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Natural Remedies for Perioral Dermatitis

Last Modified on Nov 19, 2014

Avoid Makeup With Bismuth Oxychloride   0  0   

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!

Posted by Lisa
East Islip, Ny
Thank you soooo much!! I think this my be my problem too! I am definitely going to try it
Posted 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   1  0   

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   1  0   

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   1  0   

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!!!

Boron   0  0   

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

Calendula   2  0   

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.

Posted by Jasmine (Washington, United States) on 02/04/2012

[YEA]  I was told by my doctor that my perioral dermatitis was caused by hormonal changes in my body. Despite trying every otc cream and recommended by the doctor absolutely nothing helped.

I then came across a great article on line about the natural ingredient calendula and how amazing it can be for eczema and dermatitis. Well after reading this I got a natural cream I looked the like of from england called mama nature's proskin eczema. I could not believe that within a couple of days there was a marked improvement. It gradually faded to the point where after three weeks it is hardly noticeable. I will continue to use this cream and thank my lucky stars I did not give up on my PD. Be aware though this cream is not cheapest on the market but I would still recommend it just the same.

Calendula Cream   2  0   

Posted by Bj9 (Allentown, Pa Usa) on 04/22/2013

[YEA]  Hi I have never posted before but must tell you what worked for my 25 year old daughter's perioral dermatitis. She suffered with it for months all over her face using different creams the doctors had given her. Then I purchased calendula cream, the kind used for baby's diaper rash. Within a week it completely disappeared. That was about 5 months ago and it has not recurred. She uses the cream now very lightly on her face now. It was like a miracle.

Posted by Heather (Naples, Fl, Usa) on 09/28/2010

[YEA]  I have been struggling with perioral dermititis for the past 6 months. It recently got much worse so I went to the doctor and he prescribed tetracycline... Even after a week taking the pills twice a day there was no change. I began trying the organic apple cider vinegar with "the mother" both internally (diluted) and externally. I did the yogurt mask, the probiotics, the eating yogurt, the mixing apple cider vinegar with green tea and applying it, the no flouride toothpaste, and the shampoos with no cetyl stearyl alcohol... Nothing helped.

Then I found this amazing tiny 2oz expensive jar of California Baby Calendula Cream. I applied it all day for 3 days and by the 3rd day the rash, and peeling was gone leaving me smooth skin with only a slight red color. (Im guessing because it was so damaged and so many layers I had peeled off) But I am now on day 5 and I can feel amazing.. I can put on makeup again to cover the slight redness and theres no peeling so the makeup looks normal. I recommend this cream... It's all organic and you can find it on the internet or I found mine at Whole foods an organic grocery store. I was told that the California Baby line sells at Target too but I have not checked there yet. I'm telling you this $13 cream gave me my face back. I'll put it on for the rest of my life if I have to. It's easier than all the other stuff I was trying!

Posted by Tammie
Miami Lakes, Fl
The Calendula Cream REALLY WORKED!!! It took five days for me and I applied it all day everyday!! And it worked, so happy no drugs, GREAT! Thank you!!!
Posted by Clare
Newark, Nj
When you say you apply the Calendula cream all day every day, what do you mean? I don't want to make my POD worse. Do you apply it lightly, heavily on the rash? All over your face? Morning and night? Thanks for your help!

Calendula Cream, Grapefruit Seed Extract   0  0   

Posted by Grateful (Phoenix, Az Usa) on 08/04/2011

I have been struggling with perioral dermatitis for a couple of months and grew more and more frustrated and depressed as it continued to get worse, despite the many things I had been trying... 1) topical antibiotics (I refused to take the systemic ones the doctor told me about), 2) topical apple cider vinegar (made the pain and redness terrible) 3) heavy lotion to balance the pain and cracking (didn't allow it to breathe and heal) 4) and other attempts. I pretty much never write into any sites and I was so encourage by my most recent progress that I felt like I had to share. It's amazing how God has given us the ingredients and it is the most natural things that work. California Baby is a company that makes products that are some of the most natural out there. It is there calendula calming cream that I would like to write about because after just one application, I woke up looking and feeling better than after so many other products. This cream makes my skin feel like skin again, and for those of you with dermatitis, you know what I mean by this.

