Perioral dermatitis is a skin disorder that affects adult women. Conventional treatment focuses on antibiotics such as tetracycline, and sometimes corticosteroids are used as well. Like antibiotics and corticosteroids, calendula has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, which might help individuals with perioral dermatitis. However, this plant has not been researched as well as conventional drugs, and it should be used under medical supervision.
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The key lesions of perioral dermatitis are skin inflammation, red rash, blisters and mild peeling, that mimics other skin problems such as acne or rosacea. Occasionally there is mild itching and burning feeling in the affected areas. Unlike acne, there are no black or white heads. The exact cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown, according to American Academy of Dermatology, although it has been hypothesized that it may be a form of rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis. Beside drugs, a physician may recommend using moisturizers and sunscreens, and advise to avoid toothpaste with fluoride or certain substances that fights tartar.
According to Asa Hershoff, ND and co-author of "Herbal Remedies: A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies," calendula has been traditionally used by herbalists for many inflammatory skin conditions. Calendula reduces the inflammation, has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities and is also well tolerated. It also promotes healing, mosturizes the skin, prevents scarring and helps reduces the itchiness.
Calendula may also help improve digestive symptoms, leg ulcers, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, wounds and muscle spasms although the National Institutes of Health suggests that there is insufficient evidence for the efficacy of calendula for treating these conditions.
There is no clinical research that assessed the benefits of calendula for perioral dermatitis, however there are few studies in relation with other forms of dermatitis. According to a study conducted by P.Pommier and colleagues, published in the April 2004 issue of the "Journal of Clinical Oncology," calendula is very effective for preventing a form of dermatitis that is associated with irradiation following surgery for breast cancer.
Another study, published in the August 2005 issue of the “Skin Pharmacology and Physiology," evaluated the efficacy of calendula and rosemary for a form of contact dermatitis. SM. Fuchs and colleagues found that a cream preparation of these two herbs has a protective effect against a form of irritant contact dermatitis.
According to Drugs.com, there are no known interactions between calendula and drugs. Calendula may cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, and one case of anaphylaxis has been documented. Overall this supplement is considered well tolerated and has low toxicity potential.
Calendula does not replace conventional treatment, but due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities may help reduce symptoms of perioral dermatitis. Consult a qualified practitioner to find out the optimal dose and possible side effects of this plant.