I don't have my own pictures to show but one word...it is bad! It looked mostly like this:
( Image taken from American Osteopathic College of Dermatology )
In my previous post, you may know that I was having some peeling problems around my lips. Well, one thing led to another, my entire mouth area was having these little tiny bumps, which is dry, scaly and course to touch. The surrounding area was extremely tight too. It would be itchy as well if I were in some hot and humid places. When I apply my Moogoo ezema balm or moisturiser, I could feel a little burning sensation at that area. Made a quick google to see what all these means and it leads to a case of ezema. Some may call it perioral dermatitis, which is a facial rash that tends to occur around the mouth. It can come and go for months or years.
I couldn't take any chances and went to see my doctor and was prescribed with both oral and topical medications. My doctor also gave me a mixture of 1% hydrocortisone with urea cream for topical application. Because hydrocortisone causes skin discoloration with prolonged use, I only apply it once a day. Within 3 days, the inflammation died down and was glad that the area around my mouth was back to normal except the lips.
Wait there is more.....
A week later, the peeling around my lips was getting worse. It was flaky and then it swells. The surrounding area of my lips was red, inflamed and it looked like it became double in size. My lips were terribly dry, sensitive, itchy and there seemed to be a slight crusted top forming on top of my lips. Both the corners of my mouth was blistering too.
Again, my camera couldn't capture it and the picture below is the closest that I could find.
( Image taken from web )
I tried to trace back to what could have triggered this and I can only narrow it down to:
- Seafood. I remembered all these started to occur when I ate prawns or squid.
- Acidic and spicy stuff. Lime, chili padi, orange, vinegar could have provoked the sensitivity on my lips.
I visited my doctor again and this time, I was given stronger medications and my doctor said seafood is highly the cause of this ( I may have to go for a allergy test if my lips area is not getting any better ). Over the next two days, the inflammation died down but my poor lips looked so chapped and discoloured.
Just the other day, I thought that my lips were fine and I took an orange and some chili stuff. The next day, my lips swelled and became very itchy. Worse, the outer corners were looking very red and inflamed. Took my medication and doctor advise me to lay off spicy and citrus food until I am fully recovered. I find out that the reason it became inflamed again is because these foods encourages blood flow to my 'already sensitive' lips.
At this point in time, I have not recovered 100% and still need to be vary of the food I take. I have to continue my medication, just to make sure it won't come back again and continue to lubricate my lips area to speed up the healing process.
Over the course of this whole experience, I've learnt to:
1) Seek medical attention immediately. Some of us tend to play doctor on our own. My advice is: Please don't take the risk. The more we prolong it, the worse it could become.
2) Lubricate my lips area frequently. Use natural based balms for lips and dry areas. In my case, I stuck with pure shea butter balm.
3) Avoid touching the infected area with your hands and fingers. Honestly, the peeling was so welcoming to touch and peel that I developed this bad habit. Little did I know, it made matters worst! The more I disturb the affected area, the more it spreads and makes it harder to heal!
4) Use Q-tips for applications. I use the handy Q-tips when I apply the hydrocortisone cream to the affected area and to pick up my shea butter balm for lips application. You need to keep the affected area clean.
5) Do not lick your lips. Please do not attempt to lick your lips to keep your lips moisturised. You are doing more harm than good. The more you do it, the more it will be dry and encourage peeling. I can testify to it!
6) Switch to non-irritated or mild skin care products. I experience some slight burning sensation when using my Dermalogica toner and I switch to Avene Thermal Spring Water, which is good to soothe sensitive, hypersensitive and allergic skin.
7) Watch what you eat. Steer clear from food which may cause allergy like seafood. Because my lips were highly sensitive during that time, I avoided acidic, salty and spicy food. Also, please avoid contacting hot-piping soups or drinks to your lips. It will cause your lips to be more sensitive!
8) Refrain from sharing your food with others. Sharing is caring should not be practised during this time because others may be sensitive if they can 'catch' the ezema via sharing of food.