Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by small red bumps or pimple-like lesions that form around the mouth and sometimes extend to the nose and chin. It is most commonly seen in women and is often mistaken for acne. The exact cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by the use of topical corticosteroids or other skin care products that contain irritating ingredients. Treatment typically involves avoiding the use of irritating products, using a mild cleanser and applying a topical antifungal or antibiotic medication. In some cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.


Perioral dermatitis is a skin condition that causes red, bumpy rashes around the mouth, chin, and nose. The main causes of perioral dermatitis are not well understood, but it is believed to be related to several factors including:

  1. Topical Corticosteroids: Overuse of topical corticosteroids is a common cause of perioral dermatitis. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation, but overuse can cause the skin to become thin and sensitive, leading to a rash.
  2. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can increase the likelihood of developing perioral dermatitis.
  3. Cosmetics: Certain skin care products, such as heavy creams, can clog pores and cause a rash. Products containing petroleum, fragrances, and preservatives are also known to cause perioral dermatitis.
  4. Bacterial infections: Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that can cause perioral dermatitis. This bacterium is often found on the skin and can cause inflammation.
  5. Genetics: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing perioral dermatitis.

In some cases, multiple factors may contribute to the development of perioral dermatitis. It is important to identify and eliminate the underlying causes to effectively treat the condition.


Perioral dermatitis is a skin condition that affects the area around the mouth, nose, and chin. The main symptoms include:

  1. Red bumps or papules: Small, red, inflamed bumps that are similar to pimples are a common symptom of perioral dermatitis.
  2. Rash or skin irritation: The affected area may be itchy, swollen, or burning. The skin may also feel tight or have a rough texture.
  3. Pustules: Yellow or white pimple-like bumps that contain pus.
  4. Scaling: The skin may be flaky or scaly.
  5. Crusting: The skin may become dry and crusty.
  6. Swelling: The skin may be swollen or puffy.
  7. Burning sensation: Some people with perioral dermatitis may experience a burning sensation on the affected area.

These symptoms are usually not accompanied by fever, but they may be accompanied by mild discomfort or itching. If the condition worsens, the symptoms may become more severe and spread to other areas of the face.


Perioral dermatitis is typically diagnosed through a visual examination of the skin and medical history. A doctor or dermatologist may also perform a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.


  1. Physical Exam: The doctor will examine the affected skin, looking for red bumps and papules around the mouth, nose, and eyes.
  2. Skin Biopsy: A small sample of skin may be taken for laboratory examination to confirm the diagnosis.
  3. Allergy Testing: An allergy test may be performed to identify any underlying allergies that may be contributing to the condition.
  4. Microbial Culture: A microbial culture may be taken to determine if a bacterial or fungal infection is contributing to the condition.
  5. Patch Testing: A patch test may be performed to determine if there is an allergy to a specific substance.

Note: The tests performed will depend on the individual case and the doctor’s judgment. A combination of tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis and identify the underlying cause of perioral dermatitis.


The main treatment for perioral dermatitis involves a combination of topical and oral medications, as well as lifestyle changes.

  1. Topical Medications: Topical antibiotics such as metronidazole, clindamycin, or erythromycin can be applied to the affected area to reduce the bacteria that contribute to the condition. Topical corticosteroids can also help reduce redness and inflammation.
  2. Oral Medications: Antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline may be prescribed to treat the underlying infection that may be contributing to perioral dermatitis.
  3. Topical Antibiotics: Topical antibiotics such as metronidazole or clindamycin are commonly used to treat perioral dermatitis. These medications help reduce the bacteria that may be contributing to the skin condition.
  4. Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone or triamcinolone can be used to reduce inflammation and itching associated with perioral dermatitis.
  5. Topical Vitamin B: Vitamin B topical creams may be used to reduce inflammation and promote the healing of the skin.
  6. Avoiding irritants: Avoiding the use of harsh skincare products and makeup, as well as topical steroid creams, can help reduce the symptoms of perioral dermatitis.
  7. Oral Antibiotics: In severe cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed to help control the bacteria that may be contributing to perioral dermatitis.
  8. Light Therapy: Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, may be used to help reduce inflammation and promote healing of the skin.
  9. Lifestyle Changes: Avoiding the use of heavy creams and cosmetic products around the mouth can help reduce the severity of perioral dermatitis. It is also important to avoid picking or scratching at the affected area, as this can further irritate the skin.
  10. Sun Protection: Protecting the skin from the sun is important to reduce inflammation and further irritation. This can be done by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF.
  11. Avoidance of Triggers: Identifying and avoiding potential triggers such as certain skin care products, medications, or environmental factors can help reduce the frequency of outbreaks.

It is important to consult a dermatologist to determine the best treatment plan for your specific case of perioral dermatitis.