Skin Problems – Part 1

I have had eczema for as long as I can remember, mainly around my mouth but occasionally on my arms too. Various things can cause it to react, but the usual suspects are when the seasons change, when I use lots of sun cream or when I eat spicy food. I’ve never given it a second thought, when using the strong steroid cream I’ve always been prescribed by my Doctor on the red patches that I get. I call these red patches around my mouth, my clown mouth, because that’s basically what I look like. I know, sexy! Over the years I’ve managed to keep it under control with the use of the steroid cream and other than a few bad occurrences, its been kept in check, that is until now. The eczema around my mouth often eases in the summer and triggers when the weather gets colder, so it flared as it usually does when November/December hit and I began applying my cream as usual. I try not to use it too much as my Doctor does warns me that it can thin your skin but without thinking, I was definitely overdoing it. This time round however something was going on, my clown mouth wasn’t clearing. Over the Christmas period it got gradually worse until I woke up on Boxing Day looking a bit like the joker, with an exaggerated red rash at both sides of my mouth and small cuts appearing whenever I smiled. This combined with a hangover made for a fairly horrific day!


My Dad commented that he thought I had something called Angular Cheilitis, a sign being the cuts at the corner of my mouth. He suggested an over the counter cream called Daktarin Oral gel. By this point I had realised that my steroid cream wasn’t working and I stopped using that altogether. I began googling (the internet, both a blessing and a curse) to try and find suggestions to fix this and decided to go with: Bathe the corners of my mouth with salt water (that bloody hurt) liberally apply Daktarin gel all round my mouth, drink Apple Cider Vinegar and cry (not necessarily in this order). To my horror, despite taking these measures the rash continued to get worse. It spread even further around my mouth and along with that I was getting tiny little spots/bumps filled with clear liquid which when broken, crusted into a sort of orange crust, basically it looked horrific. I found some more information online about something called Perioral Dermatitis. Web MD describes this as ‘a facial rash that causes bumps to develop around the mouth. In some cases, a similar rash may appear around the eyes, nose, or forehead. The condition is most commonly seen in young women (90% of cases), but it can affect men as well.’ And shock horror, this is caused (or can be caused) by over use of topical steroid creams! Yikes!! I was gutted, in all my trips to the Doctor, aside from telling me about it possibly thinning skin I have never been told about this other, unattractive side effect! Perioral Dermatitis can also be caused by the overuse of make up and lip balm and recently I had been trying different makeups on my chin, around my nose and I had definitely been overusing my lip balm. Basically I created my own, terrifying face monster.

Once I found out what the rash was, I stopped using EVERTHING that I’d been putting on my face and I went and spent a lot of money on vitamins, after reading lots online about how supplements could help. I bought: Evening Primrose Oil, Zinc, Vitabiotics Immunace, Bio-Kult Probiotic and Oregano Oil tablets. I have been taking these for a month now and I honestly don’t think they are doing anything, weeps! Bizarrely, despite looking like I did, it took me a while to make a Doctors appointment because I was hoping it was disappear (fool) but I finally saw my GP early in the New Year. She prescribed me with a course of antibiotics called Oxytetracycline, for three months, I baulked at the length of time but she was adamant this was required to clear everything up. After taking the tablets for a day or so, thankfully my face started to clear up , everything started to dry out and the rash started to dry up and recede.


Oh but hooold on, waaait a minute!! It wasn’t finished with me yet!! A few days after the above photo was taken it started to come back. Wonderful. My mouth started to look sore again and the little spots reappeared, plus, to top it all off, because I didn’t look bad enough already, a red rash started appearing around my eyes, dear god why! I became a hermit for the entire month of January, not leaving my house, hiding my face when answering the door and avoiding speaking to anyone but my husband. All in all, 2015 has been pretty rotten so far. I will continue to document my skin issues in another post, but I would love to hear from you if you experience similar problems too?

