A dermatologist told us how to *finally* treat perioral dermatitis. Here's where to start.

If you're someone who's dealing with perioral dermatitis, you'll know the struggle. 

It's one of those skin conditions that's notoriously fickle to treat, and sometimes, it's really difficult to know what's causing it and if you're doing the right thing when it comes to treatment. 

Because it's really confusing out there — and there are so many sneaky perioral dermatitis myths and misconceptions, that you'll often feel like approximately NOTHING is working, and it's only getting... worse. 

But, that's why you have us. Or, Dr Shammi Theesan, rather.

Watch: Here are 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia

Below, the Melbourne-based dermatologist from ODE Dermatology, shared her advice on perioral dermatitis treatment — including what you need to avoid on the skincare front. Finally.

Class in session.

What is perioral dermatitis?

So, what exactly is that red rash around your mouth or nose? Well, to start — perioral dermatitis isn't actually dermatitis. Confusing, we know. It's also regularly mistaken for a form of acne.

However, it's... neither.

In a recent Instagram post, Dr Shammi describes perioral dermatitis as "an inflamed skin barrier state." She added that "the symptoms of dryness, pimple-like sports, itchy areas can last months." 


Another common skin condition perioral dermatitis is often mistaken for? Eczema.

In the Instagram caption, Dr Shammi added: "Perioral dermatitis, also known as perorifcial demerits, may share a name with eczema, but it’s important to understand that they are distinct conditions."

"While eczema does not typically cause pimples, perioral dermatitis can occasionally occur as a side effect of using steroid creams to treat eczema."

"This condition can be quite debilitating, yet it often goes unnoticed in popular culture."

What triggers perioral dermatitis?

Truth is, it's not so easy to decipher the root cause of perioral dermatitis. More often than not, it can be a combination of different things. 

However, as Dr Shammi shared, there are certain triggers that can exacerbate perioral dermatitis. 

She said this includes things like: "Stress, your gut microbiome, going off steroid creams on your face, the wrong skincare and too heavy a moisturiser."

Just on the steroid cream thing, often people think they're dealing with dermatitis, so try to treat it with topical steroid creams. As any expert will tell you, this is one of the worst things you can do for perioral dermatitis, as it actually makes the condition worse over time. 

So, put the steroid cream down!

Instead, Dr Shammi said you need to focus on establishing a proper skincare routine and being extra mindful of other products that may aggravate your symptoms.


"Remove these trigger points and moisturise your skin morning and night," she said. "Use a vitamin B3 serum in the daytime. And sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Make sure it's not too heavy."

She also suggested exercising caution with makeup and cosmetics and choosing gentle, non-irritating options.

What's more, she said to turn the heat down. Literally.

"Reduce anything that's going to increase heat in your skin. Minimise saunas, hot showers, and heated pools."

Perioral dermatitis treatment.

When it comes to perioral dermatitis treatment, there are several things you should start doing — and several things you need to stop doing. 

Dr Shammi recommends the following measures. "Discontinue the application of all corticosteroids, including hydrocortisone cream, on your skin to avoid further complications."

Instead, you're best off booking an appointment with a qualified dermatologist or skin expert, who will probably suggest a series of LED treatments.

"It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional about the potential use of antibiotics to address the underlying infection." 

"See your dermatologist. There are great tablets and amazing laser treatments that can fix this problem." 

There you have it!

Do you have perioral dermatitis? What are some of your main triggers? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Instagram/@drshammitheesan.