Guide to Perioral Dermatitis Part 2 - Treatments :: POD Fiesta

Guide to Perioral Dermatitis Part 2 - Treatments :: POD Fiesta

Welcome to Part 2 of my 3-part guide to Perioral Dermatitis, aka your POD Fiesta. I will be covering treatments — including prescription, over the counter (OTC), and holistic — and a rundown of what to do if you're experiencing a flare-up. If you missed Part 1, here it is! (I also explain why we're fiesta-ing!)

Wait, what is a flare-up?

Break-outs are to acne as flare-ups are to perioral dermatitis. They're usually red, often angry, and always a hell rash.

What should I do if my Perioral Dermatitis is flaring?

Here's what I do:
  1. Stop using makeup in the affected area.
  2. Stop washing face in hot water. (I use cold water, but luke warm works.)
  3. Avoid the sun, or at least wear a big ole hat.
  4. Avoid applying known irritating products to the affected area (retinioids, AHAs, BHAs, etc)
  5. Cut out as many other cosmetics and skin care products as possible.

My face is rotting off, what do I do?

  1. Your face is rotting off, girlfriend! Call a doctor and make an appointment!
  2. While you're waiting for an appointment, give your skin a chance to calm down by following the steps above.
  3. Replace your current products with milder ones. Opt for products that have simpler ingredient lists and things that don't lather (sulfate-free, and ideally, surfactant-free).
  4. If you are currently on any doctor-prescribed topicals, I recommend waiting until your appointment to change course. There is no way for me to tell what your specific skin/health situation is, so I'll never tell someone to stop taking their medication.
  5. That said, if you are using a topical steroid in the affected area, try cutting back the amount you are using. If your skin is "addicted" to topical steroids, you'll likely need to ween yourself off it anyway. (call your doctor for advice on this if you're wary)
  6. You can make some non-skincare changes as well: cut out spicy foods, change your pillowcase frequently.
  7. Be patient. Life is temporary. Your face is probably not going to be rotting off forever.

How long does a flare-up last?

In my experience, a flare-up can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This entirely depends on the severity of your particular brand of POD of course.

How do I treat this hell rash?

Here's your...

Perioral Dermatitis Treatment Master List :: Crappy Candle

(Everything I've tried is in bold. I've put one of these ⟢ next to things that have helped. If I'm missing anything here, leave a comment!)

Holistic Perioral Dermatitis Treatment Master List :: Crappy Candle

  • Clay Mask w/ACV 
  • Plain greek yogurt masks
  • Zinc oxide or zinc paste
  • Manuka Honey
Other Topical Treatments
  • ACV as a toner
  • Hydrogen peroxide as a toner
  • Violet extract/essential oil (anti-inflammatory)
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (oral or topical)
  • Zinc tablets (oral)
  • Evening primrose oil (oral) 
  • Probiotics (oral)
  • Biotin (oral)

    Over the Counter Perioral Dermatitis Treatment Master List :: Crappy Candle

    Daily Products
    • Sulfate-free shampoo (Jason is my go-to
    • Sulfate-free facial cleanser 
    • Sulfate-free toothpaste (Sensodyne is my go-to
    • Fluoride-free toothpaste (A number of people have said this can help. As for me, you can pry my fluoride out of my brittle decaying teeth.)
    Topical Anti-fungals
    • Diaper rash cream
    • I meant jock itch cream.
    • Actually, it's athlete's foot cream.
    • Technically, these are all the same thing. (Butenafine Hydrochloride is the commonly recommended ingredient; it's found in some Lotramin products)
    • Clotrimazole antifungals (also available as a prescription)
    • Dandruff shampoo (on the face)
    Other Topical Treatments
    LOW ingredient products once your skin has calmed down.