24 thoughts on “Skin Problems – Part 1

  1. Hi are eczema looks very different but emotionally it’s upsetting us the same. My Little boy is 3- often we are house bound-we’ve recently started to see a homeopath and wondered if you’d tried also? Sending well wishes x

    • A few people have suggested a Homeopath, at the moment i’m taking the conventional route & seeing a Dermatologist but might go the other route soon. Have you found it useful? Thanks for commenting x

      • Personally yes-it’s been a slow process but one that’s improved him so very much and they found food sensitivities that hospital hadn’t picked up on! But like you say it’s one of those things you need to do if it feels right for you! I’d like to follow your blog to see how you go! Sending healing wishes! X

  2. Hi!
    I just came across your post as my peri oral dermatitis flared up AGAIN before Xmas and even though I find everything about it on the web pointless as I have cut out every ingredient known to man, I find myself still searching hoping to find the cure! Mine first flared up in 2006 and since then I have had multiple flare ups and have taken antibiotics every time. The antibiotics always seem to work for me but I can’t keep taking them it’s getting ridiculous! I managed to pretty much nip it in the bud this time, apart from a tiny stubborn patch that flared up last week when I used lee Staffords purple capsule as my hair needed de yellowing lol, wish I hadn’t now! The differences I have made this time compared to all my last failed attempts are I have started taking yakult, primrose oil, seven seas with added fish oil and multi vitamins and zinc and vitamin c. Eating lots of Greek yogurt as some say it’s related to candida and instead of putting acv on the rash as everyone tells you to, I have been putting tea tree oil on it instead. Went through a few dry patch moments but the skin underneath was clear and once through the worse started to heal. Also cut sodium laurel sulphate products so changed face cleanser, shower gel, I only wash my hair with cleansers and conditioners with no parabens/sulphates, use natural toothpaste with no flouride or sulphates. I don’t think my makeup makes much of a difference as it cleared up wearing it. I also cut out peanut butter as I think it seemed to flare up when I had it and laying off the spicy foods for now. Let me know how you get on! 🙂

    • Hi Aimee, I’ve started to do all the things you mention like changing shampoo, using natural soap etc – its something else though that seems to be making it flare up and I can’t quite pinpoint what! I’m cutting out coffee too as that seemed to be a trigger, will let you know! Thanks for commenting x

  3. I have suffered from eczema most of my young life and it cleared up after intensive dermatologist treatment which included synthetic skin covering (I used to scratch it very badly and it was to prevent infection) calamine soaked bandages, UV lightbox treatment and Elocon steroid cream. I also went on holiday during the treatment so was in the sea frequently and the sun definitely helps. So much so that when I experience a flare up now I have been known to sunbathe (if the weather is right) or have a 30 second – 1 minutes sunbed session.
    I didn’t change my diet at all, but I probably should add that I don’t have much dairy in my diet.
    Eczema is horrible an can make you feel very self-conscious. My LO also has it, so I use Aveeno with her, most of it is about finding what works for you to keep it comfortable and not ‘angry’, I hope you manage to beat it or find the products that work best for you!

    • Thanks Cyran, sounds like you had pretty full on treatment to try & fix your eczema. I had patch testing this morning to see if its related to any products. Will update with my findings! Thanks for commenting x

  4. Eczema has consumed my entire life. I have the redness and cuts in the creases of my arms, but I have eczema everywhere. It goes through phases where it isn’t terrible, but oh goodness, it isn’t fun. I’m sorry you have had to deal wth the trauma.

  5. Hello i’m 13 years old i had eczema since i was about 3. I have it on my mouth as well and it sucks it hurts burns iches I get to a point i use my shirt and rub it. I changed my edit and everything not gluten no dairy.

  6. Hi Ems!

    Firstly, I hope you’re doing much better — I see that this was written close to two years ago. I would really like to know how you’re progressing, and what you’ve learned.

    I actually did a google image search and found your blog because your condition looks EXACTLY with what I’ve been dealing with over the past few years. The way you described its manifestation, (pus-filled blisters, orange crust, cracking corners) and your ill luck with steroid cream are my experience, verbatim. I even had a huge flare over Christmas! Fantastic!

