How I Cured My Perioral Dermatitis

Two years in the making, here it is: my most highly requesting blog post. I have tried to simplify this as much as possible since it’s a big topic that relies on a lot of different factors. Not to mention it was ~2 years ago so I’m relying on memory and past blog posts 🙂

For those of you who are new here: two years ago while working an internship I developed Perioral Dermatitis, or PD. PD is bitch. There is no 100% known cause, cure, or even exactly what it is. To the best of my knowledge, here is what PD is:

  1. It’s not acne. It’s not eczema. It’s some obnoxious, pain in the ass in-between skin condition. It’s called perioral because it’s typically around the mouth/nose. PD is raised, red, usually dry/itchy bumps. They cannot be popped/drained. The best way to describe it is very irritating rash, I suppose.
  2. Many people who get it have never had acne in their lives.
  3. There is no known cause.
  4. There is no known cure. Some people swear by certain things, then when others try them it causes theirs to inflame. Some things that worked for a short time for me, ended up not working down the road.
  5. Typically, sufferers of PD are prescribed a steroid cream. Based on my own research (hours…and hours… and hours…) these tend to work then cause the PD to get worse once discontinued.


Let’s start with a brief, personal skin history:

  • I never suffered with acne or skin conditions until I developed PD in 2014. In fact, I had flawless skin most my life.
  • I have dry/combination skin. During the winter my skin is very dry.
  • I was in my early 20’s when I got PD.
  • At the time I was using 100% natural/organic skincare that I had been using for a while.
  • At the time I was eating plant-based, but still occasionally consumed meat/dairy.

How my PD revealed itself:
I initially had a small patch at the corner of my mouth. Over a short period of time it grew more inflamed, irritated, and itchy. It gradually spread to the majority of the skin around my mouth.


Possible causes for my PD:

  1. Hormonal imbalance// I had been on the birth control pill for several years, but it’s possible that the Pill combined with natural hormone changes because of my age caused the flare up.
  2. Environment// At the time I was working a cubicle office job at a bio-tech company. There was a lab near where I worked so the air was kept very cold. Because of this, I also kept a little space heater under my desk. I am very suspicious that the constant recirculation of air (hot/cold/hot/cold) caused the breakout.
  3. Gastrointestinal issues// Gettin’ personal here… Like I said, at the time I had a 40-hour a week desk internship. I am normally very active, so pretty much overnight I when from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one. Because of this I started having a lot of stomach/digestion issues. I think it possibly caused (or flared up) IBD. The gut is very connected to your skin, so this is a big possibility.

What DIDN’T help my PD:

  1. Over cleaning my face. Initially, before I knew what it was, I thought it was just a little patch of breakouts. I washed it, scrubbed it, exfoliated it, and, of course, none of that helped.
  2. Masks. I tried all kinds of masks ranging for purifying charcoal to soothing aloe. Some would seem to sooth it temporarily, but then it would come back with vengeance.
  3. Oils. Whether they were to dry it up (tea tree) or hydrate (jojoba), my attempts were futile.
  4. Honey. A lot of people swear that using nothing but honey helps PD. It really didn’t do anything for mine.
  5. Taking vitamins/supplements.
  6. Using “sensitive skin” cleansers/face products.
  7. Switching birth control methods.
  8. Stressing out about it!

What MAYBE helped my PD:

  1. Not using ANY products on it. NONE. Nothing. Nada. The rest of my face I used a gentle cleanser, but I avoided getting ANY product on my PD. This kept it from flaring up.
  2. HOWEVER, I did get a sample of Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Soap as my PD started to fade on it’s own, and I do really think it helped! It was designed by a person who struggles with PD. It may have been timing, but I think this soap did do something!
  3. And yes, this meant NO MAKEUP! I covered my PD for a while, but eventually decided to just suck it up and not put any makeup on it.
  4. Getting healthy! My internship at the time made me really sedentary! I had put on some weight and wasn’t staying active. Once it was over I got back into my usual health routine.
  5. The ending of my internship. It was 10 weeks, and after moving back to San Diego for school once summer was over, my PD faded (very slowly and gradually) within a month or so.

That’s it! My PD master post! I know this isn’t the most helpful thing ever since PD is such a damn mystery, but I hope it gave you some insight on what could possibly be causing your PD and what could possibly help it. I wish I had a concrete solution for you, but like all PD sufferers, I don’t.

I will say though, I have not had it again since this bout. It lasted about 4 months, but I haven’t had it return since.

I hope this has helped. Feel free to comment below with your suggestions!




2 responses to “How I Cured My Perioral Dermatitis

  1. I want to share my story with you.. First of all I want to apologize for my English as English is not my original language and in case I make any mistakes please understand this.
    I have been suffering from Perioral dermatitis for more than last six months, It started after my GI problems that resolved after one month but after 2 months I started having this red dry rash under my nose on sides and on my chin below the lower lip on both sides, sometimes under my eyes as well. I think I have tried most of the solutions, I have done many types of cleanses, antibiotic therapy, I have taken colloidal silver, I have tried apple cider vinniger. My doctor did IV to cleanse the system, and gave me anti allergy prescription that gave some relief only while taking them. Nothing helped. Colloidal nano silver has helped me just mildly; honey topical application was giving me some relief. Then I just started testing everything on me, because I was so desperate, my face looked awful with no hope of cure. And once I just tried to slice cucumber and place it on my face, the result was awesome, I had immediate relief, the redness reduced and skin was not flaking so much, it started glowing and became hydrated. I added evening primrose oil orally which made a great difference in a positive way; I was taking it 4 to 5 grams a day simultaneously with cucumber masks. however after two weeks still not fully resolved, I added cucumber internally and I ate two to three cucumbers 20- 30 minutes before main meal, and then I was taking whatever my meal was. I had some diet modifications as well according to ayurveda; I avoided heating food and refrigerated food, I ate everything freshly cooked, excluded tomatoes, raw vegetables that are mostly drying and hard to digest, I ate vegetables only cooked and in soups, I ate fruits separately from all the meals, one hour earlier than meal or two hours after it. If you mix fruit with cooked food it causes indigestion. I ate all the grains and I have not excluded any pastry (bread and other flour products), Then I started eating cucumbers, after 4 days of eating cucumbers my dermatitis improved very much, I also started drinking alcohol free hops beer 330ml at evening which is very cooling, do not mix it with meals, it can impair digestion ( if you try to drink it just make sure it is additive free) . and after total 5 days of cucumber diet and 3 days beer, my dermatitis totally gone. Cucumbers also helped me with my constipation, that didn’t seem to be a big problem because I was using food in a way to have a laxative effect however I felt that I still had this problem because without laxatives I was constipated .
    So this is my story, I hope it helps someone who has similar problem. I am totally grateful to cucumbers, evening primrose oil and hops beer, I feel that they did most of the job.


  2. Hello! I recently started getting these little red bumps right under my lower lip. It looks like a small cluster of zits/a rash, but it’s been there for a couple weeks now so I started doing research and now I’m here. I’m thiking it is PD but I don’t know for sure.

    I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup so I know that won’t be an issue and its good to know that perhaps cleaning my face too often isn’t necessarily helpful. I read somewhere that a moisturizer called avene tolerance extreme really helped someone with their PD, so if it happens to get worse, I’ll give that stuff a try before giving in to see a doctor.


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