Several Common Causes Of A Rash Around The Mouth

There are any number of things that can cause a rash around the mouth and lips. Here, we look into a few of the more common ones here. Some rashes are contagious, and can therefore be picked up from another person. Others are viral or bacterial infections that are not contagious. Still others may be caused by an allergy, or a reaction to a cosmetic. Some of these rashes respond quickly to treatment, others can be quite difficult to treat, and still others may linger for a brief time, and then go away on their own.

  • Perioral Dermatitis – Perioral dermatitis is one of the more common causes of a rash around the mouth. There are a number of things that can cause this disorder, including cosmetics, corticosteroid creams, oral contraceptives, and even the fluoride in toothpaste. The rash caused by perioral dermatitis usually occurs around the mouth, but it can at times also be present around the eyes, on the nose, or on the forehead. The usual method of treatment is to cease using those things which may have been responsible for creating the rash. In addition, oral anti-inflammatory medication may need to be taken for several weeks to clear up the rash.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis – While whatever causes an outbreak of perioral dermatitis can often be determined, the cause of seborrheic dermatitis remains unknown, although it has been determined that a yeast that occurs normally on the skin appears to play a role.  Seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious. It is often triggered by cold weather and stress, as well as a general lack of cleanliness. Frequent bathing and face washing is one of the best preventives. There are topical medications and shampoos available which help control outbreaks, but there is no known cure.
  • Impetigo – Impetigo is contagious rash, which typically affects children more so than adults. For impetigo to gain a foothold, there needs to be a break in the skin, such as those sometimes occurring at the corners of the mouth. A break in the skin can allow the entrance of bacteria, and result in a rash around the mouth. Most bacteria on the skin do not pose any particular problem, but two types, streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria, commonly referred to as strep and staph, respectively, are responsible for inflammation, infection, and the resulting rash. Children living in unhealthy conditions, or who do not practice good hygiene, are especially susceptible to impetigo. While the rash is contagious, one usually has to have a break in the skin to catch it from someone who is affected by it.
  • Rosacea – Also referred to as adult acne, rosacea can cause both a rash and pimples around the mouth. Rosacea is usually a chronic condition whose cause is unknown. It usually affects young adults and those approaching middle age, and seems to affect women somewhat more than men. Antibiotics are often effective in controlling eruptions, but treatment consists primarily of determining those things that trigger the condition, and avoiding them. Triggers can be anything from spicy foods, to sunlight, to skin products, to certain medications.
  • Coxsackie – Coxsackie is a viral infection that sometimes affects young children and infants.   Symptoms often consist of blisters around the mouth, which can sometimes be rather painful. The Coxsackie virus takes its name from a small town in New York, where the virus was first isolated. There are a number of strains of the virus, some of which can cause a serious illness. Like most viral infections however, the Coxsackie rash goes away on its own after a few days.

Rashes In General

By themselves, rashes are seldom serious, are often controlled by over-the- counter medications, and seldom require a visit to the doctor unless accompanying symptoms are particularly severe, or the rash itself is particularly unpleasant to look at. Rashes can consist of spots, bumps, pustules, blotches, or some combination of those things. One of the main dangers a rash can bring, even a rash around the mouth, is infection if it is scratched or rubbed too harshly. Most of the rashes children are apt to experience are viral rashes, which in most cases do not require treatment and go away on their own. There is one rash that presents some danger. It is not restricted to the face or the area around the mouth, but some knowledge of it can be valuable, since it does require treatment. The rash is called purpura, and it is characterized by purple spots under the skin, caused by tiny blood vessels that have ruptured, or are leaking. Purpura is a sign of a disorder that adversely affects blood clotting. When occurring in children, purpura is usually short-lived and not a serious problem, but in adults it can become chronic.

Sometimes rashes are symptomatic of an underlying disease or disorder that could be quite serious,   requiring urgent medical attention. In such cases, the rash itself may serve as a warning that medical attention is needed. Even in cases of serious illnesses however, the rashes that accompany these illnesses are seldom a danger in themselves.