    So, I definitely don’t want to assume that our situations are the same, but I think there are a lot of commonalities, and I just wanted to share my experience with you in case it helps in any way. Even just to know you’re not alone is nice sometimes. This stuff is so weird!

    Whenever I’ve a had a flare in the past, I’ve gotten in swabbed by a doctor or dermatologist and it’s always been ubiquitous infection gone haywire, like candida albicans or impetigo. I was given antibiotics and flucanozoles to clear it up, which definitely helped but it always came back. Also, I knew that taking these drugs over and over were not going to benefit my long term health. I live in the United States and haven’t always had healthcare, so the doctors I was seeing were quick-fix, overworked types, not really willing to look into “strange” issues.

    Last year, after trying several conventional and alternative practitioners, I found and integrative an integrative practitioner who specializes in autoimmune issues. Eczema is often an expression any number of systemic internal problems, and she’s helped me begin to weed through this. We determined that I have SIBO ( and the overgrowth of problematic fungi and bacteria in my small intestine was causing my immune system to attack those strains elsewhere — my skin, in the form of infections. I also get a lot of gastrointestinal upset when these flares arise; and since the mouth is at one end of the GI tract, full of organisms, it makes sense that this become an inflamed area.

    I’ve also been tested for food allergies (avoiding those definitely helps) and found that I have a white blood cell condition, probably both correlating with these symptoms.


    Really, I came here to share my anti-inflammatory routine for when a flare is coming on, that, for me, has really shown to minimize how much it spreads. Although it doesn’t seem to address the root problem, it can decrease the sheer horror of the situation!

    -Vitamin C: 1000mg every 2 hours
    -A blend of Quercetin 1g/Bromelain 300mg: 2 or 3x per day
    -NAC Enzyme: 600mg 3x per day
    -Plum Flower Brand Chuan Xin Lian: 1,440 mg 3x per day (This Chinese herb is also known as andrographis)

    For systemic general treatment, I’ve been taking a low dose of Nystatin to minimize candida, Berberine as an antibacterial, and probiotics away from those two. I take a saccaromyces boulardii yeast and a soil-based probiotic call Prescript Assist. One of the weirdest part of this experience for me is that I’ve had to experiment with different probiotics. Commonly used probiotics containing lactobacillus strains benefit lots of people, but they actually exacerbate my flares. From what I’ve read, and there’s very little research to really back this up, have SIBO causes a lot of histamine to be released in the body. Lactobacillus tend to release a lot of histamine also, and can therefore compound the problem of reactivity in the body.


    I officially feel like a crazy person, but this stuff takes you there. Ha ha! I just wanted to share in case any of this helps. I would also really, really like to know how you’re doing, as the severity of my own experience has decreased, but it all still persists.

    Thanks for posting on this! Best, best wishes to you!

  7. i know this is late but HAVE YOU TRIED SULPHUR??? i had this same problem for 5+ YEARS and nothing cured it until i tried a product called prosacea with 2% sulphur as the main active ingredient. the second i put it on it instantly healed my skin. it was like magic. using moisturizers and masks with hyaluronic acid help a lot as well.

    • Hey Julia, I’m literally off to Google this now! Thanks for commenting and so pleased you’re skin responded to this cream, amazing X

  8. Hi EMS – I also found your blog via Google Image search! What I have is exactly what your photo looks like. I’ve had it on and off for 20 years (started getting it aged 6-7). It faded away for a good number of years but I’ve had it bad for the past year and a half.

    What I’ve tried so far:
    a) Elidel – no response after 2 weeks
    b) Fucibet – no response after 4 weeks (this is a steroid cream)
    c) Vaseline – one nurse thought I licked my lips, which I do not, nor when I sleep.
    d) Tetracycline / Lymecycline antibiotics – been on these for 2 months now and no change
    c) Natural remedies – Lyons Leaf & other natural ointments
    … I use all natural face cleansers, toothpaste is flouride free.
    … I’ve been on a dairy free diet, vegan dairy free diet, gone off alcohol and nothing made any difference whatsoever.

    I have had a full allergy test with no result. I don’t have hayfever or any other symptoms.

