At a time when many people are relying more and more on videoconferencing such as Zoom and FaceTime to connect remotely with family, friends and colleagues, skin eruptions occurring on the face can be particularly troublesome. One of the common facial skin conditions we at SkinCare Physicians have been seeing more often in telemedicine visits recently has been perioral dermatitis.
As the name suggests, this rash frequently occurs around the mouth as well as the nose and can appear around the eyes. It most commonly affects women and children. Perioral dermatitis can range from scattered pink bumps that may be smooth or scaly, fluid or pus filled. These bumps can also coalesce into larger red patches. The eruption can feel itchy, sore or be asymptomatic. Because the presentation varies, perioral dermatitis can be misdiagnosed as other conditions such as acne or eczema.
Despite its prevalence, the exact cause of perioral dermatitis remains unknown. It is believed to be a type of inflammatory reaction and is often associated with topical steroid use. Steroids should be discontinued and avoided since they can exacerbate the rash. Sometimes, a skin product such as a new makeup or moisturizer can precipitate an outbreak. Because of the propensity to involve the lip area, toothpaste containing fluoride or sodium laurel sulfate has also been implicated as a cause. Recently, reports of a rise in perioral dermatitis cases, coinciding with more widespread mask use, have raised questions about whether masks or chronic occlusion from prolonged face coverage may be contributing to flares.
In many cases, the trigger may not be readily identified. Fortunately, perioral dermatitis responds well to treatment. Topical therapies including clindamycin, erythromycin or metronidazole are often prescribed. Topical immunomodulators such as pimecrolimus or tacrolimus are also effective. In some cases, a combination of a topical agent along with an oral antibiotic may be required.
If you have a chronic rash around your mouth or nose, it may be time to see a dermatologist. Our SkinCare Physicians providers can help to diagnose your skin condition via a telemedicine visit. Schedule one now.