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ACK! I've Got Perioral Dermatitis

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image courtesy of istockphoto/drbimages. Remaining photos are actually posters at

image courtesy of istockphoto/drbimages. Remaining photos are actually posters at

My Experience with Perioral Dermatitis

At 39 years old, I was diagnosed with Perioral Dermatitis. I've been living with the diagnosis several years now but I've managed to clear it up and would like to share with you what I have discovered.

UPDATE ONE YEAR LATER: I am still Perioral Dermatitis free. I've learned what to do when I start seeing any pink and have been flare-up free even after two occasions where Prednisone was needed.

NEWEST UPDATE TWO YEARS LATER: I have come to realize that I am very likely allergic to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or a product that is paired with SLS. If I use any product with SLS as one of the first ingredients, my face starts to break out in this rash. Because scarring is now a serious concern, I am going natural. I've started using only SLS-free products and the rash is completely gone. As a result, I really believe this could be an allergy. As I learn about new products, I'm including them on my SLS Allergy page. Please, feel free to suggest your favorites. Not only will it help me but the many people who read that page. Thank you.

CAUTION Sometimes people selling products will leave a comment on this page. Please, do not purchase anything from anybody leaving a comment. Some harmful products are being advertised. If it is legitimate, they can email me and I'll post the link for them. Generally, I leave only Amazon links where you can actually read the reviews. Thanks!

Could This Be Causing Your Perioral Dermatitis?

I find this study very interesting. At the time I developed this dermatitis, I was living overseas and had switched from my Estee Lauder anti-wrinkle products to Olay because it was easy to find. Now I am trying to figure out if they use this preservative.

Warning over 'epidemic' of skin allergies from chemical in cosmetics and household products

and another article:

Is this the skincare chemical flaring up your eczema or dermatitis?

What Is Perioral Dermatitis? - gotta admit, it sounds better than "muzzle rash"


So, you're looking for a short but sweet description of Perioral Dermatitis? That's easy. It's a rash that develops around the mouth and nose which gives it the "muzzle rash" nickname. The rash may also surround the eyes as well. As you can well imagine, this is not the most attractive look!

For some reason, women in their 20's, 30's and 40's seem to be the ones most affected. This may very well be due to the amount of moisturizers and make up we tend to use. Also, for some reason, women who are more prone to blushing may be at higher risk for developing this rash.

If you've used topical steroids (i.e. hydrocortisone), you are more likely to develop Perioral Dermatitis).

Some other causes of this rash may include sunlight and fluoridated toothpaste.

The rash doesn't usually itch but it can be a little tender or painful if touched.

Some doctors may mistake Perioral Dermatitis for Rosacea or other skin disorders. If you suspect you have Perioral Dermatitis, see a Dermatologist and do not use steroidal creams to treat the rash.While the rash may disappear temporarily with the use of such creams, it will come back much worse than before. Many of the stories online indicate that physicians will typically misdiagnose Perorial Dermatitis so scheduling a Dermatologist visit is probably the best way to go.

My Story

-Or- How I made a bad situation much, much worse!

We lived part-time in the Caribbean thanks to my husband's job. That summer, we were out enjoying that tropical sun and humidity just about every day. Around the end of July, I started experiencing what I thought was a heat rash. Being no stranger to heat rashes, I simply stopped using much of my makeup and just continued to use a light moisturizer. The rash didn't really clear up, but it didn't get worse either.

Fast forward a month, after having this rash for over a month, I finally came to the conclusion this was not a heat rash (doesn't take me long, eh?). I thought maybe it was some fungal thing but I didn't really have anything handy to treat it so I started playing with different creams already in our medicine cabinet.

Kids, don't try this at home

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One cream in our medicine cabinet is Mometasone Furoate (a corticosteroid). My son's allergist had prescribed this for my son's latex allergy outbreaks to bring down facial swelling. Upon the first use, almost immediately, my rash disappeared. I used it for a few days and then stopped. My rash started coming back so I applied more. This cycle continued for a month and a half. I'd use the cream and the rash would disappear. I'd stop use and it would come back quickly. Finally, even the cream wasn't stopping the rash. That's when I knew I needed to see a dermatologist. Because my son had been misdiagnosed for almost half a year by regular physicians before a dermatologist correctly diagnosed psoriasis, I knew to skip the middleman and go straight for the dermatologist. Now that I know what this is, that was a smart move. I've read many accounts online of non-dermatologists misdiagnosing this condition and <> prescribing steroidal creams.

