In this month’s journal, we’re tackling the issue of perioral dermatitis, a skin condition that affects the skin around your mouth. We’re investigating the symptoms, causes and treatment options.
Perioral dermatitis is actually more accurately referred to as periorificial dermatitis. This is because the skin condition most commonly affects areas around the mouth and the eyes. Periorificial dermatitis is characterised by small red or flesh-coloured bumps, small pustules (white pus-filled bumps) and, scaly, dry patches. At times the rash may itch or burn.
Causes of Perioral Dermatitis
Perioral dermatitis is likely to stem from a combination of factors including hormonal changes, skin care products (especially richer, heavier products), prolonged use of topical steroids and inhaled steroid sprays and fluorinated toothpastes. In many cases, an exact trigger cannot be easily identified.
Treating Perioral Dermatitis
The good news is that perioral dermatitis doesn’t have to be a permanent problem for your skin. But it’s important to remember that patience is your ally, as the journey to clear skin might take time.
- Simplify your skincare regimen: It’s a good idea to pare back your skincare routine if you’re struggling with perioral dermatitis. Opt for gentle, fragrance-free, lightweight products that won’t further aggravate the skin.
- Topical antibiotics: Topical antibiotics such as metronidazole and clindamycin often play a role in treatment. Oral antibiotics may also be needed depending on the severity. Follow your dermatologist’s advice on dosage and duration.
- Stop the steroids: While they might seem like quick fixes, topical steroids are one of the main causes of perioral dermatitis. They often appear to help initially, but then the moment the topical steroid is discontinued, the dermatitis flares.
- Give foundation a break: Heavy makeup can exacerbate the condition, so allow your skin to breathe as often as you can.
- Seek professional help: If you suspect you’re dealing with perioral dermatitis, consult with your dermatologist to diagnose and guide you through a treatment journey that is right for you.
Helping Prevent Perioral Dermatitis
You can potentially ward off future episodes of perioral dermatitis by taking these simple steps:
- Choose non-comedogenic products that won’t clog your pores. Be vigilant with labels and ingredients. Best to avoid facial oils and occlusive balms.
- Cleanse your face gently and avoid overwashing. Harsh cleansers can strip the skin of its natural protective barrier.
- Easier said than done, but reducing stress can help mitigate many skin conditions, including perioral dermatitis. Engage in activities that soothe your mind.
With the right guidance, treatment, and a little patience, you can say goodbye to perioral dermatitis and welcome back your radiant, healthy skin.
If you have any concerns or questions about perioral dermatitis or notice other changes to your skin, consult a dermatologist who can advise on a treatment plan tailored to your needs.