Eczema symptoms among babies usually appear on the face, particularly the cheeks, chin, and neck. However, there are cases when it solely appears around the mouth. Baby eczema around the mouth is actually called perioral dermatitis.
Before anything else, allow us to welcome you here today! We are glad you are here. We hope that as you read on, we are able to impart knowledge and understanding about this skin condition called perioral dermatitis or the baby eczema around mouth.
We fully understand how hard it is for any parent whose child is going through certain medical conditions like eczema. We know how heartbreaking it could be seeing your baby going through such an ordeal at such a very young age.
Eczema may not be considered as a serious health condition, but the discomfort it can give to a child during flare-ups is indescribable. It is irritating. It is itchy and totally uncomfortable. That is why it is very vital that parents know how to manage and ease out eczema symptoms to keep their baby happy.
A Recap on Eczema
Probably by now you already know what eczema or dermatitis is all about. But just to recap, eczema or dermatitis is a condition wherein the red, itchy, and sometimes inflamed rashes appear on certain areas of the skin. With babies, in particular, eczema symptoms commonly appear on the face, chin, and neck.
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions. In the United States alone, eczema has already affected over 30 million Americans, according to the National Eczema Association.
It may sound surprising but according to a report published by the journal called Dermatitis in 2014, it says that in the US, 13% of children younger than 18 years old have eczema. While according to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 90% of eczema patients had this skin condition before they even reached 5 years old, while an estimated 60% of people diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, one of the most common types of eczema had it before they even reached a year old.
With such statistics, it is no wonder why eczema is listed as one of the most common health conditions that affect babies and infants, particularly in the United States.
While there is still no definite cause as to why people develop eczema, experts believe that it is inherited (in fact, experts say that when one of either parent has eczema in their family medical history, the more a baby becomes prone to acquiring the skin condition), or sometimes caused by environmental factors such as allergens and irritants.
Unfortunately, since the cause is still unknown, medical experts have yet to develop medical treatments specific to eczema and not just the symptoms.
Speaking of symptoms, while eczema in itself is not curable, the symptoms are treatable and manageable. Some of the usual eczema symptoms according to EverydayHealth.com include:
- Thickened skin
- Redness and swelling
- Darkened skin on the eyelids and around the eyes
- Changes to the skin around the mouth, eyes, or ears
Symptoms actually vary from one form of eczema to another. In addition, other eczema symptoms may also include the following:
- Greasy yellow scales on the scalp
- Flaky scales
- Allergic reaction like hay fever, asthma, and food allergies
As we mentioned earlier, there are several forms of eczema. Some of the most common types are:
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Contact Dermatitis
- Adult Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
- Infantile Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
- Discoid Eczema
- Pompholyx Eczema
- Asteatotic Eczema
- Varicose or Stasis Eczema
There is a lot more to add in this list — perioral dermatitis included. Perioral dermatitis or baby eczema around mouth is in fact, what we are going to discuss further today.
With that said, let us proceed with our main topic for today. We bet you are already thrilled to know more about this condition and how to deal with and/or manage it.
What is Perioral Dermatitis?
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology or AOCD, perioral dermatitis refers to a “facial rash that tends to occur around the mouth”. Oftentimes, it looks “red and slightly scaly or bumpy”. Mild itching or burning sensation may also be felt.
Although it appears around the mount, it has a tendency to spread in other parts of the face like the nose, and even the skin surrounding the eyes.
Although called perioral dermatitis, people who are not familiar with the term and specifically address it to babies going through such skin condition call it baby eczema around the mouth. If you are one of those people, well, now you already know what it is exactly called.
Moving on, anyone can develop perioral dermatitis. However, it is, in particular very rare to develop among men and children.
Unlike other types of eczema, perioral dermatitis has the tendency to disappear, and then reappear for months or years even.
What Causes Perioral Dermatitis?
It is common for parents to treat rashes caused by eczema symptoms with topical steroid cream. However, the same cream that treats eczema symptoms is the very same thing that causes perioral dermatitis or what other parents of babies with such condition as baby eczema around the mouth.
