Acne, rashes, sensitivity, hyperpigmenation around the mouth, chin and even jaw is often a condition called peri-oral dermatitis and is commonly caused by chemicals known as halogens in certain foods you might be taking in, some medications, in products you use as well as other things in your environment. If the condition manifests as acne, it can also be called halogen acne, and become cystic acne.
Perioral Dermatitis Causes
Halogens are chemicals that can, for people sensitive to them, stimulate the oil glands to promote acne or cause rashes. These include:
- Bromides: found in some cough syrups, asthma medication, sleeping pills
- Chlorides: can be found in mouthwashes and swimming pool water
- Fluorides: can be found in toothpastes and oral care products
- Iodides: in salt, seafood, B12 vitamins, processed and junk foods (snacks, sodas, chips, etc.), algae in some facial masks.
- B-12 is known to sometimes cause acne, including halogen acne.
For acne in these areas: Halogen Acne is acne that is caused by any of the five halogens: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine arranged from the most to the least reactive. These five form Group VIIA of the periodic table of chemical elements. In addition to the substances mentioned above, these molecules are often present in antidepressants, anti-convulsants, hypnotics, anti-anxiety and stress-management medication, and sedatives, and you easily see them in their names: Bromazepam, Clonazepam, Flurazepam, Haloperidol — hence the acne often associated with these group of drugs. Other halogens commonly forming halogen acne: salt and pool water (chlorine), some cough medicines (bromine), steroids (fluorine).
Pseudo halogens are binary compounds with a structure similar to halogens but with at least one non-halogen radical such as cyanide. An example is cyanogen. Vitamin B12 is also called Cyanocobalamin or Cyanogen amine. These have also been reported to produce acne especially when given at high doses (like with neuralgias), or taken for long periods of time (like in high dose multivitamins).
Perioral Dermatitis Treatment
If you have acne, rashes, hyperpigmentation or sensitivity around the mouth, chin or jaw:
- Check if you are ingesting, using or exposed to any of the items listed above. If so, stop or lessen your exposure to or your intake of these items. In the case of medications, ask your doctor whether halogen-free options are available for your condition. Remember to follow your doctor’s recommendations. He knows your case best.
- Switch to oral hygiene products without fluoride, chloride, dyes, flavors, or other irritants.
- VMV HYPOALLERGENICS® makes a toothpaste specifically for peri-oral dermatitis: Essence Skin-Saving Toothpaste.
- Introduced in the 1990s, it has shown impressive success, particularly when used in conjunction with proper prevention, at both preventing and clearing peri-oral dermatitis.
- In addition to preventing peri-oral dermatitis, Essence Toothpaste contains monolaurin, a skin safe-yet-powerful antimicrobial.
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