Perioral dermatitis : advices and treatments

My blogpost on perioral dermatitis, which I suffered last year, always brings many visits, comments and/or emails. Many of you ask me how my peri-oral dermatitis has evolved and how I take care of my skin. In order to answer all these questions, I’m sharing my experience here.

What is peri-oral dermatitis?

As a reminder, periorbital or perioral dermatitis is an acute inflammation of the skin of the face. As the name suggests, inflammation is mainly localized around the mouth and eyes. This disease affects between 0.5 and 1% of the population, mostly women between 20 and 40 years old. In these individuals, there is a predisposition due to atopic terrain and/or dry skin.

Periorbital dermatitis was originally called dermatitis of the air hostess because it was on these women that the disease manifested itself for the first time. The skin swells and turns red. Many pimples like clusters appear (in my case). The skin is inflamed, burning sensations can be felt and even itching. When the symptoms persist, the microbial flora is disturbed and pustules appear, as well as symptoms of desquamation.

How does peri-oral dermatitis appear?

The disease appears due to an overconsumption of cosmetic products (in my case, I want to specify). This overuse is related to dry skin that pulls and brings discomfort throughout the day. So we tend to apply cream several times a day (morning and evening, usually) in order to relieve these sensations. We are pacified momentarily but the skin is, in fact, over-hydrated. The protective barrier function of the skin is disturbed, unbalanced and this is where the problems begin.

Some ingredients in cosmetics are also more or less responsible for this imbalance and can sometimes suffocate our skin.

This disease is a more frequent disease in a private practice than in dermatological emergencies. That is why my first consultations did not help me. Finding a competent dermatologist is difficult and waiting times are sometimes crazy.

Treating perioral dermatitis

The treatment is without appeal: it is necessary that the skin restores itself. And in order to do this, there is no other way than to proscribe ALL cosmetic cares. Obviously, it is very difficult to no longer hydrate a dry skin. The first month is the hardest. I do not hide from you that I was really violent to hold. Nevertheless, it is necessary to make a reason and if we wish to treat periorbital dermatitis, it is necessary to go through that.

The dermatologist has also prescribed me a medication, but it is not intended for perioral dermatitis. This is a treatment for acne that allowed me to endure the symptoms on the first few weeks.

As mentioned in my previous post, even though I could not use skincare products, I was still cleaning my skin. Living in the Paris area, you still have to wash the epidermis of all the pollution. To do this, I used a very gentle cleansing milk which I rinsed with water. Then, the little hydration my skin had, was via thermal water.

By following these rules, almost all the pimples disappeared in four weeks. The skin reacts like a sunburn and peels off. The skin deflates and becomes less red. I had no scars or marks on the epidermis. I found my skin as it was in about three months.

What beauty routine to adopt for peri-oral dermatitis?

Obviously, I had to start over all my beauty routine. On the advice of my dermatologist, I stopped using all oil-based products or “greasy” textures such as cleansing oils, serums with vegetable oil base, in short, all those treatments that tend to smother our skin. They may be suitable for some but in our case it is better to avoid using them regularly. A year later, I was able to use some but sparingly and I pay close attention to textures and compositions. I will tell you soon about an oil based make-up remover that I recently tested (stay tuned!).

The products I use now have watery, non-greasy and very light textures, even in winter. The skin does not necessarily need “fat” coming from the outside. A balanced diet will provide this “fat” (omega, vitamin E, etc.). Indeed, prefer vegetable fats in your diet like vegetable oils extracted cold, avocado, oilseeds: almonds, walnuts, etc. – in reasonable quantity. They provide the nutrients our cells need to function, especially as we do not manufacture them in our body.

When I clean my face, I also adopted the reflex to properly rinse my skin. I use the technique of “double cleanse” which is to clean in two times the skin. I start with a milk (or oil, but sparingly!) to remove the biggest amount of makeup. I rinse and then use a foaming cleansing gel. I rinse again and then use a micellar lotion to remove the last makeup residue. I rinse this lotion and then apply a floral water (one or two sprays that tighten the pores and bring a specific action to the skin such as soothing, moisturizing, etc. depending on the floral water chosen).

Layering should be avoided, ie layers of skincare products such as: serum, face cream and eye cream. Our skin does not necessarily need that much. So, my choice of product is headed for formulas that can be 2-in-1. Or, if you want to combine two products, use a very small amount.

I also reduced the amount of product I apply to my skin. I tended to be quite generous with my skin except that in our case, it is necessary to apply the “right amount”. Neither too much nor too little. No residue of product must feel on the skin. I was able to adjust this with experience and by listening to my skin. Take the time to do the same. In winter, I can apply cream morning and evening but in spring/summer, this is not always the case.

Exfoliations and masks should be used sparingly. Today, I rarely do both in a row. I do either scrub or mask or I use 2-in-1 products again. As for rhythm, I make an average of every two weeks. Or, if I just want an action to tighten my pores at a T time, I’ll apply a mask to the area I want to treat and no longer on the whole face.

A year later, what lessons did I learn ?

I understood how my skin worked. I am more aware to its balance and the warning signs because yes, of course, there were times when I could be a little less vigilante and have one or two buttons of perioral dermatitis type that reappeared. In these cases, I correct the shot immediately. I lighten my skincare routine and for the make-up products, I use then formulas powders to avoid the moisturizing effect of a liquid foundation.

I pay more attention to the products I use: texture, formula, etc. Organic products do not necessarily represent a solution because they are often composed of vegetable oils (generally to be avoided in our case) or essential oils (vigilance is necessary).

Due to the blog, I always test skincare products but in less quantity. My passion has not weakened but  my way of understanding the subject to evolve.

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