What Is Periorificial Dermatitis?

Karize Uy

Periorificial dermatitis is a skin problem that usually occurs on a person’s face, specifically around the eyes, nose, and mouth. It appears as red rashes or blotches that sometimes can be bumpy, while the unaffected areas may be reddish as well. Periorificial dermatitis resembles another skin disorder called rosacea, and can sometimes be mistaken for acne. Its difference with acne is that the rashes do not usually contain a pus, and the affected area is only limited. The skin disorder can also appear on the genital area, but only in the rarest of cases.

Periorificial dermatitis is sometimes mistaken for acne.
Periorificial dermatitis is sometimes mistaken for acne.

Another distinguishing characteristic of this skin problem is itchiness and a stinging sensation. The patient may also have dry skin that tends to flake, or have unusually oily skin. A little tightening on the affected area may also be experienced and eventually some mild peeling that can worsen the stinging sensation. Periorificial is most experienced by adult females ranging from ages 20 to 45. Infrequently, children and adult males can also be diagnosed with the skin problem.

Periorificial dermatitis sometimes resembles rosacea.
Periorificial dermatitis sometimes resembles rosacea.

The specific causes of periorificial dermatitis have yet to be fully known, but many dermatologists observe that usage of certain facial products can trigger and aggravate the problem. Specifically, topical creams that contain steroids and fluoride have been observed to cause many cases of the dermatitis. Chemical and pore-clogging ingredients such as paraffin and petroleum can also produce the rashes. Combining different products, such as foundation and moisturizer was also observed as a possible cause, as well as the use of certain sunscreens. Other external factors can include sunlight, wind, and bacteria, particularly the species “candida.”

To treat the skin problem, patients will be recommended to stop using facial products. Initially, this can make the periorificial dermatitis worse as the skin is adapting, but the rashes will fade gradually. Dermatologists also suggest using non-soap cleansers, as soap can clog the pores and aggravate the affected area. Rinsing with warm water is also recommended. Patients are also cautioned to avoid using products even when the rashes start disappearing, as they might trigger its reappearance.

In some cases, dermatologists also give certain medications to treat the skin problem, and antibiotics, whether oral or topical, are commonly prescribed. Some variants include tetracycline, erythromycin, and clindamycin. These antibiotics help reduce the inflammation and keep away the bacteria that can form in the area. Other medications used for periorificial dermatitis are those that treat acne, such as benzoyl peroxide and sulfur. The duration of the treatment can last for about two months, but the problem might still recur, so patients should practice proper hygiene and use of products.

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