Perioral Dermatitis and Positive Pregnancy Tests

I have to tell you a little story of how I found out that I was pregnant. Sienna wasn’t planned, but she was the best surprise that I could have wished for!

So rewind to June 2011. I must have conceived the day before. I woke up (yep, it came on pretty quickly!) and I had tiny little bumps all around the corners of my mouth and around the sides of my chin. They were like “tiny water-filled blisters”. That’s how I described them, anyway. I got in the shower and scrubbed my face with an exfoliator. Afterwards, I put some cortisone cream on the affected area. This is the worst thing that you can do, by the way! The rash just got worse and worse. The blisters would pop, some fluid would seep out, a scab would form and underneath the scab, there would be a new blister. This cycle continued.

I decided to see a dermatologist. Once I arrived to ask for an emergency appointment, the receptionist informed me that the waiting list was 6 weeks and that my rash wasn’t bad enough to be an emergency. I was so upset, I went to the car and started crying. I was so emotional (which was due to all the pregnancy hormones that I didn’t know about!). I went on the Internet on my phone while I was parked and researched my symptoms. Perioral Dermatitis came up first, so I clicked on it. This sounded like what I had.

I made a doctors appointment for the next day. The doctor took a look at my rash, which had become more red and had spread out a bit more. She went away and brought a book back with her. She flipped to a page and showed me a picture. That’s what I had! Perioral Dermatitis. Just what I thought I had. It turns out that when you have this rash you may not rub or pick your skin, you may not wear cream or makeup and you should never ever use cortison on it because this just makes it much, much worse! I asked the doctor what yould have caused it. She said that they don’t really know, but stress and hormones seem to bring it on. I asked for strong antibiotics because I was going on holiday and I didn’t want my skin to be like this. She asked if I was pregnant. I laughed and said no. How could I be pregnant? I was taking the Pill. Okay, every now and again I forgot one, but how bad could that be? My period was 6 days late, but that happened to me all the time, so I didn’t think a thing of it. Sometimes I didn’t get my period for months at a time. Well, my doctor said that she wouldn’t presribe me any antibiotics until I had done a pregnancy test. So I bought one.

I had just been to the loo, so I drank loads of water in order to go again. Then I read that you shouldn’t drink excessively otherwise the results could be false. Oops. So I decided to do the test the next morning. My husband saw the test and asked what it was. I told him the story and he thought it was funny. Neither of us ever thought it would be positive! That evening I rubbed Apple Cider Vinegar on my skin (tip from the Internet). Please never do this!! I woke up with 1st degree burns! The whole top layer of my skin came off and scabbed over. I looked disgusting for weeks.

The next morning I woke up, peed on the stick and put it on the counter. I went and made myself tea and breakfast. I put the TV on and watched the news. Oh, the test results! I forgot about that. (See how unconvinced I was??). I looked over to the test and I saw a few words. I looked closer. “Pregnant. 3 weeks +” What??!? This CANNOT be true! I read the papers that came with the test. A positive test result is never false. If any ammount of pregnancy homone (hCG) in found in urine, then you are definitely pregnant. I felt sick. I started shaking. I burst out in tears. This was not what I expected. Suddenly a million things rushed through my mind. All the things I could have done. All the places I could have travelled to. Not any more. I had to throw up. I was so sick all day. I didn’t know how I was going to tell my husband. He’s a wonderful man, but how was he going to take this kind of news? My husband, as Murphy’s Law would have it, took forever to get home and was late due to a few things that would, otherwise, never happen (visiting a friend in hospital etc.).

When he sat down next to me on the couch I started smiling. I always smile when I’m in trouble. “What’s up?” he askes. He knows me too well. I didn’t beat around the bush, I simply handed him the test. (To those who have never taken a test- it has a lid, so don’t be too grossed out) He read it. Silence. He grins. “I’m going to be a Dad? Are you sure?”. Yep. “Is it a boy or a girl?” (This is a typical man question!) I told him that I had made a doctors appointment for an ultrasound etc. and that I’m definitely sure its positive. That would explain the rash. He was happy- oh my goodness- he didn’t freak out, walk out, cry- he just grinned and was proud to be a Dad! And he has been ever since.

I was so glad that I didn’t take the antibiotics. I was relieved to know what was wrong with my skin. I was shocked at the news. I had terrible morning sickness from that day until I was 16 weeks. I lost 8kg in 2 weeks!

The rash got worse. It stayed with me for the majority of my pregnancy. In the last trimester it slowly went away and didn’t return. So if you have a weird rash- do a test first, don’t rush to the antibiotics. Also, be patient. If you get Perioral Dermatitis then I’m so sorry, but you just have to live with it for a while and learn to laugh at yourself. This will sound so stupid and I know how you feel. I cried for days. You’ll realise when it starts fading that it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Try putting Natural Greek Yoghurt on it. Don’t touch cortisone, don’t exfoliate and never ever use vinegar on it!! Maybe you’re pregnant…?

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