Thursday, February 2, 2012

Definitely a genius

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.

It's obviously not perfect yet, but the redness, the bumps and the dryness have all improved.  From doing nothing!  It's perhaps most dramatic in the area under my left eye:

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:


  1. It actually makes me a little mad.
    At the medical establishment for treating patients like sheep, and at society at large- for acting like sheep. While I can't condone the method *coughgoodforyoucough* you are, in fact, a genius!

  2. woah. that's really dramatic! nice.

  3. glad you faked that DEA number! ;) (That made me laugh, by the way!) And so very glad you're feeling better!

  4. That is amazing -- and infuriating! I can't believe they wouldn't suggest that to anyone, actually, but ESPECIALLY a pregnant woman. Ugh! I mean, I don't even use my under-eye cream while pregnant, or scented soaps or lotions, to try to minimize chemicals seeping into my skin. So I'd have been PISSED if I started using junk on my face when really all I had to do was nothing! You truly ARE a genius. A diabolical genius, perhaps. But a genius nonetheless. So glad you're a listserv hacker in your spare time!

  5. Holy shit! You ARE a genius! Nice job mamma!

  6. Ok so the weird thing.....we've just over the last few months used fluoride toothpaste with the littles. I wonder if that could be the culprit ?
    CRAZY !

  7. Genius indeed :).
    I'm about to give birth to my first and at around 5 months pregnant I developed a red, dry spot near the corner of my mouth that looks a lot like yours. My dermatologist basically told me to suck it up until after pregnancy --which I've been doing so far, but figured it wouldn't hurt to try your brilliant "apply nothing" approach. The problem: it's really cold and dry where I live and after 3 days of not moisturizing the spot, it is itching so badly. Did you not have any trouble with dryness?

    (PS: landed here through a comment on AlphaMom. Liking it so far :)

    1. One thought I have from my reading it to try Cetaphil. As infrequent and as light as you can handle and do it with as little rubbing and touching even if that means some is sitting on top of the skin.

      If you think the Cetaphil is making it worse, some people apparently do better with a moisturizer called Cerave, so you might try it.

      And I have had it feel like it was getting really dry, but just yesterday it seemed to start going the other way. By not using soap, you aren't removing the oil from your skin, so it might improve. The derm who sounded the smartest to me actually recommended sticking out the do NOTHING policy for two full weeks before considering doing anything else.

    2. Thank you for your reply! I'll a try a bit of Cetaphil if it gets unbearably dry.