Almost 2 years ago I finally discovered that my perioral dermatitis was heavily linked to an imbalance in my gut…
More specifically, an overgrowth of Candida Albicans (you can read the long story here.) Since then, I have managed to do a complete change in my diet and daily habits that ultimately changed my life for the better—in more ways than just my skin.
What I never exposed, however— but think is pretty important—is that even after going super long stretches of clear skin, if I “cheat” and feed my body food that I know is on my “no-no” list, I eventually will get another flare up.
I have healed my gut tremendously but I never know exactly what my tipping point is.
The simplest way to explain it is like this:
When you have an overgrowth of some sort (in my case, Candida Albicans,) the good bacteria in your gut gets knocked off balance because the bad bacteria is taking over.
This causes inflammation of the gut, which quite literally creates holes in your intestines (leaky gut syndrome) which eventually leads to external inflammation (ex: skin rashes, dandruff, yeast infections, etc.)
This is a very quick and brief explanation; of course, but in order to heal your gut you need to fill those holes. I do this with probiotics and probiotic/prebiotic rich foods and also by starving the yeast by cutting out dairy, bread, grains, processed foods and sugar and any other foods I have learned through trial and error trigger me. I also drink lots of water and herbal teas to flush out my body and help it along with it’s natural detox process. And if I do let it get out of control, I now know what to do, what to take, what to eat (and not eat) to get myself back on track…Naturally.
Here’s what it looks like when I don’t listen to my body:
Someone give my husband a trophy for loving this face…😂
Okay, so there’s a lot of things wrong with thatpicture (for instance, not even I knew my face was that hairy and I’m in serious need of a threading session ) but for the sake of transparency, I’m making this public. This is directly after washing my face at the end of the day (poorly, might I add) during a flare up of my inflammation.
THAT is what happens if I eat bread or sugar too much and put my body on overload.
If you read my original post when I was initially diagnosed with perioral dermatitis, then you know that I already know my triggers. I know them very well.
The thing is, I’m human. Just because I know my body can’t handle these things doesn’t make those things less appealing. As soon as I cheat on my eating, things can get out of hand for me pretty quickly. My “just one more” mentality is too real.
So what did it that time?
🌿Tortilla chips and dip (organic but it doesn’t matter)
🌿Bread twice with a turkey burger
🌿A couple chunks of organic dark chocolate pumpkin seed brittle (yes, organic. Yes, with clean ingredients, yes with sugar.)
🌿2 1/2 beers to celebrate my brother-in-laws birthday
🌿Rice and beans, coffee with regular creamer, and a couple of saltine crackers while visiting family
🌿Store bought almond milk ice cream (with real sugar)
This was all over a span of a week and a half.
On the day I ate these foods, this is what my face looked like:
No make-up, minimal rash visible
Three days later:
I can heal my gut and have one cheat treat here and there, but if I overdo it (which I tend to do because I never stop missing the foods I can’t eat) then it’s only a matter of time until I will set myself back and reverse the healing that has occurred in my gut.
If I continue? I suffer GI issues on top of skin rashes, as well as mood swings, foggy headedness, stronger PMS and body aches. It can take weeks or months to heal it again so it’s best for me to avoid my triggers altogether.
For anyone who is struggling still, these are the foods I’ve found trigger myself and my son:
🌿processed sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar
🌿white potatoes (starches in general)
🌿corn (even organic)
🌿rice (even brown rice)
🌿peanuts (high mold rate)
🌿alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, and liquor)
🌿coffee (but I drink it anyway and can get away with it when my gut is balanced)
I want people to recognize that healing is a process and it’s something that we nurture for the rest of our lives.
My goal is to heal my son’s gut enough so that although he is on a strict diet now, he can indulge in these foods later in life without consequence. So far, I have been able to reintroduce organic corn chips in extremely small amounts and oatmeal with honey and almond milk once a week, but anymore and he gets a rash. Bread still triggers him as well.
I recently discovered this product which is helpful for Candida cleansing and includes more healing features in one, I thought it was worth mentioning. I still use the products below as maintenance but this would be worth to try. This worked but I needed to double the dosage. I used their probiotic as well but doubled that as well. This would be a good starting point and if you felt you needed something stronger, add some of the supplements I describe below.
****UPDATE #2: ****
To make it easier and to keep my updates in one spot, I am going to just update this particular post about any changes or additions I’ve found to work.
I have learned several things since my last update.
1.) Digestive Enzymes-
This has been a huge change for me, I noticed my digestion wasn’t where it needed to be and if I’m not digesting my food then I’m not getting the nutrients I need (I was suffering hair loss, brittle nails, exhaustion,) This I assume is from leaky gut and digestive enzymes gives your body the break it needs to heal…Otherwise, all of that undigested food permeates in your body and creates even more inflammation! And I have noticed a huge difference since incorporating these with each meal.
