What Kills Perioral Dermatitis?

Medically Reviewed on 2/1/2022

6 natural home remedies to get rid of perioral dermatitis

how do you treat perioral dermatitis?
Here are 6 natural at-home remedies that can help get rid of perioral dermatitis.

Here are 6 natural at-home remedies to get rid of perioral dermatitis:

  1. Essential oils:
    • Antimicrobial, analgesic, and antibacterial properties in diluted tea tree oil can soothe itching and burning sensation.
    • Mix 10 to 15 drops of any of these essential oils with coconut oil, jojoba, or almond oil and apply it to the affected area:
      • Neem oil
      • Tea tree oil
      • Lavender oil
  2. Apple cider vinegar:
    • It possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help eliminate harmful toxins from the skin.
    • Apply a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water (1:3 ratio) on the affected area for approximately 15 minutes and rinse it off.
  3. Aloe vera:
    • It is a natural anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing compound that relieves irritation and redness.
    • Apply aloe vera pulp directly on the affected area, let it dry, and wash it off.
  4. Grape seed extract:
    • It removes toxins and soothes skin.
  5. Honey:
    • Apply honey, keep it for an hour, and rinse off.
  6. Yogurt:
    • Apply yogurt, let it dry, and then rinse off.

What is perioral dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis (PD) is a common facial skin rash characterized by scaly, tiny, red bumps (papules) on the area below the nose, on the nasolabial folds, around the mouth, and eyes, on the forehead, and sometimes on the genitals.

The term PD is used restrictively when the infection occurs particularly on the lower half of the face and around the mouth. When it affects the eyes or eyelids, it is often described as periocular dermatitis, and when it affects the genitals, it is referred to as periorificial dermatitis.

The rash often closely resembles acne vulgaris, rosacea, and contact dermatitis.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) recommendation, topical steroid creams and nasal sprays should be discontinued immediately.

Although a person may not get rid of PD overnight, it may take a few weeks to months (gradual improvement) to clear up completely.

What causes perioral dermatitis?

The exact cause of perioral dermatitis is unknown although certain triggering factors include:

  • Adult women who are 20 to 45 years and children younger than 13 years
  • Prolonged use of topical steroids, including over-the-counter hydrocortisone, applied by purpose or accidentally
  • Use of anti-aging creams
  • Nasal, inhaled (for asthma), or oral steroids
  • Use of some cosmetic creams, makeups, and sunscreens
  • Use of toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Unhygienic facial conditions (not washing the face often)
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Hormonal changes in the body (stress, pregnancy, and menstrual cycles)


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Symptoms of perioral dermatitis

Symptoms of perioral dermatitis include:

  • Red eruptions on the skin around the mouth
  • Clusters of 1 to 2 mm erythematous papules
  • Skin adjacent to the lips is spared, looks pale
  • Burning sensation on the affected area
  • Itching and irritation
  • Dry and flaky skin

How is perioral dermatitis diagnosed?

Usually, doctors can diagnose the condition by just looking at its typical presentation and appearance of the rash with no specific tests required to confirm the diagnosis.

A skin culture to look out for the presence of bacterial infection can be performed.

In rare cases, if the treatment does not seem to be working, a skin biopsy may be recommended (a small portion of the skin sample is sent for testing).

How is perioral dermatitis treated?

Perioral dermatitis is not contagious (does not pass from person to person). The rash may appear worse for days to weeks before it starts to improve.

  • Avoid or discontinue the use of topical steroids for a long time
  • Discontinue the use of occlusive facial creams, sunscreens, and cosmetic products (until the condition is cured completely)
  • Use mild, fragrance-free facial cleansers and moisturizers (Dove and Cetaphil)
  • Wash the face often to remove dirt and oil and pat dry gently
  • Avoid fluoridated toothpaste
  • Do not stress yourself
  • Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet to improve gut health (rich in fiber, complex carbs, and proteins)
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and extreme temperatures
  • Limit intake of coffee
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • Use water-based skincare creams and lotions
  • Cinnamon can be a triggering factor (although not proven)
  • Avoid spicy and salty foods that may irritate the skin around the mouth
  • Use topical antibiotics such as erythromycin, clindamycin, pimecrolimus, and metronidazole 

In severe cases, oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin, or isotretinoin may be prescribed for 6 to 12 weeks.

4 complications of perioral dermatitis

The 4 complications of perioral dermatitis include:

  1. Granulomatous periorificial dermatitis (persistent yellowish papules)
  2. Steroid rosacea (large facial papules and tdilatation of the capillaries on the face)
  3. Recurrence
  4. Scarring that causes psychological discomfort

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Medically Reviewed on 2/1/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Stephanie Gardner Perioral Dermatitis WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/contact-dermatitis

Amada Oakley Periorificial Dermatitis DermNet NZ: https://dermnetnz.org/topics/periorificial-dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis American Academy of Dermatology Association: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/perioral-dermatitis

Leila Tolaymat Perioral Dermatitis NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525968/