Condition 101 About Perioral Dermatitis

What is the definition of Perioral Dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis is a skin disorder resembling acne or rosacea. In most cases, it involves tiny red pumps that form on the lower half of the face in the folds of the nose and around the mouth.

What are the alternative names for Perioral Dermatitis?

Periorificial dermatitis

What are the causes for Perioral Dermatitis?

The exact cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown. It may occur after using face creams containing steroids for another condition.

Young women are most likely to get this condition. This condition is also common in children.

Periorificial dermatitis may be brought on by:

  • Topical steroids, either when they are applied to the face on purpose or by accident
  • Nasal steroids, steroid inhalers, and oral steroids
  • Cosmetic creams, make-ups and sunscreens
  • Fluorinated toothpaste
  • Failing to wash the face
  • Hormonal changes or oral contraceptives

What are the symptoms for Perioral Dermatitis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Burning feeling around the mouth. The creases between the nose and mouth are most affected.
  • Bumps around the mouth that may be filled with fluid or pus.
  • A similar rash may appear around the eyes, nose, or forehead.

The rash may be mistaken for acne.

What are the current treatments for Perioral Dermatitis?

Self-care you may want to try include:

  • Stop using all face creams, cosmetics, and sunscreen.
  • Wash your face with warm water only.
  • After the rash has cleared, ask your provider to recommend a non-soap bar or a liquid cleanser.

DO NOT use any over-the-counter steroid creams to treat this condition. If you were taking steroid creams, your provider may tell you to stop the cream. They may also prescribe a less potent steroid cream and then slowly withdraw it.

Treatment may include medicines placed on the skin such as:

  • Metronidazole
  • Erythromycin
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Tacrolimus
  • Clindamycin
  • Pimecrolimus
  • Sodium sulfacetamide with sulfur

You may need to take antibiotic pills if the condition is severe. Antibiotics used to treat this condition include tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, or erythromycin.

At times, treatment may be needed for up to 6 to 12 weeks.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Perioral Dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis requires several months of treatment.

Bumps may return. However, the condition does not come back after treatment in most cases. The rash is more likely to return if you apply skin creams that contain steroids.

When should I contact a medical professional for Perioral Dermatitis?

Call your provider if you notice red bumps around your mouth that do not go away.

How do I prevent Perioral Dermatitis?

Avoid using skin creams containing steroids on your face, unless directed by your provider.



Habif TP. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 7.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Acne. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 13.

Top Global Doctors For Perioral Dermatitis

Latest Advances On Perioral Dermatitis

  • Condition: Perioral Dermatitis (POD)
  • Journal: Journal of cosmetic dermatology
  • Treatment Used: Skin Care Cream with TRPV1 Inhibitor 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol
  • Number of Patients: 48
  • Published —
This study evaluated the clinical value of a skin care cream with the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 inhibitor 4-t-butylcyclohexanol in patients with perioral dermatitis over 8 weeks.
  • Condition: Atopic Dermatitis
  • Journal: Orbit (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Treatment Used: Dupilumab
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
This case report describes two patients with chronic atopic dermatitis who developed new or severely worsened periocular dermatitis, believed to be a side effect of dupilumab injections.

Clinical Trials For Perioral Dermatitis

There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.