Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rashy breakout around your mouth? A client’s question

I have this red, rashy breakout around my mouth, but it’s only on one side. What is causing this?

Believe it or not, I see this quite often. Whenever there is breakout on one side of the face, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. First, do you talk on the phone a lot? If so, on which side of your face do you hold the phone? And further, do you let the phone rest on your face?

Telephones get dirty quickly. Even if you are the only person using a particular phone (a land line, for instance), oil and debris collect on the receiver, and especially if you rest the phone on your face, this will easily get transferred to your skin. Sometimes the oil will cause breakouts, and sometimes constant handling of the phone can cause contact dermatitis, a skin inflammation that is caused by contact with offending materials. If your “rash” is indeed dermatitis and not a true breakout (congested oil that has become infected), I will be posting an article specifically for help with all types of dermatitises at a later date.

Cell phones are contributors to irritations on the skin. They are almost always resting on your face and therefore can create problems, especially if you talk on a cell telephone throughout the day. I continue to see clients who have this one-sided breakout/irritation from using their cell phones.
  • Step one in solving your problem is to keep the phone off your face. This won’t be easy, but without stopping contact, I’m afraid your problem will continue.
  • Step 2, clean your phone (repeatedly if necessary). One of my clients was experiencing contact dermatitis caused by her cell phone. I recommended she keep baby wipes handy to clean her phone with. You’ll be amazed at how much junk gets piled up after just one day of using the telephone.
  • Step 3, keep your hands off your face. Constantly feeling the breakout with your fingers will just encourage it to stay there.

For the time being, don’t use an abrasive scrub on this area, but do use a clay mask to help encourage any congestion to vacate the premises. Keeping the area clean, which includes keeping the phone off your face, is your best bet for helping the problem go away.

If the phone doesn’t seem to be the culprit, what is your body position when you sleep? Do you lie on your right or left side, on your back, or even face down? I have found some people can get a small amount of breakout if they sleep on their side—especially always one particular side. It is the side that is crushed against the pillow all night long that suffers. Changing how you position your body to sleep may be a huge leap, but if you are sure this is what is causing your breakouts, the true solution is to change your habits.

The only explanation I have come up with for this type of pillowcase breakout is that lying with your face against the pillow all night inhibits elimination. If you have always slept on your side and just now think this is causing some skin problems, perhaps it is simply new laundry soap.

To help with the breakout around your mouth, no matter the cause, use clay mask on the area at night. Be sure to let the clay dry before you get into bed, otherwise the clay will stick to your pillowcase instead of your skin. Do this for several consecutive nights and see if it clears the problem.

I can hear you saying, “But you said to always keep the clay mask moist on my face.” Yes, that is true when you are applying clay to your entire face, you don’t want that much surface area to become dried out. However, when dotting the clay mask on small spots or blemishes then going to bed, you have no choice but to let the clay dry. Because you are only applying the mask on tiny spots, this shouldn’t cause your skin to become excessively dry.

One more note: If you tend to go to bed without removing your makeup, this can always cause problems with congestion and breakout, around your mouth or wherever.

For more information, see: