My discussion of the face rot the other day got me thinking on it more and thus scouring the internet where I really hadn't bothered. I came across a dermatologist listserv and one short faked DEA number later, I was in. Where I found a thrilling discussion of perioral dermatitis.
It turned out that there was a treatment that the majority of the dermatologists agreed worked almost all of the time, yet almost none of them recommended it to ANY patients. Instead, they recommend oral and topical antibiotics, weaker steroids, acid treatments, etc. None of these alternate treatments have great records. They might work, but it seems incredibly hit or miss.
The treatment that does work is to stop doing anything. Wash the face only with water and do not apply ANYTHING to the face. Some of the dermatologist also added switching to a non-fluoride toothpaste, but there wasn't agreement on this.
It read like they don't recommend this treatment because they don't think people will do it. Or perhaps people think that doctors should take positive action. And it can temporarily cause the condition to get even worse.
Upon reading this, I decided that this was totally worth trying. Hmmm, I can either take a category C drug which may actually make things worse and will require applying and monitoring or I can just try doing NOTHING. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
So, since Tuesday I have done nothing to my face. And the impact is dramatic, to the point that a couple coworkers have even commented.
From what I read in their discussion, I need to keep up the doing nothing for about two weeks. Then I can slowly experiment with doing things such as applying sunscreen or getting an eyebrow wax. I'll be interested to see if the melasma spot (brown pigmentation) that I have on my forehead from Chiron and Aurelia's pregnancy gets darker with the lack of sunscreen, but I would definitely prefer that to the burning of the dermatitis!
It really is wacky to me that the dermatologist's PA didn't even mention this as a possibility to me, particularly as a pregnant patient. It seems like exploring the non-drug options should always be something they should do with pregnancy.
It's also funny that my attempting to treat the condition was actually probably what was causing it to get worse. I've never been one of those people that is very into face products and has a regimen or anything, but when it started getting irritated, I made a conscious effort to moisturize the skin, which was almost certainly what caused the inflammation to get more dramatic.
So, for the third time in less than two weeks, I'm convinced I'm a genius.
Just for your comparison purposes, here's the full face picture from two days ago again: