A Patient's Guide to Rosacea
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Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is a relatively common rash. These red rashes present as bumps and sometimes water filled blisters. It can resemble acne in some ways, and rosacea in others. One distinguishing feature of perioral dermatitis is that it affects the lower half of the face, and is usually confined there unlike acne. Also, unlike acne, whiteheads and blackheads will not be present.

Facts about perioral dermatitis:

  • Women are disproportionately affected by this condition.
  • The lower lips are the most commonly affected area. Other areas that can be affected include the lower nose, around the mouth area, and sometimes the eyelids.
  • Perioral dermatitis most often occurs in a person's twenties, but can occur in children as well as those in their thirties and forties. The condition usually lasts several months.
  • The cause of perioral dermatitis is not known yet
  • Steroid creams are often a trigger that worsen the condition


  • Avoid topical steroids as it aggravates this condition
  • Minimize the use of cosmetics which can be aggravating
  • Oral antibiotics are thought to be the most effective
  • Topical metronidazole may be used but is slow to take effect

Rosacea and Perioral Dermatitis:

Sometimes perioral dermatitis can erupt around the mouth area which can resemble rosacea, and more commonly, acne. Perioral dermatitis occurs most commonly in women in their twenties, and is often a self-limiting condition, and often resolves within several months. This contrasts with rosacea, which is a chronic condition, and often worsens over time if not treated.