What is Perioral Dermatitis?

Perioral Dermatitis

Image Credit: VisualDX

In the realm of skin conditions, especially those primarily affecting children and adolescents, correctly identifying the malady at hand is often a challenge. The various skin disorders each come with their unique set of symptoms, making it easy to misdiagnose them without expert intervention. This blog post focuses on a specific skin condition known as perioral dermatitis, a frequently misinterpreted condition often mistaken for acne or eczema due to their similar appearances.

Perioral dermatitis is a common skin rash frequently seen in children and young people, predominantly around the mouth and occasionally the nose and eyes. One primary reason for the confusion with other skin conditions is its appearance: red bumps that may remind you of acne or the presence of flaky patches akin to eczema symptoms.

These red bumps, akin to the inflamed papules typically seen in cases of acne, cause many to reach for over-the-counter acne treatments in an attempt to manage the condition. However, the reality is that perioral dermatitis requires a different treatment strategy, which we’ll explore later in this blog.

Similarly, the flaky patches that may appear around the nose or mouth can mislead one to assume eczema, leading to the use of creams and ointments designed to alleviate the symptoms of eczema, which, like acne treatments, may not offer the desired relief for perioral dermatitis.

Contrary to these assumptions, perioral dermatitis is its own distinct entity. Your dermatologist will confirm that despite its resemblance to both acne and eczema, perioral dermatitis is neither of these conditions.

The underlying cause of perioral dermatitis remains elusive, although several theories exist. One important fact to underline is that perioral dermatitis, while undoubtedly a cause for concern due to its symptoms, isn’t a threat to overall health. It’s not a contagious condition; hence it does not spread from one person to another, alleviating worries of transmission within a household or school setting.

Typically, perioral dermatitis is not overly bothersome, often presenting mild discomfort rather than severe pain. However, it’s essential to note that its symptoms can worsen with steroid use, a common treatment for various other skin conditions. A quick and correct diagnosis by a dermatologist is usually achievable, leading to an appropriate treatment plan.

Treating perioral dermatitis involves prescription medication, usually over a period of 3 to 6 weeks. The good news is that in most cases, this condition does not leave scars, meaning the skin can return to its healthy appearance post-treatment.

It’s crucial to remember that not all red, bumpy rashes indicate acne, and not all scaly patches can be ascribed to eczema. A board-certified dermatologist holds the key to a proper diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

The main takeaway from this blog should be the importance of professional medical advice. If your child displays symptoms similar to those described here, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a pediatric dermatologist. Proper identification of skin conditions like perioral dermatitis is the first significant stride toward effective treatment and the restoration of healthy skin.

Please complete our contact form or contact Children’s Dermatology at (949) 679-1990 to arrange a consultation with Dr. Heidi. We look forward to responding to your queries and assisting in accurately identifying the problem and establishing the most suitable treatment plan for your loved ones.

Children's Dermatology

Children's Dermatology

Recent Posts
About Children's Dermatolgoy
Children’s Dermatology is a premier dermatology center for all your pediatric skincare needs. We are located in the city of Orange and serve patients across Orange County, CA. Our clinic is led by a board-certified dermatologist, and fellowship-trained pediatric dermatologist, Dr. Heidi Goodarzi MD, FAAD.