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Perioral dermatitis is a relatively common skin condition, affecting more than 200,000 Americans each year. It commonly affects the skin around the mouth, but it can also appear around the nose, cheeks, and eyes. Perioral dermatitis is relatively easy to treat and typically resolves itself within a matter of months. It does require the diagnosis of a doctor to obtain treatment, so see your healthcare provider right away if you think you might be suffering from the condition. Here's what you need to know.

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Symptom - Red, Scaly Rash

This is the most common and most easily identified symptom of perioral dermatitis. It is typically red in color and can often appear scaly or bumpy. This inflammatory rash usually starts around the mouth, but it can also spread to other areas of the face, especially the nose and eyes. In some cases, there can also be a clear fluid discharge, but this does not always appear in milder cases.

Symptom - Red, Scaly Rash
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Symptom - Mild Itching and Burning

With most cases of perioral dermatitis, you may notice an itching or burning sensation in the affected areas. This discomfort is usually on the milder side, but that doesn't mean that it can't still be problematic. This irritation can make it uncomfortable to eat, wash your face and even form facial expressions, so you'll want to tend to it as quickly as possible.

Symptom - Mild Itching and Burning
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Cause - Topical Steroid Creams

One of the most common factors that contribute to the appearance of perioral dermatitis is the use of topical steroid creams. Often, these creams are prescribed to treat other skin conditions. It is unfortunate that a medically prescribed treatment can lead to other complications, so you may wish to ask your doctor for an alternative remedy if he or she prescribes a topical steroid cream for you and you know that you are prone to perioral dermatitis.

Cause - Topical Steroid Creams
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Cause - Overuse of Moisturizer

Moisturizer is great for keeping your skin looking soft and youthful, but overusing moisturizing products can contribute to perioral dermatitis. Many ordinary moisturizing creams contain parabens, petrolatum, paraffin and other harmful substances, which are absorbed into your body along with the lotion. Although moisturizers can bring about temporary relief from the symptoms of perioral dermatitis, they can make it more difficult to get rid of in the long run. When shopping for moisturizers, look for natural varieties that don't contain any harmful chemicals, or ask your doctor for a specific recommendation.

Cause - Overuse of Moisturizer
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Cause - Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin condition that leads some people to blush or flush more easily than others. It causes visible redness of the face and may be a contributing factor to the development of perioral dermatitis. Rosacea irritates your skin, making it easier for bacteria and other toxins to get under the surface. This may be what causes the connection between rosacea and perioral dermatitis. Once rosacea starts to appear, it can trigger the development of perioral dermatitis as well.

Diagnosis: Similar Conditions and Diseases
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Cause - Constant Drooling

Constant drooling is another possible cause of perioral dermatitis. If you produce more saliva than is necessary for eating and digestion, you may find that you drool frequently. This leads to excess moisture on the skin around your mouth, which can cause it to crack and become irritated, allowing bacteria to enter. This irritation can then spread around your mouth and evolve into perioral dermatitis. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you something to help get your saliva production back under control and within normal levels to prevent this from happening again in the future.

Cause - Constant Drooling Dermatitis
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Cause - Fluoridated Toothpaste

Most toothpaste available these days contain fluoride, which has been shown to benefit teeth, gums and overall oral health. It is also added to the drinking water in most major metropolitan areas. However, the substance can be harmful in large doses. If you are prone to developing perioral dermatitis, you may want to consider switching to a natural toothpaste that doesn't contain fluoride and purchasing a water filter that can remove the substance from your drinking water. Check with your doctor to ensure that you are still getting enough fluoride for your teeth without going overboard.

Cause - Fluoridated Toothpaste Dermatitis
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Treatment - Antibiotics

The most effective treatment for perioral dermatitis is antibiotics. They can be incorporated into a topical cream that you can apply to the affected areas, or they can be ingested in pill form. The treatment course can take anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the severity of the condition and your body's response to the treatment. Antibiotics can only be obtained with a prescription from a doctor, so see your healthcare provider right away so that you can begin your course of treatment.

Treatment - Antibiotics Dermatitis
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Treatment - Topical Creams

Topical creams can also be used to relieve the symptoms of perioral dermatitis. These creams may contain antibiotics to treat the problem. Or they may be designed to offer relief from the itching and burning that are common with the condition. In most cases, you'll apply the cream several times a day to the affected areas. After your perioral dermatitis has cleared up, you can continue to use the topical cream to prevent it from reoccurring. If you still have any left over after the initial run of treatment.

Treatment - Topical Creams Dermatitis
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Treatment - Lifestyle Changes

You can help to prevent the condition by making simple changes to your daily routine. Because many of the factors that contribute to perioral dermatitis come from your lifestyle choices. For example, avoid the use of topical creams that contain steroids. You can also switch to natural toothpaste and moisturizers to help avoid harmful chemicals and substances. You should also wash your pillowcases frequently to help prevent the transfer of bacteria back onto your skin. If you wear makeup, try to minimize the amount that you put on your face each day. And always wash your makeup off before you go to bed at night. Finally, limit the number of spicy foods that you eat, as these can irritate the skin around your mouth.

Treatment - Lifestyle Changes Dermatitis

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.