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Feb 12, 2020

How To Treat Perioral (Periocular) Dermatitis Around The Eyes

periocular dermatitis

Although periorificial dermatitis typically appears around the mouth (where it is known as perioral dermatitis), it can appear all over the face, including the chin, cheeks, nose and up to and around the eyes. When it affects the skin around the eyes, the bumpy, sore, spotty rash is known as periocular dermatitis.

Even more frustrating and worrying than PD around the mouth, periocular dermatitis can be just as difficult to get on top of, with flare-ups bringing painful and upsetting symptoms.

While the causes of periocular dermatitis are likely to be similar to those of periorificial dermatitis anywhere on the face (see our blog What Causes Perioral Dermatitis), the location of the rash does mean things can be a bit more complicated to treat.

The skin around the eyes is thinner, more sensitive and easier to damage than the skin around the mouth, so it needs particular caution and care.

  • Your absolute first priority is to AVOID TRIGGERS. This is particularly important in regards to steroid creams, but also applies to sunscreen, make-up, heavy occlusive moisturisers, scented products, false eyelashes or foundation. Don’t put ANYTHING on the area that might possibly irritate it.
  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or calcineurin inhibitors if they think it is appropriate, especially if they’re worried about infection.
  • Keep the area clean and dry. Use a natural, soap-free, sulphate-free, scent-free wash (a tiny, pea-sized amount of Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash will do the trick) and warm water to clean skin, rather than soaps or synthetic body washes. 
  • Pat dry - but not bone dry - with a very soft, gentle towel; kitchen roll or a muslin face cloth are both good options.
  • Your skin still needs protection from environmental triggers such as heat, cold or strong winds, and needs gentle moisturising, so use an unperfumed, paraffin-free, preservative-free, anhydrous balm, such as Balmonds Skin Salvation, and apply gently to the area. Patch test on another part of the body first - behind the ear or in the crook of an elbow are both good places - and leave for 24 hrs before applying to the skin around the eyes.

Use a gentle, 100% natural, oil-based cleanser rather than a foaming wash: this will do the dual job of nourishing the skin with beneficial fats as well as lifting away dirt. Avoid applying facial oils with essential oils around the eyes; something like Balmonds Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil is ideal, as it contains wonderfully regenerative rosehip oil but not scent, preservatives or other potentially irritating ingredients.

Recommended products:

Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash
with calendula & chamomile

Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax

Balmonds Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil
with rosehip and calendula

 credit for image: James Hellman, MD

Important Note

If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.

If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.

Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.

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