Along with using the cream, I have started a high-dose treatment of internally taking grapefruit seed extract (gse). The daily recommended dose for adults is around 30 drops and I upped this to 100 drops, spaced out in 5 or 6 doses throughout the day. This is like taking antibiotics without killing off the good bacteria that your body needs. I have not experienced any stomache upset or discomfort, so I will continue with the 100 drops for a while and then gradually reduce back to the 30 a day for maintenance. I highly recommend trying one or both of these options. My dermatitis was a result of first using a glycolic product that burned my skin and then using topical steroids to try and clear that up. The result was the dermatitis.

Calendula, Zinc   0  0   

Posted by Abbie (Canberra, Australia) on 05/09/2012

Long post, but it might help someone...

After the birth of my second child, I developed some strange spots under my right eye that were not healing. I decided it was some kind of ezema and remembered I had a tube of steroid cream from six years earlier that had been prescribed for a dermatitis patch on my leg. It worked brilliantly but the spots returned a few weeks later. I got into a cycle of dabbing on the steroid to clear them only to have to reapply a week or two later.

After a few months, I had shown the doctor the problem who said it was periorbital dermatitis and gave me a weaker steroid cream (apparently the leg one was too strong for the face). The weaker cream only made it worse, so I switched back to the stronger one. Back to the cycle.

A year later, the spots were now occuring around my mouth, all over my chin and around my nostrils. I had the doc refer me to a specialist, who couldn't see me for six months. So I researched everything I could find on ezema as that's what my sister had and these things run in families right? I had no luck pinning down what I had.

Finally, about two months before my specialist appointment, I came across a forum post mentioning perioral dermatitis. That rang bells as I remembered the doc originally diagnoising me with periorbital dematitis. Bingo! It was so obvious once I knew what to research.

So now I had a diagnosis that I was confident with, I read up on what I could do to help myself before I let the specialist treat me with a couple months of antibiotics (standard medical treatment).

One: Found out that the steroids were the worst possible thing I could do. Stop immediately. Suffer through the withdrawal flare. So painful and embarassing.

Two. Stop using all soaps, shampoos etc with SLS, stop with my regular moisteriser and make-up. Replaced regular soap with lovely scrummy all-natural goats milk soap.

Three: Tried dabbing apple cider vinegar on the rash. Disaster - painful and drying.

Four: Coat my face in baby diaper cream before bed. Messy and no effect.

Five: Bought a tube of calendula cream and a tube of high-strength zinc cream for treating fungal diaper rashes and rubbed a minimal amount of both in morning and night. Success!

By the time I saw the specialist I was about 90% cured. She insisted that the antibiotics were the only true cure but I decided to continue with my regime. I found the missing ingredient was to totally discontinue ALL soap on my face, even the lovely SLS-free goat soap.

I am now cured with the occaisonal spot if I accidently get some kind of soap or hair product on my face (e.g. , automatically using the soap in public toilets to wash my hands and then accidently touching face later on).

It also really helped to totally rub the creams into the face. The zinc cream is white but if you really rub it into the skin, it disappears.

Also, I found that make-up was fine. Some days I just had to cover up the unsightly rash and perversely it seemed to have improved the next day. I figured that I was touching the rash less when I was wearing concealer and that's what might have helped settle it down.

Castor Oil, Neem Oil   0  0   

Posted by Juliej (Moncton, Nb, Canada) on 08/29/2011

Hi! I have had perioral dermatitis for about 6 years - I'm 26 years old. This breakout has been the most severe - all around the mouth, cheeks and forehead. I have tried the apple cidar vinegar topically twice a day for a week, but that did not seem to improve it. I am beginning to see a naturopath who has suggested that I put neem oil and castor oil on my face at night. Has anyone out there had any success with this particular treatment?! Please let me know! Thanks!

Check for Thyroid Issues   1  0   

Posted by Ewilson715 (Waterville, Ohio, United States) on 03/15/2013

[YEA]  I never post anything on these types of boards, but I suffered from perioral dermatitis for 6 months and it was miserable. I tried everything- yogurt, probiotics, apple cider vinegar (I don't understand how that works for anyone, it dried my skin out so bad) I tried colloidal silver, calendula cream, tea tree oil. You name it, I tried it. What finally helped me was getting my thyroid checked. It was low!! I started 6 days ago on levothyroxine and it has pretty much entirely cleared up. I'm scared as I type this that its going to come back, but with each day that goes by it seems to get better and better. I just hope this helps someone else, because maybe it is just something as simple as a thyroid problem.

