Perioral Dermatitis: My Skin Freaked Out To Cosmetics Without Warning

You guys know that I like to try a lot of makeup and beauty stuff. Well, last week my skin suddenly freaked out. I’ve never had an allergic reaction before so I really didn’t know what it was. According to my dermatologist, it’s perioral dermatitis. More accurately, in my case, it’s periorbital dermatitis (since it’s around the eyes).

Dirty 30s decided that this is the time for everything happening to my skin that I missed out on earlier in life. I went to North Carolina for a day (shortest trip in the universe). On Sunday morning, after a full day of traveling on Saturday, I woke up to a bunch of bumps all around my eyes. They were small, red, and a little bit swollen.

I decided to ignore them I thought that maybe it was a slight reaction to something I used. Unfortunately, by Monday morning, my entire top half of my face was inflamed.

I went into the office and several people told me that I should take Benadryl. So, being someone that doesn’t mind taking a nap in the middle of the day, I went to the CVS around the corner to buy some. While I was there I decided to ask the pharmacist whether that looked like an allergic reaction.

He wasn’t able to confirm or deny anything. Still, he said if I take the Benadryl and the reaction goes down then most likely. Well, I could’ve figured that out myself, but I thanked him, left and took my Benadryl. In the evening the swelling looked a little bit less prominent. Still, all the bumps were there and it was red.

I decided to book an appointment with my dermatologist immediately the next day.

How’s It Looking?

So this is day two of my treatment. I started using cream, no, specifically a gel, yesterday along with an antibiotic doxycycline. So far so good. The inflammation is down my skin is clearing up a bit. But there are still red bumps all over. So I’m still worried that these bumps will take a while to clear up. (UPDATE: Day 3 of treatment I was completely clear.)

I’m responding to all of my emails asking me to test new beauty products and telling PR teams that, unfortunately, I can’t do it for another 2 to 3 months. So this is definitely a disruptor in my work life.

Not to mention the fact that I enjoy a beauty regiment. I really like testing new products. You know me, I like discovering new things and I love experimenting with makeup. But, I think it’s for the best to let my skin breathe. Perioral dermatitis is my skin’s subtle way of telling me that maybe it’s best left alone.

The Dangers of (Over)exfoliation

This brings me to a very important point. I’ve been reading up a lot on exfoliation and the dangers of using too many products. I always thought that I was immune to this. My skin is very well behaved so I didn’t think that it had any reason to flare up. Obviously, I was wrong.

Korean skincare routines are becoming more and more popular, so 10 steps morning and another 10 at night seem perfectly normal based on what we’re reading.

Here’s the thing we are taught to exfoliate a lot. A lot of the labels and a lot of articles tell us that 2 to 3 times a week is okay. Well, it’s not.

Perioral Dermatitis: How My Skin Freaked Out To Cosmetics Without Warning
New Beauty Post: Click to read more about exfoliation guidelines that may be right for your skin.

What’s okay is based on your skin type. What’s okay for one person may not be okay for another. So let’s say your friends might exfoliate twice a week because her skin needs it. You, on the other hand, my only need to once every two weeks or, and I know this is hard to believe, maybe even once a month, if that.

That means that the one size fits all approach can really harm you. I wasn’t really thinking about it I thought that the worst that can happen is I can irritate my skin a little bit. So, I paid attention to any irritation. Nothing of that sort happened. And then my skin decided to ultimately freak out and get your jaded and break out all over the place.

This goes to show that even though you’re not seeing anything happen from day today, it may happen spontaneously after years your skin has had enough.

The Takeaway for You & How To Take Care of Your Skin

Why am I writing this? Well, I kind of want to vent. I’ve been feeling really shitty with this thing on my face. This is vanity’s worst nightmare. I’m obviously upset that I can’t use my creams and my masks to make myself feel better. Usually, that’s my fix. But the fix to this problem IS the problem.

I also want to give you guys some insight and make you aware of different conditions (like this damn perioral dermatitis) that can arise from seemingly harmless things. The stuff mostly pops up in young women ages 18-40, which makes sense since we’re typically heavily addicted to cosmetics.

I’m sticking to a simplified routine for the next few weeks, and it’s probably a good idea to do that in general, just so skin has a way to do what it does best without interference. I’m also rotating in products that are very mild. If you’re having a skin freak out, look into gently giving it a pick-me-up with some thermal water. Unless your skin is super dry or it’s in the middle of the harshest winter, make sure you’re not clogging your pores with a moisturizer that’s too heavy.

If you’re having a skin freak out, look into gently giving it a pick-me-up with some thermal water. Unless your skin is super dry or it’s in the middle of the harshest winter, make sure you’re not clogging your pores with a moisturizer that’s too heavy. I’m currently using the First Aid moisturizer, which is heavenly for skin with problems. I also hear very good things of the Avene line meant for sensitive skin.

Stick to extremely mild exfoliators! Don’t scratch your face with harsh walnut scrubs or chemical exfoliators that leave your face red. A mild sugar scrub works best. And don’t rub a physical exfoliator in! You want to be as gentle as possible with your skin.

If you have dermatitis, it might be worth looking into a sulfur cleanser, though I didn’t try it this time around and just stuck to plain water.

Some Products to Calm Irritated Skin:

Let me know if any of you ever experienced something of this sort (perioral dermatitis) before and what helped you!