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Perioral Dermatitis
Natural Cures

Natural Remedies for Perioral Dermatitis

Last Modified on Nov 15, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar, Green Tea
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Posted by Curlyq (Rantoul, Il) on 10/01/2009

Perioral Dermatitis

A testimonial and a question, if I may....I finally figured out what the problem was. I've had acne for years and mostly kept it in check using a certain 3-step solution set available on television. But this year I had a breakout unlike my usual pattern and I've been chasing it around my face for almost ten months now. A friend told me she had been having POD, I looked into it, and sure enough, it sounded just like me. I immediately started ACV, but I read to use it one part ACV to one part warm green tea. It's been about 3 days now, the redness is decreasing, and some of the bumps are beginning to dry up. I'm a little discouraged to see some new ones coming in now, one next to my nose, and I never had that before. :( However, I had read at one time that putting Hydrocortisone on a popped zit will lessen the scarring, or fade old acne scars. Well, that had been part of my regimen for years, so, up until 3 days ago, I was slathering Hydrocortisone on all these bumps and red marks....D'oh! Lesson learned. And tonight I just had my first dose of ACV in water. BLECCCH!!!! I've had gutter wine that tasted better! However, I refuse to take steroids and antibiotics, so I'll see where this goes. My beautiful boyfriend comes back to the stated in 2 weeks and I'm horrified to think that he's going to see me looking this way. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Another thought about diet....I recently became an avid cook and baker. for the most part, I avoided bread products and kept sweets to a minimum. Now, as of late, I've been having cupcakes, pies and cookies a few times a week, as well as making breads and pastas. I notice the times when I'm doing the most baking and eating is when the POD is at its worst. I reluctantly hung up my apron and am kicking the flour and sugar for the time being to see if it helps. I already have a very good diet, lots of fresh organics, a minimum of red meat, but having two cupcakes or sweet fruit bread every day had to be throwing my system out of whack for sure.

ANYWAY! On to my you suppose it would be wise to keep using my 3-piece skincare system? My forehead is completely clear and I'm hoping it stays that way. I've stopped using the Benzoyl peroxide lotion on the areas affected with POD, instead using a mild, natural, oil-free lotion to help relieve the dryness. There is also a glycolic acid toner that comes with the kit, I am using it on the affected areas, I would assume with a high-acid product like ACV on my skin, the much milder witch hazel/glycolic solution can't be hurting any....right? Anyone else also using acne remedies at the same time?

One more question....My mother was recently diagnosed with diabetes. She's an overweight starch queen, but I'm assuming I may be overly sensitive to sugars and starches, without actually being diabetic? This friend of mine also has Candida, and suffers reactions and breakouts of POD even when her blood sugar is in perfect check for weeks on end. Anyone else out there with diabetes, or family history of diabetes? Not only am I curious to see if there's a real tie, but I'd also like to know if I have to exercise much more caution, do people with POD tend to be more prone to developing diabetes as well, even if they are diet-conscious?

Apple Cider Vinegar, Homeopathy
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Posted by Chloe (Seattle, Wa) on 03/20/2008

[YEA]  At age 52, I had my first "run-in" with perioral dermatitis on 1/1/08. At first I didn't know what it was, but within 3 weeks and some internet searching, I figured it out. I then came across this WONDERFUL website! I found that diluting Apple Cider Vinegar with water (1/2 & 1/2) made it sting less and worked the best. I also bought "Psoriaflora Cream" --a homeopathic cream from your local health store. I put this cream on after the ACV dried. It literally CURED the dermatitis within 2 weeks. I used the ACV morning and night and put the cream on several more times per day. I tapered off using ACV after a week and just used the cream. This is a horrible affliction and I really feel for all of you that have been battling this for years

Replied by Chloe99
Seattle, Wa
6/2/08 Update from Chloe. The dermatitis has never returned! Yay! Also forgot to mention that I have been Oil Pulling and it's wonderful!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide
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Posted by Tracey (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on 09/23/2009

[YEA]  Perioral Dermatitis / ACV / Hydrogen Peroxide

I must begin by expressing a sentiment I have read many times throughout this site yet feel compelled to reiterate just the same. I am simply agog at the time, money and heartache - especially the heartache - I wouldn't have had to spend if just one of my doctors had known of the effective, natural cures I have found here at Earth Clinic. Thank you, Earth Clinic.. from the bottom of my heart.

