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Perioral Dermatitis Symptoms and Treatments

Trust us when we say perioral dermatitis can be cured. Let us help to transform you and get rid of your perioral dermatitis once and for all. The following in depth article explores the symptoms of perioral dermatitis and the various treatments available (including our own wonderful ProSkin Eczema cream). We are so confident in ProSkin Eczema and all of our other products we have a sixty day money back guarantee even if you have used the entire product.

What are the treatment options for perioral dermatitis?

Your doctor or dermatologist will determine your treatment based on the severity of your condition. In some cases, using mild soaps and discontinuing the use of heavy skin creams and fluorinated toothpaste may ease symptoms. Medication may also speed healing.

Your doctor or dermatologist may prescribe and/or recommend the following;

Prescription medications

  • topical antibiotic medications, such as metronidazole (Metrogel) and oral antibiotics such as erythromycin
  • immunosuppressive creams, such as pimecrolimus cream
  • topical acne medications, such as adapalene or azelaic acid
  • oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline, or isotretinoin, for more severe cases

Some patients prefer to try natural remedies in addition to or in place of prescription medications which are not working.

There are countless scientific studies showing the efficacy of natural ingredients.

Natural Topically Applied Treatments

  • Natural topically applied creams such as ProSkin Eczema are proving more popular as they provide a safe, natural approach that is also extremely effective.
  • Pure aloe vera is also widely used in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions like perioral dermatitis. Aloe will help to restore the pH balance of your skin and relieve the itching sensation as well as skin irritation.
  • Vitamin E oil is a natural product that promotes quicker skin healing and also provides significant relief from itching and inflammation. This product can be rub/massaged directly onto the PD rash, once or twice per day.
  • apple cider vinegar (watch this may sting and is drying!!! probably better diluting it with water)
  • green tea
  • Other effective natural remedies include coconut oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil and calendula.

Natural and alternative remedies

These include:

  • taking vitamins A, E, C
  • taking zinc supplements
  • blue light treatment
  • TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

Diet and lifestyle

Part of treating perioral dermatitis is diet and lifestyle changes that can help prevent it. Some possible actions include:

  • Get rid of harsh face scrubs or artificially perfumed cleansers. Instead, use only warm water during flare-ups. Once healed, only use mild soap and don’t scrub at the skin.
  • Avoid steroid creams, even non-prescription hydrocortisone.
  • Stop using or reduce use of makeup, cosmetics, and sunscreen.
  • Wash your pillow cases and towels in hot water frequently.
  • Limit overly salty or spicy foods.

How can I prevent perioral dermatitis?

Since the causes of perioral dermatitis vary and the cause is not completely understood, there isn’t a foolproof way to avoid getting it. However, there are some things you can do to help alleviate it or to keep it from getting worse:

  • Avoid steroid creams and ointments unless specifically directed by your doctor. If another medical practitioner prescribes a topical steroid, make sure to let them know that you have perioral dermatitis. In general, it is more likely to occur with stronger topical steroids than weaker ones, so use the weakest possible one to treat the disease.
  • Avoid using heavy cosmetics or skin creams. Ask your doctor which moisturizers are acceptable to use. Try switching brands if you decide to continue to use cosmetics.
  • Switch to gentle cleansers and moisturizers. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations that would best suit your skin.
  • Limit the amount of time your skin comes into contact with the elements. UV rays, heat, and wind can aggravate perioral dermatitis. Some medications used to treat perioral dermatitis will also make your skin sensitive to the sun. Be sure to protect your skin if you’ll be in the sun for prolonged periods. 

Common triggers

There are several common triggers that can result in a perioral dermatitis outbreak. These should be avoided as much as possible.

These triggers include:

  • using a steroid cream on the face
  • makeup and harsh cleansers that are applied to the affected or irritated area, which can make flare-ups worse
  • exposure to ultraviolet light
  • exposure to strong winds
  • birth control pills
  • fluorinated toothpaste

Risk factors

Some people will be more prone to or at risk of developing perioral dermatitis than others. Risk factors include:

  • gender (women are more likely to develop this condition than men)
  • use of steroid creams or ointments on the face
  • age (teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged adults are most likely to be affected)
  • presence of an autoimmune disorder
  • a history of allergies
  • hormonal imbalances
  • environment (those who are more frequently exposed to strong winds are more likely to develop this condition)

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

Perioral dermatitis is more common in women between the ages of 16 to 45 years, but can be seen in all ages, races, and ethnicities. When it occurs in children, it tends to affect younger children with an average age of 6 years. Without the right treatment, cases of perioral dermatitis go away but may reappear later. Episodes of perioral dermatitis can last weeks, months and sometimes even years.

What causes perioral dermatitis?

The cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown. However, research suggests that it can occur after the use of strong topical steroids on the skin, which may be prescribed to treat another condition. Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can cause perioral dermatitis as well.

