Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Perioral Dermatitis (PD / POD)

I have written about this condition before in my article Overexposure ~ a skin reaction that occurs when your body cannot deal with the constant chemical influx anymore, when it has reached a point of 'critical mass' and you begin to see skin reactions as a result: contact dermatitis aka overexposure.

I have had perioral dermatitis a number of times in my life, when I was 21, 26 and 31.  When I got perioral dermatitis again at 31 I realised the ingredients in the skin care products and makeup I was using were causing or exacerbating the problem.  That was when I began investigating chemicals in products and began creating my own skin care range to use on myself, my children, family and friends.  Since making the change to all natural products my skin has been better than ever.

Yet... now many years later the perioral dermatitis has come back!

Looking up the causes of PD they say things like steroid creams, fluoride in toothpaste, SLES/SLS, mineral/petroleum products, heavy creams and ointments, sunscreens, chemicals/additives in skin care and hormones all play a part (though for the most part there is no known cause or cure for PD). Mainly women get perioral dermatitis which further suggests that our hormones (as appose to men's) play a part in the condition.  Apparently PD will more likely appear during winter and doesn't like hot water.

It's been a long time since I actively used any of those types of products so that can't be what is causing my current outbreak.  Although at the time the rash came back I had been using a moisturiser (for 2 weeks) a friend gave me to sample containing cetearyl alcohol, triethanolamine, diazolidinyl, urea, methyl and propyl parabens.  I stopped using that cream as soon as the rash appeared yet that didn't make it go away.  As for hormones... well... looking back it just so happens that each time I got perioral dermatitis major stressful events occurred in my life, which would equal a rise in cortisol levels (a steroid hormone) and each time I was drinking more coffee than usual.

At 21 I was looking after my first child pretty much by myself with little help or relief.  My stress levels were through the roof, so much so I was on the brink of a mental breakdown.  At 26 I'd moved to a small outback country town and was very isolated, lonely and stressed.  At 31 I was pregnant and hormonal and having stressful relationship issues on top of that.  Recently a traumatic event occurred which caused my world as I know it to come crashing down and I've been so stressed... low-and-behold the rash came back with in weeks of that happening.  [Incidentally I did stop taking care of my skin during this time since I was in too low a mood to care and suffered a break out as a result].  I have also considered weather caffeine is part of the problem since I've been drinking more lately and I drank a huge amount, 12 cups of coffee a day, when I first got the rash at 21.  Which makes sense because caffeine also increase stress levels within the body.

When I last had the rash I was prescribed a triamcinolone cream.  Applying that cream on this rash made it worse and so it would since it's a corticosteroid cream (as are Advantan, DermAid and Celestone M) and steroid creams must NOT be used on perioral dermatitis.  When I stopped using the cream the rash became worse as it states will happen - supposedly it gets worse before it gets better.  Ironically applying Clearasil previously also made the rash worse even though benzyl peroxide is the active ingredient and is meant to work well on perioral dermatitis: along with metronidazole, erythromycin, tacrolimus, clindamycin, pimecrolimus, sodium sulfacetamide. 

Some natural remedies that (supposedly*) help decrease PD symptoms are apple cider vinegar - diluted and applied to the area and drinking a shot each day, vitamin E oil applied to area, tea tree oil diluated and applied to area, evening primrose tablets, zinc (natural - without chemicals) topical and tablets, regularly cleansing the skin with a SLES/SLS free cleanser.  Some even say bicarb soda and anti-fungal creams help.  *I say supposedly because I've not tried or proven any of them myself.  I can see how evening primrose would help since it reduces stress and is good for relieving PMS symptoms (PD can occur or flare up during or prior to menstruation).  Most mineral makeup powders (the good brands) use zinc powder.  I found using a mineral makeup cream (not the loose powder) made the rash worse.  I just started using Rich Cream Moisturiser which soothes and reduces the symptoms and is natural and toxin free.  I'll use it for a couple more days and see if it keeps the rash soothed.

perioral dermatitis
At the moment the rash is just a few small red lumps near my nose that are itchy and red.  However if left untreated it has the potential to spread all around my mouth and nose and even inside my nose.  I may eventually have to bite the bullet and see a doctor to have the correct cream prescribed (maybe even antibiotics - though I hope not because I don't like taking them).  In the mean time (since I'm not a fan of visiting doctors) I will try some natural remedies and see what happens.

What I will try:
~ Regularly cleansing with a SLES/SLS free Facial & Body Wash with moderately hot water.
Rich Cream Moisturiser to reduce dry skin naturally.
~ Evening primrose oil tablets to aid with dry skin and help reduce stress symptoms.
~ Zinc in my natural makeup because zinc is meant to help and I NEED to apply makeup to hide the angry red rash.
~ Clearasil: I'm going to try applying this to a specific area to see if the benzyl peroxide helps reduce the rash.  I'll  also try an application of anti fungal cream and a cold-sore cream, in specific areas and note the results. 
~ Reduce my caffeine intake (hopefully to zero).

I'll have to try/test these remedies for a number of days/weeks and note the results before knowing if any of these things are working.  I will keep you posted on the findings.
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Have you had encounters with perioral dermatitis?  Did you have success with any natural remedies? Tell us your story :-)

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