After almost two months of being mostly trapped indoors with perioral dermatitis, I found this site. For five days I followed this regime:

~ 2 tbsp of pure organic apple cider vinegar in 16oz of water, 2-3x/day
~ Saturation of a cotton pad application of straight apple cider vinegar to the affected area 2-3x/day

Less than a week later, 85% of the hideously shaming rash had cleared. Rather than a solid mass of red bumps (scattered with whiteheads) from nose to chin, the condition appeared as individual spots, more like regular acne. I noticed these spots were stubborn and seemed somewhat resistant to the ACV. Additionally, in areas that had healed, hyper-pigmentation was extensive.

I searched about this last issue and found the page re. hydrogen peroxide and acne. Yesterday (day 6), I did this three times:

~ Dip cotton swab on stick (you know the kind for ears .. won't say brand name) in HP
~ Apply to individual spot and hold in place for at least 5 minutes

I did this on the couch while watching a movie because it was a little time consuming. When my husband came home and saw the difference after two applications he yelled out loud (with joy for me :). The speed at which HP healed the remaining spots was astonishing. I literally could see it happening in the mirror. Toward the end of each of the three sessions, spots I had started with were visibly reduced. So was the hyper pigmentation. I expect another day or two of this will completely clear things up. :D !!!

Today is September 23 and I went out WITHOUT FEELING HUMILIATED for the first time since August 5th. Until a week ago, I hid away indoors as much as I could and watched the summer end while agonizingly waiting for prescribed pills and creams to work. If I hadn't found this site, I expect things today would be much the same. Thanks once again, Earth Clinic! And to anyone who reads these posts and can relate, we're all rooting for you! Give it a try, don't give up hope and have faith in the healing power of Ma Nature!

EC: Thank you for the kind words and detailed feedback, much appreciated. Congratulations on finding a cure!

Replied by Shannon
Dayton, Oh
[SIDE EFFECTS]   I have recently self diagnosed my facial condition as perioral dermatitis. I had gone to the lakes with my son and while I was there, three bumps developed on my right lower chin. When I returned, it spread all over my cin and then up the left side of my mouth to my nose. I thought I had contracted poison ivy or oak because it burned and itched horribly. I finally went to the doctor and was put on prednisone and topical steroid, which the topical seemed to worsen the condition. I just found Earth Clinic after this past week researching what this condition might be. I am 35 and have never had this problem. Yesterday, I went to my local health food store and I bought ACV, acidopholus, calcium, and yogurt to apply topically and to eat. I read your post regarding hydrogen peroxide and I used it this morning. It seems to have dried it up quite a bit; however, I am left with a crusty white appearance. Did you apply any topical lotions after your application? I am truly distraught because even though I have had minor skin break outs since my son was born 7 years ago, I have never had anyhing that looked so horrifying to the extent, I have locked myself in my home for about 2 months now. Please, any suggestions from anyone would be great! Sincerely, Desperate in Ohio!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide, Oregano Oil
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on 05/26/2012

[YEA]  Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I got he perioral dermatitis around my eyes, what they called periocular dermatitis as well and I used tre times per day to clean the area with peroxide, when dry after 5 minutes I used Apple Cider Vinegar and 15 minutes later I will put a mix of coconut oil with a couple of drops of oregano oil around the area very carefully cause the oregano oil stings pretty bad during like 5 min. Then it goes away. You have to be consistent, I did it during a month an now I am clear, I also took probiotics and the Apple Cider Vinegar orally like twice per day, in my case I think the candida brings all this problems up so no sugars and carbs is necesary for keep everything at bay. just be constant even if you dont see improvements in the beginning! I also meditate and asked for help to fix the problem to the higher powers and to my body to fix the problem as well, (it couldnt hurt, right?).

Love to all of you, Namaste

Apple Cider Vinegar, Over the Counter
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Posted by Naturalmom (Minnetonka, Mn, Usa) on 09/23/2011

It was from reading posts on here and other research that I finally found a cure for my perioral dermatitis. It was just a horrible thing to experience. I got it while pregnant with my second son and firmly believe it had to do with my changing hormones. The remedy that finally worked for me after many weeks of embarassment was this: several times a day I put ACV on the rash (which seemed to kill it) then followed it with (and this is important because no other brand was effective)"California Baby First Aid Cream with Calendula" I did this routine for only a day or so before it was obvious it was working like nothing else and I had tried it all. Even our naturopath had no idea what I could try. She actually laughed when I told her I was using ACV on my face. But it worked! I hope this helps somebody else.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil
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Posted by Maria (San Francisco, California) on 08/08/2008

[YEA]  I have had Perioral Dermatitis for 5-6 years. I have tried all modern drugs and creams.Nothing worked. I became very sad and unhappy because I had to give up make up because of this condition.6 days ago I started using ACV (raw organic), on my face evry night. After it dries I am using an organic face cream that has tea tree oil 5% and vitamin e in it's content. It heals perfectly. I can not believe it. It is truly a miracle. I am also using regular whole milk yogurt on my face, as a mask. I think in one more week I wll be CURED. I also discovered how important it is to use natural tooth paste (no flouride), organic face soap, natural shampoos, natural/organic face products. I have learned a loot in this 6 years about my condition.

