Perioral dermatitis – symptoms, causes and other risk factors

perioral dermatitis causes symptoms

Perioral dermatitis is a term in which are included two words – “perioral” which means around the mouth and “dermatitis” which means an inflammation of the skin. Life knows to be unfair for many of us. This is a reason why we put many different types of creams and other stuff to our faces which will make us to look more appealing, fresher and younger. But there are some cases when your skin can rebel and you will end up looking worse than you are before. There is a vicious cycle which can develop in people who use steroid creams to treat other conditions, for example eczema. If they have notice that perioral dermatitis has developed, they continue to use more creams which just make their condition worse. This is an inflammatory rash eruption which is involving the skin around the mouth. There are some studies in which is said that it can happen after the use of topical steroids on the skin, which can be prescribed as a treatment for another condition. [1]

There are some cases of perioral dermatitis which are chronic. This condition is also known as perioficial dermatitis. Also it can be around the nose or eyes. The rash from the mouth can spread to your nose or even the eyes. It usually appears as a red or scaly bumpy rash around the mouth. Also there can be a clear fluid discharge. Burning, slight itching and redness can also happen. This condition is more common in women who are between the ages of 16 to 45 years but it can be seen in all ethnicities, races and ages [2]. Also it can happen in children of any age. This is very common condition and it is affecting 1 in 100 women. Perioral dermatitis is most commonly seen in young women, about 90% of the cases, but also it can affect men as well. Men are also using many skincare products, as they know to say “cool dudes”, which means that their chances to get perioral dermatitis are also increased. [3] When people are not using the right treatment, then the cases of perioral dermatitis can go away, but later they can reappear. Episodes of this condition can last weeks and even, in some cases for months. If you stop using ointments and creams, then you will notice improvements in your condition, but it can take a long time to clear up so this is a reason why you need to talk with your doctor. Your doctor will tell you for sure if it is perioral dermatitis or not and it will give you the proper treatment to speed up your recovery.

perioral dermatitis symptoms causesSymptoms of perioral dermatitis

This condition usually appears as a rash of red bumps around the mouth and in the folds around the nose. Perioral dermatitis can develop on your skin anywhere around the outside of your mouth. These bumps can be scaly in appearance. Also these bumps can appear on the chin, below the nose, on the forehead and under the eyes. These small bumps can have fluids or pus and they may resemble acne but you should know that perioral dermatitis is not the same as acne. If there are a lot of spots next to each other, then the area of your affected skin can look lumpy and red. There are some cases when the surface of your skin become flaky and dry. Typically, the skin just next to your lips is not affected or if it is affected, then is affected little further away from your lips. You can also experience symptoms such as itching or burning, especially if the rash worsens.

Causes for perioral dermatitis

The exact cause for this condition is not known. There are some studies in which is suggested that perioral dermatitis can happen after the use of strong topical steroids on the skin, which are usually prescribed to treat another condition. [1] Also nasal sprays which have corticosteroids can lead to perioral dermatitis. [4] Also there are some evidences in which is shown that certain ingredients can lead to perioral dermatitis. Heavy skin creams which have paraffin base or petroleum base can cause or worsen the perioral dermatitis. [5] Also there are other factors which can trigger this condition such as:

  • Rosacea
  • Sunscreen
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Fluorinated toothpaste
  • Constant drooling
  • Bacterial or fungal infections


[1] Kosari P, Feldman SR. Case report: Fluocinonide-induced perioral dermatitis in a patient with psoriasis. UC DavisDermatology Online Journal. 2009;15(3).

[2] Tolaymat L, Hall MR. Perioral dermatitis. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. 2020. Retrieved from

[3] American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Perioral dermatitis. Retrieved from

[4] Peralta L, Morais P. Perioral dermatitis — the role of nasal steroids. Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology. 2012;31(2):160-3.

[5] Kammler HJ. Perioral dermatitis. Medscape. 2020. Retrieved from


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