Description of Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis, also commonly known as POD is a form of dermatitis that is persistent, eczematous and papulopustular in nature and usually affects the face. Its infection is most commonly seen in the region around the mouth. Women and children get more affected by this. Amongst women too, its incidence is commonly seen in the age group between twenty and forty-five.

Perioral Dermatitis has lesions that closely resemble those seen in Rosacea. This type of dermatitis is restricted to the skin and occurs mostly on the face, owing to which there is a lot of emotional trauma. This is more so because it is more prevalent amongst women,

One of the main reasons attributed to its spread on face is indiscriminate use of topical steroids for treating minor skin ailments like acne, pimples, etc.

Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis

In the initial stages of perioral dermatitis, there is a lot of burning sensation around the affected area. Unlike most the other skin ailments there is not much of itching sensation in perioral dermatitis and hence it is not suggestive of pruritus. The lesions associated with perioral dermatitis may occur either as vesicles with pustules and papules on erythematous base or as a cluster of follicular papules that are reddish in color.

The popules occur around the mouth in most cases. These lesions may also be seen in folds between the mouth and nose and on either side of lower eyelids. In case of 'Lupuslik', which is a type of perioral dermatitis in a more severe form, its infiltrates are yellowish in color.

Causes of Perioral Dermatitis

There is no known cause that can be attributed to the onset of perioral dermatitis, However, generally it is observed that the incessant use of topical steroids for other common ailments of facial skin is usually followed by the onset of perioral dermatitis.

Some other factors attributed to perioral dermatitis are the use of chemical based skin care creams, fluorinated toothpastes and paraffin based ointments.

Continuous exposure to Ultra Violet light is known to worsen the symptoms of perioral dermatitis. Wind and heat too worsen the symptoms. This may be due to microbiological factors like spores of fungi, bacteria spirilla and certain species of Candida.

Treatment of Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is treated with systemic use of topical therapies. The photodynamic therapy or PDT is also very effective. The awareness and education of the underlying factors also helps in overcoming the symptoms of perioral dermatitis. Its disfiguring characteristic has to be understood and the need for proper and timely medical care should be emphasized.

A dermatologist should be consulted in each case and no ointments should be used without proper medical advice. Education about the manner in which perioral dermatitis spreads goes a long way in avoiding its recurrence.

Other points to be kept in mind while dealing with cases of perioral dermatitis are:

* Proper diet and healthy living conditions
* Avoidance of alcoholic beverages or restricting them to moderation.
* Physical activities which cause dermal vessels to vasodilation might worsen perioral dermatitis; hence these should be in moderation and after proper medical advice.