she had what looked like impetigo around her mouth. And a week later I noticed some persistent pimples around the edges of my nose, on which I rushed to my general practitioner to get it checked out.
Since impetigo is a highly infectious bacterial condition which I didn’t want to pass on to my (then 7 month old) baby, I explained to him my suspicions of what I had contracted.
As the doctor wasn’t sure what type of skin condition had developed around my nose – either eczema, a fungus or impetigo – he decided to give me a general treatment in the form of a cream. And if that wouldn’t make it go away, I simply had to return for another kind.
In the cause of 11 months I returned to my GP’s office over five times. Every time I saw another person – either an assistant, nurse, or doctor (in training). I started to notice internal communication about my case was inconsistent, and that because of the duration of my ailment (which started to spread from my nose to the corners of my mouth, giving me the “clown face” type of rash which – in hindsight – is typical for Perioral Dermatitis) I was prescribed increasingly aggressive creams.
Still, none of these people seemed to be able to diagnose what troubled me.
After the umpteenth doctor’s visit and with yet another cream in hand that ordered me to “very thinly spread it on the affected area – but absolutely not in any other spots with the risk of developing sores and broken skin” – I decided to consult the internet. And the internet could immediately tell me that my rash was called Perioral Dermatitis: A form of eczema which mostly occurs in women, and which seems to be closely related to the misuse of corticosteroid creams.
Yes, I bet you can imagine how that news made me feel after struggling with a painful rash in the middle of my face for almost a year*! But the images and stories were exactly like mine. I decided to stop going to my general practitioner, and take matters into my own hands.
* In case you don’t have Perioral Dermatitis or a similar skin condition in your face, I need to point out that anything out of the ordinary in your visage is very noteworthy to everyone you talk to. It makes you very self-conscious and insecure, and it was starting to take it’s toll on my self-esteem.
Note: By this time the skin around both my nostrils was painfully affected by red skin and whitehead pimples, with a scaliness that spread into the laugh-lines around my mouth.
How I beat Perioral Dermatitis
Any quick research on the topic of Perioral Dermatitis can tell you that the best way to cure it, is to immediately stop all medical creams and to keep away from make-up and cosmetics. I was warned the rash would get worse, but that this was the only way to go. So it was the road I started to walk.
Unfortunately, not using any creams (even vaseline is absolutely out of the question) caused my skin to crack and bleed – a painful occurrence around your nose and mouth. I felt I had to do something about that to spare my skin. And I felt there had to be more I could do to prevent new infections to pop their ugly heads up in the form of painful pustules. So by trial and error, I started a new, completely natural beauty regime, which eventually helped me get rid of Perioral Dermatitis.
Note: After 3 weeks of stopping all skin-care and medication, except rinsing my face with water, the rash had spread to my chin too.
I scoured the internet looking for countless stories, and had to conclude that there simply isn’t a general cure that works for everyone. This is why I studied the way my own Perioral Dermatitis developed up close, and decided to work from there.
I had to keep a precarious balance between keeping the affected skin hydrated without making it greasy, so I wouldn’t be prone to get new pustules. And as my skin is generally sensitive and on the dry side, I felt I needed to cleanse my skin as little as possible.
So without further ado, this was my beauty regiment, in chronological order (and after some trial and error):
Manuka honey for perioral dermatitis: Hydrating and disinfecting skin
Manuka honey is a high quality product from New-Zeeland. After having left the skin on my face alone for about three weeks, I started to apply the honey with a q-tip on the affected area and leave it for a good half an hour. Afterwards I rinsed my face carefully with luke-warm water.
It caused my skin to get hydrated and it prevented cracking and bleeding. Also, the anti-bacterial properties of honey doubtlessly did some good beating any additional fungi and infections that could have been lurking around the corner.
In fact, I kept using Manuka Honey until new pustules ceased to pop up, which wasn’t until after about four months.
Micellar water for perioral dermatitis: removing make-up
Instead of using my regular cleanser, I immediately went to the store for a micellar water for sensitive skin. I always used micellar to remove the bulk of my make-up, so it felt like the best place to start.
Although I always use make-up rather sparingly (no foundation) and I ceased wearing blush in case it would come in contact with the rash around my mouth, I did want to keep wearing a bit of eyeshadow and mascara for special occasions.
To remove this I started to use Biodermal for (very) sensitive skin. It’s a Dutch brand which is available in all drugstores (including Etos and Kruidvat), and it contains no perfume. As this was an instant hit (although I rarely used it on the affected skin) I still use it today.