Prolonged exposure or use of topical steroid cream, as well as inhaled prescription steroid sprays, which are commonly used in the nose and the mouth may lead to perioral dermatitis. But apart from steroid use, another reason why a person develops perioral dermatitis is by overusing moisturizers and creams on the face. Skin irritation, fluorinated kinds of toothpaste, and rosacea may also cause perioral dermatitis according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Oh! On adults, using irritating makeups may also lead to acquiring perioral dermatitis.
Do you feel like it’s already information overload? Well, hang in there, we are not even done yet! Remember, that if you are a parent or serves as a guardian to a kid who has or suspected to have baby eczema around mouth, it very important that you get educated with all these. As it is always been said, better safe than sorry.
Anyway, so, let us proceed?
How is Perioral Dermatitis Diagnosed?
You will probably be surprised by what we are about to tell you – unlike other symptoms of a typical eczema case, perioral dermatitis is only diagnosed through thorough examination done by no other than a dermatologist. All a dermatologist has to do is to examine the appearance of rashes in your baby’s mouth. Apart from that, no other tests are done.
Surprised? Well, we were quite surprised, too! Dermatologists have indeed a very tough job. By the way, we highly recommend having your baby checked by a pediatric dermatologist. Just so you know, a pediatric dermatologist specializes in dealing with skin conditions concerning babies and children.
How to Treat Perioral Dermatitis?
Now, we are done with knowing what baby eczema around mouth is, what causes the condition to develop, and how it is diagnosed. What else to talk about next but the treatments available to keep the condition away, right?
With that said, let’s proceed to the steps on treating perioral dermatitis on your kid.
First thing first, as we mentioned earlier, topical steroid cream is one of the main culprits of perioral dermatitis. So what better way to remedy such condition but to stop or discontinue the use of all topical steroid creams, including the so-called non-prescription hydrocortisone.
You are probably thinking that’s a crazy thing to do! Well, we thought of that, too. Discontinuing the use of steroids means the rashes will reappear and may last for weeks! However, it is part of the process of healing. Quite weird but it is. In fact, according to experts, by discontinuing the use of steroid creams makes the condition improve. Yup, believe it or not.
Another thing to stop is using heaving face creams – although this is more on the adult side. You better just throw your face cream to the garbage can as it will only cause more damage to an already damaged skin. Think about it, your skin needs to breathe and heal, and it will only start breathing and healing if you stop using creams that is causing it harm.
Once you have already let go of using steroid creams or heavy face creams, you have to make sure to always keep your face clean. Use very mild, unscented, hypoallergenic soap to help you with that. There are products in the market like Dove and Cetaphil that are proven safe for babies’ skin. Oh! And if we are not mistaken, they have specific products for people, in this case, babies with eczema problems.
When washing the face, always make sure not to scrub it. Not even rub it when drying up. Scrubbing and rubbing add more damage to the skin. So always be gentle, and instead of rubbing the towel on the face, pat dries instead.
Just to inform you also, in case you have older children with eczema who are already using fluorinated toothpaste, your kid will also have to discontinue using such kind of toothpaste. Rather, use non-fluorinated toothpaste instead. Wondering where you can find such kind of toothpaste? Well, they are mostly available in health food stores.
Of all the treatments, an oral antibiotic is considered as the most reliable and effective way to treat cases of perioral dermatitis. How it’s done is, it’s being taken by the patient in decreasing doses for about three to twelve weeks. Eventually, antibiotics can be continued for a couple of months more to help prevent reoccurrences of symptoms.
Babies are delicate, and we know that for a fact. If there one thing sure in here, the doctors will sure resort first to trying out natural ways of healing perioral dermatitis cases. But when the condition is already too severe and natural ways of treatment or remedies are no longer effective, doctors will eventually be left with no other choice but giving antibiotics.
Next, while the use of topical steroid creams is a big no-no when your kid has baby eczema around mouth, topical antibacterial creams or lotions may be used instead for faster relief of the affected skin. Normally, experts prescribe the use of these creams for several months to help prevent recurrences of the skin condition.
