What are the symptoms of perioral dermatitis?
Perioral dermatitis is a rash that develops around the mouth - the word 'perioral' meaning 'around the mouth', and 'dermatitis' meaning 'inflammation of the skin'.
Typically, small red or pink lumpy spots develop on the skin anywhere around the outside of the mouth. That is, they may appear on the chin, the cheeks and the skin next to and below the nose. They look a little like acne spots but perioral dermatitis is not acne. The skin under and next to each spot is often red or pink. If there are a lot of spots next to each other then the area of affected skin can just look red and lumpy. Sometimes the skin surface can become dry and flaky.
Typically, the skin just next to the lips is not affected, or is affected much less than the skin just a little further away from the lips. So, in some cases, it looks like the rash forms almost a ring around the mouth but sparing a small border of skin next to the lips. Occasionally, the skin around the eyes is also affected.
The severity of the rash can vary from a few minor spots that are barely noticeable, to a definite and obvious lumpy rash that is around the mouth. The rash is not usually painful or itchy. However, some people report a mild burning or itchy feeling. Others report that the affected skin feels tense. The rash is not serious and is not associated with any underlying disease. However, it can be unsightly.
Who develops perioral dermatitis?
Almost all cases occur in young women, most commonly between the ages of 15 and 45 years. It is thought to affect up to 1 in 100 women at some point in their lives. Perioral dermatitis is uncommon in men and children. However, as the number of men using facial skin products increases, the number of men with perioral dermatitis is increasing.
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