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Treating Perioral Dermatitis Naturally, Without Steroids

What is Perioral Dermatitis and how to treat it naturally


Perioral Dermatitis (sometimes called: PD), is a perplexing, frustrating, and often chronic skin condition. As an esthetician, I see this condition a lot and I also see a lot of people treating it with chronic use of steroid creams. Let me tell you: there’s a better way. Here's a guide to treating perioral dermatitis naturally, without steroids.


What is Perioral Dermatitis?

Extending beyond the mouth to areas around the nose and eyes, PD can often look a little like acne. This fact sometimes makes people go at it with things that ‘help’ acne, many of which are not great for acne and not great for this either.  


What makes Perioral Dermatitis worse?

Active ingredients

It’s hard to describe how frustrating it is to see people throwing the kitchen sink at their ‘bad’ skin. Your skin does not want that many active ingredients. With any condition, PD included, I’ll always start with a reset. Stripping your routine down to a minimum, removing most active ingredients, and seeing what happens. Honestly, it’s funny, shocking, and also not very shocking, how often just doing this does the trick. There are great alternatives to active ingredients that won’t trigger your skin. 


Acne treatments

A lot of people think their PD is acne. It’s not the same and a lot of products people use to treat acne make things worse. Products for acne that dry out your skin can make this much worse because Perioral Dermatitis is deeply linked to the moisture in your skin. Hence, you should be avoiding things like salicylic acid. 


Dry Skin

Dry skin can contribute to PD and make it worse. It’s not causing it but they are linked. Because of this, a lot of people turn to topical treatments like hyaluronic acid for dry skin—don’t do that! The reality is that a lot of these topical treatments make your skin drier in the long term and make the situation worse. 


Steroid Creams

Ironically, many people are using steroid creams to control PD long term but, actually, the effects are short term and the second you stop using them it will come right back. In the long run you're much better off treating perioral dermatitis naturally.


Oral Care

A lot of ingredients in your toothpaste can exacerbate PD. This is part of the less-is-more approach. Dental fillings can also be an issue. If you need a filling you need one, but taking care of your teeth is more important for your skin than people realize.


Oral Microbiome

Very linked to the above. Your microbiome in general is important to your skin, but your oral microbiome is often overalled. Dive into a whole oral microbiome rant here.


A healthy skin barrier

An impaired skin barrier can predispose individuals to PD. Those with PD are considered 'hyper-reactors' with compromised skin barrier function, making them more responsive to triggers.


Other factors

PD is tricky, your hormones can play a role, a history of eczema can affect it. There's a lot of issues but treating it is all the same. 


A guide to treating Perioral Dermatitis naturally, without steroids:

It's pretty straight forward even though it can seem unsolveable. The key is: less is more. 


  1. Reduce your skincare routine to 1-2 products—aka an ‘actives cleanse’.

  2. Swap your oral care products, take care of your oral microbiome.

  3. Come off the steroid cream if you are using it to see if things are helping. This may initially make the PD come back.

  4. Cleanse with a sebum-friendly oil cleanser once a day, at night

  5. Use a face oil with lots of anti-inflammatory properties, like MoonLitFromWithin (which is rich in Broccoli Seed oil, a great alternative to retinol—the most overused active ingredient for most people) 

  6. Get an aloe plant. And use it to make a mask.

  7. That’s it. Do that for 4 weeks and see if things improve. 


A lovely testimonial. Read what one BeautyGrass convert used to get her Perioral Dermatitis under control:

✨Jenny Jewel✨

If you are suffering from perioral dermatitis try switching your toothpaste. Ingredients like fluoride and SLS can aggravate flare-ups. Instead, switch to my favorite Uncle Henry’s tooth powder.


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