What is Perioral Dermatitis?

Perioral Dermatitis is a form of dermatitis – a non-contagious chronic condition that causes inflammation of the skin. Perioral Dermatitis is typically localised to the mouth area, nose and around the eyes. It’s usually not painful. Both men and women can develop this condition, though it is more prevalent in women. Especially women aged between 16 and 45 years. Children can develop Perioral Dermatitis too, but the cases are very few and far between. 

Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis

Periorificial Dermatitis causes an itchy or non-itchy rash to develop. The rash is typically dry and flaky, and reddish in colour. Though it can also take on the form of red, swollen bumps, sometimes pus-filled and resembling acne. It is common for sufferers to experience tightness and a mild burning sensation in the affected skin. Apart from around the mouth and in the folds of the nose, Perioral Dermatitis can also develop under the eyes, on the forehead, or on the chin – hence the term ‘perioral’.

Causes of Perioral Dermatitis

The underlying cause of Perioral Dermatitis is unknown. The use of topical steroids may be the underlying cause, in many cases. As well as the use of nasal sprays containing corticosteroids, and petroleum or paraffin-based skin creams. There are also many possible triggers of this skin condition, including the following: 

  • Taking birth control pills
  • A weakness within the skin’s moisture barrier
  • Using sunscreens that irritate the skin
  • A change in the skin’s natural biome (bacteria)
  • The onset of Rosacea (another chronic medical condition)
  • Exposure to UV light

Treatments for Perioral Dermatitis

There are many different approaches to the treatment of Perioral Dermatitis. With different treatments working differently depending on the patient. Dr Khoza may recommend that the patient stop any usage of topical steroids and corticosteroid nasal sprays, and any face creams that may be triggering the condition. It is important for individuals suffering from Perioral Dermatitis to get a proper medical diagnosis and assessment before changing any regular medications or making extreme lifestyle adjustments.

Prescription medications

Common medications prescribed for treating symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis include:

  • Topical antibiotic medications (metronidazole and erythromycin)
  • Immunosuppressive creams (pimecrolimus and tacrolimus)
  • Topical acne medications (adapalene or azelaic acid)
  • Oral antibiotics (doxycycline, tetracycline,erythromycin , or isotretinoin)

Lifestyle changes

Sometimes a simple or more extreme lifestyle change can alleviate the symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis, and prevent its future onset. Lifestyle changes include altering product usage, upping household sanitisation, and avoiding certain foods. Some of the more common lifestyle changes Dr Khoza may recommend are as follows:

  • Stopping the use of harsh face scrubs and cleansers with fragrance. And resorting to warm water to cleanse the face, only, during flare-ups.
  • Wearing less or no makeup, and changing the usual applied brand of sunblock. Or wearing less or no sunblock, and instead relying on coverings and clothing for sun protection.
  • Washing pillowcases, bed sheets and linen, as well as towels and cloths frequently in hot water.
  • Avoiding salty, acidic, and overly spicy foods that can irritate the skin around the mouth. 

Book a consultation with Dermatologist Dr Khoza

There are many treatments available for Perioral Dermatitis, so no one should suffer from symptoms long-term. Get in touch with us at Durban Skin Doctor so we can set up an appointment for you.