The moment my dermatologist saw my face, he instantly knew what this was. He told me the Mometasone Furoate was actually making the condition worse and to stop using it immediately. He prescribed Solodyn (an antibiotic) and Clenia. Fortunately, he gave me some samples of the Clenia to try before I turned in the prescription.

How I Got My Rash-Free Face Back

I immediately started using the Clenia and taking the Solodyn. However, because I stopped the Mometasone Furoate cold turkey, for the next three days, I had a major rash surrounding my nose and on my chin. It was horrible. I couldn't cover it with make up so I just gritted my teeth and carried on as best I could. Unfortunately, being a mom of busy kids, I couldn't just hide at home. I did notice folks staring at my rash. For awhile I just simply explained it but after a day, I found I really didn't care any more so I just let people wonder what was happening. Only one person asked what was wrong with my face.

During the first day, I really researched this condition online. I wanted to learn all I could and find out what I could do to make it better.

A number of people seemed to think apple cider vinegar (ACV) helped the condition so I tried a little experiment.

On one side of my face, I used the Clenia. On the other side of the face, I used the apple cider vinegar. By the next day, the side with the ACV was visibly less red. The side with the Clenia was actually an angrier red. Keep in mind, this was day two of going off the steroidal cream. I stopped using the Clenia, although I did stick with the Solodyn, and just used the ACV. Within several days, there as only the faintest outline of pink and my skin was incredibly soft.

There is one drawback to the ACV, well, actually two. First of all, when you first start using it, it stings like anything. However, I was more than willing to do whatever I could to get rid of this rash. Drawback number two, as my five year old daughter pointed out, is that it is stinky.

I did take a few more suggestions from the internet. I really cut back on sugar and I stayed out of the sun. In less than a week, my rash was gone. And, I'm not sure if this is from the Solodyn or ACV, but my face looks really good right now.

I'll update this page in the future if my rash returns but, if you don't see that update, I continue to be Perioral Dermatitis free and I hope that you are as well.

Why Apple Cider Vinegar is Worth a Try

Perioral Dermatitis is a bacterial infection. I've found that anytime I have strong antibiotics for any other condition, my dermatitis clears. Of course, nobody wants to keep going on antibiotics so that is why apple cider vinegar is worth a try. If you change the pH (acidity) of the skin, the bacteria no longer has a hospitable environment. Yes, it can sting quite a bit when you first go after that rash but, for many, with continued use, the rash begins to fade.


Could I possibly be PD free?

I am pleased to say I went off the cortisone cream and had the perioral dermatitis explode on my face, I am now rash free. I do notice that if I have too much sugar, I get a little pink around the nose now. However, I've found a product that seems to be really working for me. I bought the Eucerin Redness Relief soothing cleanser and I really like it.

Want to insert a little note here. While the Eucerin seemed to really work during my initial bouts, I do have a full SLS allergy now and have to avoid it. Sadly it contains SLS. I haven't tried it since that time so I don't know how I'd react but do want to caution you. If you suspect your problem is SLS, you should probably find another product

The cleanser is recommended for people with Rosacea. I then have also switched from my usual moisturizers to the Aveeno Ultra Calming Moisturizer. Eucerin does make a Redness Relief moisturizer but I bought the Aveeno before I noticed it. I'm really happy with the Aveeno but I'll try the Eucerin when I run out.

I've stopped using the apple cider vinegar. I really think the ACV worked best when I had the initial breakout. Once I got the breakout under control, I didn't notice it doing too much.

So, in a nutshell, I seem to be staying PD-free by limiting sugar, using my Eucerin Redness Relief cleanser once a day and using the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer in the mornings.

Half a year later I am learning what to avoid to trigger a reaction. My skin doesn't seem to like new lotions anymore so I am sticking with the Aveeno and Eucerin. All in all, I'd say I am PD free!