Rash around Mouth: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Rash around Mouth
Credit: iStock.com/Toa55

Any abnormal markings or rash around mouth areas can be disturbing and embarrassing to deal with. Perioral dermatitis, as it is known medically, is a rash around the mouth that presents classic symptoms caused by various conditions such as eczema, folliculitis, or even chemical burns.

The red bumps may be tiny but can produce feelings of self-consciousness, especially if the rash becomes infected. This type of complication may lead to a more serious ailment like impetigo.

In simplest terms, a rash can be regarded as the irregular appearance of the skin. This may include the physical features of swelling, redness, and raised bumps. A rash can be seen in those of any gender, race, age, or health status.

Symptoms of Rash around Mouth

Symptoms of rash around mouth can range from mild to severe, depending on the type and cause of the rash. The rashes may be painful or painless, pus-filled or absent of any fluid. Most cases share similar characteristics, such as:


Common Causes of Rash around Mouth

1. Perioral Dermatitis

This skin disorder presents a red rash around mouth in the form of pimple-like bumps that may offer a burning sensation and flaking of skin cells. It may recur over a period of months or years and is more commonly seen in women.

Perioral dermatitis causes have yet to be identified, but the rash has been linked to several external factors. These may include excessive use of oral steroid inhalers, fluoridated toothpaste, drooling excess saliva, use of oral contraceptives, and fungal and bacterial infections. Some lotions and sunscreens with a high SPF count may also cause the rash.

2. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis presents as inflammation of the skin after direct contact with an allergen or chemical substance. It can be split into two main categories: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.

Both forms of contact dermatitis may appear as red, itchy bumps that can progress into pus-filled lesions or blisters if scratched or disturbed. These symptoms may be triggered by saliva from drooling, cosmetics, soap, hair removal products, toothpaste, acidic and spicy foods, and sweat.

3. Eczema

Eczema is a group of skin disorders that cause an inflamed red rash around the mouth, and other parts of the body. It may present an itchy and burning sensation with flaking skin particles.

Eczema around mouth regions may be triggered by stress, extreme heat or hot temperatures, and environmental irritants found in skin care products such as soap.

4. Impetigo

Small, red sores that form pus-filled blisters are a result of the contagious skin condition known as impetigo. It is caused by a bacterial infection that results in the sores producing a honey-yellow colored hard crust. The infection is common in young children, and can quickly spread to other parts of the body, as well as other individuals, if left untreated.

5. Hives

Rash around the mouth may be caused by the body’s hypersensitive reaction to an allergen found in food, medications, or stress. Hives can appear anywhere on the body, with a breakout around the lips referred to as angioedema. This results from the release of histamine produced to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The rash may present as pale red bumps in patches that may have swelling in the surrounding skin surface. Most cases have an itchy, burning sensation.

6. Chemical Burns

A strong base or acid chemical’s direct contact with the skin may cause redness, irritation, blisters, or painful lesions. These harsh chemicals are found in household cleaning products, gasoline, or paint thinners.

7. Seborrheic Dermatitis

A common skin condition affecting the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis can present as red, itchy dry skin around mouth. With an exact cause yet to be determined, factors associated with the condition include extreme cold temperatures, dry conditions, stress, yeast infections, rosacea, psoriasis, acne, and Parkinson’s disease.

Other Causes of Rash around Mouth (Perioral Dermatitis)

A rash around the mouth may be caused by other health conditions and external factors such as:

  • Herpes simplex virus: contagious viral infection presenting painful blisters.
  • Erythema multiforme: a reaction to infections such as the herpes simplex virus; presents as red lesions.
  • Angular cheilitis: also known as perleche, caused by dried saliva as a rash at corner of mouth; painful itchy sores or blisters that may bleed.
  • Oral Herpes: painful sores caused by the herpes simplex virus infection.
  • Acne vulgaris: common skin disorder with clogged pores triggered by hormone changes, diet, and medications; presents small red or white bumps
  • Rosacea: small, red bumps as a result of environmental irritants and genetics.
  • Folliculitis: hair follicle inflammation caused by bacteria or fungal infection.
  • Tinea faciei: fungal infection of facial dermatitis with no hair in women; tinea barbae is seen in bearded areas; appear as small red bumps.
  • Psoriasis: skin disorder causing skin cells to multiply rapidly; itchy, painful, silver scales of skin surface.
  • Sunburn: reaction of skin to overexposure to skin; red painful bumps or blisters.


