So if you are reading this post you might have a weird rash around your mouth. This happened to me twice and I am hoping it will not come back again. I'll go though my experience with it and then list the 2 products that really helped clear it finally.
The first time I got it, I was 26 and I noticed a little rash around the crease of my nose. My Mam suggested putting some steroid cream on it. It worked like a charm, it was better almost instantly.. However, upon waking up the next morn it seemed to be worse. I would lash on some more cream, it would improve.. but then it would get worse. Very quickly it was starting to spread around my mouth too.
I decided to go to to the doctor and they explained that the steroid cream makes this type of rash a lot worse. They prescribed me antibiotics and while the rash did get worse, it spread over my entire face, after a month it did disappear.
I praised the antibiotics and forgot all about the nasty rash.
It looks like Acne, surely that's what it was?
From a distance it does look a bit like acne. But the difference is that Perioral Dermatitis rash may be filled with fluid or pus, they typically don’t come to a pale, ready-to-burst head the way acne often does. It appears dryer and more scaly.
Cut to 6 years later, last October 2019.. the rash decided to make a sudden reappearance. But of course I wasn't worried, I had the magic antibiotics to save me. I was wrong, for about 2 months I tried 2 different types of antibiotics and noting worked. I did get very down about it, there was a few days in particular where I broke down but I just had to try to remember that it could be worse and it will go away.
Products that helped
I researched loads online and found a blog suggesting using a black clay soap to wash your face and Avene cream, the "Restorative Skin Cream".
The cream worked really well, and after a day if felt like it was calming down and within a few days it started to look a lot better. But products were expensive, the cream was €10 in boots and the soap about €25 on Amazon. I also was going through a tube of the cream every month 🙈The soap lasted about 3 or 4 months.
However after a few weeks it still wasn't disappearing completely. I found another suggestion to try a Calendula Cream with Zinc. I got this on Amazon I think and was pretty expensive for a tiny tub of it but it has lasted really well and I still have loads in it.
Again this worked really well and I noticed a big difference. It did take a couple of months for the red/purple acne looking scars to fade. Using these creams it stopped the dermatitis. I would alternate and somedays not use anything on my skin. It slowly disappeared and my skin went back to getting normal spots here and there.
What can cause it?
For me putting a steroid cream on my face definitely seemed to have brought it one, it might have been just some dry skin on my nose and then the cream caused the reaction. The second time, I'm pretty sure it was a new cleanser that brought it on. Anytime in my life where I tried to use expense perfumed products on my skin, it has not been fun 🙈 Toothpaste or suncream can also cause an irritation.
If you are prone to Perioral Dermatitis I would suggest using the minimal amount of products on your skin as possible. Plain soap like the black clay one for washing, Rose water for toner, and a decent moisturiser like the Avene brand.
If it is appearing on one specific area of the face, don't rub the cream all around the area, just dab it on the red part once or twice a day. I found that this might have been spreading it around.
Update - May 2020
It has appeared again on the corner of my mouth. I haven't used any new products so it could be something I'm eating that is causing it or making it worse.
I did accidentally have gluten around this time for a few days in a row 🤦🏻♀️ I tried the elimination diet but I don't think it's something I'm eating.
Update - September 2020
I finally figured out what was causing this for me. Because the Calendula Cream has Zinc in it I thought I might try taking it as a supplement. The RDA for zinc is 8mg per day so I found supplement with 17.1mg and I started taking one a day in June.
It is now the end of September and the dermatitis has not come back. I also have not gotten as much of a pimple. I would usually get a few spots a month around my period and my skin is super clear. There are just a couple of scars from the dermatitis in May, which will completely disappear over time.
I feel like this has been the thing that has been missing for me and hopefully I have cured my Perioral Dermatitis.
If you have the same issue please comment below and let me know your experiences and what has worked for you.