Perioral dermatitis is a skin condition, wherein a rash appears around the mouth and sometimes around the eyes and nose. This is also sometimes called periorificial dermatitis. It is most common in females between the ages of 16 and 45 years. Older people, males. and children may get perioral dermatitis, but it happens less frequently.
Some people who have perioral dermatitis may get a few bumps on their skin and their rash may not be very discernible. The bumps may be skin-colored, but sometimes it depends on the person’s skin color. People with fair skin may have rashes and bumps that are red or pink. The rashes and bumps also sometimes resemble pimples, but are not the same as acne. Without the right treatment, cases of perioral dermatitis go away but they tend to reappear later. It can also last for weeks, even months.
There is no underlying condition that causes perioral dermatitis, and it is also not contagious. Although the exact cause is unknown, researchers suggest that it can occur after the use of strong topical steroids on the skin. Nasal sprays that contain corticosteroids may also cause perioral dermatitis.
Other possible causes of perioral dermatitis include:
- a problem with the skin’s protective barrier
- a change in the bacteria on the skin
- bacteria getting into the hair follicles
- an allergic reaction
- irritation resulting from a skin care product or toothpaste
- hormonal changes
- taking a birth control pill
- strong winds
- UV light
How is it diagnosed?
A dermatologist can often diagnose this condition with just a visual examination of the skin and a little medical history taking. He or she may also perform a skin culture test to rule out a possible infection. It involves swabbing a small patch of skin in the affected area. The sample would be then sent to the laboratory to test the skin cells for bacteria or fungi. A skin biopsy may also be performed, especially if the rash does not respond to treatments.
As topical corticosteroids seem to be a primary risk factor for perioral dermatitis, it is essential to stop using them on the skin. However, it is important to speak with your doctor before discontinuing any medications. Also, part of treating perioral dermatitis is incorporating lifestyle changes that can help prevent it. Consider the following:
- Stop using harsh face scrubs and perfumed cleansers. Use mild soaps instead.
- Avoid steroid creams, even nonprescription hydrocortisone.
- Reduce the use of makeup, cosmetics, and sunscreen
- Wash your pillowcases and towels in hot water.
- Limit the consumption of overly salty or spicy foods, as the can irritate skin around the mouth.
Important note: This skin condition may flare up if a person starts using topical steroids again so it is recommended that you discuss alternative options with a doctor.