If you’ve ever had to deal with any skin conditions (eczema, dermatitis, acne, etc), you will be able to relate to the struggle of trying to clear up your skin along with trying to keep your skin looking as good as it can during the healing process.
I have dealt with forms of psoriasis, eczema, & dermatitis throughout my life. While I have been fortunate that they have not been severe cases, it doesn’t diminish the frustration of having it pop up continually and all of the attempts (many failed) of trying to conceal it while its happening.
The main source of my skin issues in my adult life have been with perioral dermatitis on my face. Here’s a definition from Mayo Clinic:
Small, red, pus-filled bumps and mild peeling of the skin around the mouth are symptoms. The condition can also affect the skin around the nose, cheeks, and eyes.
I can promise that it’s just as amazing as it sounds! (not)
Mine would often develop into a lot of flaky, inflamed skin, as well as raised bump patches. When this problem started to arise in my early 20’s, I went to the doctor looking for answers. That is when I got the diagnosis of WHAT it was. The fix per my dr? Antibiotics for 4-6 weeks! Yes…4-6 weeks.
In the 15+ years since then, I’ve done this course of antibiotics many times. Most of which were done before I knew how much antibiotics can mess up your beneficial gut bacteria. I suppose it’s not surprising that by my early 30’s I realized I had a gluten sensitivity as well as frequent heartburn & bloating. After many courses of weeks and weeks of antibiotics over the years, I’m sure my gut bacteria was a hot mess.
Causes of Dermatitis
Doing a quick google search of perioral dermatitis will tell you that the causes are “
- skin irritants (soaps, lotions, makeup, facial products, cleaners, fragrances, laundry products, etc)
- leaky gut (intestinal permeability that allows undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream)
- fatty acid imbalance (not enough fat or a bad ratio of omega 3:6)
- inflammation within the body (from leaky gut or blood sugar dysregulation)
- food sensitivities or allergies
- stress (high cortisol)
In April, about 2 months after enrolling in my Nutritional Therapy class, I experienced a flare-up of my perioral dermatitis again. Not surprisingly, it was in full flare right at our first workshop. I say not surprisingly because I had a good level of anxiety & stress about everything (#newthingsstressmeout). And really it had been a while since I had a flare so I sighed and just assumed it was time again.
While at the workshop, I was talking to a friend about it and was THISCLOSE to calling my dr to get more antibiotics so I could just be rid of it. In addition to the patches around my mouth & at the corners of my eyes, both eyelids had huge scaly patches on them. It was horrible to try to cover up with makeup. It would be red and inflamed looking if I didn’t use makeup, and it would look like a huge raised flaky patch if I did use makeup. I couldn’t win and I was just DONE!
However, I really did not want to do 4-6 weeks of antibiotics again. I wanted to fix the problem and heal from within. So after testing well for fish oil during the workshop functional evaluation as well a gut healing supplement, I decided to just hang in there for a bit while I started these supplements. I also cut back ALL my facial products. I washed my face with water & didn’t use any other products or makeup.
Within 3 weeks I started to see a change! The dermatitis was lessening. After 5 weeks it was almost completely gone. In the following weeks, it went completely away and has not returned now, even months later.
This was the first time I’d ever gotten rid of my dermatitis on my face without the use of antibiotics.
I was amazed and so grateful!
Photos of my progress from April to June:
Here’s what worked (for me)…
Though results will vary based on your individual needs, I want to share what did work for me. This may not be the answer for you, but it also may! If you are struggling with skin issues and are at a loss of what to do, please contact me. I’d love to talk about your concerns and see if we would be a good match to work 1:1 to address your nutritional needs.
I took out all of my
skincare & makeup (except 1 thing)
I already use high quality, safer skin care that thoroughly tests their ingredients for safety. I knew it was unlikely that my Beautycounter products were causing an issue, but I wanted to be thorough. Plus eliminating the makeup would allow my skin to breathe and not add any kind of irritant at all. The one product I DID keep was my Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. This product was a lifesaver as it has simple, high ingredients, and it worked so well to calm & nourish my irritated skin as well as keep it hydrated.
I removed known food stressors from my diet.
While I have never been tested for a gluten intolerance/sensitivity, I know based on my digestive reactions after eating gluten that it is not a great choice for me. While I mostly do not eat gluten, I will indulge from time to time on a “worth it” gluten item (items I determine are a worthy indulgence, worth the end results 😉 ). I decided to completely cut it out to let my digestion rest.
I started healing my gut more.
One supplement I tested well on during a functional evaluation at my workshop was an intestinal permeability support supplement. What does this mean? Intestinal permeability is the same as saying leaky gut, which is a more familiar term for most. This means that the small intestine has been irritated over time due to poor digestion and the lining of it has become leaky or permeable to large particles of undigested foods & proteins. These undigested particles get into our bloodstream where they cause inflammation and immune reactions which can lead to body-wide inflammation, food allergies & sensitivities, as well as a host of other issues. The supplement I took supported my digestive system with herbs, amino acids, & other nutrients to allow it to begin to heal.
I addressed my fatty acid imbalance.
While I strive to make my diet well rounded, it is not perfect, and there can be deficiencies & imbalances. After testing well for needing some fish oil/omega 3 in my diet, I added some Biotics Omega 700 to my diet. I believe this was a huge factor for me in healing my skin. Your body needs both Omega 3 & Omega 6 fats to thrive. However, due to the overuse of omega 6 oils in processed foods, in restaurants, and often in your own kitchen, we end up with a very unbalanced ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Ideally, that ratio should be 1:1, but is often very heavily weighted towards Omega 6. When in balance, these fats make prostaglandins that both inflame & anti-inflame our body to promote healing. When there is an imbalance, the body can not inflame & anti-inflame properly.
It’s all about balance!
As you might have noticed, finding healing is about balance. It’s about removing stressors to your body and supporting