Perioral Dermatitis or Muzzle Rash: What it Is and How to End it

Perioral dermatitis, or its more common name "muzzle rash" looks similar to acne, though it is not acne. Its red bumps usually occur close to the mouth though not on the lips, generally around the chin, nasolabial fold. Sometimes these bumps will spread to the eye area.

Who Gets Perioral Dermatitis?

This skin disorder is almost always found in women between the ages of 20 and 45. Children and men can also get it, though this is rare. As more men use skin products the incidence of this condition is increasing in that sex.

What Causes Perioral Dermatitis?

This inflammatory condition has many potential causes. The use of steroid cream is a well-documented precipitant, but there are a number of others. These include the use of skin-care products, makeup (especially foundation), flavorings including cinnamon and peppermint, and fluoride-containing toothpaste. Yeast, fungus and bacteria have been suggested as triggers. There is also probably a hormonal cause, since oral contraceptives and a woman's cycle seem to affect the severity.

What Are the Signs And Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis?

Red bumps, some of which are pustules, appear in the area of the chin and nasolabial folds. It can also occur in the eye area, though this is less common. These bumps may be slightly itchy or irritated, and can become mildly scaly. It looks similar to acne, and can also resemble rosacea. Sometimes this condition leads to rosacea.

How Is Perioral Dermatitis Treated?

First, stop using all facial products including cleansers, creams and makeup. Also stop using fluorinated toothpaste. Use a very mild soap for washing. Do not use creams. Some people see a huge improvement with an anti-yeast (candida) diet of very low sugars and carbohydrates along with no caffeine or alcohol. Taking a good-quality probiotic along with fish oil can also help. A dermatologist may prescribe an oral antibiotic, and that can be very effective. Most treatments will not work immediately. It might take a number of weeks to see the dermatitis clear up completely.

Will it Come Back?

Even if the treatment clears up your condition completely, it may come back one day. Whichever treatment was effective for you, chances are that same treatment will work again.

How Is Perioral Dermatitis Prevented?

To prevent this condition, avoid topical steroids if possible, especially on your face. Severely limit the products you use on your face. Eat a low-sugar, low carb diet and limit your use of caffeine and alcohol. Use baking soda or a non-fluorinated toothpaste to brush your teeth. Avoid cinnamon and peppermint flavors.

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