Common Causes of a Rash around the Mouth

Rash around Mouth
Cause Source Symptoms Treatment
Perioral Dermatitis Seen with overexposure to chemicals Small, red bumps Stop use of steroids and similar topical creams.
Eczema Occurs with stress, extreme temperatures, and harsh chemicals Itchy, flaky skin patches with red bumps. Self-care and topical creams
Contact Dermatitis Reaction to an allergen or harsh chemical Red, itchy, dry skin with patches of oozing and peeling skin; painful Removal of allergen
Impetigo Caused by bacteria on surface of skin Red sores that form pus-filled lesions Cleaning of rash, antibiotics, and topical creams
Hives Allergic reaction to food, medication, or stress Pale red bumps that may itch, burn, or sting Topical treatments
Chemical Burns Skin contact with strong acids or bases Red, painful blisters or welts Topical antibiotics
Seborrheic Dermatitis Seen with certain medical conditions, extreme temperatures, or stress Itchy, red rash with flaky patches on skin Good skin care
Oral Herpes Herpes simplex virus infection Painful red sores Topical creams
Herpes Simplex Virus Contagious infection Cold sores, painful blisters Antiviral topical cream
Erythema Multiforme Herpes simplex virus Red lesions Topical corticosteroids and oral antihistamines
Angular Cheilitis Saliva becomes dried in mouth corners Painful, itchy sores Topical creams
Acne Vulgaris Clogged pores, dead skin cells, bacteria, excess oil. Small red bumps, whiteheads, painful fluid-filled pimples Topical cream
Rosacea Environmental irritants and heredity markers Small bumps on red skin; visible blood vessels Oral antibiotics and topical creams
Folliculitis Inflamed hair follicle caused by infections Red pimple with hair in center No treatment with mild cases; if infected, antibiotics required
Tinea Faciei Fungal infection Small, red bumps Topical creams
Psoriasis Stress or infections Silver scales on red skin patches Topical creams
Sunburn Overexposure to sun Red, painful skin with possible tiny bumps Topical creams


Treatments for Rash around Mouth

Medical treatments often focus on the symptoms of rash around mouth as well as the underlying cause.

  • Corticosteroids are commonly recommended as a topical cream or injection to combat the symptoms.
  • Pain relievers may help to ease the discomfort and any swelling of the rash.
  • Antihistamines are best used to treat rash caused by an allergic reaction.
  • Oral antibiotics may be used to treat pain, inflammation, and other symptoms caused by an infection.
  • Antibacterial creams and lotion may be used topically on the affected area of the rash for quick relief of symptoms.

Doctors may also recommend gently cleansing the area with a mild soap such as “Cetaphil” or discontinuing the use of fluoride-based toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Home Remedies for Rash around Mouth

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

A home-based perioral dermatitis treatment may utilize the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar. As the vinegar may damage sensitive skin, dilute with water before use.

  • Use a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar and water to apply solution to affected area. Allow it to set for 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Moisturize the area with olive or jojoba oil and repeat the process up to three times each day.

2. Grapefruit

Grapefruit seed extract is also used on a perioral dermatitis rash for its antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also help with the pain and discomfort of the rash.

  • Combine five to six drops of grapefruit seed extract with one tablespoon of a carrier oil or castor oil. Apply with the use of a cotton swab or ball and rinse with cool water after a 15 to 20-minute treatment. Repeat up to three times daily.

3. Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver has natural antibiotic components that may help reduce mouth rash symptoms, toxins causing the outbreak, and possibly prevent recurrence of the rash.

  • Clean the skin surface gently with lukewarm water and apply one to two drops of colloidal silver twice each day.

4. Yogurt

Plain yogurt may work as an antibacterial tool to treat perioral dermatitis. It may help with the irritation, inflammation, and discomfort of the rash.

  • Use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt directly on the affected area. Once dried, rinse with cool water and repeat two to three times daily.
  • Another remedy is to mix two tablespoons of plain yogurt and one teaspoon of honey to form a paste. Apply on the rash and rinse with cool water after 15 minutes. This can be done two times each day.

5. Green Tea

Green tea has a high content of antioxidants that could potentially treat symptoms of rash around the mouth. It may work well with cases of perioral dermatitis.

  • Soak a cotton swab or ball with steeped green tea and apply to the affected areas around the mouth.

