Perioral Dermatitis
Natural Remedies

Perioral Dermatitis - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Perioral Dermatitis. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Things to Avoid

Posted by Charlie (Melbourne, Victoria) on 05/22/2016

I have had POD (perioral dermatitis) for about ten years. So often I thought I was eating the right foods and avoiding thing I was intolerant. I always avoid unnecessary toxins in all things food, cosmetics, household cleaning and so on. Even during times when I was being extremely strict about my diet it would still flare up for what seemed like no reason. But I knew it had to be related to something going on in my gut because if I fasted it would completely calm down. I have tried all the suggestions on this site and many do help to varying degrees but still don't seem to solve the core issue.

Then I discovered something that has been hard for me to come to terms with. I work with tea and I love tea. Most days would start with a rich organic black tea, organic soy milk and organic honey (i now soy isn't great but I cant digest dairy and nut milks aren't as creamy). I would drink various other teas throughout the day. Then my day would usually end with a glass of red wine and a small piece of dark chocolate (again, almost always, both organic). Throughout the day I would snack on nuts, berries, grapes or apples and if I were cooking for myself my favourite spices and seasonings included cumin and cinnamon, miso and sesame to name a couple.

I went to stay with my sister and her palette and eating habits are completely opposite to mine. I like rich, dark, sour and dry flavours. She likes soft, light, sweet, acidic flavours.

Although I was drinking alcohol and eating foods that would usually upset my digestion and/or weren't my usual preference, my skin completely calmed down. As soon as I returned to my chosen habits it flared up again.

Finally, I realised all the things I was favouring were all extremely high in tannins.

Its a sad state of affairs because I've had to give up my most favourite but now that Ive recognised this and cut most tannin rich foods and drinks out my POD has almost disappeared. After a bit more research I found that the skin reaction was only the tip of the iceberg and that this issue was the reason for a few more ailments I was struggling with for example- headaches, joint pain, lethargy, brittle nails and hair, depression and more.

Anti oxidants are such a praised health benefit but they seem to go hand in hand with tannins. So although I thought I was doing really good things for my body, it was actually having a really hard time processing a huge part of what is otherwise nutrient rich and delicious food. I don't fully understand the science of how tannins react in my body but I'm still researching. I have discovered that heating or fermenting the tannin vehicle will unbind the tannins from the plant protein and thats when they become more difficult for my system to deal with. The tannins in tea are already oxidised and then you heat them to brew the tea. real chocolate is fermented. Wine is fermented. You obviously heat the spices to cook them. So I can have some raw tannins in moderation with out a flare up but mostly just try to avoid it altogether.

I am not suggesting that tannins are the culprit for all POD but I definitely think it needs to be addressed from your inside out. It took me a really long time to figure this one out and it was staring me in the face.

If you're a big tea drinker and love the odd glass of red or piece of dark chocolate and POD is an issue then cut out these for a few days and see if it makes a difference. I would've loved to have known about this sooner so I hope this can help out some others.

Things to Avoid
Posted by Kelly (Orlando, Fl) on 05/09/2016

My 4 year old daughter had perioral dermatitis for 9 months. We tried switching to natural toothpaste, soaps, laundry detergent, etc. with no improvement. Her rash started out at one corner of her mouth and slowly progressed to a muzzle around her mouth. It would flare up sometimes and other days would quiet down but the little bumps were always there. The dermatologist prescribed tacrolimus but I didn't fill the rx because I was concerned about the immune suppression.

We were on a week long trip when I realized it had been a few days since she had eaten strawberries (which she would usually eat daily) and her face seemed better. I continued to withhold strawberries and her face gradually cleared up. After 2 months it was completely clear and has remained so for the last month and a half.


