Dermatitis, particularly that which affects the face, can often feel like an isolating condition. The reality is that it is actually quite common and affects more than 230 million people globally.
Not sure whether your skin concern is in fact perioral dermatitis? You could be suffering from contact dermatitis or angular cheilitis instead.
What is Perioral Dermatitis?
One type of dermatitis is Perioral Dermatitis. Common amongst females ages 15-45 years, it is characterised by groups of itchy or tender small red papules around your mouth, nose and eyes.
What Aggravates Perioral Dermatitis?
Perioral Dermatitis can be a very stubborn condition to have. What makes Perioral Dermatitis a frustrating skin condition is that it is often treatment resistant and will recur once the treatment stops. The list of things to avoid includes certain products, certain foods and stress. AMPERNA® founder, Kiri Yanchenko, personally suffered from Perioral Dermatitis and although she sought to find an ultra-sensitive skincare range, more often than not, her skin reacted to many irritants in the products such as sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances.
Here are a few ingredients to avoid or look out for the next time you are purchasing skincare, makeup or even hair care.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate are anionic detergents that are found in many personal care products that can not only aggravate perioral dermatitis, but can also cause allergic reactions in people who don't have perioral dermatitis. They are common ingredients and appear mostly in shampoo, toothpaste and body washes because they are inexpensive while still being very effective foaming agents.
Fluoride is another key aggravator of Perioral Dermatitis. Do steer clear of toothpastes that include fluoride and avoid fluoride treatments altogether. This may be alarming for some as there is a common misconception that fluoride is essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth. However, many dentists are now starting to move in support for natural toothpastes, without fluoride, citing that the manual process of cleaning your teeth twice a day is sufficient enough. Depending on where you live, the type of water you have access to might already be a good source of fluoride.
Less is more when it comes to keeping Perioral Dermatitis away as it is often best to let the skin breathe. Many people with sensitive skin and Perioral Dermatitis use mineral makeup or natural alternatives. Try keeping concealer usage to just around the eyes, using lip balm and applying a touch of mascara for a simple and natural look. Use foundation sparingly and always check the ingredients list to ensure it is suitable for sensitive skin. As with all new products, it is always best to patch test on the inside of your arm for two days before using them for the first time.
Tips and Tricks to Keep Perioral Dermatitis at Bay
There are two methods to managing Perioral Dermatitis. Firstly, you must treat it as soon as the symptoms begin to appear. Next there are several steps you can implement to make sure it does not reappear.
Antibiotics and Prescription Medication
It can be intimidating to suggest going straight to drugs and medication. Your doctor may suggest antibiotics along with a course of E-mycin and Elidel cream. It can take several months of treatment for results to show but you need to trust the experts and trust the process. For most patients, it is normal for treatment to dramatically improve their skin condition but also for flare ups to occur from time to time. But as with any disease or sickness, Perioral Dermatitis needs to be treated at its root cause and similarly you may want to look at more natural treatments. If this is the case then you may prefer to look at helping your concern Holistically instead.
Before accepting Elidel it is important to know what Elidel is an immunosuppressant and you may suffer rebounds when you stop this topical. It also has a black box warning.
If you have been given steroid medication for your perioral dermatitis, they can have a number of negative side effects that you should be aware of when considering your treatment plan. Inhaled, injected, ingested and topical steroid medications have been linked to PD cases.
Managing a Healthy Lifestyle
When it comes to maintenance this is where avoiding certain products, keeping up the exercise, eating right and making sure you follow an ordered skin care routine can help.
Avoid using hair products with SLS and SLES and try a natural toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Exfoliation is important to remove dead skin but avoid manual exfoliation and opt for chemical exfoliation alternatives such as our AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion. Switch to using a basic cleanser that washes off properly and a light moisturiser that does not clog the skin.
We recommend our Soothing Duo for people with active/flared Perioral Dermatitis as it contains both our Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum and Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion which are specially formulated to help when you're in a flare stage.
Other lifestyle changes that can help are regular exercise so that your skin sweats and maintaining a healthy diet. As mentioned in Could an Anti-Inflammatory Diet be the First Step to Clearer Skin, there are wonderful benefits to following an anti-inflammatory diet, which in this case can be very helpful where Perioral Dermatitis is concerned.
Changing the Order and the Way You Cleanse
This section applies not just to Perioral Dermatitis patients but anyone who might have sensitive skin on their face or on their body. Changing the order and the way in which you cleanse your skin and your body could have a dramatically positive effect. Some people swear by washing their hair upside down as this ensures hair products do not touch any other body part. Brushing your teeth before washing your face can also help as splatters of toothpaste landing on your face can aggravate Perioral Dermatitis.
Another tip is actually removing your cleanser and washing with water only. If that scares you, read our blog When Cleansing With Only Water is Best.
Perioral Dermatitis can be tough to manage as there are no quick fixes or shortcuts. Our skin can benefit from active help from the right skincare brand. This is why AMPERNA® products are suitable for sensitive skin types and have been tested on eczema, dermatitis, perioral dermatitis, rosacea and acne prone skin. One should also take a holistic view to skin wellness as it will ensure longevity in your overall health.
You may have heard that mites are the cause of PD. For more information on this you may like to read our Are Mites to Blame for Perioral Dermatitis blog.