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Makeup and Skincare for Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral Dermatitis. It sucks. But what exactly is it? Perioral Dermatitis or PD is essentially a rash around the mouth and nose that can be caused by a variety of things including fluoride, steroid creams, heavy oils on the skin, and even stress. 

I started seeing the symptoms of PD during my freshman year of high school. My skin was red, itchy, and flakey with spots around my mouth. I didn’t know what to do so I lathered my face in coconut oil and face cream hoping that the dry skin would go away. That was a mistake. It got worse and my mom took me to the dermatologist almost immediately the doctor told me it was hyperpigmentation and gave me a steroid cream. I used that cream for the entire summer and it seemed to work, it was practically gone. But then I ran out, and in a matter of days, it was back and much worse. My self-esteem plummeted. I tried to cover up my PD. I couldn’t make eye contact with people because I knew they would just stare at the rash that consumed my face. 

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I had the worst flare-up yet and, of course, it was a week before prom. I went to go see a dermatologist who diagnosed me with perioral dermatitis. He prescribed me a topical cream and doxycycline and for the first month it seemed to work. My dermatologist then told me to stop taking the medication and my PD came back. I lost hope and I had to come to terms with the fact that this was something I was just going to have to deal with. Even though my PD hasn’t gone away completely, I found some skincare and makeup that helps me during flare-ups and maintain my PD. 



1. Hello Charcol and Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Fluoride-free toothpaste is something I’ve been using for a while now and I found that when I use toothpaste with fluoride, my flare-ups don’t seem to go away. I recommend Hello Charcol and Coconut Oil Toothpaste, it leaves my teeth feeling extra clean and unlike other fluoride-free toothpaste I’ve tried in the past. 

2. SheaMoisture: African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Foaming Facial Wash

I’ve used this face wash for the last two years and it is one of the best I’ve used. I leave this on my face for about five minutes before I wash it off and it makes my skin feel so smooth and clean. I’ve found that this really helps my skin calm down during flare-ups and helps clear up my skin. I use this in the morning and at night, however, if my flare-up is really bad, I will use this at night only and wash my face with warm water in the morning. 

3. SheaMoisture: African Black Soap Balancing Moisturizer 

This stuff is so good! It isn’t too heavy on my skin and it really helps clear up my skin. This, along with the face wash, is perfect for my skin. It does not burn or irritate my skin during a flare-up. 

4. Elta MD Sunscreen 

This sunscreen is great. It doesn’t create a white cast on your face and isn’t drying. This was recommended to me by my dermatologist and it has worked really well for me. Wearing SPF is extremely important especially with PD as sun exposure can agitate it and make it worse. 

I try to keep my skincare routine very simple, I don’t use any harsh exfoliators, instead, I use a silicon facial scrubber and warm water. This is a lot gentler on my skin it doesn’t irritate it as much as an exfoliator would. Another alternative moisturizer I’ve used is the Vanicream Lite Lotion. This is great because it is super gentle and perfect for sensitive skin especially if you are having a bad flare-up, this will help neutralize it. Additionally, the Vanicream Gentle Face Cleanser is also great if you are looking to try a new product. 





1. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

This product is great for evening out my skintone it doesn’t irritate my skin so it’s perfect for days when I want more coverage. I do try to avoid putting too much on my PD as it can sometimes create a gray-ish overlay.

2. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer

This concealer is absolutely amazing! It has great coverage and doesn’t make my skin dry or blotchy. 

3. Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Deep Peach

This color corrector is great for days I want to cover-up my PD a little bit. I found that this doesn’t seem to irritate my PD and the coverage for this product is great and it does not leave a gray cast on your face like it might when you just use concealer.  

4. Glossier Cloud Paint 

This blush is wonderful for a natural look and is not too heavy on my skin. It looks natural and is not too harsh on my skin. 

5. Glossier Lash Slick 

This mascara is so beautiful for lengthening your eyelashes and gives you a natural look. 

6. NYX Fill & Fluff + Boy Brow

These two products are great and make my brows look full and put together (even when they’re not).


It is usually advised that you don’t wear much makeup with PD as it can irritate it more and make it worse, but for days where I feel like wearing more makeup, these are the products I use. I use mascara, brow gel/brown pencil, and blush everyday and I usually only wear a full face for special occasions. PD is extremely frustrating, but it can get better. It does not define who you are or your beauty. I’ve been struggling with PD for almost five years, and there are days when my skin is great and days when it isn’t, but that’s okay because everybody deals with that. These are products that work for me and its important to understand that everyone’s skin is different so just make sure you know exactly what you are putting on your face. 

Sources: 1

Images: 1, 2,

Alisha Karan

U Mass Amherst '23

Alisha is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she studies Public Health. In her free time you will find her taking pictures, listening to music, or at a coffee shop. In the future, she hopes to travel around the world and work with non-profits in third-world countries.
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