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Brooke’s Blog: Dermatology Questions and Answers

Dear Brooke,  I have these round reddish bumps around my mouth that are kind of painful and burn and feel tight when I open my mouth really wide. I have been putting Neosporin on them but it hasn’t helped them to go away and they’ve been there for a few months now. What are they and how can I get rid of them? Thanks! – Lynn, 34 years-old, from Manhattan. Dear Lynn, Although many conditions can present with red bumps near the mouth, it sounds like what you are experiencing is a condition called perioral dermatitis. This is a condition that can be caused by several different factors, with the underlying cause not always being easily identified. Topical steroid drugs can precipitate a flare of perioral dermatitis. Certain moisturizers and skin care ointments that contain petrolatum or paraffin can also lead to reddish bumps around the mouth. In children, there has been an association between certain sunscreens causing perioral dermatitis. Most commonly, prolonged exposure to sunlight, heat, and wind can worsen the symptoms of perioral dermatitis. Furthermore, there is a correlation between hormonal factors or oral contraceptives that can cause the symptoms of perioral dermatitis. Your health care practitioner can treat your symptoms using a combination of topical medications such as topical antibiotics, topical immune modulators (i.e., Protopic® or Elidel®), topical anti-fungals, or a sodium sulfacetamide with sulfur face wash, and oral antibiotics such as doxycycline , tetracycline, minocycline, or metronidazole.  It is imperative to avoid applying topical steroids to your face as these can aggravate and worsen your symptoms. While perioral dermatitis is not a life-threatening disease, long-term treatment is often necessary in order to treat the physical symptoms of this condition. Rest assured, after undergoing treatment, the bumps on your face should resolve and your skin should return to its normal appearance. Best Regards, Brooke Studley, RPA-C
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Schweiger Dermatology

110 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022

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