What is Perioral Dermatitis?
Perioral dermatitis, also known as POD, is a kind of dermatitis affecting the face. POD is a chronic condition marked by papulopustular and eczematous skin lesions. Perioral dermatitis most commonly affects women (about 90% of cases) between the ages of 20 and 45 years old. Interestingly, perioral dermatitis almost nonexistent in developing nations.
POD is marked by a red background (erythematous base) with groupings of red papules, papulovesicles, and papulopustules (different kinds of bumps). These bumps are often very small. As the name implies, perioral dermatitis affects the skin surrounding the lips. It is said to “spare the vermillion border,” meaning that the border of where the lips meet the neighboring skin is unaffected. In some cases, the skin of the the border between the nostril and the cheeks (nasolabial fold) and lateral portions of the lower eyelids can be affected. Rarely, women may have lesions on the vulva or backs of the hands.
How is Perioral Dermatitis treated?
I use a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to treat perioral dermatitis. This combination allows me to approach the disease from multiple standpoints. Acupuncture helps balance the body’s energies to regulate disease and herbal medicine works on the physical body from the inside out.
Both Western and Chinese medicine acknowledge a strong link between an emotional upset or period of extreme stress and the development of perioral dermatitis. In Chinese medicine, the emotions play an important role in the overall wellbeing of the person. In Chinese medical dermatology, this plays an even larger role because the stagnating emotions (stress, frustration, anger, worry) can generate heat, the central pathogenic factor in many skin conditions.
Additionally, it is important to take into account and modify lifestyle behaviors and dietary factors that may be contributing to POD. Without modifying these factors, it is possible for perioral dermatitis to recur. These changes should be instituted before the final consolidation phase of the treatment plan to ensure you get the results you want.
My additional training in dermatology allows me to customize each treatment to you, the patient, and make sure you get the results you want.