What Is Perioral
dermatitis is an inflammatory rash eruption involving the skin around the
mouth. The rash may spread up to the nose or even the eyes. It usually appears
as a scaly or bumpy rash around the lips. It can also sometimes weep clear
fluid. Redness and slight itching and burning can also occur.
is more common in women, but also tends to affect young children and infants.
Without the right treatment, cases of perioral dermatitis go away, but may
reappear later. Episodes of perioral dermatitis can last weeks and even months.
What Causes Perioral
The cause of
perioral dermatitis is unknown. However, research suggests that it can occur
after the use of topical steroids on the skin, which may be prescribed to treat
another condition. According to American Osteopathic College of Dermatology,
nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can cause an outbreak of perioral
dermatitis as well.
also evidence that certain ingredients in cosmetics can cause perioral
dermatitis. Heavy skin creams that contain petrolatum or a paraffin base may
cause or worsen this condition.
factors that may trigger this condition include:
or fungal infections
What Are the Symptoms of
dermatitis usually appears as a rash of red bumps around the mouth and in the
folds around the nose. The bumps may be scaly in appearance. The bumps can also
appear in the area under the eyes, on the forehead, and on the chin. These
small bumps can contain pus or fluids and may resemble acne.
experience symptoms such as burning or itching, especially as the rash worsens.
How Is Perioral Dermatitis
or dermatologist can often diagnose perioral dermatitis with just a visual
examination of your skin.
may also perform a skin culture test to rule out a possible infection. During
this test, your doctor will swab a small patch of skin in the affected area.
They’ll send the sample to a laboratory to test the skin cells for bacteria or
fungi. Finally, your doctor may perform a skin biopsy, especially if the rash
doesn’t respond to standard treatments.
What Are the Treatment
Options for Perioral Dermatitis?
will determine your treatment based on the severity of your condition. In some
cases, using mild soaps and discontinuing the use of heavy skin creams and
fluorinated toothpaste may ease symptoms. Medications may also speed healing.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
stopping the use of topical steroid creams or nasal sprays containing steroids,
if possible. These products can make symptoms worse. However, it’s important to
speak with your doctor before discontinuing any medications.
your doctor may prescribe to treat your condition include:
antibiotic medications, such as metronidazole (Metrogel) and erythromycin
creams, such as pimecrolimus cream
anti-acne medications, such as adapalene or azelaic acid
antibiotics, such as doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline, or isotretinoin,
for more severe cases
What Is the Long-Term
dermatitis is difficult to treat and can last for months. According to the AOCD, even after a few weeks of treatment, the
condition can get worse before it improves. In some people, perioral dermatitis
How Can I Prevent Perioral
causes of perioral dermatitis vary, there isn’t a foolproof way to avoid
getting it. However, there are some things you can do to help alleviate it or
to keep it from getting worse:
steroid creams and ointments unless specifically directed by your doctor. If
another medical practitioner prescribes a topical steroid, make sure to let
them know that you have perioral dermatitis.
using heavy cosmetics or skin creams. Ask your doctor about which moisturizers
are acceptable to use. Try switching brands if you decide to continue to use
to gentle cleansers and moisturizers. Ask your dermatologist for
recommendations that would best suit your skin.
the amount of time your skin comes into contact with the elements. UV rays,
heat, and wind can aggravate perioral dermatitis. Some medications used to
treat perioral dermatitis will also make your skin sensitive to the sun. Be
sure to protect your skin if you’ll be in the sun for prolonged periods.