Perioral Dermatitis

Medically reviewed by The Dermatologists and written by Dr. Alexander Börve

Common moderately

  • Requires medical diagnosis
  • Symptoms: Small bumps and rashes that resemble pimples
  • Color: Typically red
  • Location: Around the mouth, a bit down on the chin, under the nose.
  • Treatment: No treatment necessary, prescription antibiotics, prescription cream

Perioral dermatitis is a skin inflammation marked by small red bumps and rashes that resemble pimples. The rashes goes around the mouth and sometimes the nose. 

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Perioral dermatitis starts with red rashes around the mouth, a bit down on the chin and under the nose. Sometimes, in rare cases, the rash appears around the eyes. It then develops into small bumps, which may itch and burn a little. Skin affected may peel easily. Contrary to common belief, blackheads are not a symptom of perioral dermatitis.

The condition is more common in women, and may be caused by poor hygiene, peeling and excessive cleaning of the face, strong makeup, prolonged use of cortisone creams and steroid creams, or hormonal changes.


What can I do?

Stop using perfumed cleaning products and creams, opaque makeup to the face, greasy creams and products with oil or cortisone cream. It is noteworthy that when you stop using these products, your perioral dermatitis might get a little worse before they get better. It is also important to avoid peeling the affected area.

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Should I seek medical care?

Contact your healthcare provider if you suspect you have perioral dermatitis. It is easily treated with facial creams or antibiotics. Stop any form of cortisone.



Perioral dermatitis is often transient, but in rare cases, it takes years to cure. Your skin heals faster when treated with drugs – you can get antibiotics in the form of tablets or capsules for the first few months. You can also get a cream or gel that you use at the same time and then continue to use it after your drug treatment. The disease once cured usually it does not come back.

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U.S. National Library of Medicine. Perioral dermatitis. Available at:

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Perioral dermatitis. Available at:

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