Perioral Dermatitis

Are you suffering from perioral dermatitis? It really is an awful condition to live with and it can be difficult to diagnose. To make it worse, applying the wrong creams or medications can really exacerbate the symptoms.

‘I’m pretty sure my perioral dermatitis was triggered by an unrelated skin irritation. I was given a topical steroid medication and within a short period the whole bottom of my face was covered in it. Because I had no idea what to do and what it was, it got worse and worse.

When I have a flare up I feel anxious and depressed. I don’t want to go outside and face everyone with such a horrible condition near my mouth because I feel like everyone is watching my mouth.’
Kiri, AMPERNA® founder.

We know that it can be difficult to manage skin concerns like perioral dermatitis, so we developed the AMPERNA® range for people like you.

All of AMPERNA®’s products have been tested on real people with real skin concerns, including perioral dermatitis.

Kiri is here to help you and offers a Holistic Skin Coaching service. If you have any concerns and would like ongoing help with your PD, which includes introducing and using our products, please contact us or email us any time.

Which AMPERNA® Products can be Used by People with Perioral Dermatitis?

You might be wondering what are the best products to use for Perioral Dermatitis. Our products were formulated because AMPERNA® founder Kiri struggled with perioral dermatitis herself, and they have been tested on people with this condition. Kiri learnt about skincare for perioral dermatitis while she suffered from it for over six months, she then started formulating with a chemist and used AMPERNA® products to help her skin.

We recommend our Soothing Duo for people with active/flared Perioral Dermatitis as it contains both our Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum and Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion which are specially formulated to help when you're in a flare stage.

AMPERNA® Perioral Dermatitis Reviews

I have suffered from perioral dermatitis for 6+ months. At first I didn’t know what I had and just started treating it like dry skin which then led me to treating it as acne. Long story short, I had tried everything and then finally went to the derm. Nothing they prescribed helped either.

I eventually learned of AMPERNA® and ordered the DS soothing serum first and within 2 days, I saw major improvement of the “flaking/dry” skin as well as the redness that accompanied the PD had greatly diminished!! I then ordered the hydrate moisturizer and between the two- I’ve been perioral dermatitis free for close to 4 weeks now! No redness, flakes or bumps!! Thank you so much Kiri- I’m forever grateful and will be a customer for life!

Kristin, Lynchburg

Having struggled with very severe perioral dermatitis all around my mouth and eyes for several months, and trying many natural and pharmaceutical remedies, I came across a blog post by Kiri about perioral dermatitis, and found AMPERNA®. I was so grateful and impressed by Kiri’s detailed and thorough response when I contacted AMPERNA® asking what would be best. She gave me so many tips.

I started using the [HYDRATE] moisturiser and the [REPAIR] serum - instant relief from the burning and uncomfortable sensation of facial dermatitis. Within about 6 weeks it was completely gone.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Kiri and AMPERNA® for creating such beautiful products that help people with sensitive skin like me! I’ll never change products now. Thank you also for such amazing customer service. You respond to emails so quickly and give such thorough advice, and my products arrived so quickly, I received the shipping notice 10 mins after ordering! Overall so impressive. Thank you!

Katherine Newton, Sydney


Our deeply restorative AMPERNA® Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum helps calm redness while also soothing and cooling irritated skin. The zinc gluconates and copper help to limit bacterial proliferation and replenish the skin barrier. The Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum contains a unique probiotic complex that helps promote the appearance of fresh skin.

If you have problem skin, it is very important to be gentle with it and ensure you use a gentle moisturiser. Kiri uses all AMPERNA® products, and recommends our award winning Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion to help nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage. This lightweight cationic moisturiser contains a probiotic, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and emollients to help nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage.

The AMPERNA® range has been formulated to include hyaluronic acid and powerful antioxidants to help hydrate your perioral dermatitis prone skin. The range also has other effective yet gentle ingredients like liquorice root extract and copper & zinc.

Hyaluronic acid helps to replenish the moisture that is crucial to younger-looking, supple skin. It is a humectant; it draws moisture into the skin and keeps it there. Hyaluronic acid energises the skin, so that it feels softer, looks smoother and is luminously hydrated.

AMPERNA® Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum is a deeply hydrating formula that helps to soothe the skin as well as target dullness, uneven skin tone, wrinkles and fine lines. It also contains AMPERNA®’s unique probiotic complex that delivers good bacteria to your skin gently and effectively.

When you no longer have visible open wounds from your Perioral Dermatitis, it is important to gently exfoliate as a preventative measure. Our AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion has been formulated with 10% glycolic acid to slough off dead skin and liquorice root extract to help calm while exfoliating. When using glycolic acid and other AHAs, you should always wear sunscreen and appropriate sun protection. Chemical exfoliants can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Our products are simple to use and are packed full of active ingredients including glycolic acid and vitamins B and C.

