Perioral Dermatitis refers to a skin condition featuring inflammation of the skin around the mouth.

It is necessary to know what Perioral Dermatitis is before looking for a treatment.

Perioral dermatitis is a prevalent skin condition which primarily affects young people.

It is an inflammation that only affects the flesh around the mouth area. You won’t find Perioral dermatitis anywhere else on your body.

This disorder of the skin (cutaneous) forms small red bumps around the mouth and the lower part of the face. It may have a similar appearance to acne or rosacea.

Perioral dermatitis usually features an uncomfortable burning sensation around the mouth. Pruritus is a highly uncommon symptom.

In most cases, you see bulges (papules) and fluid or pus-filled protrusions (vesiculopustular) around the mouth.

In rare cases, a rash may appear around the eyes, nose, or forehead, which looks very similar to acne. Patients are very concerned with the aesthetic appearance of the bumps.

The term Periodal dermatitis can describe several conditions that occur more intensely in the area of the mouth, and their pathological pictures resemble one another.

For example, diseases such as shingles, and conditions such as acne outbreaks share some similar signs.


It is essential to know what can cause perioral dermatitis to be able to treat the rash. Different things can produce this type of rash.

Perioral dermatitis most commonly affects young women, but sometimes it also affects men.

Although its exact cause is unknown, it may appear after application of skin creams containing steroids on the face to treat other conditions.

Some of the causes are:

  • Steroid creams and ointments applied on the face.
  • Certain make-ups, cleansers, and cosmetics can also trigger perioral dermatitis. It usually is just one kind of ingredient that you can be allergic to that can trigger this rash.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Yeast and germs that are living underneath the skin can also be a common cause of this type of rash.
  • Nasal steroids, inhaled steroids, and oral steroids
  • Fluorinated toothpaste
  • Lack of face washing
  • Hormonal changes or oral contraceptives

Symptoms may include

  • Burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Protrusions around the mouth that may get filled with fluid or pus.

A similar rash may appear around the eyes, nose, or forehead. Such rash can be mistaken for acne. Itching is not common.

Tests and exams

The doctor will examine the skin to diagnose this condition. You may need to have other tests done to find out if it is due to a bacterial infection.

Treatment of the perioral dermatitis

If you have perioral dermatitis and you don’t treat this condition, you can have this condition for years.

It is very important that you start treatment as soon as possible to be able to deal with this condition successfully.

In general, steroid-containing skin creams should not be used to treat perioral dermatitis.

The medical specialist may choose to treat the lumps with other topical medications (applied directly to the skin) such as metronidazole, erythromycin, benzoyl peroxide, tacrolimus, clindamycin or pimecrolimus.

In more severe cases, people may require the use of oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline or erythromycin to treat the condition.

The first thing that you should do is stop putting anything on your face. That means any ointment, make-up or any cream.

It is important that while you are having this rash, that you are only washing your face with water, nothing else.

Then there are some medications that you can use for this condition. When you visit your doctor, he will give a treatment plan with medicine that can help you with perioral dermatitis.

If you think that you might have perioral dermatitis, it is essential to visit your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you start with the treatment, the sooner the rash will disappear.

The personal care you can try includes:

  • Discontinue the use of face creams, cosmetics, and sunscreens.
  • Wash your face using only warm water.

Once the rash has subsided, ask your provider to recommend a bar or cleansing liquid without soap.

DO NOT use over-the-counter steroid creams to treat this condition.

If you were using steroid creams, your provider might ask you to stop them. You can also prescribe a less potent steroid cream and gradually suspend it.

Treatment may include medicines applied to the skin such as:

  • Metronidazole.
  • Erythromycin.
  • Benzoyl peroxide.
  • Tacrolimus.
  • Clindamycin.
  • Pimecrolimus.
  • Sulfacetamide sodium with sulfur.

If the condition is severe, you may need to take antibiotics in the form of pills. The medicines used to treat it include tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, or erythromycin.

Sometimes treatment may be necessary for up to 6 to 12 weeks.

Expectations (prognosis).

Perioral dermatitis requires several months of treatment. The protrusions often reappear. The rash is more likely to return if you apply steroid-containing skin creams. Perioral usually requires several months of treatment.

The reappearance of the protrusions is frequent, particularly if skin creams containing steroids get reapplied to the face.

When to Contact a Medical Professional.

Call your provider if you notice red bumps around the mouth that do not go away.


Avoid using skin creams on the face that contain steroids, unless your provider has indicated.