This is the week that was: Skin Deep

I’ve had one hell of a turbulent time with my skin for the better part of a year now. First, out of nowhere, I developed perioral dermatitis (delightfully known as ‘muzzle rash’) caused by my hormones going haywire, and subsequently had an unprecedented outbreak of adult acne, brought on by stress, central heating, and treatments designed to tackle the dermatitis. It’s been a horrible time to have my face. Like, more horrible than usual.

When Springtime arrived and the central heating wasn’t belting out quite as much, things started to look slightly better than they once were. Everyone’s skin is different of course and there’s no one size fits all approach to skincare, but some of the treatments and products that have made things better for me might just come in handy for anyone else who goes through any aspect of what I’ve experienced and is looking for solutions.

Perioral Dermatitis

I knew I had perioral dermatitis within a few days of the scaly red patches and tiny bubbly spots turning up around my mouth. Dr Google assured me it would disappear of its own accord within a few weeks if I just washed with soap and water and didn’t apply cosmetics. But by Christmas week I was starting to feel quite miserable about looking like a scabby glue sniffer and went to the GP.

The GP didn’t agree that it was perioral dermatitis and prescribed me some hydrocortisone cream. I was doubtful but followed her advice anyway. Long story short, it didn’t work because hydrocortisone and similar steroids are the worst thing you can put on perioral dermatitis.

So I tried some home remedies. First I tried tea tree oil. Obviously you can’t use it neat, because it’s too strong, but I thought its antibacterial properties might help me out. While it might have helped slightly by keeping the skin free from infection, ultimately it dried my skin out making it even scalier.

My next idea was something called Skin Salvation by Pure Potions, a skincare range that I reviewed for the blog a few years ago which you can get in Holland & Barrett and off Amazon. It’s full of natural ingredients and gentle enough for babies with eczema, so I knew it would be safe for my face. It was soothing and moisturising and improved the flaky appearance of my skin very quickly, but still didn’t tackle the root cause of the perioral dermatitis.

So back to the GP I went, armed with photos to chart my progress, and a list of what I’d tried so far. It had been three months that I’d been living with this round my mouth, having to do the school run every day with no make up on, and even when I covered it up over Christmas and throughout my birthday celebrations, my skin still didn’t look its best.

This time I was given Lymecycline, an antibiotic which can be used for acne and bacterial infections. It started to work within a week and the perioral dermatitis disappeared entirely. I was gutted it had taken so long to find a solution but happy it was all over. Now all that was left was to tackle the acne…

Spot the Difference

I’ve always been complimented on my complexion and even though I didn’t manage to sail through my teenage years (and the rest!) without any acne like some lucky cows, they were generally few and far between. For months though, as I went through a period of physical and mental illness, my skin has suffered beyond belief.

The Lymecycline was doing an alright job at clearing my skin up but it did make me photosensitive, and while I generally avoid sunbathing to protect my skin, just 5 minutes on a sunbed left me sunburnt for days and I realised I wouldn’t be able to continue taking them into the summer.

Totally Topical

Having tried my best to address the root cause of my skin outbreak, I turned to my skincare regime itself. Between you and me, I’ve never had a problem with just washing my face with soap and water, but things had clearly changed; and as I read up on ‘cystic acne’ (basically big angry spots) I suspected hormones were at play – something which I can’t really sort overnight. So instead I found a skincare routine which seemed to help the congestion: Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads, Simple toner, and Loreal Hydra Genius Liquid Care moisturiser which is so far anyway, feels ideal for the summer months when I’d otherwise sweat off any moisturiser within minutes.

But then just as thinks seemed as though they were getting better… the spots worsened. The quest to get to the bottom of it and stop looking like I’ve been rolling round in a ditch full of nettles continues…


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