Okay, so everything is fine now. Your baby is already showing no sign of perioral dermatitis, it makes you feel relieved. That is something to celebrate, right? However, keep in mind that reoccurrence may still happen from time to time. But you know, when you already had it once and succeeded, you should already know how to handle it better the next time.
How to Prevent Perioral Dermatitis?
Although we already mentioned a couple of ways on how to prevent baby eczema around the mouth or in a more appropriate term, perioral dermatitis, we also gathered a few information or ways on how to prevent. You know, we are a believer in the saying that goes, “prevention is better than cure”.
So, with that said, here are some of the ways on how you can prevent perioral dermatitis on babies (applicable among older children and adults too) as derived from Bioderma Laboratoire Dermatologique:
- Regular Cleansing
Cleansing is essential not only for people or babies in particular with perioral dermatitis but among eczema patients in general. By cleansing, it means bathing your baby regularly – ideally, up to three times a week. As we already mentioned a while ago, make sure than in cleansing or bathing your baby, you only use mild, unscented, hypoallergenic, and to include, doctor recommended soap or baby wash.
In addition, always make sure to clean the mouth contour to avoid the accumulation of saliva within that area. This is particularly applicable when the baby is teething wherein he or she produces more saliva. As a parent or guardian, always make sure to check and clean your baby to avoid baby eczema around the mouth from occurring.
- Proper Skin Care
Apply creams (no, definitely not steroid creams) that are prescribed by your baby’s doctor. One example if the application of ABCDerm Peri-Oral on the inflamed skin around the mouth area, which helps “soothe irritation and repair the skin”.
In addition, you may also consult with your baby’s pediatric dermatologists about other skincare regiments to help prevent the occurrence of perioral dermatitis.
- Avoid Using Heavy Cream
As mentioned also a while ago, using heavy face cream will only aggravate the situation. Instead, use gently light skincare cream. But then again, since we are talking about babies, consult your doctor first before even trying any product in the market.
- (As much as possible) Stay Away from the Heat and Other Elements
The sun, as well as other elements like wind, heat, and UV, are harmful to the skin most especially among those with eczema. Thus, as much as possible, avoid too much sun exposure, and if necessary keep your baby away from anything that produces heat (including clothing!). But if it’s unavoidable, make sure the skin is protected. You may use creams or lotions with SPF or by simple putting clothes that will cover the skin.
- Complete Diagnosis
The best way to prevent and treat any cases of eczema is to have a complete, detailed diagnosis. So, the moment you suspect that your baby may have eczema, or in this case, you notice baby eczema around the mouth, immediately set an appointment with a pediatrician or ideally, a pediatric dermatologist. That way, you get to know sooner what the real condition of your baby is, and are able to immediately address the problem.
Remember, when it comes to babies, dilly-dallying is not an option – at all.
Other Possible Diagnosis
There are cases when even if you already did everything you can to treat perioral dermatitis, the symptoms continue to persist. In this case, your doctor may also look into other possible reasons why baby eczema around mouth exists. Below are some of the other possible diagnosis:
– Lip Licker’s Dermatitis – This type of dermatitis is usually caused by frequently “sucking the lower lip with the upper lip,” which is quite common among children especially during the winter season. By doing so, the skin around the mouth tends to get dry and irritated, resulting in the occurrence of rashes. Usually, it is treated using steroids, which eventually may progress to perioral dermatitis.
– Angular Cheilitis – It refers to the “inflammation at the corners of the mouth”. This condition may also be associated with a lack of iron.
– Impetigo – Eczema is not contagious, but impetigo is. It’s a contagious skin condition that is very common among school-aged children. Some of the common symptoms of impetigo include red, oozing sores around the mouth or the nose.
With all these, a consultation with an expert will help a lot. They are the best people to know and tell what the real condition of your child’s skin is.
Information overload? Well, that is better than not knowing anything, right? As we keep saying, as parents, we have an obligation and a responsibility in keeping our children as healthy as possible especially the little ones who only depend on their health and lives in general to us.
So, with all that’s been said, before we end this, we just would like to say that once you suspect your baby has baby eczema around mouth, immediately bring him or her to the doctor for proper assessment and medication.
Again and again, do not delay. Health is wealth as they say.