Perioral Dermatitis: A Puzzling Eruption that Occurs Around the Mouth

Out of nowhere it seems crops of small bumps develop around the mouth that can also be associated with dryness, scaling and redness.

  • While initially inconspicuous, the number of lesions can increase on an ongoing basis until a point is reached that the breakouts are distracting and uncomfortable.
  • The initial reaction that one usually has is that the bumps should stop and the condition clear up on its own, but the areas can persist for weeks or even months despite trying a variety of home remedies.
  • Many individuals treat the condition as acne because pimple like bumps or pustules can develop, but usually the acne meds are ineffective.
  • This condition occurs almost exclusively in females and has been suspected to be related to fluoride in dental products, ingredients in cosmetics but no proof of this causative connection has been proven.
  • It is known that the prolonged usage of topical steroid medications (or cortisone creams) can lead to the development of perioral dermatitis.  Most of the time this type of reaction occurs secondary to prescription strength products that are fluorinated.

Eventually, many individuals with an eruption present in this area end up in a dermatology office. 

The diagnosis of perioral dermatitis is usually made right away due to its very unique features and appearance.

With the more frequent and prolonged wearing of facial masks as part of the Covid-19 pandemic, additional cases of perioral dermatitis are developing from this new cause.

If you have a persistent rash around the mouth, or nose that can spread up to the areas around the eyelids, see your dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. Otherwise this condition can persist for many weeks or months.


The content provided in this article is for information purposes only and does not establish a patient-physician relationship. A patient-physician relationship can only be established by a face to face visit where a medical history and physical examination are performed. You must seek out the counsel of a medical professional to know what care is needed for your individual concerns.