ZocdocAnswersWhat treatments should I try for persistant acne around my mouth?

Question

What treatments should I try for persistant acne around my mouth?

I'm a 28 year old female, with no major acne problems in the past. For the past month or so I have been experiencing clusters of acne around my mouth, especially around the corners of my lips. The bumps themselves seem to go away, but there are red spots with dry, flaky skin where they used to be. I am using medicated cleansers and lotions to no avail. Are there any other treatments I could try?

Answer

Acne can be tough to treat. The best thing for you to do is to establish a relationship with a dermatologist that you can go to whenever these acne problems flair up. The first step in your treatment is to make sure that it is acne that you are suffering from. Clusters of bumps near the corner of your lips could be oral herpes, also known as cold sores. These are small bumps that appear because of an infection with the herpes virus. They tend to regress then reappear during times of stress. If these are cold sores, then there is medication that can help reduce flairs when they occur. If this is acne as you suspect it is, I would want to know what you have tried that has not worked. The first line therapy is usually a benzoyl peroxide cream which works well for mild acne. If this doesn't work, then I would move to a topical retinoid or topical antibiotic. All of these trials should be guided by a qualified physician. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He or she can take a look at your acne and review what medications you have already tried. Most likely, the doctor will want to try the mildest medication first (such as benzoyl peroxide). If this does not work, then you will be able to try more aggressive treatments. Good luck.

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