When Your Acne Isn’t Actually Acne

acne-slideIllustrated by Us.
Acne is the bane of pretty much everyone's existence. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it pops up, and it can sometimes come out of the blue for what feels like no reason at all. That's what happened to beauty writer Alina Gonzalez of Byrdie — or so she thought. Gonzalez thought she was experiencing typical hormonal acne, but a visit to her derm revealed she was actually dealing with a lesser known skin issue called perioral dermatitis (or PD).
About a year ago, Gonzalez, who had fairly good skin her entire life, began noticing a red, scaly lesion popping up around her mouth. It would appear in the exact same place every few weeks, starting right around the time she went back on birth control. After ignoring it for a while, the lesions spread, and Gonzalez took action. She went to a dermatologist who diagnosed her with PD — not your run-of-the-mill hormonal acne that flares up in sync with your cycle.
"What I learned, both from the dermatologist and a lot of research, is that PD is shockingly common," Gonzalez writes. "It's extremely common in women ages 20 to 45 — women of childbearing years who are often on birth control." It must be noted that no one knows what causes PD, but it may have to do with hormonal changes. Like many perplexing skin issues, there simply hasn't been enough real, scientific study done to pinpoint an exact cause.
It's important to diagnose PD quickly, as it doesn't respond to typical acne medications. In fact, these cures can actually make the condition worse. Click on over to Byrdie to read all about Gonzalez's battle with perioral dermatitis — you could save yourself and your skin a ton of grief. (Byrdie)

Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!

More from Skin Care

R29 Original Series