Acne? Around my eyes?

woman applying treatment to skin on face

Well…sort of. Periorificial dermatitis is an inflammatory condition that causes small pimple-like
bumps around the eyes, nose, and mouth. These bumps can burn, flake, itch, or be totally
asymptomatic, but most people seek treatment given their appearance. This rash has been likened
to rosacea and does share some features of that condition, but it is a separate entity.

Commonalities include the appearance, and more notably, the triggers. The cause of this common condition is not well-understood, but it tends to affect women more than men, and can be exacerbated by inhaled steroids (such as an asthma inhaler or nasal spray for allergies), fluorinated toothpaste, oral contraceptives, harsh weather exposure (extreme wind, cold, sun), new cosmetic products. While it is important to identify any potential triggers to avoid future flare ups, some people experience periorificial dermatitis without any apparent cause.

So, what can you do if you experience a flare? This condition requires medical treatment,
including both topical and oral agents, so it is best to seek guidance from your dermatology
provider. A combination of topical anti-inflammatories and oral antibiotics typically clears
standard cases within a week. While these treatments seem to be most effective for periorificial
dermatitis, there are some things you can use at home to help lessen the severity.
Many times, we want to throw the kitchen sink at a rash in hopes something works, but this
method will likely exacerbate your condition, causing it to linger even longer. Being gentle with
your skin is key, and this includes gentle cleansers and moisturizers daily. It is also important to
use a daily facial sunscreen, preferably mineral-based. My favorite brands of cleansers and
sunscreens include Elta MD and Skin Aesthetics MD. They are gentle on your skin and relatively
affordable compared to other quality products.

Schedule a consultation with Matt Dettra PA-C in Chestnut Hill or Lansdale for diagnosis and

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