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Facts worth knowing about Perioral Dermatitis

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Stewardess Disease: Turbulences on the Skin

Clown eczema, stewardess disease or mannequin disease - what sounds funny at first glance, can be very stressful for the psyche. The reason for this is redness, pustules and small blisters - usually as a result of over-cared skin, which does not have a beautiful face. People who have to pay attention to their appearance for professional reasons or who put on make-up very often are susceptible to perioral dermatitis for this reason.  

What is perioral dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis is a skin disease. The good news is: it is not contagious and as a disease rather harmless. Nevertheless, the course is often protracted and therefore psychologically stressful. It manifests itself in inflammatory, sometimes purulent nodules, which in almost 40% of cases occur around the mouth (i.e. periorally), hence the name. In 15% of those affected, there is also a spread around the nose. However, it is also possible that the unpleasant blisters occur exclusively around the nose or the eyes. A ring-shaped strip directly around the lips is typically mostly spared.

Over-cared for skin should - if at all - only get along with minimal care.

How do I recognize perioral dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis manifests itself in small, reddish nodules and vesicles in combination with a yellowish or red discoloration and scaling of the skin around the mouth (hence the name "mouth rose"). Sometimes pustules can be seen. In addition, there is unpleasant pain, burning, itching.  

How does perioral dermatitis develop?

Unfortunately, there is no scientifically proven cause for perioral dermatitis. Several triggers come into question - versatile factors can promote the occurrence of perioral dermatitis:

  • Genetic disposition seems to play a role. People who are prone to allergies and/or have a very sensitive skin are often particularly frequently affected. The predisposition in combination with a specific trigger can then lead to a more or less pronounced perioral dermatitis.
  • The use of certain substances such as asthma sprays, cortisone creams or taking cortisone.
  • Hormonal changes, stress, bacteria or fungal infections can be triggers for perioral dermatitis.
  • Constant skin irritations caused by strongly occluding (i.e. closing) skin care products as e.g. sun creams with physical filters, too much skin care, the wrong skin care or too frequent cleansing may lead to an intolerance over a longer period of time. The skin barrier is disturbed. A disorder of the skin barrier manifests itself in the fact that too much water is lost and the skin dries out, becomes flaky and taut.
  • Renewed creaming against the feeling of tightness (mostly using moisturizers) overmoisturizes the uppermost horny layer so that it swells and makes the skin even more permeable: germs and bacteria can now easily penetrate.

Over-cared for skin - what to do?

If there are any signs of perioral dermatitis, you should never "doctor around" on your own, but go to the doctor as quickly as possible. Only because the doctor can also distinguish perioral dermatitis from acne, rosacea or other skin diseases, prescribe you a therapeutic ointment and prescribe an individual therapy.

  • You shouldn't continue to use the products you've been using (even if your skin is tight and it's hard), because most of the time they're part of the problem.
  • If possible, please refrain from using cortisone at as cortisone may additionally damage the skin barrier or even be the trigger for perioral dermatitis. Therefore, a treatment with cortisone preparations should also be avoided. Although these provide short-term relief, they often worsen the skin situation in the long run.
  • Please note that if you stop taking cortisone, the symptoms may temporarily worsen.
  • Give your skin a break: the best thing would be a "zero diet" for the skin for 3-4 weeks. If this is not feasible, use only lukewarm water or very mild cleansers and light care products especially for sensitive skin. Your care should avoid fragrances and preservatives, parabens and emulsifiers, should not be occlusive and should not overload your skin with active ingredients.
  • Give your skin time! It usually takes several weeks to months to restore its natural functions.

Once your skin barrier has been restored and the perioral dermatitis has been overcome, the next step is to consider exactly which products your skin will need in the future. Very important: Determine your skin type to find the right care for you.

Need help determining your skin type? We are happy to help.

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Picture source: Vladimir Gjorgiev/shutterstock.com