Clay Masks With Oregano Oil   0  0   

Posted by Steph (Vancouver, Canada) on 01/14/2011

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  Last spring I was struck with a terrible case of Perioral Dermatitis (PD). It was horrible, I felt terrible about myself and depressed everytime I had to leave the house. As I didn't want to go the prescription route (months of antibiotics didn't appeal to me), I relied on discussion boards to find out about natural remedies. I tried everything. AVC, yogurt, coconut oil, changed my toothpaste and face wash (to non SLS products), calendula, probiotics, fish oils... This list goes on. Eventually I found what worked for me... Clay masks (buy red, green, or grey clay at your health food store) with a couple drops of oil of oregano in it (a great antimicrobial). It burns a bit, I won't lie, but after a couple of days of daily use my red, bumpy, weepy, flaky face began to clear. End of one week and I wasn't mortified to leave the house, by the end of two weeks I was feeling back to my old self. Recently, I had a flare up. Back to using the masks for a couple of days and it is under control again. This remedy may not be for everyone, but it was definitely the thing that worked for me.

Coconut Oil   2  2   

Posted by E. (New York, New York, Usa) on 06/01/2011

[NAY]  Hi Earthclinic, I have been battling perioral dermatitis for three months now. I am at a loss as to what caused it, since I stopped using commercial soaps/face creams/detergents for over a year before the POD outbreak happened, and I've never before had issues with sensitive skin. Some posters on this site claim that coconut oil has alleviated their symptoms, but in my case, I suspect it may be exacerbating or even causing them.

1. About two weeks before the outbreak, I experimented with coconut oil as a facial moisturizer. I can't be sure whether this alone triggered the breakout, but I have used other natural oils -- olive oil, shea butter -- for over a year without any problems.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is cited as a common irritant for those suffering from POD. I noticed that some "natural" products contain an ingredient called "Sodium Coco Sulfate", a compound which to my understanding may be essentially a diluted form of SLS. (See:"

It seems wise for me to avoid Sodium Coco Sulfate just as I would SLS. However, seeing as these two compounds are chemically similar to one another, could other coconut and coconut-derived substances also be an irritant for those with POD? I've noticed that many other products I thought to be eco-friendly and thus okay to use, such as my conditioner and laundry detergent, have some sort of coconut-derived cream and/or chemical in them. I would like to find out whether I need to avoid these types of coconut-based substances.

Has any significant number of individuals with POD experienced an adverse reaction to coconut oil/coconut-derived substances?

Thank you.

Posted by Rattlewood
Willits, Ca
Hi there, I just wanted to say I had Perioral dermatitis also & tried many herbal solutions. I finally took a round of antibiotics after almost a year of struggle & it cleared up quickly & completly. It was the one time I was very happy with going the Western route.
Posted by El
New South Wales, AU
I had perioral dermatitis for months with many failed attempts to cure it -
I first of all swapped all detergents to all natural SLS-free ones, stopped the use of all cosmetics apart from coconut oil (which I had been using as a facial moisturiser for a month or so previously) I tried zinc, evening primrose oil, ACV, calendula cream, green tea, Elidel cream, cut out dairy, ate a vegetable based diet - and nothing worked, the rash was stubborn, itchy and raw and had spread to around my eyes, on my eyelids and between my eyebrows. THEN - in the last week I have stopped using coconut oil and have been moisturising with an all natural moisturiser for sensitive skin. Within a day I noticed the rash no longer felt 'active', and now after five days the bumps have almost disappeared and my skin is healing before my eyes, just a little pinkness remains. It might be worth a try if you're at a loss for reasons and, like me, had cut out all other possible causes. Every forum I read had said that coconut oil would be beneficial for dermatitis so I may just be the unlucky one who has an allergy.
Posted by Patricia
Atlanta, GA
I am experiencing a similar situation. You said you used a natural moisturizer for sensitive skin. What exactly did you use?

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