If you’ve ever had a red rash around your mouth that took ages to go away then maybe it was perioral dermatitis. You see, perioral dermatitis is a skin condition that tends to look like small red, rashy, dry bumps around your mouth, and often it can be mistaken for acne.
For some people the rash can also feel itchy or even cause a burning sensation – but for others it might not. Everyone’s experience with perioral dermatitis differs. The skin condition is common, but understanding why people develop perioral dermatitis remains an unsolved mystery. However, there are a couple of reasons that pop up time and time again, so let’s chat through what could be triggering your perioral dermatitis (if you have it).
What causes perioral dermatitis?
Things that cause perioral dermatitis are things that are irritating your skin. Skincare is a big reason, and so are alcohol, fragrance, and even active ingredients like vitamin As and acids can be to blame – but did you know your toothpaste could be a trigger too? People that use cortisone creams for long periods of time are also often susceptible to perioral dermatitis. And we can’t forget stress! Stress is a huge cause of perioral dermatitis for so many, while allergies can be triggers as well.
How can you manage perioral dermatitis?
If you have perioral dermatitis do not start using a whole bunch of different skincare and try to play cosmetic chemist to treat it yourself. For anyone that is experiencing this, it is important to strip back your routine and keep everything very minimal and simple. And yes, this might mean using nothing but a basic fragrance-free cleanser, moisturiser and SPF until your perioral dermatitis completely clears. (So, no exfoliants or actives on the area at all – and that includes vitamin C!)
If you are using cortisone creams you will need to stop this treatment as well.
If you have stripped everything back and your perioral dermatitis is still persisting, I encourage you to visit your doctor or dermatologist, because for some people, prescription medication may be the best option (especially those with recurring symptoms). If you are constantly suffering, always speak to an expert.
Plus, it can take weeks and months to heal, so if it is bothering you, don’t leave your doctor's visit to the last minute, because prescription medication will work, and your doctor or dermatologist will know how best to handle your situation by prescribing a suitable, individualised treatment plan.
Living with perioral dermatitis, long term.
Obviously once you’ve had perioral dermatitis and have had it clear you won’t want it to come back (ever!) (Especially knowing how hard it can be to get rid of it for some!). So I suggest removing all possible irritants from your skincare routine and being mindful of ingredients that may trigger your flare ups moving forward.
Then, once your perioral dermatitis clears, it is important to incorporate actives that are deemed safe, back into your routine incredibly slowly, and preferably under the guidance of your dermal therapist/clinician/dermatologist.
While the skincare you do use moving forward is important, never forget the power of minimising life stressors, including having a healthy amount of sleep, movement, and nourishing your body, because they all play a part too. Prevention of perioral dermatitis (once you are aware of your triggers) is key.