What in the WORLD is perioral dermatitis (POD)???
Well, based on the "need to know" principle, I now know. Ellie has been battling some chapped lips and rash around her mouth that is getting worse and this afternoon, after Dee'Anna asked what it was, I looked, it was worse and I took her to the doctor where I got the diagnosis of perioral dermatitis. The doctor gave me a course of treatment to try which included Aquaphor and lotrimin. If that doesn't clear it up, we'll try something a bit more aggressive in a couple of weeks.
When I got home, I spent some time "Googling" the term and was disturbed by what I found and the fact that the doctor didn't spend more time telling me what it was and letting me know how bad it could get. Of course, this wasn't our "regular" Dr. H. so I'm forgiving.
The easy to understand definition is: Perioral dermatitis is a skin disorder characterized by tiny red bumps (papules) around the mouth. Apparently, it can also itch, which explains why she has been picking at her lips. Poor baby.
Now, because I thought she was suffering from extreme chapped lips, I've been "dosing" her up with Chapstick. Not a great idea apparently as creams (especially steriod creams) of all kinds tend to aggravate the condition and make it worse. Fluorinated dental care products (toothpaste) and skin products containing petrolatum (vaseline), paraffin (chapstick), or isopropyl myristate may also trigger the condition. Great. She'll never brush her teeth.
I found a REALLY interesting article called Flouride: the Silent Killer that if you have time to read will really open your eyes to the dangers of flouride -- something I never knew was dangerous. It's made me re-think toothpaste. What a shame that I have about 12 tubes sitting in my pantry.
Interestingly, I also found this information: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, (SLS) as well as Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) are the two MAIN contributors to this skin affliction. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is what is added to soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, dish detergents etc... for the lather and suds. Perioral Dermatitis can also be flared up by alcohol, spicy foods and caffeine. (No, Ellie has not been hitting the alcohol, BUT ... she has developed a HUGE liking to coke.)
The prognosis indicates: Perioral dermatitis is a difficult condition to treat effectively. It often requires several months of treatment.
Interesting to read is the fact that:
Perioral dermatitis commonly occurs in children (and in adults), and it is especially common in children with darker skin.
I've read several sites that have indicated some natural helps for it, including probiotics (getting them tomorrow) and Balmex diaper cream (I'll try that too) and several sites have mentioned California Baby products (which are, fortunately, sold at Target). I'm going to try those as well. It might just be that Ellie's skin can't take some of the products we are using on her.