    There is absolutely no factors which I can relate to it getting better or worse. I have lived in Spain & England and it hasn’t changed.

    It doesn’t affect my actual lips, just a burning & itchy rash around my mouth.

    I’ve been going to acupuncture which helps a little, but nothing so far has gotten rid of it.

    I have been to 6 dermatologists and they can’t identify the problem – hoping you might have tried something I don’t know about?

    Thanks !

    (Another) Ems x

    • Hi Emma! I am about two years late in answering this as I completely missed your message, huge apologies. Are you still having the same issues? I worked out for myself, (the Dermatologist I saw was useless) that my initial trigger was a hormone surge/change after having a baby & my periods returning. Then I had a reaction to banana’s, it was the banana’s that seemed to be causing my face issues. I cut those out and the issues stopped (I also had to use a small bit of steroid cream too) Whilst I can have banana’s still, every now and again my face reacts … such a weird one! Certain food do make my eczema flare, like spicy foods etc, but it seems to still be banana’s that cause this other weirder/bigger reaction. Emma x

    • Hi Emma

      My daughter is 3 and developed exactly the same as you have at around 12 months, we’ve been to so many dermatologist appointments but nothing works! The only time it cleared is when I took her on holiday and the salt water and sun cleared it up perfectly.

  9. Oh my goodness…I am having the exact issue! I call it my joker lips…LOL. It is so frustrating! I can’t seem to get it to go away. It is around my eyes too. Please….tell me you found something to help! I feel like I am moisturizing all day! Its never enough…Please tell me every single thing you found out!

    • Hi Sarah! It’s horrid isn’t it – So for me, the main flare I had was post baby, so an overload of hormones in my body and overusing steroid creams, I switched to a much milder steroid cream after seeing a private consultant and also, discovered that banana smoothies were a trigger, weird. To this day, spicy foods and tomato based foods set it off. If you haven’t discovered her already, check out Hanna Sillitoe – her story etc is pretty cool. Good luck – oh and the only lipbalm I can use is Moogoo, if you haven’t heard of them yet, good luck X

  10. Hi Ems, your account of your skin issues is just the same as what I have been experiencing for a few years now. I am pregnant with my 3rd and things are still bad. I have cut out added sugar and caffeine and alcohol (not that hard when you are pregnant!) But have looked at your Hanna Sillitoe recommendation and am about to buy her book and follow her plan. Do you mind me asking if you changed your diet dramatically and if it has worked to clear your skin? Or are they still bad in winter etc.
    I Know it’s going to be a big overhaul so want to have some hope that if I commit to her programme my clown lips will go away! Any advice is hugely appreciated!
    Thanks so much for sharing, Soph

    • Hi Soph, huge apologies for the delayed reply – I haven’t written on here for ages! So with me specifically I discovered a link between my awful flare-up and banana’s. I followed Hanna’s plan loosely when I had this problem, but also cut banana’s out and found that just doing this helped me heaps. I was also prescribed a different steroid cream, which although I didn’t want to use it at the time, using that sparingly helped hugely too. I do find now that my mouth reacts when I eat spicy food and tomatoes and also weirdly when I eat Sauerkraut. It’s also worse in winter i.e. now – and wearing the face masks hasn’t helped either!! I could probably do with following Hanna’s plan again but life just isn’t that easy at the moment for me to be able to do so! Good luck, Emma X

    • Hi Soph, huge apologies for the delayed reply – I haven’t written on here for ages! So with me specifically I discovered a link between my awful flare-up and banana’s. I followed Hanna’s plan loosely when I had this problem, but also cut banana’s out and found that just doing this helped me heaps. I was also prescribed a different steroid cream, which although I didn’t want to use it at the time, using that sparingly helped hugely too. I do find now that my mouth reacts when I eat spicy food and tomatoes and also weirdly when I eat Sauerkraut. It’s also worse in winter i.e. now – and wearing the face masks hasn’t helped either!! I could probably do with following Hanna’s plan again but life just isn’t that easy at the moment for me to be able to do so! Good luck, Emma X

Leave a Reply