Perioral Dermatitis and MCSS: Linked Conditions?
Perioral dermatitis is nasty. It manifests as a bumpy, red, disfiguring rash that hovers around your mouth and nose, and then metamorphoses into a flaking, scaling mess. But the rash isn’t just unattractive, it itches and stings and makes you miserable.
There are medications. Most doctors will prescribe topical antibiotics and if that doesn’t work, they’ll put you on oral tetracycline. You could be on this regimen for months. Some doctors will even prescribe a mild cortisone cream to reduce the redness and itching. But the condition doesn’t seem to get the message that it’s unwanted. Perioral dermatitis is very hard to cure.
The newsflash is that some sufferers have figured out that certain products aggravate the condition. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common culprit and is found in shampoos and toothpaste. Another trigger is found in the form of facial cleansers. Even those marked as safe for sensitive skin contain irritants like sodium laureth sulfate. Switching to gentler products marked free of SLS often brings on a dramatic recovery.
What’s interesting is that many sufferers of perioral dermatitis seem to be hypersensitive to a wide variety of chemicals in general. They may feel ill after an afternoon of trying on clothes in a department store. The smell of new clothes gives them headaches and may make them feel nauseated and dizzy. Or perhaps you can’t bear to be in the room you just had remodeled. You think it’s the new rug, or the paneling. Whatever it is, something is making you sick. This is where another condition, this time a controversial one, comes in.
Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS, or MCSS) has never really been accepted as an actual physical ailment by the medical community at large. This is in spite of the fact of clinical evidence that the condition exists. Those with MCS are seen as hypochondriacs, or are thought of as having mental health issues. Yet, removing certain triggers from the environment makes the symptoms of the MCS sufferer improve or even disappear.
Sound familiar? Some people think so and that’s why many are taking a closer look at perioral dermatitis and MCSS to see if there might be a connection. Both conditions seem to be triggered by chemicals and when these chemicals are removed from the sufferers’ environments, the symptoms disappear like magic. Of course, both of these conditions often affect those afflicted with fibromyalgia, a condition which, like MCS, has struggled for recognition as a real, physical ailment.
We may not be able, at this point in time, to prove a link between these three conditions: perioral dermatitis, MCS, and fibromyalgia, but in the meantime, sufferers can try to avoid using products containing known skin irritants or at least look for products which contain such irritants in smaller concentrations. Here is a list of some of the ingredients known to cause reactions in hypersensitive individuals:
*2% Sodium lauryl sulfate
*5% sodium C12-15 pareth sulfate
*5% sodium cocoyl isethionate
*10% disodium laureth sulfosuccinate
*10% sodium cocoamphoacetate
*10% cocamide DEA
*10% cocamidopropyl betaine
*10% lauryl glucoside