What Is Perioral Dermatitis Caused By
What Is Perioral Dermatitis, It’s Causes And How To Heal It
I am a year down the path to fixing my skin. It has been an interesting journey. I had tried everything, read everything and asked opinions of those I trust, yet at the time I was still confused. So now that I am out the other side and my skin is great I want to share with you my story and what helped me.
First here is a photo of my skin at the time, it would go from moments like this too much more inflammed overnight. This isn’t at its worse, as I never took a photo at that time, but you can see the redness there.
Finding the cause of perioral dermatitis
I had perioral dermatitis off and on for years and the first time I got it, I tried to use antibiotics to fix it and while it helped a little at the time, it made things much worse later on, so my goal was to get to the root cause of the problem and fix it for good. You see this rash was a symptom and anything I put on it was just a band-aid, the problem was my gut health and I had a very bad leaky gut with an overgrowth of bad bacteria and candida.
Is perioral dermatitis caused by candida
There are so many symptoms that candida can present with and being a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner I tend to not look at symptoms and instead head to the root cause. You see we are a population of people taking pills, supplements and potions for symptoms, we spend a fortune on it and never really fix the actual under lying issue. Instead we need to address the real problem, that way you are then able to find healing opportunities for your body and bring it back into balance.
When you understand exactly what is going on in your body you can make clear decisions as to the path you need to take moving forward. Everyone has some amounts of candida and candida is something that thrives on junk food, sugar and an unhealthy host. So if your digestive system is unhealthy it creates a breeding ground for candida to thrive in. There are many symptoms that turn up due to an candida overgrowth and if you continue to treat that symptom and never heal the digestive system and return it back into balance, you will continue to experience candida/fungal overgrowth issues.
Here are some common candida related symptoms
Babies – colic, diaper rash and cradle cap
Cold hands or feet, low body temperature and cold like symptoms
Flu symptoms – mucus, sinus, sore nose and throat
Cravings and binge eating, plus addictions for sugar, bread or alcohol
Digestive issues – diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in the stools
Ears – itchiness, ringing in the ears, ear infections, dryness, pain, ear aches, discharges, abnormal wax build-up
Eyes – redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing, inability to tear, watery eyes
Fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue) or a feeling of being drained of energy, lethargy, drowsiness.
Glands – swollen, sore, dryness in the mouth
Hair loss -dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness.
Headaches, migraines, brain fog, dizziness, etc.
Rashes, irritations or redness on skin
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Irritability, nervousness, jitteriness and anxiousness
Male – Jock itch, loss of sex drive
Female – infertility, unusual odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), loss of sexual drive, persistent infections.
Fungal infections on the skin or nails.
Joint pain, stiffness or swelling (arthritis).
Kidney & bladder – urinary frequency or urgency, smelly urine, difficulty urinating, burning pain when urinating.
Lack of appetite or excessive appetite
Mind & Mood – anxiety attacks, crying spells, memory loss, feeling spaced out, depression, inability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, etc.
Mouth sores or blisters, dryness, bad breath, and a white coating on the tongue (thrush).
Muscle aches and pain, numbness, burning or tingling, and lack of strength and coordination.
Nasal congestion, postnasal drip, itching, dryness.
Odour of the feet, hair or body not relieved by washing.
Respiratory – cough, recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia, pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma.
Sick all over feeling.
Sinus inflammation, swelling and infections.
Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, perioral dermatitis
Stomach – heartburn, indigestion, belching, vomiting, burning, pains, needle-like pains
Sleep – insomnia, waking up frequently, nightmares, restless sleep, etc.
For me my body experienced many of these issues and I used to treat them all separately and just took it as my body being broken. It wasn’t until I had my rash on my face that I had had enough and I wanted to actually deal with the situation and really find real health.
Dr google provides us with lots of anti-candida diets and in my experience, they created more harm than good. In fact one of the main foods that every one gets told to avoid when it comes to candida could actually help. It could also help lower cortisol, support adrenals, keep the white cells working, help to increase thyroid function and keeps the yeast from becoming invasive. An anti-candida diet may temporarily help the symptom of candida, but our body is a system of systems and unless you address the underlying cause and treat the body as a whole and as an individual you will never deal with the issue and continue to put up with it.
The one that seemed to be what I was already doing naturally and working was the GAPS, lead by Dr Natasha McBride. I was already eating an incredibly healing diet, but something was missing so I had to make a few tweeks to it as I was showing signs of a lack of iron and zinc, yet consuming plenty of it. I had my thyroid hormone checked recently and this wasn’t looking too flash either. For some reason my body wasn’t absorbing any of the nutrients I was consuming and I was exhausted.