Sea-line acno day and night cream for Perioral Dermatitis: Hydrating skin
This skin cream is completely natural and uses dead sea-salt to control blemishes and acne. Although I was a little scared after reading the description that it would be too harsh on my Perioral Dermatitis (as acne products are usually quite aggressive and dehydrating) this wasn’t the case. And as the man on the online forum I consulted stated, it works very well on keeping your skin hydrated, without making it greasy. It helped my skin get calm – and brought my natural tallow production up to par – within two weeks of usage! Afterwards I loyally kept using it until the scaliness slowly started to disappear too*.
* Note that it took about 4 to 5 months after I started using it to have my skin clear up entirely, but after a week of usage I immediately noticed relief and a decrease in the forming of new pustules and blemishes.
In fact, I’ll go as far as to say this cream is the main-factor of my success on how I managed to cure Perioral Dermatitis, and I still use it at least twice a day now.
Additional ingredients are Manuka honey (an old friend from when I started treating Perioral Dermatitis myself), Calendula and Echinacea.
Unfortunately for my international readers, Sea-line appears to be a Dutch brand which is only for sale in the Netherlands. Nonetheless I would advise you to google the product to see if you can order it from one of the Dutch online shops, like Bol.com or Holland & Barrett.
If this somehow doesn’t seem to work, make sure to check out the ingredient list below: Maybe you can find another cream based on the same ingredients in your country.
Aqua, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba oil)**, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Macadamia Ternifolia (macadamia oil)**, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin (soya), Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)**, Echinacea Purpurea extract**, Prunus Dulcis (almond oil)**, Cetyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annus (sunflower oil)**, Cocos Nucifera (coconut oil)**, Equisetum Arvense extract (horsetail)**, Trigonella Foenum-graecum extract (fenegreek)**, Plantago Lancolata extract (plantain)**, Salix Alba (willow bark)**, Fragrance (natural perfume)*, Calendula Officinalis extract (marigold)** , , Leptospermum Scoparium (manuka oil)*, D-alpha Tocopherol (vitamin E), Tocopherol,
Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Dead Sea Salt, Origanum Majorana*, Phytic Acid, Hippophae Rhamnoides (sea buckthorn)*, Lactic Acid, Farnesol*, d-Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*
Sea-line mineral face wash for Perioral Dermatitis: cleansing skin
After the roaring success of the Sea-line acno cream, I decided to expand my skin-care routine by using the same brand face-wash. I still use it to date, as it’s very mild and I truly feel it prevents new bumps and blemishes from forming in the previous problem areas.
The main ingredients are also dead sea-salt, and additionally Aloe Vera and Tea-tree oil; natural ingredients which are known for their healing and cleansing capabilities.
It’s also a great product to remove the last bits of make-up from your face after a long day.
Unfortunately the same thing is true for this great face wash as it is for the cream: It is only for sale in the Netherlands. Nonetheless, here is the ingredient list for your convenience:
Aqua, Rosa Damascena extract (roseflower water)**, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Decyl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Glycerin (soya), Echinacea Purpurea extract**, Fragrance (natural perfume)*, Caprylyl/Capryl Wheat Bran/Straw Glycosides, Fusel Wheat Bran/Straw Glycosides, Polyglyceryl-5 Oleate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Equisetum Arvense extract (horsetail)**, Trigonella Foenum-graecum extract (fenegreek)**, Plantago Lancolata extract (plantain)**, Citric Acid, Chamomilla Recutita (camomile)**, Liquiritiae Radix extract (licorice root)**, Calendula Officinalis extract (marigold)**, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Salix Alba extract (willow bark)**, Aloe Barbadensis (aloe vera)**, Algin, Lavendula Hybrida*, Phytic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba oil)**, Macadamia Ternifolia (macadamia oil)**, Leptospermum Scoparium (manuka oil)*, Salvia Officinalis*, Origanum Majorana*, Thuya Occidentalis (cedarwood oil)*, Glyceryl Caprylate, Dead Sea salt, Farnesol*, d-Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*.
How I managed to cure Perioral Dermatitis: A final word
Before I end this article, I would like to say that – despite finding some awesome products to support my recovery – I found that with everyone who suffered from Perioral Dermatitis, the greatest virtue is patience.
There really is no general cure for this type of eczema; I only found these products were able to speed up my recovery (and the other symptoms I started to have, like possible secondary infections and cracked skin).
Although I have started to slowly switch on some “regular” products at some point, I was immediately punished by starting flare-ups around my nose, and even around my eyes. This is why I have decided to keep using the creams that worked for me so well, even though they smell a little too herb-y to my taste (and I would love to start using some skin creams with anti-aging products like retinol and vitamin C and E).
This is the formula that works, and that is what I will stick with for now!
Also I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I am not sponsored to write about these products: These are simply the things I felt helped me best, and I felt obligated to share the solution that worked for me for everyone else who is suffering.
This article contains one or more affiliate links.
Do you have Perioral Dermatitis, or another kind of eczema? How do you cope? Do you have any other tips to share? Make sure to leave a comment!