There is also evidence that certain ingredients in cosmetics can cause perioral dermatitis. Heavy skin creams that contain petrolatum or a paraffin base may cause or worsen this condition.

Other factors that may trigger this condition include:

  • bacterial or fungal infections
  • constant drooling
  • fluorinated toothpaste
  • sunscreen
  • rosacea
  • hormonal changes due to the oral contraceptive pill
  • hormonal changes due to the menopause
  • hormonal changes due to monthly cycles

How is perioral dermatitis diagnosed?

Your doctor or dermatologist can often diagnose perioral dermatitis with just a visual examination of your skin, along with your medical history.

Your doctor may also perform a skin culture test to rule out a possible infection. During this test, your doctor will swab a small patch of skin in the affected area. They will send the sample to a laboratory to test the skin cells for bacteria or fungi. Your doctor may perform a skin biopsy, especially if the rash doesn’t respond to standard treatments.

The video below shows how Blue Light Treatment can be effective for PD. 

The information above is for educational purposes only. We do not advocate the use of any products recommended in this article except our own and we are firmly against products containing artificial ingredients, those which are tested on animals, and those produced by companies who still carry out animal testing outside of the EU. 

Please always seek advice from your doctor before undertaking any new treatment.

25 responses to “Perioral Dermatitis Symptoms and Treatments”

  1. Emma K says:

    I disagree! I have never used steroids either internally or externally yet I’ve suffered with several awful outbreaks of PD over several years. I do not find this easy to get rid of, no matter what I do. Heals on its own eventually, as long as I put NOTHING on my face at all. Can’t be hormonal cos I’m fifty and finished with all that! I finally concluded my foundation was to blame… full of ‘nanoates’ as are most foundations, creams and sun screens. Just look up that word and you’ll see it’s an horrendous technology they’re using in our cosmetics. The body reacts to these little microscopic nanoates as if it is attacking a virus. Hence the length of time it takes to get rid of and the fact only antibiotics speed up healing. :-/ One for the conspiracy theorists to chew over, I think!

  2. Stella kerrod says:

    I have recently developed this perioral dem, it started soon after i took the miny pill!
    (Stopped pill straight away )
    I am 52, Rrrrrrr, don’t need rashes etc at this age.
    Doctor prescribed hydrocortisone, then fucidin H both making it much worse.
    I worked out the perioral dem myself after 10 months!
    Also the less you put on it, the better. It has almost cleared up once.
    I have a 4 week wait to re visit the doctor.
    Antibiotics cream i hope

  3. Marcie A says:

    I recently developed perioral dermatitis that looks just like this picture. I was initially confused, but after reading how other people with this condition had allergies and digestive issues, it made total sense to me. I decided that the cause was the same as when I had psoriasis, which I basically cured with an alkaline diet, i.e., eating lots of leafy greens. I’m sure everyone is different, but I suspect that the microbiomes in my body are just really imbalanced from too much acidity in my body (or maybe from tons of antibiotics as a child) — and of course from allergies and digestive issues. Bad skin can actually show bad digestion according to traditional Chinese medicine. So I’ve been taking probiotics, using massive amounts of coconut oil, occasionally rubbing my chin with bleach and ingesting baking soda dissolved in water (because they’re bases, but maybe ignore those things), paying more attention to my food allergies, and eating a lot more leafy greens, pineapple, and watermelon. And I’ve been doing some acupuncture/acupressure points related to digestion. I’m still having some sugar and coffee (though I’m sure cutting it out would help), but in the past week, the perioral dermatitis has been improving a lot. I just thought I’d share this in case this helps someone whose root cause might be similar to mine.

  4. jaynie says:

