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Adeel Arshad

Authored on 24 January 2024 by Adeel Arshad,

Reviewed 24 January 2024 by Dr Ruch Karunadasa.

What is Perioral Dermatitis?

The term perioral dermatitis refers to a rash that surrounds your mouth. This rash might spread to your nose and eyes, and eventually your skin. It is a type of inflammatory rash that appears as flaky and scaly bumps that may be red or brown. These might be confused with another common condition, acne, but perioral dermatitis lesions itch and burn. The bumps contain clear fluid which might ooze from the skin. It is often caused by licking the lips and the damage that bacteria in saliva cause to the skin on the face. But there are other potential causes.

Often chronic and relapsing, perioral dermatitis might last for weeks or months. There are two major types of perioral dermatitis, granulomatous and typical. The former appears as yellow bumps rather than the usual red ones seen in this disease.

Symptoms of perioral dermatitis range from small bumps to scarred thickened skin, depending on the chronicity of the disease. Initially appearing as a red rash around the mouth or nasal folds. Scaly bumps appear next that ooze and drain clear fluid. These are itchy and have a burning sensation to them. Lastly, these might disappear and leave a scar in case of continuous scratching.

Perioral dermatitis does not spread through touch and can stem from long-term medication use, such as sunscreens, moisturisers, and asthma medications.

Treatment of Perioral Dermatitis

Your GP or dermatologist may easily diagnose the condition by directly observing your skin and considering your medical history. To rule out an infection, a culture test might be advised and in cases where conventional treatments do not help, a skin biopsy might be taken for further workup.

moving the inciting agent is a crucial step in the management. Causes include lip licking, medications such as steroids, using face creams, moisturisers, and cosmetics. You may experience the worst symptoms once you stop using steroids, for which you should consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may prescribe you topical medications such as erythromycin, clindamycin gel, metronidazole gel, and tacrolimus ointment.

ther treatment options include photodynamic therapy. Some doctors prescribe oral antibiotic medications such as tetracycline, doxycycline, or erythromycin. These medications help deal with flares or prevent reoccurrence.

Lifestyle changes help prevent reoccurrence and are key to management. Avoid using perfumed cleansers, especially during flare-ups. Using warm water might help and you may use mild soaps afterwards. Steroid creams are to be avoided. Reducing makeup use can also help. Cosmetics might initiate an unfavourable reaction. reduce your consumption of spicy and oily foods, as these can irritate the surrounding skin of your mouth.

Skin consultation £19.99

Skin consultation £19.99

Our simple consultation first process enables you to complete a consultation with a doctor, submitting photos of the affected skin and answering a set of questions that will enable a diagnosis where possible.

Common skin conditions can even include:

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Frequently asked questions about Perioral Dermatitis

  • What causes perioral dermatitis?

    You might be genetically at risk for developing this condition, but lip licking, steroid creams, makeup, or bacterial or fungal infection, might trigger the disease.

  • What are the risk factors to develop perioral dermatitis?

    Risk factors for perioral dermatitis include

    • Gender, women are more likely to develop perioral dermatitis
    • Age, young people, as well as middle-aged individuals, are at risk
    • Hormonal imbalances
    • History of allergies
  • Are there any side effects of the treatment?

    You might experience a flare-up once you stop using your usual steroids. This is quite common, consult your dermatologist regarding it. No other complications may occur during treatment.

  • How soon will my symptoms improve?

    Perioral dermatitis takes weeks or even months to resolve. Following what your dermatologist advised will improve symptoms over time.

  • Can perioral dermatitis get bad?

    Complete the treatment plan and seek review by your doctor if things are not going well.

  • How can I look after myself?

    Avoid using steroid creams once the rash clears up. Try to avoid perfumed skincare items and heavy cosmetics. Use warm water during the wash to wash your face, do not use soaps or face-wash until after the rash is gone. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

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