What my body was telling me is that it can’t absorb the nutrients because of inflammation, so I needed to eat a very strict healing diet for 2-5 days to allow it to heal and then slowly reintroduce certain low inflammation foods one at a time. Food needed to be cooked well so as not to inflame my digestive system. These foods were based around broths, meats and veges.
Any time I get a flair up I go back to a few days of doing this then reintroduce new foods one at a time. The length of time that I can keep the perioral dermatitis away gradually continued with flare ups getting less and less overtime.
What exactly is perioral dermatitis?
You see perioral dermatitis is a linked to candida. Similar to thrush, athletes foot, eczema, dandruff etc. Some people put up with these things and just take drugs and creams. I wasn’t going to as I have in the past and all it did was make it worse the next time.
So this problem was stemming from my small intestine. Perioral dermatitis feeds on sugars, carbs and junk food basically. Eating too much fruit, starchy carbs and sugar is problematic. These foods if not absorbed properly can ferment in the small intestine, turning into sugar and feeding the bacteria. That then causes toxins to be released and your whole body to begin to slow down. This is why when you have any sort of digestive issue you feel so rubbish and tired all the time.
When I ate more well cooked vegetables and easily digestible carbohydrates, they were absorbed instantly, leaving no food for candida to thrive on. As soon as I do this, I notice there is no redness around my nose and chin in the afternoons which usually turn up.
What is perioral dermatitis caused by?
At some stage I have gotten some sort of gut infection. I don’t remember a time, but I do remember that for two winters I got chest infections with a cold/flu and had to go on antibiotics to clear it. I used to never get the flu in Dunedin, then when I moved to Tauranga I got whacked for two winters. You can get a gut infection from all sorts of things from the wrong foods, stress, drugs, alcohol, exposure to chemicals and so much more. So I may have had it a while and then at some point I have inflamed it by putting my body under more stress.
Everyone has candida and bad bacteria inside them, the goal is to not let these guys dominate your body. If you do, it leads to being susceptible to catching colds, flus, virus’ and autoimmune conditions. This is why paying attention to digestive health is so important. Pay attention to the colds and flus and understand your body. Perfect health is hard to come by, all we can do is pay attention and listen to our bodies and seek health and well being by making smart intelligent decisions that are right for you.
How Long Does It Take To Heal Perioral Dermatitis
I am now 5 years down the track and I havn’t had a flare up of perioral dermatitis for over 4 years now which is great. So I have done some incredible healing and by skin is the best it has ever been. Not only has my PD gone, but my Keratosis Pilaris has improved dramatically to.
My perioral dermatitis was a symptom of my leaky gut and when you have a damaged gut you are creating an environment that bacteria and fungal infections thrive in. So if I were to just treat the candida I would continue to have this environment for these guys to dominate, because my gut health would still be poor. So with lots of time and patience my goal was to create an environment in my gut where things were in balance. Good bacteria thrived and candida was in balance. It was only then that my skin healed.
This process for me took around 6 months for my skin to completely clear and have no more flare ups and still to this day I am still taking care of my fatigue levels, but hormones and skin are all back to normal. Over those 6 months there were definite highs and lows. Things like stress, poor sleep and even cold air could flare it up and then there would be days when it would just feel great. Slowly but surely I would have more better days then bad ones and eventually the time between flare ups got better. One thing that helped was a simple diary of what I was eating/changing, so when I had bad days and I would remind myself that it was only 5 days ago that I had everything right and things were working, so stay on this path and keep moving forward. We can often get caught up in the moment and just want to give up, but a diary is really valuable.
Trust the process
To often we are looking for quick fixes and things to happen over night and I have been there. I had blinkers on for years. I would go to the doctor and just want a cream or pill to take and I wanted them to fix it for me. The truth is they can’t fix it for you, you need to do the work. It wasn’t until I started to take ownership of my body and how I was treating it that I started to notice the changes.
Know that healing takes time and no matter what step you decide to take believe in it and whole heartedly trust the process. For me it was doing an complete autoimmune protocol, healing my leaky gut and really nourishing my body. Taking care of it from the inside out and having patience. I get it, when you look at something each and every day like a rash on the face you just want it gone and you want someone to take it away for you. Remember though that this is just a symptom and by putting a bandaid over it you aren’t really dealing with the real issue. Try the creams and the pills if you want, I’m not against them, I just know that that approach hadn’t worked for me in the past so it was time to go deeper.
So start to take care of your body from the inside out, healing your Perioral Dermatitis once and for all could take 1 month or 6 months, we are all different. When you understand what has caused it and you heal the body from the inside out that journey becomes much easier and you will be grateful that you took the time and you put in the work. You never know what else you might heal in the process.