I’ve experimented with different ones:
- I’ve used this one by Enzymedica, it has high enzyme counts, which is important.
- I’ve used this one by MRM but then realized that it is not non-GMO and when I contacted the company to see if they do in fact use GMO’s for their product, they never replied and so I stopped taking it. I guess with this stuff, you get what you pay for unfortunately.
- I’ve used this one, which was good but expensive.
Antifungals that Purposely Target Yeast:
- Caprylic Acid to break down the cell wall of the yeast so that the antifungals can actually reach the candida. I had hit a point where all of my usual protocols weren’t working anymore. I learned about biofilms, which are a protective layer that the candida creates to protect itself. I read that its the same consistency as a shrimp shell! The enzymes on an empty stomach as well as the caprylic acid on an empty stomach eat that protective barrier away so that the oregano oil and other antifungals can work. Soloray also makes a supplement called Yeast Cleanse that looks promising but I haven’t tried it yet, but I want to.
- Mycozil – this is targeted specifically for yeast and candida to break down the cell wall and clear it out
- Paratrex – creates an environment that’s hostile to invading organisms while promoting a natural cleansing of your body.
- Oil of Oregano which is listed in a picture from when I originally wrote this post.
- Chlorophyll -this has properties that naturally kill candida and pathogens and carry them out of your body
- Amy Myers is a functional medicine doctor who creates supplements specifically to heal from yeast, pathogens, leaky gut etc. Her website seemed schemey but I took a chance and they actually work. I give my son the chewable vitamins and he loves them! I have noticed a difference in his mood, so I think he definitely benefited from the methylated forms of vitamins as well. They taste like sweet tarts! You can get $10 off with that link. Her enzymes are reasonably priced and just has a lot of options overall.
- Banyan Botanicals has cleansing herbs that seem great and on my wishlist but I haven’t used them yet.
**I don’t think it is necessary to use all of these together, I would choose one or 2 of these and see how they work, but honestly these are what I have tried and looked into and trust to recommend but in no way do I think you need to use all of them at the same time.
Liver Cleansing Herbs to prevent die-off symptoms:
If you use the supplements above too fast without supporting your liver, you will 1000% experience die-off symptoms. This is when the candida dies off and release their waste and it makes you feel nauseous, headachey, just overall sick. You really need to help support your body through this. Do this by drinking lots of water, lemon water if you can, and supporting your liver with herbs like dandelion root, licorice root, etc.
If I start feeling that way, I up the liver herbs and then also separately, on an empty stomach (generally before bed or as soon as I wake, I take some sort of binder to grab and carry out the toxins, such as activated charcoal or diatomaceous earth) This helps tremendously. I have been on the verge of puking, chug my binder, and feel better within minutes.
- Thorne 2/day and Basic B Complex – I have done a lot of reading about methylated vitamins and how they are much easier for your body to absorb. My mood has significantly improved since taking both of these. Yeast and other pathogens deplete you of necessary nutrients, I didn’t realize how bad I was until I incorporated these and started balancing out. I make sure to take them after I’ve eaten because they made me feel gross on an empty stomach, but once I took them after my meals, it was better. I would recommend with starting with the 2/day first before introducing the added B complex, if you so choose as your body adjusts. When you detox, your body needs extra nutrients to offset the detoxing and B vitamins help heal and aid in detoxing as well.
- Ashwaghanda – Wow, this has helped my mental stress a LOT. This helps with stress levels within all systems of your body to lower cortisol levels and I didn’t notice improvement right away (its considered an adaptogenic herb so it does take time) but if I miss one, I can feel the difference — its like, “Ahhh, that’s how I USED to always feel, and now I realize I’m feeling a lot better.” It took about 2 weeks but I take it almost every day now. My husband takes them as well and has noticed that it has helped him with his stress at work.
Gut Sealing Supplements:
Marshmallow Root – This helps to seal the lining of your gut as you kill the yeast. This soothes your digestive tract and gut to aid in healing… It’s kind of like the equivalent of having a cough drop when you have a raw throat from coughing so much.
So that’s it so far…this is such a journey.
I had gotten to a good spot in healing, and then like I mentioned earlier, had hit a wall. The enzymes have helped, the caprylic acid, in conjunction with the antifungal herbs and then ending the day with a probiotic. If I had to recommend a baseline, that is what I would recommend to start with and then I would just experiment with different types. It was expensive doing the trial and error but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel and so I just listed everything I have tried that works. I generally order from iherb (they usually have super fast shipping and delivery and free shipping after $20) or pharmaca unless I am ordering from the actual companies I listed above, like balance one or global healing.
