Perioral dermatitis, is something I’ve been struggling for about over two years. It started as a dime-sized reddish raised oval patch on my chin that looked almost, but not quite like acne. It waxed and waned over time but never completely disappeared. It’s taken a toll on my self-esteem since I was used to having clear skin during my teenage years. I haven’t been able to really embrace my early 20’s since I was constantly breaking out around my mouth. I didn’t want to fix this with antibiotics as this would only make it worse in a few years time. So it was essential for me to fix this problem at the root.
The only way I could make sense of this was to correlate the location of my acne by using a face map.An acne face map suggests the location of your acne could present clues about what’s causing it. Traditional Chinese medicine, for example, maintains that a weakness or toxicity in a certain organ or gland in the body can result in acne showing up in certain areas of the skin.
Breakout and inflammation of the chin is often correlated to :
- Hormonal changes
- Small intestine issues
- Bacteria and yeast on skin
- High Sugar Content- a big problem for me
- Gastro –intestinal disturbances
The pattern I saw here? Gut/digestive health- brain-skin correlation.
My hypothesis: If I got rid of the overgrowth of yeast by cleaning my digestive system, it should then clear up the perioral dermatitis.
Phase 1: Paying attention to my body
I started paying close attention to my digestive system and researched other symptoms that lead to poor digestive issues:
✅Bloating, belching, burning, flatulence after meals
Never feeling full, binge eating
✅Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
Allergy reactions after eating
Itchy skin, ears, rectum
✅Weak or cracked finger nails
✅Skin irritations such as perioral dermititis, acne, rosacea
✅Reoccuring yeast infections
Loss of menstrual cycle
I had 7 of these symptoms that I completely overlooked. These side effects were so common for me, I didn’t realize how they all were interconnected and correlated to the gut.
Phase 2:Listen to Your GUT, after you eat.
There are so many things that can go wrong in the journey your food takes, from not chewing your food correctly, to not being able to digest your food correctly . So if you make this job even harder by giving the body the wrong food you are going to notice significant effects in your health. Whether it’s your energy, skin, sleep or your mood.
Also keep in mind PD is a form of candida, a yeast over growth. It lives and thrives on sugar. PD feeds on sugars, carbs and junk food basically. Eating too much fruit, starchy carbs and sugar is problematic.
Best foods to avoid to restart GI : Avoid alcohol, sugary foods, drinks, processed food ( anything that comes out of box), complex carbs, caffeine. I literally tried to keep it as fresh as possible for three weeks.
But I can honestly say only you know what foods are good for you body. If you really listen to your body after you eat certain foods and get any kind of discomfort, then those foods are not for you.
If you are consuming the wrong foods for your body, these foods aren’t going to get broken down properly. If they not absorbed properly, it can ferment in the small intestine, turning into sugar and feeding the bacteria. This in turn, causes toxins to be released and your whole body begins to slow down. This is why when you have any sort of digestive issue you feel so rubbish and tired all the time. If you continue to eat those foods, it eventually will cause chronic stress to the body and manifest as other symptoms of inflammation, whether its allergies, rashes, skin problems, acne, achy joints. Then over time if you keep going on the same path those symptoms then turn into bigger autoimmune conditions.
After you eat a meal you should feel great, satisfied but not stuffed and energized not sluggish. And bloating is not normal ❗
Phase 3: Recuperate Missing Nutrients
What my body was telling me is that it can’t absorb the nutrients because of inflammation, so I needed to eat a very strict healing diet for 2-3 days. Cleaning my stomach by eating 5 small nutrient-dense meals per day to allow it to heal and then slowly reintroduce certain low inflammation foods one at a time. Foods need to be cooked well so they wouldn’t inflame my digestive system. These foods were based around bone broths, meats, and veggies.
Why I choose these healing foods:
#1 Bone Broth – broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged stomach cell walls. Bone broth is also commonly used to help heal leaky gut and cure autoimmune disease. See the chart below for other amazing benefits :
#2 Raw Cultured Dairy – contains both probiotics and SCFA’s that can help heal the gut. Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter and raw cheese are some of the best.
