26 answers

Rash Around Mouth That Looks like Impetigo but Isn't

My 11 month old daughter has had a rash around her mouth that has spread to under her nose. It initially looked like Impetigo and her ped put her a topical antiobiotic. This didn't do anything for her so now he thinks that it could be casued by yeast or enzymes not breaking down in her mouth, tummy and since she does slobber quite a bit sometimes, that might be what is causing the pimple like rash. The ped recommended Aquaphor cream which is like vasoline to basically form a protective layer around her mouth so that when she slobbers it doesn't cause the rash to get worse. However, I am still not seeing very much improvement. Has this happened to anyone else and was it related to a food allergy of any kind? Any homeopathic remedies to try or other "organic" methods? I don't want to keep putting a bunch of chemicals on her face. PS - I have been using California baby cream for eczema and that wasn't helping either. It just wont' go away.

THanks! T.

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Featured Answers

Hi T.,

Coconut oil works well on skin issues.

K. Loidolt
Author, Shopper's Guide to Healthy Living

Hi T., My youngest had horrible skin problems and eventually got eczema really bad. It started on his face then ended up in several places on his body. I tried everything from prescriptions to weird stuff my mom-in-law gave me to try. What finally worked for him was Bag Balm, it comes in a green tin at any grocery or pharmacy type stores. Eventually I narrowed his skin reactions down to an allergy berries! The Bag Balm helped him so much, it was almost like instant relief. I wish you the best of luck! J.

More Answers

It may be a bacterial infection called perioral dermatitis. A dermatologist would know for sure but it sure sounds like it. It can be cured with a topical antibiotic.

My 2 yr old daughter has this too. It comes and goes; depending on what she eats. It gets when she eats tomatoes or anything w a lot of acid like that. She also gets it when she has a lot of drool w teething. Or sometimes she has it in the am after she gets up. Her spit get caught in between her chin and the binky. I've noticed that if I use a special kind of wipe, etc it gets worse. So I just use washcloth and Cedaphil. It takes a while to go away. I've been to a lot of drs about it and they all have different opinions about what it is.....

Is your child just learning to brush their teeth? I am allergic to toothpaste. If it touches my skin and I don't wash it off immediately it turns into a horrible rash and looks like Impetigo. I had it for years before I noticed what caused it and now I never have to worry about it. I use less tooth paste, don't leave any residue on my face what so ever.

Just an out of the ordinary thought...

Hi, we are basically a naturopathic family except for the rare visit to a Medical Doctor... I have heard that a rash around the mouth is related to the stomach... sorry I can't be more specific, maybe that is a direction that you want to explore before. Good luck

My duaghter has gotten this for years and just last year she had allery testing done and we found out she is allergic to almost everything.

Now we know it is a reaction to something she ate. ( she is allergic to all nuts and when she trys to sneak a peanut MMNM, we know!! lol)

If it is caused by yeast you may want to try probiotics. If you are still nursing you can take the acidophilus and she'll get it through your breastmilk. If not Nature's Way has a Primadopilus for Kids that you can pick up at a health food store.

If I wasn't sure if that was the cause I'd find some sugar-free cultured yoghurt and put it on topically (she can eat it too) and see if that makes a difference.

My son has the same thing and his doctor doesn't seem to really know what is causing it either. He mentioned the yeast and a food allergy, and that it could also be from the proteins in the milk he drinks from a bottle. He gave me a steroid cream to put on the rash and it clears it up like magic, which tells you the rash is not from bacteria. Also I tried other things like you did and nothing worked. My son's doctor told me to stop the steroid cream when his rash clears up and every time I do it comes back in a day. I really wish someone could tell me specifically what is causing the rash so I could fix the problem!

This happened to my son when he was teething. I started using Aveno baby wash in his bath, and putting Aquaphor around his mouth also. This did help, it took almost a week to see results. I would give it a few more days, if nothing then maybe you should consult your doctor again, hope this helps.

Hi T.,
I believe a lot of things are caused by an impaired immune system. i have been taking a product for four years, I also have my granddaughter on it and it has helped her acid reflux.
It is an all organic whole food liquid that helps your body heal itself. Kids love it and respond almost instantly. The product has been around for 25 years and has been proven over and over for many many things. Contact me if you are interested in more info.

My daughter had so many rashes around her mouth and her cheeks would get very red sometimes. Both of these were directly related to her food allergies. When she was under a year old and up to 2 years was when it was the most noticable. Then, she started to get exzema instead. I look at rashes around the mouth as a direct result of foods. I am a trained nutritionist and herbalist now and this is also what I was taught in school. Investigate what the possible foods are and try eliminating one at a time. Good luck! Oh, my daughter turned out to be allergic to all gluten, all dairy (but butter) and all soy. this makes life more challenging BUT her skin, belly and overall mood are top notch now!