My face had completely cleared up 100% and then started drinking coffee everyday and it came back!! So my recommendation would be WHEN you heal (be positive!! Speak HEALTH over yourself!) When you heal, continue eating well (no starches, no white potatoes, make those favorites using sweet potatoes, etc.) and keep finding what works for you. I have lost sleep over this stuff, researched endlessly, prayed about it. At this point I am putting this out here to be an encouragement to you. Know if you are reading this, I am praying for healing over you as well. God gave me this platform for a reason and I pray this will help you.
Below is from when I originally posted this, I do still use those:
What Has Been Helping Me the Most:
I can take one of these probiotics on a cheat day and not suffer symptoms! When things are bad, I take one first thing in the morning and one before bed. This helps to seal your gut and combat whatever is causing your body distress. Approximately 80% our immune tissue is located within our digestive tract, so keeping it strong and healthy is the fastest way to healing and I see a significant difference in my skin and rash when I take this continuously.
Pure Hawaiian Spirulina
Spirulina helps to detox the body gently, which is good for a daily regimen, and especially beneficial during candida die-off. I take these after lunch, using the recommended dosage. I got this at Whole Foods. I also now take Chlorella by HealthForce.
Oil of Oregano as a Natural Antibiotic
If I am experiencing GI issues, foggy headedness, headaches, and rash — this helps to kill the overgrowth of candida but the probiotic fills the holes in my gut after killing off the bad, and the spirulina helps to eliminate the die off symptoms. Oil of oregano is strong, so take it on a full stomach, just like you would an antibiotic. It is extremely effective. I use this brand because I researched heavily and have read about people using oils that aren’t pure that end up causing more damage than good. I can speak from experience that this works — and for any other viral or bacterial illness you get— hello flu season! 🤗 seriously, it’s bullet proof.
Plant Therapy Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oil
I don’t sell these oils, I don’t work for this company, I didn’t receive these for free, this is just a brand that I’ve heavily researched, trust, and have found works for me. Aura Cacia is a close second, but I’ve tried other oils that just aren’t as potent. Brands like NOW have irritated me further and from what I gather are only for the scent, not for the medicinal purposes. At any rate, these two oils in combination (diluted in rosehip oil, which has its own set of healing benefits for the skin) truly works as a nighttime healing moisturizer/serum. I use organic, only because I’m cautious of pesticides in plants and oils and avoiding synthetic chemicals on my skin, but I’m not sure if that makes a difference. These oils are strong though so please do dilute. I’ve done lavender straight on my skin before and I thought it helped, it made it crazy red at first, but by morning my skin was almost back to normal with a lot of the dead skin flaking away. I keep these two oils in my arsenal always, always, always. At Marshall’s one day, I discovered a brand Zatik that has a serum that has helped me a lot as well, and one of the main ingredients is Frankincense. I use it every night now, even when my skin is healthy as a preventative. *UPDATE: Zatik no longer makes this particular serum, but they have this Harmony Moisturizer that is really gentle instead.
100% Pure Makeup Brand
When I first was diagnosed with this, so many people said I just couldn’t wear makeup up –including my doctor. Many recommended not using face cleansers, etc whatsoever. I don’t agree, and in fact, I feel that not washing your face can cause a build up of sweat, oil, and skin cells that will further clog your skin. You do need to be mindful of what you put on your skin, but it just means you need to be putting on products that are clean, natural, and healing. This is the first brand I found when on the search for something (literally anything I could use!) and to this day is the purest brand I can find. I use this to both cover up my flares and to heal my skin. I am loving other natural brands (and truly can branch out to other natural brands that aren’t quite as pure, now that my skin is back to where it should be, but this is the brand that didn’t irritate me when my skin was at its worst, and even soothed it.) I have done many reviews of products I’ve purchased by them and truly trust and stand by them. The only thing I didn’t like from them so far was their cream foundation, but everything else has been gentle and effective and they seriously last forever.
Makeup Tip: draw attention away from your mouth by wearing a subtle lip color and dramatic eyes: I like a dark winged liner and mascara, as well as brightening eyelids and highlighter. Big hair helps too 🏽
Here you can see the rash that I’ve covered up with makeup.
Hide it with a smile 🙂
I know it’s “just a rash,” but like I’ve said in the past,
“When you have a reoccurring, triggered external irritation or malfunction on the outside, it is more than likely that there is some sort of imbalance on the inside.”
It isn’t easy to make these changes and we have to work on it again and again and again until it’s just who we are and we can better control ourselves.
Listen to your body, my friends. And keep practicing until it becomes a lifestyle. You will get there! And you will thank yourself for it in the long run. One day you might even look back and be grateful for the onset of the rash, because it was your body alerting you to make a change. And that’s a beautiful thing.
You can check out my list of Wellness Products that I have found to work for me through trial and error, as well as a list of my favorite clean beauty products that have been both gentle and healing for my skin. I will be adding more as I discover more! Hope this helps. XO😘
Love and light.