Read everything you can about it this way you guys will be able to be be educated in what is it that you have, and how to cure it. I will write back soon with feedback.

Replied by Chelsea
Santa Barbara, Ca
I have to say I agree with you on learning about the toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, etc. I have always been fairly conscientious about the products I use (Dr Bronners mint wash for body, Organic Shamp/Cond, Cetaphil face wash) and I have used tea tree oil for years on blemishes. But I was appalled to find out how many products have SLS in them. I switched my shampoo, only use the Dr Bronners or soap on my body and have found that ZERO soap on the face did the trick. Just water. I had read this but was still using a zinc soap (I had read that it helped) every day. We went camping last weekend and I used nothing but bottled water to rinse off my face. When we got back, my spots had dried up and were barely red at all. I was thinking that my face would get worse so I hurried to go wash it when we got back and they actually got worse from the washing, than from leaving them alone! In short, I learned to give them a break, just rinse with water. I use a solution of ACV with epsom salts dissolved in them at night and then ACV and some tea tree oil in the morning.

Good luck everyone!!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Yogurt
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Posted by Pd Mom (Atascadero, Ca) on 07/20/2011

Many years ago I was diagnosed with Perioral Dermatitis. I took Tetracycline and discovered I was allergic to it when my whole body broke out into a rash after a few days. On the upside the PD went away.

A year & 1/2 ago my 1yr old twin daughters were fianlly diagnosed with Pediactric Perioral Dermatitis. Apparently it persents itself a bit differently in babies. Including bumps around the eyes. This is after they were kick out of daycare for "mystery rash". Then diagnosed as Atopic Dermatitis & used a steriod cream which made it much worse. We actually called it "scream cream". Finally, a Pediactric Dermatologist diagnosed it. At the same time mine came back. The prescribed Metronidazole cream took time but finally cleared it. A few months later it came back Clindamyacine lotion worked after a few weeks.

In the meantime, kids meds didn't work for me. I took some form of Doxycycine for like a month which worked for a bout 3 months then came back. I refused to use antibiotic again so Apple Cinder Vinegar worked well but didn't clear it & greek yogurt was awesome and help get a lot of the red out but not all. Stopped wearing make up, using facewash, floride toothpaste & all other products we use SLS free already. Violet Vxtract from HerbPharm help a lot too. Changed face regime to DermaE from problem skin and it REALLY made a HUGE differnce. Finally broke down and took a long course antibiotic again. It went away for many months.

This March it came back in me and one of my daughters at about the same time. I think it is wierd that we get this at the same time and about the same time of year I had it last year. This time the kid's Clindamycine helped keep it from being horrible but it was still back and not working at all on my daughter. It seems my skin acclimated to the DermaE. Next I changed skin products again now using COSMEDIX Benefit Clean and their Balancer (instead of moisturizer). My skin is amazing and quickly cleared up. I only get the occasional bump or two. Cleanser is not helping my daughter so I am going to try probiotics again, with the ACV (internal and external). With the toddler it's hard because you are always wiping their face so nothing can stay on for long. It's really sad because I know the PD really bothers her but I don't want to keep running for the antibiotics. I wonder if sunscreen could be the trigger? Thanks for reading my story. I'll let you know how this works.

Replied by Kitty
Melbourne, Australia
I'm really sorry your twins got kicked out of daycare due to PD! Especially as they probably were exposed at childcare as there is a lot of evidence to suggest this is caused by parasites and/or fungus! It would just be that the other kids are immune and yours are sensitive to it. Try if you can to avoid the antibiotics for both yourself and your children as they can be toxic to the liver and in the long-run they only exacerbate fungal conditions.

I too also use the Cosmedix Benefit Gentle Cleanser and the toner and I have my 10 yo daughter using it too - so far her skin is amazing with no signs of PD - unlike myself! For me fluoride, chlorine and stress are triggers and I think sunscreen too - lucky me! Lol Good luck :) x

Replied by Rebecca
Miami, Fl
Hi, my 3 year old daughter has been suffering from Perioial Dermatitis for a long time now it comes and goes but this time around it has come back with vengeance. I have her being seen by an Allergist and a Dermatologist. She was given Protopic by her Allergist which helped it clear up but her Pediatrician and Dermatologist asked me to stop using it because it was too much of a harsh medication for her since she is so young, and it came back worse. She was prescribed erythromycin a topical solution by her Dermatologist and Desonide lotion. I was using the erythromycin but not the Desonide because it contains sodium lauryl sulfate and Corticosteroids! Isn't what makes the PD worse?! Anyway, the erythromycin didn't really work and she complained about the smell and the sting so I stop putting this on her face... I don't understand why the antibiotic if there is no infection???

