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"Can red bumps near the mouth be perioral dermatitis?"

ZocdocAnswersCan red bumps near the mouth be perioral dermatitis?


I have small red bumps near my mouth, and I have no idea how to tell what they are. As far as I can tell, they're either acne, cold sores, or perioral dermatitis. Is there a good way to tell the difference and give myself an accurate diagnosis, or should I just go to the doctor?


It sounds like you've got a great start on what you think the bumps may be, but it also seems that you've hit a road block. Unfortunately, without more history (and a picture!), it is extremely difficult to tell you what these bumps could be. Any internet search will give you thousands of possibilities, but the true answer is likely going to require a visit to your doctor. A few tips can help you on your way: Acne is extremely common, can involve the entire body, and will have whiteheads, blackheads, or firm, tender swelling under the skin. Cold sores are also very common, and are caused by a herpes virus. They often cause a tingling sensation in a spot on your face before they appear, surround (but don't usually involve) the mouth, and go away by themselves in a few weeks at most. They look like a small blister on top of a red base. Perioral dermatitis usually doesn't involve the lips directly. It is common in young women and prepubertal children, and can have a burning sensation associated with the lesions themselves. It will also often get worse after stopping a topical steroid (which should be avoided on the face if possible). Ultimately, if your bumps are still there after a week or two, become infected, or if you're worried about them for any reason, you should see your doctor. You should seek immediate medical attention if they begin to approach your eyes. Finally, if you just want to know what they are already, you should probably make an appointment. Good luck!

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