the magic of dr. barbara sturm skincare products

Sometime around the middle of September I started noticing a small skin irritation around the left side of my nose that extended all the way down to my chin. It was red but it really didn’t look like one of my usual rosacea flare-ups. I decided to chalk it up to dry skin due to all of the traveling I had done in the weeks prior. This led me to overload my skin with heavy-duty moisturizers and oils. After a few weeks of doing that to no avail, I decided it to reach for a in-case-of-emergency cream my dermatologist had prescribed before my wedding. (This cream was obviously way expired so that was a bad idea from the start.) This really didn’t help. It made it so much worse. I stopped using that and moved on to a host of other remedies. Every time I thought it was getting better, it would come back with vengeance. This went on for about three months before I finally made it into my dermatologist. She took one look at it and diagnosed me with “perioral dermatitis” or PD. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either.

To sum it up: PD is an inflammatory condition that causes redness and bumps around the nose and chin. It most often occurs in women between the ages of 15 – 45. Check, check, check. My dermatologist told me that there is no exact cause but that there are common triggers, including food sensitivities (cinnamon is a big one here), steroid creams (this explains why the emergency cream I was using made it worse!), and sodium laureth sulfate, an ingredient found in a number of skincare products. She told me to take a good look at the ingredients in my skincare products, prescribed me an oral antibiotic, and sent me on my merry way. Fast forward to now: I followed her directions and am happy to report that it’s finally clearing up.

This whole ordeal has caused me to take a good, hard look at the products I’m using on my skin. While a number of the products I was using were totally fine (my Sturm serum was a-okay), I was still really surprised at how many of them had sodium sulfates listed as an ingredient. It just feels like a good time for a reboot. I’ve never claimed to have a completely “clean” skincare routine (and I still don’t) but I’m now veering in that direction. Baby steps. Goop has no doubt been an excellent resource (read this) along with this “Never List” from Beauty Counter. I purchased this awesome “clean beauty” kit which is filled with travel-size products allowing me to try things out before I commit to the full bottle. I’m a work in progress but every little bit counts.

I’ve included a round-up of the “clean” products I’ve been using in the shopping list below. Please share your own tips and tricks by leaving a comment!

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