If you suffer from sensitive or aggravated skin such as perioral dermatitis, don’t be afraid of active ingredients. Research shows that our skin can benefit hugely from vitamins A, B, C and E.

You can read about this research at the following sources:

As everyone's skin is different we recommend you undertake a spot test in a small, discreet area to test for adverse reactions before using any new product.

Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is a pretty common facial skin irritation. That doesn’t make it any easier to take when you wake up one morning to see spots or dry flaky skin around the corners of your mouth.

It’s most likely to show up in women aged between 15-45, affecting the skin around the mouth. In some cases it can extend upwards or outwards around the nose or onto the cheeks, and less commonly around the eyes or forehead. 

In mild cases, it consists of patches of slightly bumpy, red or irritated looking skin, often with some mild flaking of the skin around the mouth, chin, and nose. Many cases develop soon after using a topical steroid on the face for another condition, such as mild eczema.

In more severe cases, the skin becomes very inflamed and angry looking in the affected areas, with flakes or scabs that can bleed or become infected. 

Why it’s Important to get the Right Diagnosis for Perioral Dermatitis

PD can be mistaken or misdiagnosed as rosacea, acne or contact dermatitis.

It’s super important to get the right diagnosis, as acne and rosacea require very different treatments to PD. If you use treatments for acne that are not safe for use on PD, you may just end up making the symptoms worse.

‘Acne is the result of dead skin and excess oil clogging pores.’ Explains skincare specialist Michelle Skelley. ‘Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with allergens, irritants, or other triggers.’

Much like acne, perioral dermatitis causes small red papules or pustules on the face, however in the case of PD, the breakout is usually focussed around the mouth or nose area. A mild burning or itching sensation often accompanies the spots.

Find out more about the differences between acne and dermatitis in Michelle Skelly's article.

Perioral Dermatitis Causes and Triggers

Like many skin conditions, the exact cause of PD is unclear and different people may have different triggers.

Known triggers can include:

  • Make-up
  • Toothpaste with fluoride
  • Hormonal changes (many women find that they start to suffer from perioral dermatitis while using a birth control pill or after falling pregnant)
  • UV light
  • Stress
  • Topical steroids

Topical Steroids and Perioral Dermatitis

There is a known link between using topical steroids such as creams and gels, and developing PD.

Unfortunately, people suffering from other skin conditions such as eczema may be prescribed a topical steroid to help the eczema, which then triggers PD. Seriously, as if you need anything more to worry about when you’re already dealing with dry, itchy skin and all the other symptoms that go along with eczema. 

If you do start to notice the symptoms of perioral dermatitis, speak to your GP or dermatologist, as they will be able to recommend the best course of action.

Some skin experts recommend against going cold turkey on topical steroids as it can actually worsen the initial flare up, but every case will require an individual path.

Care and Management of Perioral Dermatitis

Every case of PD is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

Our founder, Kiri, tried many methods to manage her flare-ups. This included changing her diet, avoiding products with SLS (sodium laurel sulphate) and exfoliating regularly, among other things. 

Did you know that boosting your zinc intake can speed up the recovery process? AMPERNA® recommends adding a zinc supplement to your diet.

You can have a look at Kiri's Journey to Skin Health which talks about the best vitamins for perioral dermatitis and the importance of probiotic supplements and probiotics in skincare.

Read more about diet and skin health in our blog post Could an Anti-Inflammatory Diet be the First Step to Clearer Skin?

Things that Other People Have Found Helpful Include

  • Avoiding make-up
  • Avoiding skincare products with SLS (sodium laurel sulphate) as this ingredient (along with glycols and parabens) has been known to irritate PD and make it worse
  • Changing to a non-fluoride toothpaste as fluoride is a possible trigger for PD (you can read a review of natural toothpastes on the Nourished Life website
  • Resist the urge to scratch or rub (I know, it’s easy to say when something is bothering you so much!)
  • Check your shampoo to ensure it doesn’t contain SLS as this could also trigger or worsen it
  • Only use mild soap and don't scrub at the skin
  • Avoid using topical steroid creams and nasal steroid sprays
  • Review your diet as some foods can make PD worse (spicy foods, caffeine, salts, oils and acids are all potential triggers)

We really hope that you find our range of products helpful for your perioral dermatitis. You can read reviews of how our skin care products have helped other people with similar skin conditions here.

You can also read more on the best products and toothpaste for perioral dermatitis in our blog post Tips, Treatment and the Best Products for Dermatitis on the Face.

For more information, the periorificial dermatitis page on DermNet New Zealand may be of use.