      Prescription Perioral Dermatitis Treatment Master List :: Crappy Candle

      Topical Antibiotics
      • Clindamycin lotion (lincosamide antibiotic)
      • Erythromycin solution 1.5-2%; gel or cream 2-4% (macrolide antibiotic)
      • Metronidazole 0.75-2% (imidazole antibiotic) — MetroCream, MetroGel, Noritate ⟢
      • Mupirocin — Bactroban
      • Sodium Sulfacetamide lotion 10% — Klaron
      • Dapsone
      Topical Anti-fungals
      • Ketoconazole cream (azole anti-fungal) — Nizoral
      • Clotrimazole cream (azole anti-fungal) (also available OTC)
      • Zinc Pyrithione Formulation — Curology 
      Steroid-free Topical Anti-inflammitories
      • Pimecrolimus cream 1% (a calcineurin inhibitor) — Elidel
      • Tacrolimus  ointment 0.03%, 0.1% (a calcineurin inhibitor) — Protopic
      Other Topicals
      • Azelaic Acid gel 15% - 20% — Finacea/Azelex (also available OTC)
      • Azelaic Acid Formulation — Curology 
      Washes & Foams
      • Sodium Sulfacetamide 10% + Sulfur 5% (sulfonamide antibiotic + sulfur) — Clarifoam
      • Sodium Sulfacetamide 9% + Sulfur 4.5% — Sumadan
      Oral Antibiotics
      • Doxycycline 40-100mg (tetracycline antibiotic) ⟢
      • Tetracycline 250-500mg
      • Minocyclin 50-100mg (tetracycline antibiotic)
      • Erythromycin (macrolide antibiotic)
      Other Oral Medications
      • Spironolactone
      • Drospirenone Contraceptive Pill (Yasmin)
      • Isotretinoin (must be taken concurrently birth control pills)
      Note: If you take an oral antibiotic, you can fold a probiotic into your routine to help keep your system balanced. They sell fancy expensive probiotic pills OTC or in natural food stores, or you can just eat it (Yakult, Kefir, Kombucha, or good ole-fashioned yogurt).

        An Important Note Treatment Efficacy

        Hot damn, people love speaking in extremes. Never do this. Always do that. Use this for sure. Don't touch this crap ever. Rather than think there is some magic bullet, remember that what worked for someone else may not work for you, and what works for you may be completely different from what worked for someone else.

        Use articles like this for ideas, but do proper research lovies. Gather a variety of sources, read up, and use a critical eye. Bloggers who aren't medical professionals are almost always giving their opinion based on their own experience. They make mistakes, they get things wrong, they often do not see the big picture that comes from treating hundreds of patients or reviewing scientific literature. This is why I will always recommend seeing a doctor, or better — a dermatologist — when it comes to chronic skin conditions. Keep in mind though, doctors are fallible and they get things wrong too. There is still so much we do not know about the human body.

        Regardless of whether you go the doctor route, OTC, holistic, or some combination of the three, be prepared to put in a bit of trial and error. It may take a few not-good treatments before you hit a regimen that works.

        Can Perioral Dermatitis be permanently cured?

        I asked my dermatologist about this, and she said that because I've had POD for so long, in order to aggressively treat it, I would likely need to take an oral antibiotic over a long period of time. I've heard of others who do a shorter (month or so) round of treatment and are good to go. Still, for others, POD is more long-term chronic, so they treat each flare as it happens while avoiding known triggers.

        In sum, I do believe POD can be permanently cured, but some people have a harder time than others.

        What's next?

        I reviewed the treatment I did with a dermatologist (Metro Gel + Doxycycline), plus my brief flirtation with topical steroids.


        I am not a doctor, this is my disclaimer. Do not take anything I say as medical advice. I am just a girl with some wild ideas, and I keep losing followers on Twitter because of my inconsistent posting, punctuated by sporadic tweet storms. It was a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse people. Of course I was going to lose my mind for two hours.

        Isn't this supposed to be a Fiesta? Why am I not having any fun?

        I made you a Spotify playlist.


        This is Part 2 of my 3 part Perioral Dermatitis Series:

        Part 1:  Guide to Perioral Dermatitis Part 1 - The Basics
        Part 2:  Guide to Perioral Dermatitis Part 2 - Treatments
        Part 3:  MetroGel + Doxycycline Review

        And for the Acne Peeps: Visit The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB

        Sources:  Dermnet // MDEdge // Reddit SA // SunshineFLF // NCBI // Dr. Baily // Medscape

        Guide to Perioral Dermatitis Part 2 - Treatments :: POD Fiesta
        Guide to Perioral Dermatitis Part 2 - Treatments :: POD Fiesta


        1. I just saw a dermatologists who diagnosed me with this. I am also hoping to get pregnant....so she said there is nothing I can do. Have you been pregnant at all while having a flare up???

        2. I just saw a dermatologists who diagnosed me with this. I am also hoping to get pregnant....so she said there is nothing I can do. Have you been pregnant at all while having a flare up???

        3. This comment has been removed by the author.

        4. Thanks for sharing such a nice piece of information with us. When I think about things I’m grateful for, you are always on the list.

        5. I experienced this for a few months. I was surprised when topical steroids didn't help. I did find a product that did the active ingredient was Tepezcohuite. The product was La Vigne Mayan Magic Balm. I can't guarantee that it wasn't a coincidence, but it worked after struggling with the issue for months and trying various other things (as well as nothing)


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