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Skin Care for Perioral Dermatitis

Struggling with perioral dermatitis? We share our skin care tips and products for perioral dermatitis treatment and everything you need to know about this common skin concern.

What is Perioral Dermatitis? 

Periorificial dermatitis appears as clusters of small, itchy, red bumps (papules) around the eye, nose, and mouth area. It’s an inflammatory skin condition, one that usually affects women aged 15 to 45 years.

Periorificial dermatitis can be common in people with acne and rosacea. It’s also been linked to the use of steroid creams and inhalers used to manage asthma and allergies.

A soothing, gentle skin routine plays a key role in perioral dermatitis treatment along with understanding and managing other potential triggers.

The Triggers of Perioral Dermatitis

Research is yet to uncover the exact reason perioral dermatitis appears initially but a few things that have been implicated in triggering flare-ups. 

Compromised, damaged skin barrier

One of the most common triggers is a weakened skin barrier which leads to the red, inflamed bumps of perioral dermatitis.

Using skincare with harsh ingredients or overuse of products - especially exfoliators - strips the skin barrier (the outer layer) of the oil and moisture it needs to function healthily. This leaves skin vulnerable to dryness, inflammation, and redness.

Treatments for perioral dermatitis include avoiding these ingredients:

  • Parabens and phthalates: Preservatives that are extremely harsh on skin.
  • Alcohol: Extremely drying and can irritate sensitive skin.
  • Sulfates: Used to create a ‘foaming’ effect in skincare, sulfates strip the skin barrier.
  • Oxybenzone: Used in chemical sunscreens and is a known irritant.
  • Fragrance and many essential oils: Highly irritating.
  • Petrolatum, PEGS, paraffin: Pore clogging which exacerbates symptoms.

Perioral dermatitis skin care is all about choosing naturally calming, strengthening ingredients to heal the skin barrier. We’ll talk more about those ingredients in a moment!

Topical and oral steroids

Topical steroids are often prescribed for other inflammatory skin conditions, like rosacea and eczema but steroid creams, gels, and lotions may actually trigger perioral dermatitis. Oral steroids have also been linked to symptoms.


Check your toothpaste ingredients! Fluoride toothpaste and those designed to whiten teeth can play a role in triggering perioral dermatitis.

Hormonal changes

Developing perioral dermatitis may also be associated with hormonal changes. This could explain why it is more common in women than men.

How to Treat Perioral Dermatitis

Seeking the advice of a dermatologist or your health practitioner is a must, especially in serious cases, so they can guide you on treatments for perioral dermatitis.

Consulting a naturopath may also help with perioral dermatitis natural treatments involving a holistic approach to managing symptoms including diet recommendations.

Your skincare routine is an excellent place to start making adjustments and monitor how your skin reacts.

We suggest you stop using all current skincare - especially those with ingredients we listed earlier. Introduce lightweight, fragrance-free, soothing products that include the below ingredients and keep your routine as simple as possible!

What Ingredients to Look For

Perioral dermatitis skin care should be fragrance-free, gentle and focus on reducing inflammation and strengthening the skin barrier.

Barrier strengthening / hydrating / encourage skin healing

  • Niacinamide: Soothes irritated skin when you’re dealing with an inflammatory skin concern.
  • Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid): Addresses dehydration.
  • Probiotic Lysates: Promote a healthy skin environment to encourage healing and fight bad bacteria.

Soothing / antibacterial / anti redness

  • Jojoba seed oil: Possesses numerous healing, moisture promoting properties.
  • Arnica: A natural skin healer, arnica boosts circulation and reduces swelling.
  • Aloe vera: Famed for its moisture-promoting, skin repairing, and calming abilities.
  • Green tea (camellia leaf extract): Calms and helps regulate sebum production to promote a balanced, clear complexion.

Products from the esmi Skin Minerals range to help manage perioral dermatitis:


The Uncomplicated Cleanser


Calming and gentle

Gently removes all traces of foundation and impurities with a double cleanse while calming and protecting skin with aloe vera and camilla leaf extract. You might also like to try The Uncomplicated Cleanser plus Anti-Redness if your skin is particularly red and inflamed.

Contains aloe vera and green tea extract.

How to use The Uncomplicated Cleanser

Apply a pearl-sized amount of the cleanser to damp hands and massage gently into skin with an upward motion. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water or remove with esmi's Microfibre Facial Cleansing Mitt. Use in the morning and evening - double cleanse in the evening.


Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum

Ultra hydrating

The ultimate skin hydrator, this quick-absorbing hydrating serum fights dehydration to help plump skin, minimise lines, and boost radiance.

Perfect for all skin types and ages, this hyaluronic serum hydrates from the inside out, restores, repairs and reveals healthy skin with a hydrated glow.

How to use Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum

Dispense a pearl size amount of serum from the dropper onto fingertips and massage into the skin after cleansing or exfoliation. Can be used morning and night and around the eye area.


Probiotic Skin Mylck

Anti-inflammatory and strengthening

Inflamed, damaged and ultra sensitive skin meets the calming, restorative powers of probiotics in a gentle, lightweight moisturising lotion.

The beneficial bacteria in the esmi Probiotic Lysates have been researched and found to help heal and support skin’s natural defences. Formulated with 100% Australian made probiotics.

How to use Probiotic Skin Mylck

Using the dropper drip a thumb size amount of Skin Mylck onto your fingertips or the palm of your hands. Massage into your skin after cleansing. Perfect for use under makeup or sunscreen.


Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

Some chemical sunscreens can make perioral dermatitis worse - it’s crucial to choose a formulation without the chemical oxybenzone. Opt for a natural sunscreen instead!

Broad-spectrum SPF 30 enriched with antioxidant protection, Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 protects against UV damage and fights the first signs of ageing.

Comfortable, non-greasy SPF coverage for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

How to use Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

Shake well before use. Apply lotion liberally as the final step in your routine and allow to absorb at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.

We recommend starting with cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen then introducing the serum a few weeks into your new perioral dermatitis skin care routine.

If you need further information and support treating perioral dermatitis, speak to one of our skin consultants. We’re here to help!

Infographic_ Skin Care for Perioral Dermatitis