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Perioral Dermatitis: Fiona’s Story & Tips

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I met Fiona through Youtube after posting 3 videos on perioral dermatitis. Just like me, she suffers from it and was nice enough to share her story….
Perioral Dermatitis Before
Before (After picture is below)

I’ve shared a few posts on Perioral Dermatitis before you might also like:

Here’s Fiona’s Experience and Tips

My name is Fiona; I’m 33 yrs old. I have been living with perioral dermatitis for 4 months now. I just wanted to share my experience with others, and explain what I have done so far to help cure my perioral dermatitis.


My perioral dermatitis started out as a small breakout on the right side of my chin. I thought it was just a regular blemish, a couple small reddish bumps.


After 2 weeks of dabbing on acne medication, I noticed it was getting worse and had spread to the other side of chin and above my lip. This had never happened to me before.


I went to college and studied skin care; I am also a makeup artist. I know how to take care of my skin, so what was this stuff on my chin??? I had also noticed some tiny blisters with clear fluid in them.


Time to go to the Doctor.


Well, my doctor had no idea what it was and prescribed a cream that irritated the rash and made it worse. I later found out it had some cortisone in it…not good. I stopped the cream and made a dermatologist appointment.


I also Googled around and figured out on my own that it was perioral dermatitis. The dermatologist confirmed this and gave me 10 weeks of Tetracycline.


He warned that my face would clear in 2-3 weeks, but that if I didn’t finish the whole antibiotic (at least 12 weeks) it would be more likely to come back.


And then I got the really scary news, the dermatologist said that the tetracycline wouldn’t work for everybody. If it didn’t completely clear I would have to take 1 Tetracycline a day to keep the rash under control.


In 2 weeks my perioral dermatitis was dramatically better. I could still see some redness and scarring, but nobody else seemed to notice it. I thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones that gets rid of it and never looks back, but a couple day’s later I got some red bumps and a blister.


This had me in tears. I knew from then on not to get my hopes up. I have had a couple of crying spurts over this rash; it is really hard to deal with emotionally. Will I have this forever? Will the itching ever go away?


I am 8 weeks into my tetracycline treatment.


I have found some great things to do at home to help my perioral dermatitis (pod) heal and look it’s best, but most importantly I don’t stress as much over it. My chin looks really good right now. Nobody even notices there is something there unless I make them look really close.


Tips I’ve Learned and Used with Success Fighting Perioral Dermatitis

1.) I don’t use any products with sodium laureth sulphate (SLS).
2.)  I use a natural toothpaste that is not only SLS free but does not have fluoride either.
3.) I wash my chin gently with warm water only.  I use a gentle cleanser called Spectro gel everywhere else.
4.) I avoid the use of any cosmetics (I know that is really hard to do, but my dermatologist said to use nothing on the affected area).
3.) I take zinc (thanks, Kalee) and a probiotic. I also use a topical cream called Clindoxl which is a mix of Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide. If a bump comes up I just dot it on and it really helps.
I hope this helps! I have another dermatologist appointment coming up, and if I learn anything new I will share it for sure!

Also, I’ve outlined my perioral dermatitis story here and shared my favorite products for dermatitis here.

Thank you again, Fiona, for sharing your story. If you have perioral dermatitis and want to share a tip please don’t hesitate to email me. :)


