Posted by Colleen (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on 11/15/2009
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] I wanted to write in to give my long story to all of the people who are suffering with Perioral Dermatitis (POD) - I know I pored over these entries and was willing to try anything to get rid of / improve this rash. This board was a beacon of hope for me, and I'd like to pass on what I've learned, and what has worked for me with POD.
I'm 35 and live in Calgary, where the water is fluorinated (BOO!).
I suddenly became afflicted with perioral dermatitis in June of this year, a couple of days after receiving a tetanus shot.
Yes, I believe that is the cause; no, I can't prove it and have found no corroboration online. Anyone else get an immunization or vaccine just prior to this?
I had a very sore stomach for a couple of days after the shot, and then started getting an "acne-like" rash around the sides of my mouth and chin. I didn't think too much of it - I get the odd pimple in that area once in awhile.
I didn't notice any particular food related ebb and flow of symptoms, aside from some alcohols. No problem with spicy food or exercise either.
But this didn't go away, and it got worse and spread. These were blisters, not pimples (filled with clear fluid). I tried all my usual skin "cures" - primarily coconut oil, which is generally what I use on my skin and it's *usually* brilliant. But that only seemed to make the bumps worse! And a bit tender.
I tried castor oil - same thing. Bio-Oil - same.
I finally tried some of the cortisone cream my doc had prescribed for a different rash (on my shoulder - TOTALLY different beast), and that worked great... for a while. Then, like everyone else, I had the rebound, and the decreasing efficacy, and the spreading. Finally, I read that the cortisone can make it much worse (if I'd only known!).
I searched the 'Net, and self-diagnosed based on several write-ups of POD - I was not willing to go to the doc and end up on several months of antibiotics! There had to be something natural... And then I found Earth Clinic!
Now, the POD was on my eyelids, under my eyes, forehead, sides of the nose and around my mouth. When I stopped the cortisone, it was raw and painful and really unsightly and I was completely beside myself.
I tried whatever I could get my hands on that people were recommending here, with varying levels of success. My bathroom counter is covered with the many items I've bought trying to solve this!
My findings for the things I tried here:
Zinc Oxide cream - found that it relieved the rawness a bit, but the blisters proliferated and the redness did not subside. Might be partially due to other ingredients. I could not find one that didn't have either castor oil, petrolatum or other oils. ANY oil (except Tea Tree Oil) = FAIL. At least for me.
Vitamin E Oil - this was nice and soothing after using Tea Tree Oil or Apple Cider Vinegar, but - ANY OIL (except Tea Tree Oil)= FAIL. It would soothe the redness and rawness, but then I'd start over again with more blisters. Overall, I gave up on it for this condition.
Aloe vera gel (topical) - also stings. Helps the spots to feel better once the burning stops, but makes everything feel very tight and dry - need an emollient afterward, but at the time couldn't find anything. Helpful, but didn't cure anything.
Acidophillus - I've been taking acidophillus on a regular basis for years. I upped the dosage, but I didn't feel that this had any effect on my face.
Tea Tree Oil (TTO) - stings like crazy, but I could cope with that. It really helped by drying out the blisters. Definitely helped, but still never made it go away. Overall drying effect, so it didn't seem to contribute to new blisters, but it may since I couldn't seem to stop the blisters/dry & flaky cycle.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) -helped the most - stings, and very drying, but reduced the redness down to small spots.
I found TTO and ACV in tandem to be the most helpful in toning down the overall redness (after the initial burn, that is). I would alternate days using ACV and TTO as a "toner", using a small amount of a 20% Urea cream afterward (to combat the flaking and tightness - this was the ONLY thing that helped in that area without creating more blisters).
That got me into a more manageable cycle, BUT still the redness and flaking skin persisted. If I knocked off the ACV & TTO, the blisters would come back.
I decided to revisit some earlier advice from my acupuncturist. He said (back when this all started) that the area around the mouth (where it first showed up) is related to the intestines in Chinese Medicine. I'd tried elimination diets (dairy, meat, grains) throughout the summer and fall to no avail, and no appreciable effect.
So - my new strategy. I did 3 things simultaneously:
2 days ago:
I bought a huge jug of organic Aloe Vera juice (for drinking).
I took 4-5 oz twice a day (mixed with orange juice because it tastes better) to start with, along with some acidophillus (at the same time - the aloe helps with absorption as well as healing intestinal troubles).
I stopped the topical treatments of ACV and TTO, and now I just use a tiny amount of straight calendula cream (from a tube; not mixed in a lotion, but be careful - it's a bit oily!) mixed with 20% Urea cream to help with the dry/tight feeling.
I also finally found a really good, natural and fluoride and SLS free toothpaste at my health food store with Neem, TTO, activated oxygen and other good stuff.
It has been 2 days, and I've had the most dramatic change in the POD!
Literally, the redness is about 95% gone (in 2 days!), and the blisters are flaking off with clear, new skin underneath. A couple of the more severe areas are still a bit tender, but less red, and they're very like healing blemishes now. I can't even see it around my eyes anymore!
So - after all that, I'm recommending that all of you treat your tummy! Even if you don't think you have a problem, Aloe Vera Juice certainly can't hurt!
The acidophillus alone didn't do anything for me, which really isn't all that surprising if (as I surmise) I have a malabsorption problem (do you?), which prevents many things taken internally from working; prevents nutrient absorption, etc.
I'm not certain if it is one part of this latest regimen, or the whole thing together, but FINALLY I am getting some "love", and finally seeing some very promising results.
I'm going to keep going with 4-5 oz x 2/day of aloe juice (I bought a gallon of it for about $30; in Canada, that is), and I'll let you know how things go!
As an aside, I'm starting to think now that there are maybe 2 (or more) different kinds of POD - seems one can be "mite"/ topical parasite/ bacteria related, and one seems to be more connected with the stomach and intestines, based on the fact that there seem to be such wide ranging results for different people.
Any other thoughts or hypotheses on this?
Best of luck to everyone!