Perioral dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is an inflammatory rash involving the skin around the mouth. The rash may spread up to the nose or even the eyes, when it is referred to as periorificial dermatitis.


It usually appears as a scaly or red bumpy rash around the mouth. There may be a clear fluid discharge. Redness and slight itching and burning can also occur.


Perioral dermatitis is more common in women aged 16-45, but can be seen in all ages, races, and ethnicities. It also occurs in children.


The disease usually heals by itself – though it can take weeks or even months without treatment. It is not dangerous and not contagious. 


APPOTEK can help you with perioral dermatitis.


It is not entirely clear why some people get POD, but the disease is more common in people with a history of allergies or hormonal imbalances. The use of strong topical steroids on the skin, or nasal sprays containing corticosteroids, can trigger POD. Heavy skin creams that contain petrolatum or a paraffin base may also cause or worsen this condition.


Other factors that may trigger POD include:


  • bacterial or fungal infections
  • constant drooling
  • fluoride toothpaste
  • birth control pills
  • sunscreen
  • rosacea


Perioral dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. It starts with small bumps which then develop into red rashes similar to acne. The rash is mainly located around the mouth – but not in the area closest to the lips. But you can also get a rash on the cheeks, nose and around your eyes. Sometimes you may feel that they are burning a little. The affected skin often turns slightly red and may peel slightly. The rash does not leave scars.

Prevention and protection

Perioral dermatitis usually heals by itself, but it can take a long time. You can reduce your symptoms by the following measures:


  • Avoid harsh face scrubs or perfumed cleansers. Instead, use only warm water during flare-ups. Once healed, only use mild soap and don’t scrub your skin.
  • Avoid steroid creams — even non prescription hydrocortisone.
  • Stop or reduce the use of makeup, cosmetics, and sunscreen.
  • Frequently wash pillowcases and towels in hot water.
  • Limit salty or spicy foods. They can irritate skin around the mouth.


Be aware that when you first stop using cosmetics or scrubbing your face, the rashes may appear to get worse initially, before they improve. This is natural and you should still persevere with treatment.


There are medicines that can speed recovery. Medications your doctor may prescribe to treat your condition include:


  • topical antibiotic medications
  • immunosuppressive creams
  • topical acne medications
  • oral antibiotics for more severe cases


If your doctor determines that antibiotic treatment is right for you, you may also prescribe a special cream or gel to be used at the same time. You will continue with the cream or gel after the antibiotic course is over.

When to consult a doctor

You should speak to a doctor if you have symptoms of POD.

How APPOTEK can help

APPOTEK can help you with POD. A nurse or doctor will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms during the online consultation. You may then be prescribed medication or referred for further examination.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.