#3 Fermented Vegetables – these powerful dishes contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass are excellent sources.
#4 Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.
#5 Sprouted Seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria.
- Also, consuming foods that have omega-3 fats are beneficial, anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish like salmon.
When I ate more well cooked vegetables and easily digestible carbohydrates, they were absorbed instantly, leaving no food for candida to thrive on. Just 6 days later, I noticed the redness around my nose and chin were diminishing!
Phase 4: Avoid a Relapse/ Moderate stress to weaken Inflammation
It’s been scientifically proven that any kind of internal or external inflammation is directly correlated to stress. I knew I was stressed , and never really properly managed my stress and my anxiety never made it any better.
When we try to make healthy choices with the foods we eat in a chronically stressed body then any food that you are eating isn’t going to get digested well, which adds on more stress. Your body is a system of systems, it sees stress as stress. This increases cortisol in your body and any body that is running high on cortisol or adrenaline is going to send alarm signals to all the other hormones and throw them all out of balance( hormones rule everything!!!!)
See this chart below to see how stress affects the body:
So I knew in order to get the most out of my food I seriously needed to regulate and manage my stress.
Best proactive things I did to reduce candida/improve digestion/ manage stress:
Most of the steps I took tried to be solutions to attack all three issues described above at once:
- Apple cider vinegar hot baths 2x week: I swear by these baths. It’s healing and soothing all in one. Soaking in hot baths reduces candida over growth and kills any lingering yeast. The apple cider vinegar must be raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, with the mother it’s what helps balances the PH in our bodies making it harder for yeast to grow. Secondly, the hot water draws toxins to the surface of the skin. Then, as the water gradually cools down, the toxins are pulled into the water, THIS IS OSMOSIS IN THE PROCESS. The weak energy from the cooling water draws from the strong energy from the body heated up initially by the very hot water. The best body/soul ritual you can do.
- Not using ANY form of chemical products on my face. I occasionally exfoliate my skin with sea salt ( Himalayan for me ) and honey. I moisturize with unrefined cold-pressed coconut oil, jojoba oil, or emu oil.
- Continuing to restore my gut/flora by taking kefir, sauerkraut, bone broth and L-Glut. Whenever i was unable to eat probiotic foods i would take supplements.
- Steering clear of processed sugars, processed dairy, gluten and minimal caffeine. They’re skin no-nos.
- Steering clear of moisturizing my skin with drug store products.
- Reducing stress as much by keeping a journal has been really therapeutic for me.
- Exercising at least 3-4 days a week.
- Dry Brush at least 2 x a week.
- Maca– I swear by this supplement. It’s a multi-faceted superfood that has helped
- balance my hormones, turn my figure more womanly, gain more muscle, and helped clear my skin. Maca is known as an adaptogen, this means it basically brings balance – it helps the body to regulate stressors in its environment. It’s best to use organic raw Maca to get the full benefits. Maca can support the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system and help to reduce adrenal stress to bring our bodies back into perfect balance. I alternate between powder and pill form depending on the time I have.
- Cutting back on PUFAs ( Polyunsaturated fatty acids ) (scrapping cheap, off-the-shelf fish oil supplements that are oxidized and crappy quality). Instead, supplementing with Green Pastures Fermented CLO & butter oil blend
- Keeping the Liver happy and functional by taking milk thistle, turmeric and other liver promoting herbs
This has been a trial and error for the past 3 months. It has definitely healed and I don’t have the huge flare ups like I used to, nor is it on my chin anymore, I just have slight redness on the edges of my nose.
Remember this is an ongoing process and it may take some more months to restore my digestive system. This doesn’t mean to say I want you all to go out and do this, this is what I needed to be done to fix my perioral dermatitis and heal my digestive system. I hope you’re aware of what works and what doesn’t work for you.But just remember your body is literally capable of healing itself so if you think you can, you’re right, if you think you can’t you’re probably right too:)