So I found this website and purchased the raw organic ACV and just starting using it last night (still haven't seen a difference) she does complain that it hurts and she hates the smell. I feel so bad for my baby that I can't take this horrible rash away from her.

Tomorrow will be her first phototherapy treatment at Miami Children Hospital. Has anyone had this treatment done and if so what were your results? And besides putting on the ACV twice a day on her face is it ok for her to drink it and how much can she drink, because I was reading that its not too safe to give children unpasteurized anything. She also has it really bad under her eyes how can I treat that I'm scared of putting on the ACV and it getting into her eyes. I would appreciate any advice thanks :)

Replied by Marilyn
Toronto, Canada
Try cleaning up the kids' diet and their skin/haircare products.

Eliminate processed foods made with lots of chemicals. Feed them fresh eggs, meat, veggies, fruit made from scratch. I would test eliminating grains and dairy for a month (not at the same time) to see if that makes a difference.

Also, switch to an all natural soap, shampoo and conditioner.

I had a couple bouts of mild PD but also some redness for decades. It all disappeared when I cleaned up my diet (which was never that horrible to begin with).

Replied by Llfiles
West Linn, Or
Your daughter probably has a fungal related skin condition. There is a product called "Clear Skin" by DewDrops that is gentle and specific for this kind of problem. You can find it on line.
Replied by Pd Mom
Atascadero, Ca
I forgot I posted this. I have been free of PD for over a year now. I have been good about taking good quality probiotics along with good skin care routine with occasional yogurt (Greek) masks. I also take Oregano oil orally 2x day for a few days every other month or so. I finally got rid of it in my girls by using Lamisil. this cleared it fast and it's gone for good.

Mine just came back last week. I think it was brought on by severe stress and lack of sleep. Lamisil is not working and it's getting worse. So back to trying ACV and I also have a homemade anti fungal cream with coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract and tea tree oil. Let's see how it goes this time. PD sucks!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Yogurt, Grapefruit Seed Extract
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Posted by Rosanne (Stouffville, On, Canada) on 01/24/2013

I am female, 45 years old, and I've been struggling with perioral dermatitis for the last few months. Initially I did not know what it was, so I went to the the doctor, and he gave me... Steriod cream! Argh!

I started researching on my own, which led me here, and made me realize what a bad move it had been to start putting steroids on my face. I gradually weaned myself off that cream, but of course, as soon as I did, the rash exploded all down my chin.

I am writing this post, mostly to encourage others to be patient with the course of their treatment, whatever remedies they choose to try. I became discouraged when I read posts where someone tried some product for three days and suddenly they were all better, because after weeks, I was certainly not.

So...the first thing I tried, and what I believe did make the biggest difference was ACV. I would swab Organic Apple Cider Vinegar over the spots twice a day. It was not a miracle cure, and there were times I would despair because I did not seem to be getting any better, but I could see that it was changing. I kept going with it mostly because I couldn't find any GSE (more on that in a minute). But after 6 weeks, lo and behold, no more new spots... Much less flaking... And I could honestly say I was healing. 6 WEEKS... 6 weeks of patiently applying it twice a day. I also started drinking it a couple of times a day- 1 or 2 tbsp mixed in water with a bit of raw honey.

I would also apply some plain yogurt to the area after swabbing with the ACV. I figured that the ACV would kill off the nasties and the yogurt would put back what was good... That's just my theory, though. I left the yogurt on for about 10 or 15 minutes, then gently wiped it off with cold water. That always felt good.

After that, I would moisturize. For moisturizing, I did try coconut oil, but for me, it made things worse. What worked well was Calendula ointment. It's a little greasy-looking at first, but nice and gentle.

This routine helped after about 6 weeks, but I was still looking for something to get rid of it entirely. I had read the reviews about Grapefruit Seed Extract and wanted to try it, but I couldn't find the liquid. I bought some capsules and took them as directed on the package, but they honestly didn't seem to help. And then, I went to a health food store and asked them for GSE. It turns out, due to packaging regulations in Canada, that you won't find a product labelled GSE on the shelf. It is there, though. {the product that I bought is The Original Liquid with Vitamin A and Zinc, contains GSE }

Finally I had the elusive GSE. I started to take it in water, 3 times a day, 7 drops each time. That gave me heartburn, so I have cut back to 5 drops, 3 times a day. I made up a solution of 1 tbsp water, 10 drops of GSE for swabbing my face.

