Esthetician's Guide to Perioral Dermatitis

This condition appears in the ASCP SkinPro app

What is Perioral Dermatitis?

Tiny epidermal surface pockets of keratin and sebum that appear in all skin types and at all ages. A single lesion is called a milium. They are benign and mainly just an aesthetic nuisance.

What Should I Know About Perioral Dermatitis?

  • Closely resembles acne papules.
  • Only seen in women.
  • Thought to be a result of hormones.

Closely resembles acne papules, but are in groups or clusters and generally have no pus or pustules.

There is no known cause for perioral dermatitis, but because it is seen only in women, it has been theorized to have a hormonal connection.

Perioral Dermatitis Treatment Considerations

  • Perioral dermatitis does not respond to standard topical acne treatments.
  • It is not contagious, but should be referred to a physician. Standard treatment for perioral dermatitis is oral doxycycline (an antibiotic).
  • Proceed with facial treatments but avoid exfoliating the area or using stimulating treatments.
  • Treat the area as if it was a sensitive, dry skin. Dermatologist-tested, fragrance-free products are best.

Milia Contraindications

  • Treatments and modalities to avoid include peels of any type, microdermabrasion or other physical exfoliation, and waxing the area.
  • Avoid stimulating treatments or essential oils like eucalyptus or lemongrass, fragranced products, heavy or oily products, alcohol, oxybenzone, and sodium laureth and lauryl sulfate.

ASCP members can access SkinPro to continue reading about perioral dermatitis

Not yet an ASCP member? Join ASCP and get ASCP SkinProASCP Career ToolkitsASCP Skin Deep magazine, and the best esthetician liability insurance in the profession!

SkinPro App

ASCP SkinPro

Introducing our newest resource for estheticians, ASCP SkinPro—a web app that can easily be saved to your mobile device!

Included with ASCP membership, ASCP SkinPro is designed to aid in skin analysis by putting the essential knowledge of contraindications for common skin-related conditions and ingredients at your fingertips. Members can log in for access or go directly to the app.

Picture this: You’re in the treatment room and a client tells you they have atopic dermatitis and several allergies. You’re pretty confident you know how to proceed with treatment, but you want to be absolutely sure. Simply open the app, search for the condition, and you’ve got expert information at your fingertips. You can also use ASCP SkinPro to look up ingredients quickly and easily, identifying important contraindications and best practices so you can adjust your treatment plan on the spot.

Consult with ASCP SkinPro with confidence and elevate your treatment plans. The ASCP team sourced information from a variety of clinical journals and worked with Dr. Mark Lees, author of Skin Care: Beyond the Basics and a longtime contributor to ASCP Skin Deep magazine, to bring it all together.


  • During consultation: Your client mentions a condition or ingredient allergy during the intake process and want to contraindications.
  • During skin analysis: You observe a skin condition and want to make a quick decision about the best treatment.
  • While retailing: You’re about to recommend a product for your client, but you want to confirm the contraindications and ensure the product will perform as needed. 


ASCP SkinPro uses progressive web app technology so you can save it to your phone, mobile device, or computer like an app, but it won't take up too much space. The app can recognize the device that you're using, and the instructions provided will match that device. For example, if you want to save ASCP SkinPro to your phone, log in with your phone and follow the instructions provided. Click here for instructions.

Already an ASCP member? Take a few minutes to try ASCP SkinPro here and discover your new go-to consultant!

Not yet an ASCP member? Join ASCP and get ASCP SkinPro, ASCP Career Toolkits, ASCP Skin Deep magazine, and the best professional liability insurance in the profession!

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...