I don’t get acne often but when I do, they tend to be either on my chin or above my upper lip. Sometimes, there’s quite a bit of them. Sometimes, they’re cystic — large, red, inflamed and/or infected. My dermatologist told me about peri-oral dermatitis.

What Is Peri-Oral Dermatitis?

Acne, rashes, sensitivity, hyperpigmenation around the mouth, chin and even jawline. It can also be stubborn or recurring problems on the lips themselves like chronic dryness or sores. It is commonly caused by chemicals known as halogens which can be found in certain foods, medications, oral care products, as well as other things in your environment. If the condition manifests as acne, it can also be called halogen acne, and it can become cystic acne. The photo below is of a patient with the condition (thankfully, mine never got this bad, but at its worst, wasn’t far off).
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What Are Halogens?

Halogen acne can be caused by these halogens, arranged from was is usually considered to be the most to the least reactive:

  1. Fluorides: in some toothpastes and oral care products;
  2. Chlorides: in swimming pool water and some mouth washes;
  3. Bromides: found in some cough syrups, asthma medication, sleeping pills, chocolate;
  4. Iodides: in salt, seafood, B12 vitamins, processed and junk foods like snacks, sodas, chips, etc., algae in some facial masks; and
  5. Astatine

IMPORTANT: If you need some of these vitamins or medications, do not stop them! Take to your doctors about possible alternatives or just reduce your exposure to halogens wherever else you can.

 

What I Did To Get Clear:

I loved brushing with a flouride toothpaste because I thought my mouth felt cleaner with the minty after-feel. After learning that fluorides are halogens and could have been causing the acne around my mouth, I ditched it like a bad boyfriend.

I also checked what I was eating, and it turns out I was hitting all the major “ides”: I was getting lots of iodides in salt and seafood. I was taking multi-vitamins with B12 in them. I was pretty bad about processed and junk foods (snacks, sodas, chips, etc.)…all of which tend to be loaded with halogens.

I switched to Essence Skin-Saving Toothpaste which is made specifically for peri-oral dermatitis and has zero fluorides and chloride, or other irritants like dyes, flavors, and other allergens. I also cut down on all the other halogens I had in my life by following my dermatologist’s “Halogen-Free Diet“. And that’s pretty much it. I thought I’d have to take some serious medication or spend loads on some highly specific cream…and all I had to do was switch my toothpaste and be careful about some of the food I take.

– Marie in Marketing

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