Cleansing, exfoliating, applying cream – it's all good for the skin, isn't it?! Not necessarily. If you do it too often, the skin can react with what's known as flight attendant's disease: small spots and itching around the mouth are often the consequences. Although perioral Dermatitis is a harmless disease from a medical standpoint, it is an extremely burdensome condition for those suffering from it. Treatment requires changing one's thinking: one must learn that less is more.
How can skincare be harmful?
It is well known that a radiant complexion requires regular facial cleansing and skin care. The beauty industry offers us tons of cosmetic products with which to achieve this. But at what point is it overkill? In most cases, the skin itself tells us when it's had enough and reacts with visible perioral dermatitis, a form of contact dermatitis and one of the most common skin diseases. This unsightly skin reaction is most likely due to “overdoing it” with cosmetic products. Constant cleansing (in particular with surfactants) and applying of creams overmoisturizes the skin. This makes the corneal layer swell up, causing an imbalance in the skin's natural barrier function and in turn allowing the skin to lose too much moisture.
Dry - moist - dry...
The skin feels dry, which the affected person tries to prevent by applying more cream, which only worsens the symptoms and triggers a vicious cycle. Excess skincare further damages the skin and ultimately causes inflammation.
How do I recognize Perioral Dermatitis?
Those who suffer from what's referred to as “flight attendant's disease” (mostly women aged 16 to 45) will exhibit the following symptoms:
• Symptoms: small areas of redness, burning, pain, sometimes itching, often unpleasant dryness with minor desquamation, rarely also oozing
• Where: tubercles, pustules or small spots, most often around the mouth (therefore also called “red mouth”); dermatitis can also develop on the nostrils and around the eyes. The rash around the mouth typically exhibits a narrow border around the lips which is not affected by the rash.
Should I see a dermatologist?
It is usually necessary to make an appointment with a dermatologist. The doctor will recommend that the patient immediately stop using all skincare products to allow the skin to regenerate. This is particularly difficult for women, being unable to cover up conspicuous facial irritations with makeup. However, it is the only way to bring about a sustained improvement – albeit not right away. The condition may worsen at first but in most cases the inflammation gradually disappears in four to six weeks.
The no-cosmetics diet...
Once the dermatologist has prescribed the appropriate treatment, the stressed skin must be suitably nourished – or not, in this case! Unfortunately, all previously used cosmetic products must be avoided. First and foremost, the skin needs a complete rest from all skincare creams and cleansers – in other words, NO products. For many women, this means a complete change in habits; it makes perfect sense that you would want to moisturize extremely dry areas of skin with a greasy cream – but this is exactly what will trigger the vicious cycle of overtreated skin. For the time being, the face should only be cleansed with water, nothing else.
And then no more skincare products? Yes, but the right ones.
Once the dermatitis has subsided, a minimalist skincare ritual should be put in place. Our Filabé Balanced Skin is just the thing. In the evening, moisten a wipe with water, gently massage the face for 30-45 seconds and that's it: the face is optimally cleansed and nourished with natural active ingredients – without any harmful additives. In the morning, you can wash your face with water again. We recommend applying a light cream with UV protection during the day. Ask about which day cream has a high water content and as few additives as possible.
If the dermatitis has completely healed and you are comfortable with Filabé, we recommend continuing to use Filabé every day. If necessary, you can also switch to Filabé Aging Skin Balanced at any time (from approx. age 35).
Filabé offers the perfect skin care – with practically no risk.
Do you have experience with perioral dermatitis? Please write to us!