Pimples, spots, lumps and bumps... we all get them from time to time. But do you notice persistent, rashy pimples around the mouth and nose? You may be suffering from Perioral Dermatitis.
Perioral (around the mouth) Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) is very common amongst women aged 15-45 years, and is defined by an angry eruption of red papules (pimple like lumps) dry scaly skin and is isolated to the lower half of the face. It resembles a persistent rash and can be very tender to the touch.
The exact cause of Perioral Dermatitis (PD) is yet to be fully understood. However the following factors are indications of how this condition can start:
* Imbalance of intestinal flora/gut health/leaky gut
* Hormonal changes/oral contraception
* Fluorinated toothpaste use
* Topical steroids
* Nasal and oral steroids/sprays
* Cosmetics, sunscreens and artificial colour/fragrance
* Bacterial or fungal infection
Typically, Perioral Dermatitis has been treated in the past with oral antibiotics, topical steroids and even low dose isotretinoin (oral Vit A). While the effects of these are relatively fast, there are questions around potential long term effects on the skin and gut health.
An emergence of thinking has arisen where internal support has taken precedence over traditional medicines. The link between the gut and skin health is an incredibly fascinating and in depth topic which we are learning more about every day. In relation to PD, it proves to be a significant discovery.
Your gut is responsible for a large proportion of your immunity. The bacterial balance in your gut is roughly 80% good bacteria and 20% bad bacteria. There are many disruptors to this balance in our daily lives such as oral contraceptives, medications, antibiotics, and a high sugar diet. When the balance is off, inflammation is present - and can be presented on the skin as PD, acne or rosacea.
Gut health in relation to PD is a top priority - oral probiotics show an improvement in intestinal function, a reduction in inflammation and balance altered gut flora. Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and probiotic yoghurt are also good sources of probiotics. Avoiding sugar, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine is also highly recommended. Internal healing will be a big focus when treating PD.
Another consideration is the skins barrier function. Ultimately, the skins external barrier is seriously compromised when PD is active. External aggressors such as fragrance, colour, AHA/BHA, sodium laureth sulphate, soaps and heavy makeup will exacerbate the condition and should be avoided. Internal support for protecting the skins natural barrier function is essential - Omega 3 & 6 will help to repair the skins natural lipid bilayer and aid in healthy cell function.
In terms of prevention, using skin care products that are free of common skin irritants (fragrance, colour, SLS, petroleum, parabens) is advised. Good hygiene in relation to pillowcases/washcloths/makeup brushes, avoiding heavy cosmetics, and topical steroids is also recommended.
In conclusion, Perioral Dermatitis is a frustrating a persistent condition that requires diligence and commitment to treat via internal healing. While tempting to take the medical route to treat this condition, focussing on internal health will have a significant effect when given time.