And now... Healing! I am still swiping my face (all of it) with diluted ACV twice a day. But I also dab the affected area with the GSE a couple of times a day, and also if I wake up in the night. I should say that I don't think I would do this if the rash were still really bad... I think that would be too painful and drying.

My best advice:

1. Be patient. :)

2. Be gentle. Don't make the mistake I did of using a commercial exfoliant, no matter how gentle, to try and get rid of the flakes. Trust me when I say that will make it much, much, worse! Yes, your skin will peel. I found that a very gentle scrub with a washcloth while removing the yogurt mask was the best time to get flakes off.

3. Treat the whole area from your nose to your chin and all around your mouth with whatever you are using (except the moisturizer, perhaps). Whatever this stuff is, it will jump around. If you are treating the rest of the area, any spots that do pop up will be small and quickly gone.

One more thought- I only recently started Oil Pulling and I can't help but wonder if that might be a helpful thing to add to the treatment routine of Perioral Dermatitis, especially using Coconut Oil. If it is, in fact some sort of yeast that causes this condition, then OP should help to correct that. Just a thought... I'll throw it out here in case someone more knowledgeable than me might like to consider that further.

Replied by Rosanne
Toronto, Canada
[YEA]   Update to my original post- I am healed!

Healing took four months from the time I first quit the steroids and started with the ACV.

What definitely worked: ACV applied topically, yogurt masks and Calendula ointment. I did apply the ACV full strength at first, but if I had to do it all over again, I would dilute it a bit with water. It is awfully harsh on skin that is sensitive to begin with. But it did get the job done.

What probably helped: ACV taken internally, GSE applied topically and taken internally, probiotics.

What may or may not have helped: Bioten, switching soaps to an all-natural glycerine bar, oil-pulling.

What made it worse: Aloe Vera gel, coconut oil as a moisturizer, commercial exfoliant.

Feedback on using ACV- I noticed that at first it would fizz and sting the affected area and that it would turn white. But as healing begins and continues, that stopped. When you apply ACV toner (that is, ACV diluted with water) to healthy skin it doesn't burn and it doesn't bubble up at all. I wondered if I might be damaging my skin by long term use of ACV, but that wasn't the case.

I also mentioned in my original post that it's a good idea to treat the whole area around the mouth, even if there are no spots. I should also have treated my nose! I was nearly healed around my mouth and chin when the area around my nostrils started to peel and flake. It didn't last long, likely because I was well on the way to healing from within, but still I could probably have avoided that small outbreak. Now I am wondering if the real root cause of my POD was connected with my long-term using of a steroid nasal spray.

I just wanted to again encourage anyone who is suffering with POD to be patient while trying to treat it. Just because a treatment doesn't work miraculously for you in 3 days doesn't mean it might not work for you in the long term. Best of luck to you.

Replied by Hayley
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Anyone who has used yogurt, do you find that it stings? I just tried it today for the first time, and after a few minutes it started to sting!
Replied by Anne
Las Vegas
I use yogurt and it stings at first because its so cold. I think it helps but not sure. I stopped using fluoride toothpaste over a year ago and I still have the peri oral. I also am using unfiltered vinegar a couple of times a day. those things seem to help but not make it go away. I'm going to order some calendula. I read it has helped some people. I'm ordering it from where they make it. I found it online. the one at target has too many other things in it. I'm 78 1/2 years old and I got perioral feb 2013. it must be payback for my youthful mistakes.:-(. also using organic coconut oil.

Arnica and Calendula Cream
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Posted by Ali (Janesville, Wi) on 03/29/2013

[YEA]  I developed Perioral Dermatitis last year. The cause, I suspect, may have been a new all-natural face lotion, with a significant amount of Hyaluronic Acid in it, that I started using about a month before it showed up. Personally I think all it takes is the PH of your skin being upset and suddenly you've got problems. My case was a relatively mild one. And I assume this has to do with the fact that everything natural you are supposed to do to cure Perioral Dermatitis I was already doing; and had been for some time. I've been eating a grain free, dairy free, sugar free, egg free diet for 18 months now. I've taken Probiotics, Flax oil, Vitamin B, and Zinc for years. I don't use face, beauty or hair products with Silicone, Parabens, SLS or anything I can't pronounce. And I gave up toothpaste last summer, because of the Glycerin, after my last battle with a cavity. (I use baking soda... ) So imagine my surprise when the rash started on the left side of my mouth. And spread to the right side and up around my nose and then finally by each eye. That's pretty much when I figured out what I was dealing with.

