Lab notes  /  Skin  /  What is Peri-Oral Dermatitis?

What is Peri-Oral Dermatitis?

A mis-self-diagnosed skin condition you need to know about, we can help.

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What is Peri-Oral Dermatitis?
Written byAmelia CranstounContent Editor
Start your 2 minute skin quiz today and one of our aestheticians will create a personalised skincare routine for you!Take the skin quiz

Our team of aestheticians are qualified to help analyse a client's skin type and make recommendations for appropriate skincare products. They are here to create a routine to use at home and to educate our members about troubles they are having with their skin by explaining the causes, symptoms, and most importantly, how to manage and prevent them. Peri-oral dermatitis is a lesser spoken-about skin condition that is often mis-self-diagnosed. Let us break it down for you in detail. 

What is Peri-Oral Dermatitis? 

Peri-oral dermatitis, often abbreviated as POD, is a dermatological condition characterised by redness, small bumps, and sometimes even pimple-like pustules that develop around the mouth, nose, and sometimes eyes. While it can be concerning and cosmetically distressing, understanding its origins is crucial to addressing the problem.

How do you know if you have Peri-oral Dermatitis?

Causes and Triggers 

Topical Products: One of the leading causes of POD is the use of topical products that disrupt the skin's natural barrier, leading to inflammation. Examples include harsh cleansers and overzealous use or combination of retinoids and exfoliating acids or other actives.

Steroid Creams: Long-term use of topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone, can be a significant trigger for POD. Initially, they may provide relief from the concern for which they were prescribed but can cause POD if used for longer than intended. 

Oral Contraceptives: For some individuals, hormonal changes triggered by oral contraceptives may lead to the development of POD. Discussing your medication with a healthcare provider is essential if you suspect this is a cause.

Dietary Factors: While not universally applicable, some individuals report that certain dietary factors, such as spicy foods or foods high in salt, can exacerbate POD symptoms.

Identifying Symptoms 

Recognising the signs of Peri-Oral Dermatitis is the first step in managing the condition effectively. Common symptoms include:

  • Redness and rash-like patches around the mouth and nose.

  • Small, red or flesh-coloured bumps.

  • Tiny pustules resembling acne.

  • Burning or itching sensations.

  • Dry or flaky skin.

Skin conditions commonly associated with Peri-Oral Dermatitis 

Peri-oral dermatitis is a skin condition characterised by the presence of red, bumpy, and sometimes pus-filled lesions around the mouth and on the face. It can have a similar appearance to several other skin conditions, which can sometimes lead to misdiagnosis. Some of the conditions that peri-oral dermatitis may be mistaken for include:

Acne: Peri-oral dermatitis can resemble acne, especially when it presents with small pimples or pustules. However, it typically spares the centre of the face and is primarily clustered around the mouth.

Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness, visible blood vessels, and sometimes pustules on the face. Peri-oral dermatitis may resemble rosacea, but it usually does not cause as much diffuse redness on the cheeks and nose as rosacea does.

Treatment and Management of Peri-Oral Dermatitis 

Discontinue Triggering Products: The first and most crucial step is to identify and stop using any products that may be contributing to the condition. This often involves discontinuing harsh cleansers, topical steroids, and any other irritating skincare products.

Gentle Skincare Routine: Switch to a gentle skincare routine with mild, fragrance-free products. Opt for a gentle cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen.

Topical Antibiotics: Your dermatologist may recommend topical antibiotics like metronidazole or azelaic acid to reduce inflammation.

Oral Medications: In some cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe oral antibiotics or other medications to address severe cases of POD.

Lifestyle Changes: Evaluate your lifestyle habits, such as diet and oral contraceptive use, and consider adjustments if they may be contributing to your condition.

Preventing Peri-Oral Dermatitis 

Preventing the recurrence of Peri-Oral Dermatitis is just as crucial as treating it. Here are some tips to help you keep this condition at bay:

  • Patch Test New Products: Before introducing a new skincare product into your routine, perform a patch test to ensure it doesn't trigger POD.

  • Take it Slow:  It’s worth staggering the introduction of active skin care products to ensure your skin has time to get used to each new product 

  • Limit Steroid Cream: When using steroid creams on the face, one must do so with care. The key is not using steroids on the face for prolonged periods or longer than prescribed. Always use the lowest strength steroid cream necessary to treat the skin condition.  

  • Avoid Triggering Foods: If you suspect dietary triggers, try eliminating 

Peri-oral dermatitis can be a challenging condition, but armed with the right knowledge and a gentle skincare routine, you can successfully manage and prevent it. Remember that your skin's health is unique, and consulting with a dermatologist or aesthetician is always a wise choice to tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. Our mission as skin care professionals is to empower you to look and feel your best, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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