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How Do I Choose the Best Treatment for Perioral Dermatitis?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg

Choosing the best treatment for perioral dermatitis can depend on several factors. Some form of antibiotic is often needed to clear a breakout, but whether it is administered orally or via a topical cream depends on the severity of the skin lesions. Use of certain topical creams, toothpastes, or cosmetics may cause of worsen an episode, so discontinuing use of those products may be necessary. Caring for the skin by washing it correctly and avoiding factors that worsen the issue such as wind, heat, and stress are often important for anyone suffering from the condition.

A common treatment for perioral dermatitis is antibiotics. Oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline are used in more extreme cases where the breakout is severe. Milder cases may only require application of an antibiotic cream to the skin around the mouth; in some cases anti-acne creams may also be used. Treatment may need to go on for several months to completely clear up the issue. It is not uncommon for the problem to recur once treatment has stopped, and another course of antibiotics may be necessary.

Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for perioral dermatitis.
Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for perioral dermatitis.

In some cases, use of certain products may precipitate or aggravate the condition, so treatment will involve stopping their use. Topical steroids can often play a role, so they should generally not be used, though on occasion a doctor may prescribe them for a short time to reduce the inflammation and help with the appearance of the lesions. Dental products, particularly anti-tartar toothpastes or those containing fluoride or lauryl sulfate, can lead to or worsen a breakout. Cosmetics, lotions, and sunscreen should be used sparingly or not at all, and any that are used should be water-based instead of oil-based.

People who suffer from perioral dermatitis should use water-based sunscreens and lotions.
People who suffer from perioral dermatitis should use water-based sunscreens and lotions.

Keeping the area clean is often an important part of treatment for perioral dermatitis, but it should be done correctly to minimize aggravation of the rash. Plain, warm water alone is typically best while the lesions are visible. Once the breakout begins to clear, a soap-free cleanser is usually appropriate.

For many people, there are external and internal factors that can be avoided to help clear perioral dermatitis. Exposure to wind, sunlight, and heat often worsen the condition, so avoiding them can help. Reducing stress is also often effective. Avoiding spicy foods, alcohol, and other things which dilate the blood vessels can help the appearance of the breakout as well.

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    • Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for perioral dermatitis.
      By: mates
      Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for perioral dermatitis.
    • People who suffer from perioral dermatitis should use water-based sunscreens and lotions.
      By: Antonioguillem
      People who suffer from perioral dermatitis should use water-based sunscreens and lotions.
    • The fluoride contained inside toothpaste may cause perioral dermatitis.
      By: Monkey Business
      The fluoride contained inside toothpaste may cause perioral dermatitis.
    • Doxycycline may be used to treat severe perioral dermatitis.
      By: Nik_Merkulov
      Doxycycline may be used to treat severe perioral dermatitis.
    • Both exposure to sunlight and the use of sunscreen can worsen perioral dermatitis, so it is important to limit both.
      By: BlueOrange Studio
      Both exposure to sunlight and the use of sunscreen can worsen perioral dermatitis, so it is important to limit both.
    • Signs of an allergic reaction to doxycycline, which may be used to treat perioral dermatitis, can include hives.
      By: Rob Byron
      Signs of an allergic reaction to doxycycline, which may be used to treat perioral dermatitis, can include hives.
    • Treatment for mild cases of perioral dermatitis may include antibiotic skin cream.
      By: photodsotiroff
      Treatment for mild cases of perioral dermatitis may include antibiotic skin cream.
    • Antibiotics are often needed to clear a perioral dermatitis breakout.
      By: vladimirfloyd
      Antibiotics are often needed to clear a perioral dermatitis breakout.