    I have had Perioral Dermatitis for over 6 months now, its only almost gone on a couple of occasions and i dont know why, but for the most its flared up covering most of my face, itchy and burning, so bad ive not been able to go out and even had to have time off work. Ive been seen by dermatologist – Topical steroids, can be a main cause, i have been using ointment for eczema on my hands which ‘might’ apparently have been the initial cause, my gp had also given me a milder steroid ointment for the facial rash (before diagnoisis by the dermatologist) which ive been told added to the problem. Although it helps for a few days, it is also the cause of it remaining and not healing.
    I now have to go cold turkey on the use of the ointments which can and will cause a bad flare up for possibly 2 weeks or so, i did run out of ointment once and it did flare up really bad, but unknowing at the time got more ointment, it has at no time done anything more than stop some of the burning/itch it only eliviates some symptoms intitally as i have flare ups even when using it and now it seems its actually prolonging the rash rather than healing.
    The best thing to happen so far was washing my face very mild soap and rinsing lots without rubbing my face, each time it itched or burned, i then took an antihistamine and the ointment. So far its the best my face has been and im not washing my face adding ointment nor taking antihistamines so often for the first few weeks i can now see ‘normal’ coloured skin around my mouth and just look spotty rather than a burns victim. The dermatologist has put me back on antibiotics, ive had 3 courses of different ones from the gp and they seem to do little, however this time im to take them for 3 months. I was put on Prednisone for 7 days reluctantly by the gp because i had a wedding to attend it did reduce the rash right down but i was left with a small amount after the 7 days of which i put the ointment on ( knowing as i do now , it might have got rid of it had i not used the ointment) the gp didnt want to give me predisone in the first place and only gave it me as it was so bad (the worst it had ever been) and i was so distressed she will not give me any more and yet i have read others have had it for longer and it has cleared theirs. I must add i dont want to be using steroids, even in the creams let alone orally, but needs must with my face as it was it became a necessity. I have had smaller flare ups still nasty but i seem to be controlling it better and since the frequent rinsing of my face definitely and improvement. However, im just about to stop using the ointment… and on to the antibiotics. I will be continuing to wash my face with the itch or burning im trying to keep my face as clean as possible, i do have to wear make up at work 2 days a week as im at front desk job, i cant not wear make up with this on my face , i just cant, i feel like a leper as it its 🙁 what ive done is i now take my make up and refresh it during my breaks. I have also tried to cut down on sugar milk and salt im eating healthier REF : the post above i think it helps to cleanse the body certainly i believe what we eat effects our skin hair etc , its by no means easy. I think as from here its watch this space i will do a catch up post in a few weeks let you know how its gone with my routine,

  5. Gillian says:

    I thank my lucky stars I read this article. I had been battling with perioral for some time and the doctor and dermatologist between them could not find an answer for me. The antiobitics and metrogel did nothing and one of the creams (that I have forgotten the name of) even made it worse. I tried the pro skin excema mentioned and within a fortnight my perioral was completely gone. I have had no recurrance of this which is great as I had perioral for five years.

    • annbeaven says:

      You mentioned that you tried pro skin eczema was this a cream that your doctor prescribed for you?

    • Jade says:


      I am researching as this is the first time I’ve had this PD above my mouth and slightly on my chin.. it started to appear around 7/8 weeks ago and I am on antibiotics and cream from the doctors… I saw some improvement but it seems to be looking really red and raw at the moment would you really recommend this proskin eczema cream and how often can you put this on a day?

      • Gillian says:

        Hi Jade,

        I used pro skin eczema at night time before bed. Once my perioral was gone I used it as a moisturiser (just a smidgen) and have now ditched my regular one as this has left my skin really smooth and shimmering if that makes sense.

        • Jade says:

          That’s brilliant is it safe to put this cream on during an outbreak as mine is gradually going down but I want to make sure I can keep this at bay as I’ve not been able to wear make up for weeks now


  6. Gillian says:

    Hi Anne, My doctor never prescribed this. All of the creams he prescribed either didn’t help or made it worse. I bought the pro skin eczema after reading this article and also after reading lots of great reviews on the internet.

  7. Marty says:

    I think I’m going to have to try this. Had symptoms for about 9 months now. Been misdiagnosed as fungal then rosacea. Found info about PD online and I’m sure it’s this. Went to my GP for the third time today with this info and recommended treatment that is agreed online and by my friend who is a GP (but isn’t local). She wasn’t interested in what I had to say and prescribed a steroid cream. I said I’d read that was a possible cause but she brushed me off. Just picked up the prescription and the leaflet says not to use it if you have PD! So, am I meant to use it and make things worse just to prove her wrong?! She’s referred me to a dermatologist but I don’t know how long that will be and I’m already at my wits end with it all. I work in events and at 32 could really do without looking like I have constant acne.

    • jmc says:

      How did you get on? I also have this I think and my GP has been awful. My skin is sore and its really effecting my self esteem. I just can’t bear to face anyone and feel so low.

      • Danielle says:

        Please try Clotrimazole cream. Twice a day. I had it for 10years and now after a week of using it, I’m finally rash free xx

  8. Irisa says:

    I trie this product pro-skin exczema by mama nature after see it recommed to me and was very hopeful of outcome. I glad i trie because it is all the wonderfull things peoples say it is and i recommed it to anyone.

