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Perioral dermatitis is skin inflammation occurring around the mouth. This is a chronic condition predominantly affecting women. The affected skin is covered with papulopustular and eczematous skin lesions. Clinical characteristics of perioral dermatitis as well as histological findings of the affected skin are actually similar to those in people suffering from rosacea. Perioral dermatitis requires serious treatment, basically with systemic or topical medications. Underlying causes must be identified as well.

Perioral Dermatitis Pathophysiology

Perioral dermatitis is always located on the face and never spreads to other body parts.

The underlying cause of perioral dermatitis is still a mystery. However, it is confirmed that the condition may occur if one has previously used topical steroids for treatment of minor skin lesions affecting the face. It is true that many people tend to abuse topical steroid preparations not being aware how detrimental these can be.

Furthermore, there are certain products that may contribute to the onset of perioral dermatitis. There potential contributors are fluoridated toothpaste, some skin creams/ointments, sunscreens, physical factors such as UV light or heat, microbiologic factors like fungi or miscellaneous factors (hormonal changes, gastrointestinal disturbances etc.).

Perioral Dermatitis Symptoms and Clinical Findings

Patients suffering from perioral dermatitis frequently complain about burning sensation and tension in the affected area. Not many of them have to deal with itchy sensation. Some of them may report previous application of topic steroid creams on the face or the presence of skin lesions.

During physical examination doctors confirm that the inflammation remains limited to the face. The affected skin is covered with grouped reddish papules, papulovesicles and papulopustules. All of these skin changes are located on erythematous skin. Even though the specific skin lesions occur around the mouth, sometimes even nasolabial folds or lateral portions of the lower eyelids may be affected.Perioral Dermatitis Treatment Options

The treatment is based on anti-inflammatory drugs which are either applied topically or administered systemically. Another treatment option which seems to be highly efficient is photodynamic therapy.

Basically, the treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the amount of the affected skin.

If underlying or contributing factors have been identified, these must be eliminated in order for the inflammation to subside and not to reoccur.

The best thing is to consult a well-experienced dermatologist who will create an individual treatment plan. Frequent check-ups are also recommended.

Some patients may additionally benefit from changing their dietary regimes. And finally, there are no restrictions when it comes to physical activity. Still, vasodilatation induced by strenuous activities may increase redness of the affected area.

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