Then, unwilling to go to the Dr. for antibiotics unless absolutely everything else failed I began my research and experimentation. Aloe Vera juice, Aloe Vera gel and raw Aloe Vera, fresh from a plant cutting, did nothing at all. Tea tree oil really didn't either. Almond oil, Coconut oil, Rose water, pure Glycerin, Green Tea, Vaseline, antibiotic ointment, pure Vitamin E, Shea butter, Oatmeal mask, Epsom salt, Zinc cream, an all natural version of Vicks, raw Honey and Ghee all disappointed me for one reason or another. Either the rash calmed down and yet still spread or it looked angry, red and raised or it dried everything out and made the burning, itching and tingling unbearable. ACV burned and stunk but of everything I tried it made the most difference progression wise. But though not spreading the rash looked no better. Then I tried Lavender oil. This did more than the ACV and smelled a lot better. But the rash still hung on, sometimes looking nearly gone, sometimes looking like it was around for the long haul.

Near the end of all this trial and error I was getting desperate and depressed. And beside the pain of the rash and the unsightliness of the rash, my skin didn't even feel like skin anymore. I was so tempted to just see a Dermatologist and be done with it. But the reason for my crazy, restrictive diet is Leaky Gut and long term antibiotic use is the last thing my system needs. Then a dear friend passed away and I spent the good part of a week in tears and apparently that is one of the worst things for PD. Or at least for mine. The rash turned not only more red but raw and started spreading with a venegance. All the moisture, I think. I could barely smile and forget contacts or makeup or lavender oil or even washing my face. Everything hurt. I got some organic yogurt and put that on my face. It felt wonderful and calmed things down somewhat but the skin was still tight, scaly and horrible looking. My 5 year old told me she was sorry about my rash like 20 times a day. Which was sweet. But I think it hurt her to look at my face. Then I tried the last possible thing I could think of. (And if it didn't work I'm not sure what in the world I was planning to do...) A homeopathic cream made of only Arnica Montana and Calendula. (Which is used for the treatment of sore muscles, bruises, sprains and plastic surgery. It reduces pain, swelling and inflammation. ) And it was the God-send I had been praying for. It felt so soothing to spread on. I must admit that after all I'd been I was skeptical. Especially when it didn't even really absorb. (Because my skin was so distressed and damaged, I think. ) But come morning the redness was greatly diminished, the puffiness and tightness was gone and the scaliness vastly improved. My skin felt like skin!! And from that point, though it's still early days, things have gotten better. So now that my face has calmed down I am back to washing it. (I use Borax dissolved in warm water... No scrubbing... ) and wiping it down, lightly and gently, with a very diluted Lavender oil/distilled water solution on a cotton pad. Then I use the Arnica Montana and Calendula cream. The PD around my mouth is gone. Just a few flakes. And the stuff around my eyes is much, much lighter in color and smaller. And it is no longer raised. I am very hopeful. And the best part is I did it naturally.

Replied by Maureen
Maryland, US
Hi Ali,

Can you tell me which brand of Arnica Montana and Calendula cream you used? Are you still happy with the results? Thanks so much for your help,


Avoid Makeup With Bismuth Oxychloride
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Posted by Lizzy (London, Uk) on 04/11/2012

After years of living with perioral dermatitis, I have finally worked out what has been causing my sensitive skin - bismuth oxychloride in my mineral make-up.

I'm 33 years old and about 5 years ago I started getting red, scaly, itchy spots on my cheeks and chin. I initially went down the medical route (prescribed antibiotic creams etc) which helped briefly, but then just made my skin worse in the long run. About a year ago I discovered that SLS that I used in face wash and aqueous cream (routinely prescribed in the UK for eczema, dry skin) was an irritant, so stopped using and switched to SLS, paraben etc- products. This undoubtedly helped clear my skin. However at the same time I also switched to using mineral make-up in the hope that it would suit my sensitive skin better. Despite not using any other products on my skin (just plain SLS-free cleanser and baby oil to moisturise), my skin has just got worse over the last few months, which naturally coincided with me using more mineral make-up to cover it up. I've tried a tonne of the other remedies suggested on this site, but got no long-term benefit. To cut a long story short, I researched mineral make-up some more and found that bismuth oxychloride is a known irritant (i'm surprised it's not mentioned more on this site). I stopped using the makeup a week ago and my skin is 95% better, I'm amazed - for the first time in years when I run my fingers over my cheeks they are smooth and soft and the blemishes have nearly almost gone.

