Perioral Dermatitis: Rash Relief and Effective Treatment Strategies

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

If you’ve noticed persistent redness and bumps around your mouth, it might be perioral dermatitis. In this blog, we’ll delve into perioral disease and its causes and look for perioral dermatitis treatment options. To know more about managing this skin condition effectively, read on.

What is Perioral Dermatitis?

A facial rash called perioral dermatitis causes pimples to appear around the mouth. Similar rashes can occasionally develop around the nose, eyes, forehead, and genitalia. Some specialists classify it as a type of rosacea. P dermatitis condition is most commonly seen in young women (90% of cases) but can also affect men.

Although perioral dermatitida mainly affects young women, children can get it too. In most adults, the rash looks dry and bumpy and occurs around the mouth, nose, and eyes. Sometimes, it can turn red and scaly or look similar to acne.

Perioral Dermatitis Causes

Perioral dermatitis causes are not exactly known to doctors but possible causes include:

  • Corticosteroid medications that get applied on the skin (“topical” corticosteroids)
  • Nasal or inhaled corticosteroid medications that accidentally get on the skin
  • Infections
  • Toothpaste containing fluoride (not a proven cause but it’s associated with perioral disease)
  • Some cosmetic products
  • Some sunscreens
  • A problem with the skin’s protective barrier change in the bacteria on the skin
  • Bacteria getting into the hair follicles
  • An allergic reaction
  • Hormonal changes
  • Strong winds
  • UV light

Perioral Dermatitis Causes in Children

  • Lip licking and chewing
  • Thumb sucking
  • Drooling

Because this condition is more common among young women, hormonal imbalances and birth control pills have been suggested as possible causes but there’s no proof of that. P dermatitis isn’t contagious and is not passed down through genes.

Perioral Dermatitis Symptoms

Perioral dermatitida results in:

  • Bumps of skin around the mouth
  • A rash around the eyes, nose, forehead, or sometimes the genitals
  • Sometimes, an uncomfortable burning sensation around the mouth

Diagnosing Perioral Dermatitis

Doctors can usually diagnose perioral dermatitis based on the skin’s appearance with no tests needed. Sometimes, doctors do a skin culture test for bacteria to see if there’s an infection.

In rare cases, doctors may perform a skin biopsy if they find something unusual about the condition or if treatments haven’t worked. In a biopsy, doctors take a small amount of the affected skin for testing.

Perioral Dermatitis Treatment

In order to solve this problem, here are some steps that you can take:

  • Stop using all topical steroid medications and facial creams.
  • Ask your doctor if you need an antibiotic.
  • An antibiotic that goes on the skin may be enough for mild cases.
  • Severe cases may need an oral antibiotic.

Home Remedies That can Help

  • Change to mild, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers.
  • Be gentle when you wash your skin. Gently pat it dry. Don’t scrub it.
  • Stop using cosmetics or other products on the affected area while it is healing. 
  • Give it time. Perioral disease may slowly clear up over a few weeks or months.

Perioral Dermatitis Medications

Other perinasal dermatitis treatment for this condition include:

  • Clindamycin lotion or gel
  • Topical sulfur
  • Azelaic acid gel
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors such as tacrolimus ointment or pimecrolimus cream
  • Topical adapalene
  • Photodynamic therapy using 5-aminolevulinic acid

Perioral Dermatitis Treatment During Pregnancy

P dermatitis is more common during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the best perioral dermatitis treatment while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Perioral Dermatitis Prevention

While it may not be possible to prevent all perioral dermatitis cases, these steps may help:

  • If you use topical steroid medications (those that go on your skin), follow the directions on the package, whether or not you need a prescription to buy them.
  • Wash your hands after putting steroid medications on the skin anywhere on your body, if left on your fingers, it could get on your face when touched.
  • To prevent it from worsening, follow perinasal dermatitis treatment plan and gently take care of your skin.


After stopping topical steroids, perioral dermatitis usually goes away on its own in a few weeks but medical attention might still be required. Using fragrance-free cosmetics can help prevent skin irritation during the healing process. You should see reduced redness, swelling, and scaling when checking the healed skin after treatment. Other symptoms might also gradually lessen. Continuing topical steroid use could worsen this skin problem. Other triggering stimuli, including fluorinated toothpaste or strong-smelling cosmetics, can cause flare-ups. It is best to consult a doctor to get the right perioral dermatitis treatment course for yourself.


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