How is perioral dermatitis treated?
Perioral dermatitis can be treated by stopping the use of creams, ointments, cosmetics, steroid sprays, topical steroids, face scrubs, or any other products you use on your face or affected areas. Always check with your GP before stopping any prescription medications. With topical steroids, stopping using them can sometimes make the rash worse for a few days. When you have symptoms, you should wash your face with warm water only. Your GP may also advise you to stop using toothpaste with fluoride in it.
If the rash is mild, you may be prescribed topical or oral antibiotics or pimecrolimus cream to help reduce the inflammation. These can take up to two months to work, so it is important to continue with the course you were given unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
Washing your pillowcases and towels frequently in hot water can sometimes help to reduce symptoms. Salty and spicy foods can irritate the skin around your mouth, so limiting them can also help.
Can perioral dermatitis be cured?
There is no permanent cure for perioral dermatitis, but it can resolve with treatment. Without treatment, perioral dermatitis can last for months or years. Equally, it can also go away on its own.
Sometimes the rash can reoccur. To reduce the risk of this, use a mild, fragrance free cleanser to wash your face and try to eliminate or minimise the use of skin products on your face. If your symptoms flare up again, the same treatments that worked the last time are likely to help.
How do the treatments work?
It is not clear how antibiotics work against perioral dermatitis, as it is not an infection. However, some antibiotics do work to reduce inflammation as well as kill bacteria, such as tetracyclines, so that may explain why they can sometimes be helpful for perioral dermatitis. They are not effective for everyone, though. Antibiotic treatments can take up to two months to start working, although some people see an improvement within a few weeks. A common antibiotic used to treat perioral dermatitis is Metronidazole.
Topical creams or gels containing azelaic acid, such as Finacea Gel, are sometimes used to treat perioral dermatitis. While these treatments do not cure perioral dermatitis, they can reduce the inflammation caused by the condition and help to manage the symptoms.
How to treat perioral dermatitis naturally
Natural solutions to treat perioral dermatitis include:
- avoiding using topical steroids, cosmetics, and other products in affected areas
- washing affected areas with warm water only
- staying out of the sun
- using a toothpaste without fluoride
It has also been suggested by a study that coconut oil can help some people who get perioral dermatitis. However, others may find it clogs their skin pores and makes it worse.