I've ordered a sample of a pure mineral make-up from a small company in the UK (that doesn't use bismuth, talc etc), but at this rate I won't be needing any cover up! I thought it was worth contributing my story in the hope that bismuth may be responsible for anyone else's sensitive skin. Note it's contained in lots of make-up powders, blushes etc (its what gives makeup its 'glow'). Best wishes everyone and thanks for a great site!

Replied by Lisa
East Islip, Ny
Thank you soooo much!! I think this my be my problem too! I am definitely going to try it
Replied by Hayley
Edmonton, Alberta
Interesting. I wish this was the answer for me! I've been using pure mineral makeup with no bad stuff added (I just confirmed that there is no bismuth oxychoride in it) for over a year and a half, but still developed perioral dermatitis about 3 months ago.

I guess there are probably a lot of different things that could cause it. Still haven't figured out my cause, but I've stopped using fluoridated toothpaste and I'm trying to stop using anything with Sodium Lauryth Sulfates, as I've been reading that those could be the problem. Hopefully it helps.

Avoid Pets Licking Face
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Posted by Emily (Raleigh, Nc) on 08/08/2012

[YEA]  I had a mild to moderate form of perioral dermatitis for about 3 and a half years, tried medicines and creams of all kinds, tried apple cider vinegar, wholistic toothpaste, tried avoiding sodium laurel sulfate, pretty much everything on the internet. I suddenly realized it was gone one day. What was the only correlating factor? I stopped letting my pets lick my face! My cat used to like to get up on my chest at night and lick my face around my mouth which I of course thought was sweet, like he was giving me kisses. I don't let him do that anymore and I haven't noticed a problem! I also switched from using colgate total to using crest whitening advanced. Thought I'd mention that also. But it's like night and day.

So if you let your dog or cat give you face kisses, try stopping that altogether and see if it clears up!

Avoid Wheat-Derived Styling Products
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Posted by Christy (Lexington, Ky) on 04/23/2014

[YEA]  Last summer I developed a burning, itching rash beginning around my mouth. The skin would itch for a few days, then pustules would develop that burned and the skin around the area became inflamed. After a few days it would appear to begin to heal with dried scabs, only to re-emerge worse and spread. It spread to my cheeks and forehead and the burning and itching became intolerable to the point that I was scratching my face in my sleep at night. After a few months, I visited the dermatologist and she diagnosed it as perioral dermatitis and prescribed topical antibiotic (Metronidizole) and oral antibiotics (Doxycycline). She said it was common in teen and menopausal women (so related to hormones possibly). I tried the Metronidizole for a week but it only worsened the area. I decided not to use the Doxycycline until trying a few more things first. I eliminated fluoridated toothpaste and began to use simply baking soda with a bit of peppermint essential oil and the dermatitis improved a bit, but did not go away. I switched shampoo and conditioner to one that did not have sodium laurel sulfate and I saw a bit more improvement. A friend recommended derma E Psorzema Cr?me which calmed my skin and lessened the itching and burning, but still the rash didn't go away completely – it would subside for a few days, only to break out again.

I cleaned up my diet and began to think about the food allergy triggers in my diet. Gluten has become increasingly problematic as I approach menopause, so I strictly eliminated all gluten from my diet for a month with only mild improvement in the dermatitis. I decided to read all of the ingredients in my haircare products and discovered that the shampoo and styling products had wheat protein in them! I immediately switched to different products that have no gluten ingredients and no SLS and my skin completely healed within two weeks – after 6 months of suffering! I currently use Gud by Burts Bees (Red Ruby Groovy) Shampoo and Conditioner and Purology Silk Bodifier. The last time I had my hair cut and styled, my stylist used Pureology Hydrate shampoo, conditioner and Root Lift mousse styling product. When I washed my hair the next day, I began to break out on my cheek and forehead in the same way as before – itching, burning, then pustules developed. I looked up the ingredients of these products and they had wheat-derived ingredients. This was all the confirmation I needed to determine that the perioral dermatitis was an allergic reaction. I have found the Skin Deep app from to be helpful in determining what products contain gluten, chemicals and other allergens – both for hair and skincare. Also, the is a helpful resource.

Borax, Hydrogen Peroxide
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Posted by Nycole (Wichita, Ks, Usa) on 02/15/2010

[YEA]  I've been struggling with perioral dermatitis for 4 months, ever since having my hormone-releasing IUD removed (after 5 years). I tried a few things, including apple cider vinegar, which helped a little, but didn't remove the rash. I finally found a calendula cream with calendula, several coconut products, aloe vera, viola tricolor extract (pansy), willow bark, yucca, vitamin e, french lavender oil, clary sage, and amino acids.

