I have shared a lot about Perioral Dermatitis, but today I wanted to put my Perioral Dermatitis journey in one place for you.

Believe it or not, the skin topic is one of the most common women want to discuss.

And by the way, I think the reason women want to discuss their skin so much is because gut and skin go hand-in-hand.

When the gut is off, almost always the skin is, too.

This past weekend I got a message from a woman who said, 

Holy s%^&! I have Perioral Dermatitis right now. It just came back after being gone for like 8 months. NO ONE could diagnose it and I’ve tried 1000 things and different prescriptions and nothing seemed to work until it just gradually went away on its own.

Sounds about right.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

My Perioral Dermatitis Journey

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My Perioral Dermatitis Journey agutsygirl.com #acne #skincare #guthealth #perioraldermatitis

For reference, here are the posts I’ve written on the topic (in order from first to last):

  1. Chemicals in Personal Care Products Part I (April 1, 2014). This is the post where it sort of all began.
  2. Perioral Dermatitis (April 2, 2014)
  3. Replacing My Personal Care Products and How I Will Heal Perioral Dermatitis Naturally (April 3, 2014)
  4. Brazen and Learning to Live Without Fear (July 8, 2014)
  5. How I Healed My Perioral Dermatitis Naturally (October 28, 2014).
  6. I Have SIBO (December 4, 2014).
  7. One Change for Perioral Dermatitis (November 3, 2017).

And here is sort of the journey in pictures (I wish I had way more, but back then, I didn’t really want to take them.)

These images go from the beginning – in 2014 – to the last image with zero dermatitis – taken recently. Do make note that PD plagued me much earlier in life, too.

You can read about it above in, “Chemicals in Personal Care Products Part I.” It all started in 1997.

I was only 13.

My Perioral Dermatitis Journey www.sarahkayhoffman.com early days #sibo #perioraldermatitis #skincare #skinhealth
My Perioral Dermatitis Journey www.sarahkayhoffman.com beginning #sibo #perioraldermatitis #skincare #skinhealth
My Perioral Dermatitis Journey www.sarahkayhoffman.com flare #sibo #perioraldermatitis #skincare #skinhealth
My Perioral Dermatitis Journey www.sarahkayhoffman.com healing in 2017 #sibo #perioraldermatitis #skincare #skinhealth
me today no bloat, healthy, thriving gut healing agutsygirl.com

I haven’t written anything about Perioral Dermatitis in so long because it never plagues me anymore.

But I wanted to write this post for you so I could share what I’ve learned.

know the “embarrassment” of it, and I don’t want that for you. You can heal; and that’s what I want for you.

So here are the top 7 things I learned on my Perioral Dermatitis journey.

Top 7 Things I Learned on My Perioral Dermatitis Journey

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My Perioral Dermatitis Journey agutsygirl.com #acne #skincare #guthealth #perioraldermatitis Top 7 Things Learned

1. Diet Matters

Do not listen to anyone who tells you that diet has nothing to do with your Perioral Dermatitis.

It does – 1,000%. I believe the things that flared it most in my case were: too much caffeine, sugar, dairy, and maybe even grains.

Gluten also will, but I was not eating gluten then.

If you have skin issues, you cannot outrun a bad diet.

2. All the skincare and makeup in the world won’t matter if your gut is a mess

Listen, I know what the beauty, cosmetics, and skin care companies all tell you – “Our product will clear up your skin issues.”

I promise you that if using a particular product was all you needed to heal your Perioral Dermatitis, barely anyone would suffer with the issue.

If you do not and have not addressed the underlying issue, no topical will make it magically go away.

No, not even Beautycounter.

3. But the skincare and makeup you do choose, does matter – in a huge way 

Use nothing, or next to nothing immediately.

In those first couple pictures, I used barely anything on my face.

In fact, every single product would irritate it and/or make it physically hurt. Less is more in the beginning.

While you are working on your gut and figuring out why the Perioral Dermatitis exists to begin with, just stay away from everything.

And then, be very careful about what you do choose. Listen, it could be assumed that I write all these posts because of my Beautycounter business.

But guess what? I didn’t fall in love with Beautycounter and join the team until the end of 2017.

This was long after the Perioral Dermatits struggles were so real.

But I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that making this decision to switch to safer skincare and makeup was the very best one I could make for keeping the Perioral Dermatitis far away.

4. Check that toothpaste

I’m very serious about that one.

I made the correlation a long time ago, but then really made the correlation when I tested (on accident) the theory.

You can read about it HERE.

5. Is there something underlying that’s causing it? Get tested!

I believe, deep down, that the root of all my Perioral Dermatitis evils was the SIBO; the undiagnosed-for-far-too-long SIBO.

One thing that happened in 2014 when the PD was at its worst but before getting the SIBO diagnosis was that, in addition to working on my gut and cleaning everything up, I got super sick.

I stayed sick for a week or more before I “caved” and went to the doctor (I used “caved” like this for a reason; I wrote about it during that time with a post titled, “Antibiotics.”)

Anyways, shortly after the 10-day antibiotic (that, by the way, I desperately needed), my skin started to get better. In hindsight, it was another sign that this was all rooted back to SIBO.

My entire body was plagued; I needed antibiotics and I desperately needed the SIBO diagnosis.

All of this to say; do not wait. If your PD looks as bad as mine, you must get to the bottom of it; otherwise, it might never heal.

6. You might need an antibiotic (and a probiotic might be making you worse)

See #5. Do not feel bad if you do. My point in healing with food and lifestyle vs. drugs and medications is not to shame the medications and antibiotics when you need them.

On the other side, if you’ve been religious to your probiotic, it could be making your skin (and gut) flare even more.

I wrote about probiotics via, “Should I Take a Probiotic with SIBO?

7. Deal with the hard stuff

This final one is somewhat murky, but it’s probably the most important.

First of all, it’s hard to want to be seen in public sans-makeup when your face looks like mine did in the beginning. Do it anyways; be brazen.

Second, so much of what’s going on with skin and gut all comes back to the emotional and mental health.

If you truly want to get better, you will need to focus on this.

During the thick of mine, we had just gotten Samarah. I wasn’t sleeping, and I was barely eating. I was working out a lot, and was constantly stressed that someone would take Sam from us.

And then, I was stressed about what was going on inside my body. Why did I feel so miserable? Why was my face so sore and unpleasant?

I should have dealt with all the hard stuff back then, but didn’t. I do today, which is a key reason why I think it has not come back.

Like I said, today it’s 100% gone. The only thing that remains is some of the scarring from it. For that, I’m using the Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel. That said, a little scarring can be covered up with makeup. For that, though, refer back to #3. 🙂

I truly hope if you suffer with Perioral Dermatitis that this post helped direct your own journey in new ways. I’m always here listening. 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Digestive Health Testing
  2. The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut 
  3. Leaky Gut Associated Dermatitis


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  1. hi! I am struggling w perioral derm under my nose for two years. It has not been diagnosed but looks EXACTLY like yours. Nothing has helped (from derm) but I haven’t tried diet. I’m so over it and will do anything at this point. How long did it take to see results after you started the GAPS diet? I am excited to start this weekend!

    1. Hi Melissa – Wanted to check in with you to see how you’re doing? Did GAPS work? One thing I wanted to suggest, if you haven’t gotten tested already, is to see about any gut infections or overgrowths. My PD went hand-in-hand with SIBO. Love to hear from you!

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