If you’ve found this guide, start by taking a huge, deep breath. We totally understand how frustrating perioral dermatitis and topical steroid withdrawal can be, and how confusing and conflicted all the information on the internet can seem, especially when you’re in distress. We are here to help, we have lots of experience with PD and TSW, and we have faith in your skin’s ability to heal itself with the right support.
If you’re new to Osmia, you should read this article first, then this article, and then watch this video. Read and watch closely, jot down notes for yourself, and then come back to this checklist. If you’re the type who wants to keep track of progress, grab a fresh journal, and find a spot in your home to take photos of your skin once a week (not more) in the same light, at the same time of day. Or download and print our plan and take it to the store when you shop and use it as an everyday resource.
There is no quick fix for perioral dermatitis or topical steroid withdrawal, but following this checklist consistently and patiently should produce noticeable change within 3-4 weeks. Start by reading the bullet points in each section, and follow up with the shopping checklist at the bottom. We do not receive compensation or sponsorship from any of the brands linked below (except our own products, of course). We are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can message us on Instagram with questions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We will not diagnose, cure, or treat any disease over the internet, but we will happily give you the information and tools to help you help yourself!
Perioral Dermatitis/Topical Steroid Withdrawal Guidelines
- If you are using topical steroids (a cream or lotion prescribed by your doctor), start weaning it immediately. This means you use less and less every day until you’ve stopped completely. If you’re under the care of a dermatologist, let them know you are not willing to use topical steroids anymore. Also, be prepared for things to get worse before they get better—steroids are known for causing rebound reactions when they are discontinued.
- If you are using oils or balms for cleansing or moisturizing, stop immediately. Oils, balms, and rich creams make PD angry—even beautiful, completely natural ones.
- Eliminate all products with synthetic fragrance!
- Begin cleansing with Black Clay Facial Soap once a day, in the evenings before bed. To use, splash your face and the bar with lukewarm water. Rub the bar vigorously on between your hands until you have a thick, creamy lather. Place your soap on a soap saver, and begin to wash the skin with gentle, circular motions. Continue this for 30-60 seconds, using very light pressure. If you need to remove eye makeup as well, save it for the last few seconds of cleansing, and keep your eyes closed. Rinse thoroughly, and pat the skin dry with a clean washcloth.
- Apply Purely Simple Face Cream to clean skin, using it sparingly over the angry areas of your skin. Less than a full pump is required for your whole face and neck.
- Don’t use any other products on your face. If your skin starts to improve, you may start enjoying this routine twice a day.
- If your PD really starts to heal, and you feel you need a little more moisture or nourishment, you can try adding either our Active Gel Toner or our Nectar Vital Rose Drops, but we recommend using only the soap and face cream for a minimum of three weeks.
- Do NOT exfoliate or pick at your skin when it’s angry or irritated. It’s already upset, and scrubbing it in that state is like yelling at an angry bear—not helpful. Once your PD has mostly healed, you can start to exfoliate gently once a week.
- Go without makeup whenever possible until your skin is mostly healed. If you have to wear makeup occasionally, try to shop from the brands below.
- If you’re not going to be outside, skip the sunscreen until your skin starts to heal. The fewer ingredients, the better until things settle a bit.
- You might think your haircare is not a big deal, and that you can keep your shampoo suds off your face, but you’re wrong. You have to eliminate sodium laury/laureth sulfate from your life completely, and shampoo is a big offender.
- Finding a sulfate-free brand is tricky with all the greenwashing that’s happening in the beauty industry. Just because it says “sulfate-free” does not mean it’s a great choice—it may still have synthetic fragrance and other irritants. Choose one from the shopping list below.
- No more fluoride or sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate in your toothpaste.
- Switch to a dental floss that is not synthetically colored or fragranced.
- As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food, less of it, mostly plants”. This means you’re focused on eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats and protein.
- Drink 100 ounces of spring water daily.
- Little to no dairy or processed sugar. (Fruit sugars and raw honey are fine.)
- Consider limiting coffee, cinnamon, garlic, and onions. These are exacerbating foods for many people with PD.
- Research a low FODMAP diet. Many PD people find this helpful while their skin starts to heal.
- If you’re not pregnant or planning pregnancy soon, consider taking evening primrose oil supplements. They can support skin healing from the inside, as well as healthy hormone balance throughout the month.
- Probiotics can be helpful to ensure optimal gut health.
- Magnesium and/or melatonin can be helpful in supporting good quality sleep.
- If you notice a surge of symptoms around your menstrual cycle, you might consider a supplement with black cohosh or chaste tree berry, which can help soften the edges of hormone fluctuations.
- Supplements can get very expensive, so it may be helpful to work with a company like Binto (started by a women’s health nurse) to customize a packet for your needs in an economical way.
- You must eliminate sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate and synthetic fragrance in all cleaning supplies, dishwashing fluid, and laundry products. Also, it pays to read labels, because even some of the more “green” brands still use fragrance and SLS.
- No more dryer sheets. They’re bad for your skin and for the world.
Do NOT take this section lightly. Stress management is an absolutely critical part of your success in managing perioral dermatitis or topical steroid withdrawal. If you are not working on decreasing your stress, especially if your skin challenges are increasing your stress, it will become an endless cycle for your skin. So take these steps as seriously as the rest.
- If you don’t meditate already, start here. If you have a practice, make sure you’re doing it daily, even if for only a few minutes.
- Get some kind of exercise daily - even if it’s a 20 minute brisk walk. Follow us on Spotify for some great, bouncy playlists.
- Look for an acupuncturist who is experienced and has an excellent reputation. Be sure to do your homework because there’s one on every corner these days.
- Focus on healing. Read fiction, drink herbal tea, do some online yoga classes at yogaglo.com, get lots of sleep. You need to treat this like your job—because it is.
Perioral Dermatitis/Topical Steroid Withdrawal
Only after three weeks with steady improvement, consider adding:
If you are having trouble with any of these products, please email us and we will suggest one of a handful of products from other brands that are gentle enough to try. (We’re the experts in t PD/TSW because many other brands have too many active ingredients, and tend to irritate the skin, so we hope Osmia works as well for you as it has for so many others.)
W3LL PEOPLE Bio Tint SPF 30 (this is thick, so it’s best mixed with a bit of the Purely Simple Face Cream so it doesn’t pull the skin while you’re applying)
Shop this blog post for other makeup suggestions.
Mychelle unscented SPF 28 (you can also mix this with the W3LL PEOPLE Bio Tint for a little extra coverage)
Jason Seafresh toothpaste
Almond or hemp seed milk
Anything else that nourishes and supports your body during this time of healing
Binto Custom Vitamin packets (Use code Osmia for a discount.)
Supernatural cleaning products
Common Good dishwashing soap
Liquid melatonin to support sleep if needed.
Magnesium at bedtime can relax mind and body.
Flower elixirs to ease anxiety.
Insight Timer meditation app
With love and the glow of empowerment from us to you,