There’s no arguing that with pregnancy comes a lot of new bodily changes, specifically when it comes to the skin. While some are a blessing (hello that pregnancy ‘glow’), others are not so much. Stretch marks, hormonal acne and hormonal pigmentation are common skincare gripes, but one that doesn’t get mentioned enough is Peri-Oral Dermatitis. Often mistaken for acne or eczema, Peri-Oral Dermatitis is one skin issue many women deal with during pregnancy. We recently sat down with Biologi’s Dermal Specialist Lucy Macdougald to find out more about this little-known skin condition.
WHAT IS PERI-ORAL DERMATITIS?
Peri-Oral Dermatitis is a type of dermatitis rash that presents around the mouth, however may spread up to the nose or even the eyes (in that case, it’s referred to as periorificial dermatitis). It usually appears as a scaly or red bumpy rash around the mouth but can also be accompanied with a clear fluid discharge. Sufferers of Peri-Oral Dermatitis can often experience redness, slight itching and burning. Perioral dermatitis is more common in women between the ages of 16-45 years but can be seen in all ages (including children of any age) and all races and ethnicities. Episodes of perioral dermatitis can last weeks and even months.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PERI-ORAL DERMATITIS?
The cause of perioral dermatitis is relatively unknown however hormonal changes, stress, weaken epidermal barrier, compromised immune system and even toothpaste and chewing gum can lead to Peri-Oral Dermatitis. Certain ingredients in cosmetics can cause perioral dermatitis, too. Heavy skin creams that contain petrolatum or a paraffin base may cause or worsen this condition. It can also occur after the use of strong topical steroids on the skin (often prescribed to treat another condition). Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids may cause Peri-Oral Dermatitis as well. Since Peri-Oral Dermatitis is an inflammatory condition, there is a chance it could also be caused by internal inflammation and gut issues.
WHY CAN IT HAPPEN DURING PREGNANCY?
Hormonal changes are the likely trigger for anyone suffering from Peri-Oral Dermatitis during pregnancy. However, with so much uncertainty around what actually causes it, dealing with the issue during pregnancy can feel overwhelming. The good news is that most pregnancy-associated physiological changes in the skin improve after delivery (but the bad news is that it may not completely clear or can re-occur).
HOW CAN YOU TREAT PERI-ORAL DERMATITIS?
Finding skincare products that are harmless to an unborn child yet still effective are a priority. With harsh chemical ingredients in most moisturisers, lotions and treatments; how do you know what’s ultimately safe?
The best place to start for anyone suffering from Peri-Oral Dermatitis is by avoiding heavy creams and make-up, avoiding prolonged use of steroid creams and avoiding artificial fragrance and perfumes. Then, aim to improve the barrier function of the skin by simplifying your skincare regime.
Cleanse twice a day with a soap free cleanser like Biologi’s Bc Refresh Cleanser, (its natural saponin and phyto-actives gently but effectively cleanse your skin without stripping or drying). Use a protective serum like Biologi’s Bf Restore Serum to help soothe, calm and keep your skin barrier protected. Try Biologi’s Bl Nourish Lip Serum which is free from any synthetics and helps to soothe and hydrate the lip area.
Other things you can do to help is ensure you wash your pillowcase frequently and reduce heat like hot showers or baths (and try not to overheat with heavy blankets at night). If you are required to wear a face mask, replace disposables and wash your re-useable face mask daily. If possible, replace your mask throughout the day (like at lunchtime) with a clean one and give your skin a gentle cleanse in between.
If you suffer from Peri-Oral Dermatitis that is continued cause for concern, it is important to seek the advice from a GP or professional.
Words by Lucy Macdougald – Biologi’s Global Managing Director and Dermal Specialist. Biologi are a clean cosmeceutical skincare brand who are the innovators of the only 100% active organic plant serums in the world.
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