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Perioral Dermatitis

I hate this. I hate it so much. Every 2 to 3 years since I was 16 years old, I have a flare up of this unsightly looking red, flaky, pimply nastiness on my face. This nastiness is Perioral Dermatitis.

So it doesn’t look that bad, but it’s still early. It gets much, much worse.

Unfortunately, it’s nasty because no one seems to know what causes it. The list of things that make it worse are endless: Stress? Too many skin care products? Sunscreen? Sun and wind exposure? Sodium Lauryl Sulfates? Caffeine? Alcohol? Gluten? Sugary and carby diet? Dairy? Eggs? Not enough zinc? Spicy foods? Unhealthy gut? It’s incredibly frustrating.

Luckily for me, usually a round of antibiotics puts my PD at bay for approximately 2 to 3 years, but I’m finally tired of the normal cycle

  • Find a new Derm (because I seem to move cities every 2 to 3 years as well)
  • Go to Derm and tell them that I need antibiotics for PD (hopefully, I don’t have to fight them on the topic of topical steroids. No thank you. That makes it worse.)
  • Get antibiotics and panic about staying out of the sun and the efficacy of birth control for a few weeks (fun side effects of antibiotics!)
  • Repeat in 2-3 years.

It doesn’t sound so bad. It’s just super annoying. My face feels itchy and tight and uncomfortable. It’s red and ugly.

This time around….

I’m trying something different. I’m not a complete health freak that doesn’t believe in antibiotics, but I’d rather not be on them if I don’t have to be. So instead, I’m trying to figure out a more natural way to deal with PD. First, I got super nice toothpaste from Sprouts. I had been using SLS-free and fluoride-free toothpaste for the last few years. However, a few months ago, I got lazy and I bought Crest. My mouth was raw for days. Clearly, I don’t do well with conventional toothpaste. I’ve also been pretty stressed lately, which helps nothing. But mostly, if I had to guess, I probably have some sort of food sensitivity. I’m desperately hoping that it’s not gluten or dairy. For now, I’m doing a not-that-strict elimination diet. No coffee, green tea is allowed. No alcohol. No added sugar, natural or artificial. No gluten. No dairy. No processed meat. No eggs. Avoiding nightshades, peanuts, bananas, strawberries and nuts if I can. I’m taking probiotics and hoping that maybe I can figure out what’s causing my face to flare up.

So, let’s see if this natural approach works. All I know thus far is that I feel like I have very little to look forward to in a world without bagels and cheese.

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