Are you suffering from perioral dermatitis? It really is an awful condition to live with and it can be difficult to diagnose. To make it worse, applying the wrong creams or medications can really exacerbate the symptoms.
‘I’m pretty sure my perioral dermatitis was triggered by an unrelated skin irritation. I was given a topical steroid medication and within a short period the whole bottom of my face was covered in it. Because I had no idea what to do and what it was, it got worse and worse.
When I have a flare up I feel anxious and depressed. I don’t want to go outside and face everyone with such a horrible condition near my mouth because I feel like everyone is watching my mouth.’
Kiri, AMPERNA® founder.
We know that it can be difficult to manage skin concerns like perioral dermatitis, so we developed the AMPERNA® range for people like you.
All of AMPERNA®’s products have been tested on real people with real skin concerns, including perioral dermatitis.
Which AMPERNA® Products can be Used by People with Perioral Dermatitis?
Our products were formulated because AMPERNA® founder Kiri struggled with perioral dermatitis herself, and have been tested on people with perioral dermatitis.
Our deeply restorative AMPERNA® Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum helps calm redness while also soothing and cooling irritated skin. The zinc gluconates and copper help to limit bacterial proliferation and replenish the skin barrier.
AMPERNA® Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum contains a unique probiotic complex that helps promote the appearance of fresh skin.
When you have problem skin, it is very important to gently exfoliate as a preventative measure (source: www.aad.org). Kiri uses all AMPERNA® products, and recommends AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion to slough off dead skin.
When using glycolic acid and other AHAs, you should always wear sunscreen and appropriate sun protection. Chemical exfoliants can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Did you know that boosting your zinc intake can speed up the recovery process (Source: ncbi) AMPERNA® recommends adding a zinc supplement to your diet.
Our products are simple to use and are packed full of active ingredients including glycolic acid and vitamins A, C and E.
If you suffer from sensitive or aggravated skin such as perioral dermatitis, don’t be afraid of active ingredients. Research shows that our skin can benefit hugely from vitamins A, C and E.
You can read about this research at the following sources:
- Vitamin E and skin health via the Oregon State University website.
- Vitamin A and skin health via the Oregon State University website
- Vitamin C in dermatology via the NCBI website.
- Skin anti-ageing strategies via the NCBI website
As everyone's skin is different we recommend you undertake a spot test in a small, discreet area to test for adverse reactions before using any new product.
Click on an individual product to find out more.
AMPERNA® Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser is a light gel cleanser that helps remove makeup while balancing the skin.
AMPERNA® Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion contains a ground breaking probiotic formula, along with ceramides, hyaluronic acid and emollients to nourish the skin and help protect it from free radical damage.
AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion contains 10% glycolic acid (AHA) and antioxidants to help calm redness and improve the skin’s texture.
AMPERNA® Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum is a deeply hydrating formula that helps create a more youthful-looking complexion.
AMPERNA® Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum is a deeply restorative formula that helps cool and soothe irritated skin and reduce the appearance of redness.
Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis
Perioral dermatitis is a pretty common facial skin irritation. That doesn’t make it any easier to take when you wake up one morning to see spots or dry flaky skin around the corners of your mouth.
It’s most likely to show up in women aged between 15-45, affecting the skin around the mouth. In some cases it can extend upwards or outwards around the nose or onto the cheeks, and less commonly around the eyes or forehead.
In mild cases, it consists of patches of slightly bumpy, red or irritated looking skin, often with some mild flaking of the skin around the mouth, chin, and nose. Many cases develop soon after using a topical steroid on the face for another condition, such as mild eczema.
In more severe cases, the skin becomes very inflamed and angry looking in the affected areas, with flakes or scabs that can bleed or become infected.
Why it’s Important to get the Right Diagnosis for Perioral Dermatitis
PD can be mistaken or misdiagnosed as rosacea, acne or contact dermatitis.
It’s super important to get the right diagnosis, as acne and rosacea require very different treatments to PD. If you use treatments for acne on PD, you may just end up making the symptoms worse.
‘Acne is the result of dead skin and excess oil clogging pores.’ Explains skincare specialist Michelle Skelley. ‘Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with allergens, irritants, or other triggers.’
Much like acne, perioral dermatitis causes small red papules or pustules on the face, however in the case of PD, the breakout is usually focussed around the mouth or nose area. A mild burning or itching sensation often accompanies the spots.
Find out more about the differences between acne and dermatitis in Michelle’s article.
Perioral Dermatitis Causes and Triggers
Like many skin conditions, the exact cause of PD is unclear and different people may have different triggers.
Known triggers can include:
- Toothpaste with fluoride
- Hormonal changes (many women find that they start to suffer from perioral dermatitis while using a birth control pill or after falling pregnant)
- UV light
- Topical steroids
Topical Steroids and Perioral Dermatitis
There is a known link between using topical steroids such as creams and gels, and developing PD.
Unfortunately, people suffering from other skin conditions such as eczema may be prescribed a topical steroid to help the eczema, which then triggers PD. Seriously, as if you need anything more to worry about when you’re already dealing with dry, itchy skin and all the other symptoms that go along with eczema.
If you do start to notice the symptoms of perioral dermatitis, speak to your GP or dermatologist, as they will be able to recommend the best course of action.
Some skin experts recommend against going cold turkey on topical steroids as it can actually worsen the initial flare up, but every case will require an individual path.
Care and Management of Perioral Dermatitis
Every case of PD is different and what works for one person may not work for another.
Our founder, Kiri, tried many methods to manage her flare-ups. This included changing her diet, avoiding products with SLS (sodium laurel sulphate) and exfoliating regularly, among other things.
Things that Other People Have Found Helpful Include
- Avoiding make-up
- Avoiding skincare products with SLS (sodium laurel sulphate) as this ingredient (along with glycols and parabens) has been known to irritate PD and make it worse
- Changing to a non-fluoride toothpaste as fluoride is a possible trigger for PD (you can read a review of natural toothpastes on the Nourished Life website
- Resist the urge to scratch or rub (I know, it’s easy to say when something is bothering you so much!)
- Check your shampoo to ensure it doesn’t contain SLS as this could also trigger or worsen it
- Only use mild soap and don't scrub at the skin
- Avoid using topical steroid creams and nasal steroid sprays
- Review your diet as some foods can make PD worse (spicy foods, caffeine, salts, oils and acids are all potential triggers)
Find out more about how food can trigger PD in this great article from Below The Line Doula.
We really hope that you find our range of products helpful for your perioral dermatitis. You can read reviews of how our products have helped other people with similar skin conditions here.
For more information, the periorificial dermatitis page on DermNet New Zealand may be of use.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. If symptoms persist, we recommend that you see your GP or dermatologist.