So I am going to go on a rant here. I've been analyzing others posts for a couple of years and have decided to make one which describes my personal battle with acne/perioral dermatitis.
I have been dealing with this problem for a long time and I am determined to find a cure or treat myself since I cannot let this take over my life and let it affect my confidence. I know I will be able to cure myself soon and help others. I will save the emotional trauma I went through due to this condition for another post.
Quick background. I am 22 years old, studying engineering in North America and have had acne problems since I hit puberty.
So here goes.. When I turned 12, I started to get pus filled acne around my mouth region. They were not a lot, and were not inflamed, just 4 or 5 here and there.Still, I let it get to me and did some research online. I should also mention that I had dandruff as well and a very oily skin.
Found a lot of people suggesting benzoyl peroxide so I made my dad get it for me (He's a doctor). Now, I used BP in the most eff'd up way ever. I used to put it at night and take a hot shower (BIG MISTAKE) in the morning. My skin started to clear up but it started to get sooo messed up and I did not even realize it since I was a kid. I was basically burning my skin every single day with that hot shower and not realizing it. I became so sensitive to sun light, I would go red if I stayed outside for more that 2 minutes. My acne problems continued but I learnt to ignore them and now that I look back, I have no idea how I did that.
In grade 12, I started to get more concerned about my looks and my dad finally put me on Doxycyline. Cleared me up in no time and I was acne free for a couple of years.
I shifted to North America for further studies, and this is when all hell broke loose. I got acne around my mouth region, red and pus filled. Just around my mouth, under the nose, beside my lips and on my chin. No where else. So now that I was more mature and had more resources, I decided to tackle this problem logically. So i started to look for a pattern and realized I had cystic acne ONLY around my mouth. Next I realized my skin was always slightly red and inflamed even where I had no acne. I googled 'cystic acne around mouth' and 'Perioral Dermatitis' kept popping up everywhere. I ignored this term at first but then I decided to look into it and realized I do suffer from this condition. Well at least now I had a name for it.
I thought it is the cold weather. My acne would come and go away randomly. There were days my skin was clear and days when it was not.
Finally in my second year (last year) I realized I had had enough. I was sick of not making a lot of friends, not feeling confident and not being able to enjoy my life. So i got the doc to put me on antibiotics(doxycycline 100mg/day). My skin cleared up in like 4 days and the next few months (aug 2012-dec2012) were the best months of my life. BUT THEN, for some dumb reason I went off doxycycline. Skin remained clear for 2 weeks and then Jan 2013, I had the worst break out ever. I stopped going to classes, hid myself from everyone and got another dose of antibiotics. Unfortunately, they were not working this time and I realized going off them immediately was a big mistake. Went to doc, and I remember the look on the nurse's face when she saw my face lol.
My doctor upped my dosage to 100mg twice a day. Finally, after 2 weeks, my skin started to clear up. Felt like a miracle, and I was acne free again in no time.
It stayed that way till July 2013 and I finally became resistant to doxycycline. I refused to believe this and continued with it till Sept. 2013, till I got another major breakout and I went to the doc again. Out of desperation, I asked them to prescribe me Minocycline since I had just started an internship and didn't want to go to work with 15 small whiteheads around my mouth. Again, my skin cleared up in no time.
I have been on minocycline 100 mg/day since but now after all my research and knowledge I know that I will get resistant to them as well. Even though I have a clear skin right now, I am not happy because I wake up every morning knowing that i can become resistant to these antibiotics any day. I am taking 10bil probiotic thing, because I came across some theory that antibiotics kill good bacteria in the gut so take probiotics as well bla bla.
So I am on a mission now. To find an alternate cure for this. i have spent countless hours on the internet looking for ANY treatment that might work. From what I have researched so far, I realized that I might have had seborrheic dermatitis since I was young which somehow turned into perioral dermatitis. You see, as a kid, I had a lot of dandruff. I used to scratch my head a lot and I realized that sometimes I had yellow clusters or something on my head and i would keep scratching it till I felt some type of liquid oozing out. I never got treated for this and I think this somehow got to my face and infected me in someway. I have similar yellow flaky thing around my ear and when I get a PD (perioral dermatitis) attack, its yellow, crusty kinda red at the same time. To confirm my theory, I found this thread and this is something I think I will look into
I noticed a few other things. I have bad oral hygiene. Maybe this is why I get acne around my mouth? I forget to wash the corners of my mouth after I eat. Another reason? I came across yeast infection theory which is floating around on the internet.
Finding out that this might be a fungal problem has gotten my hopes really high since I have never tried to treat this condition with that in mind. I just purchased Head and Shoulders clincal therapy shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis which has selenium sulfide present in it. It has worked for some people and I was like might as well try treating seborrheic derm and maybe it will take away perioral derm. People say selenium sulfide is a good antifungal or something and I have no idea if this is working because I`m on minocycline anyways right now and my face is clear.
List of items I have tried that have not worked for me -
Pro eczema by Mama Nature (great moisturizer) (cured PD for some people)
Tea Tree Oil
Violet Extract (cured PD for a couple of people)
Oil of Oregano (cured PD for a couple of people again)
Also, I used to eat a lot of spicy food, suffer from constipation and had a lot of chocolates as a kid. I read somewhere that acne around mouth is due to bad diet and you need to clear up your intestines. So i stopped eating chocs like I used to, took out all the spices from my diet and have been trying to go to the washroom a lot more but only end up going like once in 2 days. Could this be a contributing factor?
There have been days that I have been so depressed about it even though I have clear skin ONLY because I know I have limited time while i am on these antibiotics. I know it can come back anytime and since mino is the strongest, I doubt if any other antibiotic will work after this.
Guys I have so much more to share and to talk about, I have found out so much , but I feel if I write a really long post, no one will read it. So I just thought I will get write up something and carry on this discussion forward.
Can anyone out there relate to this story? Does anyone think this problem might be fungal and not bacterial?
Let's try to tackle perioral dermatitis/acne together! I am determined and I will try to answer all your questions and try to share every single piece of info I have gained over these past years.