  1. thank you for sharing the story. I am JJ, 41 yrs old, Asian, my story is very similar to Fiona’s story. I’ve been using Rentioid 0.1% 3x a week for 4yrs now. mid Oct, 2012, POD started out as a small circular red dry patch on the right side of my chin which i didnt really pay much attention/care. in Mid Nov, i had applied a dab of cortison cream for 4 days(i knew not to use it for a long time),& nothing happened except the redness had gone down a bit, but a week later it was back to red. by x-mas,i had noticed that red bumps appeared & spreaded to the the other side of my chin & the left side of my smile line, so i tried the cortisone cream for 3 days again, same thing happened like first time. luckily, the cream didnt make it worse or anything. at this point i stopped using Rentinoid,& 3 wks went by red bumps kept on appearing more.(so it’s not retinoid causing it) i went for diamond tipped microdermabrasion(i get this monthly) to remove scaly skin on the chin. it looked raw, but cleaned after dermabrasion and went to see a derm who diagnosed red bumps as Rosacea, recommended low dose of Accutane for 5 months, advised me to keep my stress level under control & keep applying Retinoid(i guess she thought that retinoid will speed up process to shed all the dead cell). i was a bit skeptical. when i was diagnosed with Rosacea 4yrs ago, i only had the prickly heats on the bridge of my nose & upper cheek area which would disappear & reappear. but these on my chin were going away at all. i did keep using retinoid & AHA per her instruction, in 3days, my chin was angry & gave me more bumps. so i googled. POD, all the pics looked just like mine, By Jan., 2013, i started joining the forums and reading about ppl’s experiences what they have tried & what have worked. i am really against taking any oral antibiotic for a long term. after much researching compliling everyone’s experiences who went on antibiotic for months & only to deal with the worst flare up when not taking antibiotic. Therefore, i figured there must be either/both bacteria & fungus on the skin, on Jan. 17, i applied manuka honey all over my face, left it for 10 min, rinsed with diluted pine tree charcoal extract known to treat fungal infection from Korea(they’ve been using this for thousands of yrs). next morning i rushed to bathroom to see my face in the mirror and VOILA! i was in disbelief, red bumps ARE gone except one on my nose & 2 on the upper lip line, but redness, dryness & peeling(i guess due to dryness?) were still there(the whole chin & smile line on the left). again i read some tips from the forum, i started taking zinc, probiotic, biotin and have cut out sugar, flour, processed food…etc hoping that these will improve/cure my redness & dryness. also, i ordered raw unrefined shea butter for dryness & grapefruit seed extract which ppl rave about its antibac & antifungal effect both orally & topically. otherwise, i’d have to go on low dose Accutane which is a lot safer than long term use of oral antibiotic. i will keep you updated.

    1. I believe Fiona avoided it in all products, but I stick to not using it on my face. Besides facial products, I also check my hair products since it’s so close to my face. I’m not as concerned with other products though. For example, my laundry detergent has it in it, and I have tried ones without as well. I didn’t see a big change. Hope that helps!

  2. I totally get why people don’t want to go on antibiotics, but please ask your dermatologist about Doxycycline 40mg (generic brand is Oracea). This is NOT an antibiotic Doxy, but a multi-release anti-inflammatory dose that has been approved for Rosacea patients and is currently used by some doctors, off label, for PD. It doesn’t cause antibiotic resistance or yeast infections or hurt your stomach like Doxy. I got PD 2 years ago and tried tons of internet suggestions for self treatment in order to avoid antibiotics. Clotrimazole and apple cider vinegar toner helped keep the bumps mostly at bay, but they couldn’t get rid of it and my skin, even on its calmest day, was always red. In fact, I’m pretty sure these treatments actually prolong the condition. I’ve done A LOT of medical research on PD and from what I can understand, PD results when your skin barrier is damaged (by cortisone, skincare products, etc) and your skin becomes exquisitely sensitive to pretty much everything including the microbes (bacteria and fungus) that normally live on our skin without issue. The clotrimazole and ACV may have helped tame things by killing off these microbes, but they did nothing to help my skin heal and may have actually harmed it, especially the ACV. The key with PD is to remove ALL potential irritants (SLS, fluoride, etc) and use very few and only the most simple products (even better, do “zero therapy”, meaning nothing at all). While you do that, Doxy/Oracea 40mg can be a huge help. My PD started to calm it down right away with it. I am one month in and will continue for two more to make sure it’s gone. I only wear makeup (and very little of it) when I absolutely have to (once a week tops), cleanse with water or La Roche Posay when I’ve worn makeup, and moisturize with Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream. I use nothing with occlusives like petroleum, dimethecone, or oils. I have also cut out added sugars and somewhat reduced my caffeine and dairy to help with inflammation. I hope this helps!

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