I called my doctor, Sinae Kane, MD, of Presidio Dermatology in San Francisco, to share with Who What Wear what she told me. Here she is to explain the enigma that is perioral dermatitis and warn that she’s seeing more cases of it every day.
“What we know about perioral dermatitis is that it’s believed to be a form of rosacea, and although there’s a lot of speculation about the condition, we do know that there are some main triggers,” says Kane. “The ones we usually see are the use of a lot of heavy products—thicker creams, oils, or ointments—and overuse of products, in general.
“Especially with the natural-skincare industry booming, a lot of patients have gotten really interested in learning about skincare, and although I think it’s really fun, people end up trying on a lot of products and using multiple products at once, so that often creates an environment where it will trigger a flare of perioral dermatitis.
“Kind of going hand in hand with the natural-skincare industry booming, I think 10-step Korean skincare processes are a bit of a setup for perioral dermatitis as well. We’ve definitely been seeing an increase in the number of patients with this condition, and the most common situation is a patient comes in and tells me, ‘My skin was dry, so I started using a bunch of products, and I saw the bumps pop up and it felt irritated and dry, so I wanted to use some other products,’ and they keep adding product on top of product to try to solve it, and typically it just makes it worse.”