What are these Red Bumps around my Mouth?

By: Nicole A. Mezo, PA-C

photo of Nicole Mezo at Colorado Allergy & Asthma Centers

Nicole A. Mezo, PA-C

Perioral dermatitis (POD), also known as periorificial dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that can present as small, red bumps around the mouth, in the folds of the nose, and on the lower chin.  The bumps can resemble acne and can itch and burn.

POD can occur at any age and can affect males and females.  However, women between the ages of 16-45 tend to have a higher incidence.  It is unknown what causes POD, but triggers include topical and inhaled steroids, fluoride toothpaste, heavy moisturizers, oral contraceptive pills, hormones, and poor facial hygiene. 

Treatment for POD includes avoiding topical steroid creams and ointments, heavy face creams, and cosmetics.  For mild POD, topical antibiotics and topical calcineurin inhibitor (e.g., tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream) can be used.  For moderate to severe cases, oral antibiotics in the tetracycline and macrolide drug classes are usually prescribed for 8 weeks. 

If patients fail oral antibiotic treatment, less common therapies that can be considered include topical ivermectin and topical sulfur-sulfacetamide sodium.  Resolution of POD may take several months to occur.  Recurrence of POD is common and can occur years after it has been successfully treated.

If you think you may be experience symptoms of perioral dermatitis, book an appointment with one of our providers today to get relief soon!

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