My youngest son had a persistant mouth rash; eventually we eliminated food dyes and other processed foods, it cleared right up. He had a thing for Skittles; loved them, and I thought I was loving him every Easter..not so. He also had bad migraines - not any more. Those delicious candies are evil.
Hope this helps,

Two of my kids have had this problem. The aquaphor does work good, but it doesn't usually kick the problem. Try mixing flaxseed oil into her cereal. That seemed to help some too. Ultimately, we had to resort to a prescription eczema product: Elidel, which is not a steroid so it's safe for long term use on the face. I'm not sure what the age recommendations are for it, though. My older son had it at 4 and my younger has had it off and on since he was an infant. It's usually difficult to get rid of as long as they keep up the drooling. Good luck!

Hi T.,

Have you introduced whole milk to your daughter yet?

When my daughter (now almost five) was 13 months old, I intorduced her to milk. This caused a rash around her mouth. I change her milk to lactaid and the rash went away. When she was about 2 1/2 years old I tried milk again. She was okay unless I gave her more than one cup a day. Same thing with cottage cheese. I can cook with milk and cottage cheese and it does not affect her but if its right out of the container...here comes the rash. No other dairy products affect her either.

I know this is weird. Anyway now I just watch and if she starts getting one or two red bumps around her mouth, no more milk product for the rest of the day.

Hope this helps,

Using Vaseline will only make the rash worse as it clogs the pores and makes your skin not be able to breath. Mineral Oil/petroleum products are the worst thing to ever put on your skin.

It does sound like an allergic reaction or could be roscea.

I would be happy to send you a free sample pack of our pure baby line and watch the results. I have seen some great results personally with my friend's babies and my own child.


Our son also had the same type of rash around his mouth and has eczema on his face. We figured out the he was allergic to the baby food that we were feeding him. we stopped all food until he was one years old and then I have not used baby food but fed him regular table food since and have had no trouble. To find out if it is a food allergy you will need to stop food until face heals and then start one food at a time for several days to see reaction. That might be hard though with her being 11 months. Ours happened when he was six months so it was easier to just use formula until he was ready for food. You could also try using the next step formula for her. Good luck I know it is a frustrating time for you both.

My dd has food allergies and eczema and when she breaks out on the face the allergist recommended vanicream its a moisturizing cream you can buy from walmart pharmacy for about 15.00 it seems to work for my daughter. The other thing you caould try is lotriman cream if it is a yeast causing bacterial. I hope this helps and gl

It could be several things- drool rash, reaction to food (maybe food residue on her skin from eating). I use, recommend and sell products from Earth Mama Angel Baby and Motherlove. Both of their salves are similar, natural, organic and vegan. The salves for diaper rash also work against yeast and bacteria- so I would start with one of these. If you wanted to try either of these, I offer a 100% guarantee, so if you don't find that they work, you can return it to me for a refund. I live in Longmont, if you are interested, you could come up to my store (conveniently my home) and you could sample them and we can more about options.
For drooling, a Baltic Amber teething necklace will help decrease her drooling as well as provide natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory relief. I have more info on my website, if that is of interest to you.
I apologize, but my website is very incomplete right now, I am having it completely redone, so until I have that finished, most of my information is through me- so feel free to contact me with any questions that you have.
I hope to talk with you soon!

My daughter has this same issue. We traced it back to too much yeast in her system, probably for too much sugar and other refined carbohydrates like bread and crackers. We modified her diet (cut way back on sugar, crackers and bread), and we put her on probiotics (acidolphilus or similar). You can get them in a powder form and just mix them with a drink. We also started doing Ion Foot Cleanses, which not only pulled much yeast, but lots of heavy metals from when I vacinated her. We saw dramatic changes in her - rash around the mouth much improved, persistent "tummy aches" basically gone, temper tantrums diminished markedly (i attribute this to pulling the heavy metals) and attention span and concentration increased markedly (which I also attribute to pulling the heavy metals).

So, I would try probiotics and see if that helps, and if appropriate, modify her diet to eliminate sugars and refined catbs, if that's an issue for you guys.


