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Perioral Dermatitis Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Hans J Kammler, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
 
Updated: Feb 29, 2016
 

History

Subjective symptoms of perioral dermatitis (POD) may consist of a sensation of stinging and burning. Itching is rare.

Often, long-term use of topical steroids for minor or even undiagnosed skin alterations precedes the development of perioral dermatitis.

Perioral dermatitis tends to be chronic.

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Physical

Perioral dermatitis (POD) is limited to the skin.

Skin lesions occur as grouped follicular reddish papules, papulovesicles, and papulopustules on an erythematous base with a possible confluent aspect. The papules and pustules have primarily a perioral distribution. Other locations of involvement include the nasolabial fold and lateral portions of the lower eyelids. Vulvar involvement has been reported in young girls affected with perioral dermatitis.

In an extreme variant of the disease called granulomatous perioral dermatitis, granulomatous infiltrates have a yellowish aspect at diascopy. The lesions are confluent in a well-defined plaque delineated by the nasolabial folds and chin.[2]

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Causes

An underlying cause of the perioral dermatitis (POD) cannot be detected in all patients. The etiology of perioral dermatitis is unknown; however, long-term use of topical steroids for minor skin alterations of the face often precedes the manifestation of the disease. Note the following:

  • Drugs: Many patients abuse topical steroid preparations.[3] No clear correlation exists between the risk of perioral dermatitis and strength of the steroid or the duration of the abuse. Perioral dermatitis has also been reported after the use of nasal steroids[4] and steroid inhalers.
  • Cosmetics: Fluorinated toothpaste[5, 6] ; skin care ointments and creams, especially those with a petrolatum or paraffin base, and the vehicle isopropyl myristate are suggested to be causative factors. In an Australian study, applying foundation in addition to moisturizer and night cream resulted in a 13-fold increased risk for perioral dermatitis. The combination of moisturizer and foundation was associated with a lesser but significantly increased risk for perioral dermatitis, whereas moisturizer alone was not associated with an increased risk. Physical sunscreens have been identified as a cause of perioral dermatitis in children.[7]
  • Physical factors: UV light, heat, and wind worsen perioral dermatitis.
  • Microbiologic factors: Fusiform spirilla bacteria, Candida species, and other fungi have been cultured from lesions. Research from 2015 suggests to differentiate perioral dermatitis caused by rod-shaped bacteria (possible fusobacteria) and corticosteroid-induced rosacea.[8]
  • Miscellaneous factors: Hormonal factors are suspected because of an observed premenstrual deterioration. Oral contraceptives may be a factor.
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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Hans J Kammler, MD, PhD Director and Professor, University Medical Center Bonn, Germany

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Jeffrey Meffert, MD Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Jeffrey Meffert, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Andrea Leigh Zaenglein, MD Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics, Department of Dermatology, Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Andrea Leigh Zaenglein, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Galderma for consulting; Received consulting fee from Valeant for consulting; Received consulting fee from Promius for consulting; Received consulting fee from Anacor for consulting; Received grant/research funds from Stiefel for investigator; Received grant/research funds from Astellas for investigator; Received grant/research funds from Ranbaxy for other; Received consulting fee from Ranbaxy for consulting.

References
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