When Acne Isn’t Acne

For the most part of the year, I’ve been battling with breakouts (and breakdowns) which I thought were due to hormonal imbalance (which I also thought were causing my emotional breakdowns :P) Last Sunday, I finally found time to see a dermatologist.  Lo and behold, I found out that I’ve been using the wrong skin care products on my face!  AND I also learned that the acne I thought I had was not acne at all!

I really should have seen a dermatologist sooner and not experimented with just about all the skincare products I could afford.  Apparently, my self-diagnosis was just a big misdiagnosis.

Since I thought I had hormonal acne, I bought a tea tree cleanser which can help control my breakouts.  However, the doctor told me that tea tree oil was doing more damage than good on my skin (good thing I hadn’t had time to buy that new BB with tea tree oil I wanted to try).  She told me that salicyclic acid wasn’t a friend to my skin and I should avoid products that contain it.  It also turns out that I shouldn’t even be using moisturizers on my face.  I was already producing more than enough sebum to keep it moisturized naturally.  So what was causing the breakouts?  Dermatitis.

‘Tis a Thing Called DERMATITIS

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Perioral Dermatitis and Seborrheic Dermatitis to be exact. This caught me again in surprise as I’ve always associated seborrheic dermatitis with dandruff which I didn’t have – or so I thought. I didn’t have those white flaky  stuff we usually associate with “dandruff”.  Well, there’s another myth debunked!

Seborrheic Dermatitis isn’t just dandruff. It can occur not just on the scalp but on other parts of the body that tend to be oily such as creases of the nose, around the lips, behind the ears, outer ear, and the chest.  Have you heard of cradle cap in infants? That’s seborrheic dermatitis too.  Though she cannot pinpoint the exact triggers, it may be caused by stress, changes in the weather, excessive sebum production, or infrequent shampoos. The dermatologist said that this form of dermatitis is chronic (meaning I have it for life, huhuhuhu) but can be managed with proper skin care and healthy diet.

As for the other –itis, it resembles acne but it isn’t.  Perioral dermatitis is characterized by acne-like bumps around the mouth, on the chin, in the folds around the nose, under the eyes, and on the forehead.  It’s on the T-zone which is why I thought it was hormonal acne.  According to the dermatologist my seborrheic dermatitis could be the man cause for this.  It is also aggravated by toothpaste dripping on my chin.  Yah, I’m a child like that – letting toothpaste froth drip down my chin while I’m brushing my teeth. 😛 My using heavy skin creams and sunscreen makes it even worse – which is why I’m staying away from moisturizers for now.

New Skin Care Regimen

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For the next week, I’m on Tetralysal (lymecycline)  and Hydrocortisone+Erythromycin cream.  No more tea tree oil cleanser also. I’m back to using Cetaphil for keeps.  Cetaphil and Physiogel are the only cleansers the dermatologist recommends.  She also recommended that I change my shampoo to Head & Shoulders or Gard.  I’m to also use a ketoconazole shampoo once a week.  It has only been a couple of days since I’ve changed my regimen and followed the prescription yet my skin’s already visibly cleared a bit.  Hopefully, all the redness will be gone before Saturday.

Are you having problems with your skin too?  Please do see a dermatologist ASAP.  You won’t want to waste your money on skin care products that aren’t really suited for your skin.

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