I read about people using calendula cream for eczema, so I gave it a shot. It is sooo soothing. I use it several times a day. It helped immediately.

I also decided to use Ted's topical remedy. The rash is now almost completely gone. I am still using both the borax/water/peroxide topically and the calendula cream, afterward. Almost totally gone! Yay!!!

Replied by Susan O
Thanks for the tips. What is the brand of Calendula cream you mention? Thanks!

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Posted by Carri (Nashville, Tn, Usa) on 05/18/2013

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Hello~ I love your site and felt an immediate connection to trying Boron for my Perioral Dermatitis yesterday when I read about it. I took 2 3mg capsules yesterday and today and also bought Neem oil, which I LOVE, (felt and saw immediate positive results), and also a probiotic. This afternoon I have been nauseaus and had a terrible headache and am curious if this is the Boron, am I taking too much, or possibly the "die off", I've read about? Also, how long should I take Boron and do you think I'll be nauseus everyday I take it?

Thanks so much!!!! Carri

Replied by Stella Jane
Southern Oregon, US
[WARNING!]   I've been raising half my food over 40 yrs very aware of my own problem foods. Recently at 70 yrs old I became super allergic to NIGHTSHADES. Finally discovered the cause ===> NEEM is a NIGHTSHADE! No one that I know knew that info! Often people who are allergic to something find that it is a "FAVORITE - CRAVED" food. I had all my dental work done recently and had spent 3 x the cost of the fluoride commercial brands to buy NEEM Toothpaste. My mouth was so swollen I thought the skin on the roof of my mouth would fall off. ALL my perfect teeth hurt.

Could not brush teeth. So when the symptoms calmed down, I brushed my teeth again....and I screamed for two hours, dizziness, loss of balance, nausea too, as all common symptoms of nightshade poisoning. Nightshades are plants which are POISONOUS. NO ANIMAL eats them. So this below I wrote because I believe that SMOKING a NIGHTSHADE OIL could be deadly.

The Nightshade family: potatoes tomatoes, eggplant and peppers! These last are in HUNDREDs of foods listed as "spices" because paprika is a coloring also. ***MOST dangerous: some people spray NEEM on their plants when they fear mold may happen. Correct way is SPRAY a water solution containing food quality sulfur and a tiny bit of dish soap , tiny bit of sesame oil on young, unbudded green plants* that are used fresh, not smoked! Then the plants have sulfur systemic, so resist mold forming when in flowering stage.

Do not use NEEM at any stage on plants

*Young children being treated with young green cannabis plant juices could be seriously endangered by NEEM=Nightshade

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Posted by Amber (Eaton, Co) on 05/14/2013

[YEA]  I've had perioral dermatitis for at least 7 months. I went to dermatologist and tried several different oral antibiotics (which all gave me horrible side effects) and topical anti-fungal and antibiotic creams. I used the oral antibiotics for only a week with each because they broke me out in a rash all over my neck and chest as well as changed my blood pressure and a host of other crazy effects. So I decided these weren't for me-especially after I kept hearing I might have to take them for months to years and it was likely the POD would come back again anyway.

For the past 6 weeks I've tried all kinds of remedies. I've tried ACV and coconut oil-both internally and topically. I've only eaten yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. I've been using fluoride free toothpaste (and more recently only baking soda and water. ) I've made sure to use only sulfate free shampoos and soaps. My POD seemed to be getting better but then was getting much worse and was now painful, super red, and very itchy. I then tried Greek yogurt masks and that too would make it more red, flaky, and itchy. I slept in Greek yogurt but my skin felt more irritated. Finally I tried Calendula cream and now my POD is 99% healed and gone and I've used the cream for about 5 days. I'm so impressed!

I wash my face in the evening with the soap then put on a yogurt mask for 15-30 minutes. I then wash that off with a 50/50 water and ACV mix. Then I sleep in the Calendula cream. I could see a radical difference the first night I used it. The redness was noticeably changed, flakiness was diminished and my scars looked faded. In the morning, I just rinse my face and then after shower splash my face with 50/50 water and ACV. I apply Calendula again before putting on light foundation.

I'm not certain that the ACV and yogurt has done much for me but I'm using them for good measure. However, I AM certain that my face wouldn't be healing like it it without the Calendula cream. I'm so relieved to have found something that not only is curing my POD but also gives my skin a healthy glow! I'm going to continue to use Calendula long after my POD is gone.