6. Aloe Vera

Rash around the mouth may be treated with the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of the aloe vera plant. It may alleviate the red, itchy inflamed patches on the skin while balancing the pH levels.

  • Apply the fresh gel of an aloe vera plant directly onto the rash throughout the day.
  • Another treatment is to combine four tablespoons of the gel in a jar with five drops of lavender and tea tree essential oils. Apply the mixture to the rash twice daily.

7. Oatmeal

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory components that may help with itchiness, irritation, and dryness of skin rash. The burning sensation of perioral dermatitis may also benefit.

  • Combine a half cup of finely ground oatmeal and enough water to create a paste. Apply to the affected area for a 15 to 20-minute treatment. Rinse with cool water and repeat one to two times each day.
  • Another remedy is to mix equal parts oatmeal and plain yogurt. Add a few dabs of honey and apply to affected area for a 30-minute treatment. Rinse with cool water and repeat daily.

8. Honey

Perioral dermatitis cases may also benefit from the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of honey. It may also alleviate any itchiness and inflammation.

  • Use a clean cloth or cotton swab to apply the honey directly to the mouth rash. Once it dries, rinse with lukewarm water. Repeat application twice each day.

9. Calendula

You might also be able to soothe the irritated and inflamed skin of a mouth rash with calendula. The herb has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that could help speed the healing process and moisturize dryness.

  • Place one ounce of shea butter in a mason jar to be heated over low heat in a pan of water. Once the shea butter melts, remove from heat and add three to five drops of calendula essential oil and mix well. Allow to set for up to two hours before applying to affected area two to three times daily.

10. Turmeric

The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic components of turmeric may help with rashes around the mouth. The powerful herb could potentially alleviate the itchiness, swelling, and risk for infection.

  • Combine equal parts of turmeric powder, water, and honey to form a paste to be applied directly on the rash. Leave for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Use topically at bedtime as it may stain the skin’s surface but will wear off by morning.

11. Neem Oil

Neem, or Indian lilac, is a traditional medicinal treatment for skin issues such as facial rash. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, and anti-bacterial properties.

  • Combine three drops of neem oil and one tablespoon of jojoba or olive oil to apply to the rash. Allow to soak for 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Repeat daily for three weeks.

12. Hydrogen Peroxide

Perioral dermatitis rash conditions that appear with moisture may be treated with hydrogen peroxide. It should not be used on dry patches of a rash, as it can dry the skin surface out.

  • Soak a cotton ball with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution and apply directly on the face. Sensitive skin may require the hydrogen peroxide to be diluted before use.

13. Clay

Many use clays such as French Green or Bentonite to treat dermatitis cases of rash around mouth. As clay can dry skin, apply shea butter or castor oil to the area after treatment.

  • Mix clay powder and water to create a paste to apply on affected area. Rinse with cool water after a five to 10-minute treatment.

It is important to consult with your primary physician before taking any new natural remedies. He or she will advise you of any possible allergies or medication interactions to watch out for.

Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Rash Around Mouth

Lifestyle changes may also help treat and prevent a rash around the mouth. The following tips may alleviate symptoms of redness, swelling, and pain.

  • Clean the affected area with cool water by using a patting motion rather than scrubbing the area.
  • Gently pat the skin around the mouth when washing the face.
  • Use sunblock protection on face and lips.
  • Avoid licking the lips at all times.
  • Use non-fluorinated toothpaste, available at health food stores.
  • Eat with small bites to prevent overstretching the mouth and surrounding skin.
  • Avoid high temperature food and beverages.
  • Avoid spicy and salty food and alcoholic beverages.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Use relaxation and yoga techniques to relieve stress.
  • Do not peel the dry, flaky skin.
  • Stop using any new skin care product that may have triggered the rash.
  • Do not use products with an alcohol base, steroids, or harsh chemicals.
  • Use hot water for washing towels and bed sheets.

Rash around mouth episodes can be unsightly and quite painful at times, particularly if the sores have been disturbed and infection has set in.

The various types of facial rashes share similar red bumps or sores with some common causes. These may include environmental irritants, allergens, and harsh chemicals found in skin care products.

Medical intervention may be required in severe cases of rash around mouth as infection may easily set into the sores and lesions. Most cases may benefit from natural home remedies like oatmeal, aloe vera, or turmeric.

Also Read:

Dry Patch on the Lip

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