  9. Danielle says:

    I have suffered with condition since I was 18, I was pregnant at the time and had been using no steroid creams whatsoever. I have had it ever since (now 28) I have had countless creams from docs, tried home made remidies and iv finally found the thing that had made it disappear. I was reading a girls blog about how she treated it with Clotrimazole cream so I thought I’d give it a go as I was having the biggest break out of all time after I regrettably used some steroid cream on my face then stoped using it after a few weeks. I slathered the Clotrimazole cream on my face before bed and lo and behold it was actually 30% better in morning. I have been using it twice a day now for 1 week and it had officially gone. Iv been advised to continue to use it for a few more weeks to make sure it’s compleatly gone all together. I advise everyone to at least try this, im aware some things work for some and not others, but if you have tried almost everything then try this. Good luck

  10. diana says:

    this is my second year having pd i had it for 2 years already. I’ve been using a steroid cream since it started and every night that i don’t use it my face breaks out with red bumps round my mouth and eyes don’t know how to get rid of it. Many people suggested that i stop using the cream but its not fun to walk around school and people keep on staring at you cuz of your face. any suggestions????
    MAMA NATURE’s VIEW – We recommend you tread carefully when using a steroid cream as they are only supposed to be used for SEVEN CONTINUOUS DAYS as they can change the structure of your skin, thinning it and/or causing allergic contact dermatitis, enlarged blood vessels. Ceasing the use of steroid creams after prolonged use can cause topical corticosteroid withdrawal symptoms. Although these side effects are rare you should still be aware of them. If you still insist on using steroid creams for prolonged use it is strongly advised to use them every other day after the initial seven days. We would however recommend that you strictly follow the guidelines laid down in the instruction leaflet and better still find a natural alternative that can be used every day.

  11. diana says:

    ok do you guys have any creams that helped your pd??

  12. Lina says:

    I have the same problem.My dermatologist prescribed Skinoren 20% cream. I apply twice daily . Its commonly used as ance treatment. 4 days im on it and there seem to be no improvement. Rather itches have intensified! I feel so sad because im 38 weeks prego and my baby soon on the way. Everyone i meet focuses on my face and i feel so uncomfortable! NB Skinoren burns/itches my chin for an hour after application yet no improvement! Any helpful proposals please ??

  13. Beryl Gravett says:

    I use “Pure Emu oil” to keep my PD under control! I use it as a moisturiser at night and use it over the place at the corner of my lips by day under make up. I also find “forever living”aloe Vera lip salve is useful by day if it starts to feel uncomfortable. These are the only items I have found helpful. I am over 70 now and have had this for about 5 years. You can purchase pure emu oil on eBay or amazon. I hope this information will be helpful to other sufferers.

  14. Clare says:

    I have suffered with mild perioral dermatitis around my nose for a few years, however three months ago I had a rash appear on the right side of my chin. It was first diagnosed as impetigo and I was given an antibiotic cream. The cream helped a little bit the rash seemed to be moving and I wasn’t convinced it was impetigo. I was a second doctor who said it was eczema and advised using a steroid cream to clear the rash. It Worked until I stopped using the steroid cream. My face was worse that ever. Then I found something the Web about perioral and read that was what I had. I have been using proskin eczema and a natural nappy cream with zinc and my skin is slowly improving day by day.

  15. Does it matter says:

    Fig milk. Break a fig leaf from fig tree. Apply the milk that accumulates at the broken point, directly to your affected area. Fig leaves are anti parasitic. It might take a while.

  16. Lilli says:

    I have suffered with this forever. I find the only true cure is going to a more humid place. (Every time I travel my skin heals up right away!) We’re just allergic to certain chemicals. Same with my contact solution, only natural stuff irritates my eyes.

    However, since I can’t live in Costa Rica like I want to… Here is my advice. I have tried EVERYTHING. I mean everything. Things that have helped me:

    -Using ONLY natural essential oils and creams (Vitamin E, Coconut oil, jojoba oil, and sealing it with a natural cream) I really mean this. If there is an ingredient that you don’t understand or that doesn’t occur naturally, do not use it.
    -Washing/rinsing face with only warm water and/or aloe vera
    -Moisturizing heavily before and after sleep
    -Drinking PLENTY of water
    -Sweating out toxins!!! (especially sitting in the sauna)
    -Limit consumption of alcohol and absolutely no smoking
    -No makeup unless it’s completely natural (this is how it spread to my eyes 🙁 )

    And yeah. Basically the chemicals in everything today are just too harsh for our super dry and sensitive skin types. Hope this helps.

    Disclaimer- none of this is a sure cure. I still suffer from this condition, but now I know what to do to treat it so It’s not as bad.

  17. Joanna Owen says:

    I’ve been dealing with PD since March two rounds of prednisone. The dermatologist finally diagnosed me with PD yesterday, they put me on Doxycycline for 3 months. The only place I have it currently is under my eyes. As you all know, this is super stressful. My son is getting married on June 9th. Praying for some resolution by then.

  18. Cheryl Campbell says:

    I am 60 and have dealt with PD for two years now! I have tried a lot of prescrition and nonprescrition oral and topical treatments. Two months ago I went bak to the dermatologist extremely upset because nothing had helped. She prescribed Septra 800 twice a day for a month and it worked! I’m hoping this will be helpful to others because I know how deprressing and frustrating it is!

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