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Causes of a Rash on the Face Around the Mouth

author image Tyffani Benard
Based in Virginia, Tyffani Benard began writing health-related articles in 2010. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Benard has a background in dentistry and science, and enjoys making these complicated subjects accessible to the general public through her writing. She holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Howard University and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Florida A&M University.
Causes of a Rash on the Face Around the Mouth
Causes of a Rash on the Face Around the Mouth Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Facial rashes can be a source of shame and discomfort. They change the color and texture of the skin, and some can cause permanent disfigurement. Most rashes that occur around the mouth are relatively mild and do not require treatment from a specialist, notes MedlinePlus. Rashes can have many causes, but clinicians can usually diagnose them through physical examination and medical history.

Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is a scaly rash that occurs around the mouth. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, it is commonly caused by long-term use of face creams, topical steroids and inhaled steroid sprays. Practitioners diagnose perioral dermatitis through physical examination, and will usually recommend that patients discontinue using the offending products. This sometimes causes the condition to worsen before improvement occurs. The condition will usually subside, but it may return later.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs after coming into contact with irritants or allergens. Individuals may experience contact dermatitis around the mouth from irritating makeup, harsh skincare products or poison ivy. It can also result from an allergic reaction in which symptoms result from the body's immune response to the offending agent. Contact dermatitis appears as red, itchy and painful bumps. Scratching the bumps may lead to infection, which will make the area look and feel worse. Diagnosis is made through physical exam, thorough history and possibly an allergy test. Treatment usually involves avoiding the irritant, but corticosteroids can be necessary for severe cases.


Impetigo is a contagious rash that commonly occurs on children's faces when there are breaks in the skin. It is caused by infection of the top layers of skin with Staphylococcus aureus, or group A streptococcus. It enters the body through trauma, injury or skin bites. Impetigo infection results in fluid-filled blister formation. Practitioners treat impetigo with antibacterial cream, and severe cases require oral antibiotics, notes MedlinePlus. Impetigo can be prevented with good hygiene and avoiding scratching or rubbing skin lesions already present around the mouth.

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