HI...ive searched all over the internet to find something similar to what ive been dealing with the past year and as im reading what you wrote it sounds exactly what my daughter is experiencing. I did take her to an allergist and that was ruled out. The doctor said it wasnt an allergy due to the fact that the bumps are always present....some days they look redder and more swollen thatn others. I have been to 3 different doctors and have tried hydrocortisone creams, antibiotic creams and anti fungal creams and feel the same way you do...none have helped and i refuse to put anything else on her face. The yeast theory seems to be one that I tend to agree with most and I was reading about a vinegar wash. My next step is to take her to a pediatric dermatologist who came highly recommended in nyc. Long waiting list but what else can i do??? the rash is spreading...is not itchy and noone knows what it can be!!! let me know if you find any success....hope this helped. thanks and good luck...C.

My youngest son had the same problem. His poor mouth was always covered in a rash that almost looked like cold sores. I found out that his was caused by food stuck on his mouth or slobbering. Even now, he gets a rash if he has, like, an ice cream and he doesn't wash right away. Using a napkin isn't good enough. Also, the wind and cold can cause him to break out. I use lotion to clear it up. If he rubs at his mouth a lot he can get the same rash. Or if he has a runny nose. Which is often, with his allergies. LOL Good luck!!!

Our son used to get something similar with tomato paste, but he also got a horrible diaper rash with it. If your daughter doesn't have a diaper rash, I would doubt it's an allergic reaction. We have always used Gentle Naturals Baby Eczema Cream with good results. It's much easier than Aquaphor and doesn't sting. Also works better for our kids.


My first thought would be that it sounds like a food reaction. Did you introduce any new foods before this started? Has she been eating a lot of acidic food like citrus, strawberries or tomato products? Has she struggled with diaper rash in conjunction with this skin rash? Really, any food could cause a skin reaction. Another mom just posted that her baby reacted to sweet potatoes! Your best clue would be anything new that she has recently started eating. I would start by cutting out any suspected foods for a few weeks. If it clears up, you know that it is a food issue. Then start to add foods back, one a week, and see if she reacts to anything. If she does, then you know what it is.

It could be from teething, and the slobber is just irritating her skin. In that case, you could try a non-petrolatum ointment rather than the aquaphor. I think Whole Foods has a brand called Non-Petroleum Jelly? Ask in the skincare section of your local health food store and someone should have some good ideas. Weleda is a great line of skin-care products.

It could be a yeast infection (thrush). With that you will typically also see white spots in her mouth and her tongue might look like it has a white coating. You could google "thrush" and get more info. If it's yeast, you are going to have to get more aggressive and use antiyeast treatment to get rid of it. You will also have to sterilize anything that goes into her mouth to keep her from reinfecting herself. If you are nursing, you will also need to be treated, as thrush passes back and forth from baby to mom regularly.

You might look for an ointment or lotion that has tea tree oil in it. Tea tree is a natural antimicrobial agent, so if it is not a food issue, it might help.


My son drools alot too and has had a bad rash around his mouth before. I use the Melaleuca Renew lotion and it is awesome!! Especially for eczema. If you are interested in trying it out, I can give you the info. They have a 100% money back guarantee for preferred customers. Feel free to e-mail me at ____@____.com.

Hi T., My youngest had horrible skin problems and eventually got eczema really bad. It started on his face then ended up in several places on his body. I tried everything from prescriptions to weird stuff my mom-in-law gave me to try. What finally worked for him was Bag Balm, it comes in a green tin at any grocery or pharmacy type stores. Eventually I narrowed his skin reactions down to an allergy berries! The Bag Balm helped him so much, it was almost like instant relief. I wish you the best of luck! J.

Hi T.,

Coconut oil works well on skin issues.

K. Loidolt
Author, Shopper's Guide to Healthy Living

Hi T.! My 8 mos old son had a pimply rash for a while too - it was patchy red in places with little bumps, some of them white. It looked a little like eczema and a little bit like acne. It started around his mouth and ended up around his eyes too. My doc was unable to successfully treat it so I contacted a friend who is a pediatric dermatologist.

She immediately recognized it as perioral/periocular dermatitis. (perioral means around the mouth - periocular means around the eye) She said it is most common in women in their 20s so many pediatricians don't recognize it in babies. She prescribed antibiotic ointment. She also said if that didn't work, he would need a round of oral antibiotics. She said to avoid using topical steroid cream.

I read that women with perioral dermatitis should not use fluoride toothpastes as this can aggravate it, so we also discontinued using fluoridated bottled water for his feedings since the rash coincided with starting the baby water. My derm. friend thought it was a good idea to do that as well.

If it persists, my recommendation would be to go see a dermatologist, pediatric if possible. It made all the difference for us!

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