Posted by Cl (Troy, Michigan) on 05/08/2016

A quick post to share AWESOME healing news! After trying nearly every natural option out there for Perioral Dermatitis (worst part is around my eyes) as well as hydrocortisone cream which made things worse as everyone else reports as well! - don't do it!! - I think I found a miracle! Turmeric, raw honey and yogurt mask. I've done many raw honey and yougurt masks with no effect. My PD was getting worse- and terrible around my eyes. Yesterday morning I did this mask with Turmeric. By last night there was 40% improvement. I did another mask before bed and this morning I woke up and my PD is literally almost gone!

NOTE: don't leave this mask on too long or you might notice a bit of yellowish staining on your skin. I left my for 15-20 minutes; I'm fair skinned, and with a slight amount of rubbing while rinsing, no stains. And almost NO PD!!! Hallelujah!

I hope this helps for others. I know how terrible and frustrating it is to deal with this issue. I haven't seen anything about using Turmeric in the hundreds if not thousands of posts I've read about PD. I saw it as a help/cure for acne, rosacea, and eczema and thought I'd give it a try.

I hope it helps someone else too!

Multiple Remedies

Posted by Chris (Michigan) on 04/11/2016

I have had POD during the last few winters (told by dermatologist this is normal for a woman in her 40's) The first time it was diagnosed; I refused oral antibiotics but used topical antibiotic cream. It took MONTHS for the POD to look any different; and I truly think when I stopped wearing make up during the summer is when it finally went away.

After the first outbreak, I stopped using fluoride toothpaste, any shampoo/conditioner or lotion with SLS/parabens/petroleum. I did continue to wear my expensive department store make up.

This winter it reappeared with a vengeance, the worst it's ever been. Dermatologist prescribed oral antibiotics as well as topical. I really balked at the oral antibiotics as they frequently cause digestive issues and yeast infections. The doctor said my face was so swollen it was deforming my lower lip and that I really needed to go on the antibiotics. (The area most affected was left lower chin from corner of mouth down to chin).

So after 5 days of oral/topical antibiotics my rash was still spreading (outward and upward). My digestive system started reacting negatively to the antibiotics, and a yeast infection was setting in. I spent hours researching online and came across your website. What a blessing!

Here is what I used after reading and re-reading most of your posts regarding POD:

Stopped antibiotics both oral and topical.

Washed face with African black soap morn and eve. Used diluted Apple Cider Vinegar (raw unfiltered - diluted 50% with spring water) to tone my entire face; paying attention to the rash area.

The ACV burned like crazy! After the first 3 days I was using straight ACV only once a day with much less burning.

I let the ACV dry, then put Manuka honey over the rash for several hours. Gently wiped it off when I had to go out in public. Put calendula ointment over it at night. No make up. Skin would flake/peel and I GENTLY exfoliated with a wash cloth.

As others have reported; rash appeared to be getting worse - more red/angry looking the first 3-4 days then woke up on 5th day and it really was 2/3 gone. Now it's the 7th day and you have to look hard to see it.

I only used the honey the first 3 days; then due to traveling was just using ACV followed by calendula; which is what I am continuing to do at this time.

Went to a local health food store and invested in some natural makeup. Threw out the $100's of dollars worth of my department store brand makeup.

I truly appreciate everyone sharing their experience; and hope that my post will help someone as the others have helped me.


Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 04/07/2016

Calendula Salve for Perioral Dermatitis

My 4 year old went to a birthday party and wore an adhesive mustache on his face for a while. It was surprising hard to peel off when he was tired of it. Unfortunately, it had a terrible effect on his skin. Initially the spot where the adhesive had been was red and irritated. And then it got worse instead of better. I tried several different remedies with some success but the rash continued to come back.

I made some calendula oil (recipe in the article on this page) and added some beeswax to make it into a salve. (I melted 1/2 Tablespoon of beeswax pastilles into 2 ounces of the finished calendula oil.) The calendula salve or oil would also be wonderful for chapped lips.

This oil smells wonderful!! I applied the oil to his face before bed and in the morning the rash was 95% better!

I have long loved calendula for its healing properties and keep the herb on hand for salve making. This was the first time I made a salve just with calendula.

~Mama to Many~