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Perioral Dermatitis

What Is Perioral Dermatitis and Who Gets It?

Perioral dermatitis is a rash that can form around the mouth. This often causes redness, swelling and acne-like bumps. The rash itself circles the mouth, but leaves a thin band of skin around the lips that looks normal. It can also cause a burning sensation around the mouth and itch. It’s sometimes called “periorificial dermatitis” because it can form elsewhere on the face. It can circle the eyes and nose, appear on the cheeks and show up on the forehead. 

In many cases, it’s not fully known what causes perioral dermatitis. Sometimes exposure to a certain facial medicine that contains a corticosteroid, whether a topical cream or an oral inhaler for asthma, can cause it. But that’s not always the cause. The rash has also been associated with the use of certain tartar-controlled or whitening tooth pastes, and those with cinnamon or fluoride. Even certain moisturizers, makeups and sunscreens have been linked to the rash.

People of all skin colors get perioral dermatitis. The rash is most common in young and middle-aged women. Children and adolescents can also get the rash, both boys and girls. Men typically don’t develop perioral dermatitis however.

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