Doctor Q&A

Facial Eczema with Dr Lynn Chiam: Rashes, Treatment & around the Mouth and Lips

Types of Facial Rashes What are these Rashes on my face? A rash on your face is possibly something you’d notice soon enough and start worrying about whether others would notice too. It can affect across all age groups, from infants to children to teenagers to adults, but are they all the same? And which age…

Facial Eczema Eyelids Mouth Lips with Dr Lynn Chiam Dermatologist

This was an original series combined to a post that focused on facial eczema, with the privilege of having Dr Lynn Chiam, of Children & Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic, to help explain the type of facial rashes, its treatment options and daily facial care. Dr Lynn is a consultant dermatologist who subspecializes in pediatric skin conditions, adult pigmentary conditions and laser dermatology. 

Types of Facial Rashes

What are these Rashes on my face?

A rash on your face is possibly something you’d notice soon enough and start worrying about whether others would notice too. It can affect across all age groups, from infants to children to teenagers to adults, but are they all the same? And which age group or profile is more likely to suffer from one type of facial rash versus another type?

Below is a list of possible rashes on your face and with the help of Dr Lynn, a brief explanation of each and who is more likely to suffer from it.

Atopic Dermatitis

What it is: Inflammation of the skin, that is often associated with itchiness, redness, dryness and infection. It tends to occur together with rash elsewhere on the body.

What it looks like: Atopic dermatitis on the face typically presents as red patches on both cheeks associated with scaling. It can also affect the forehead and behind the ears. Darkening and skin folds can appear on the skin below the eyes as a result of constant rubbing. Infected eczema on the face can present as an oozing patch with crusting and scabbing.

Who gets these rashes: Infants with eczema commonly present with rash on their cheeks. Facial eczema occurs less commonly in older children and adults.

Infant with face eczema rash on cheeks
Facial eczema on baby’s cheeks (copyright picture)

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

What it is: Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is a harmless scaling rash that can affect the face and scalp. It tends to occur in oily areas where there is a high concentration of sebaceous glands. It is believed to be an inflammatory reaction to a yeast called malassezia.

What it looks like: Seborrhoeic dermatitis presents as a slightly pinkish rash with white/yellow scales. It can affect the eyebrows, sides of the nose, inside and behind the ears, forehead and scalp. It can be aggravated by stress, illness and fatigue.

Who gets these rashes: Infants with seborrhoeic dermatitis presents with yellowish scales mainly on the scalp (also known as cradle cap). Adults can also get seborrhoeic dermatitis and commonly present with pinkish scaly rash on the face and white flakes on their scalp.

Infant with seborrhoeic dermatitis on scalp (picture credit from Dermnet NZ)
Infant with seborrhoeic dermatitis on scalp (picture credit from Dermnet NZ)
dult with seborrhoeic dermatitis (picture credit: Dermnet NZ)
Adult with seborrhoeic dermatitis (picture credit: Dermnet NZ)

Irritant Contact Dermatitis in Babies

What it is: Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when external chemical or physical agents damage the skin. Common culprits include detergents, solvents, acids, water and friction. The severity of the rash depends on the amount and strength of the irritant, the length of exposure and the individual’s skin susceptibility. People with atopic eczema are more susceptible to irritant contact dermatitis.

What it looks like: Irritant contact dermatitis causes a well demarcated rash which is red and itchy and there can even be swelling and blisters. It can occur anyway in the body where the agent is in contact with the skin. In infants, the rash can occur around the mouth as a result of frequent contact with saliva.

Who gets these rashes: Anybody who gets in contact with an irritating agent can develop rashes. Patients who suffer from atopic eczema are more susceptible to irritant contact dermatitis as their skin’s protective barrier is damaged. People working in certain occupations like dishwashers, metal welders, hairdressers and cleaners are more prone to irritant contact dermatitis as they are often in contact with strong chemical agents. Infants who are teething can also be affected as their saliva is irritating to the skin.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

What it is: Allergic contact dermatitis occurs because of an immune reaction to a substance which had been in contact with the skin and to which that particular individual is allergic to. Unlike irritant contact dermatitis, a small amount of the substance can lead to development of a rash. Allergic contact dermatitis does not occur in everyone in contact with the particular substance, it only affects people who are allergic to it i.e. those who develop an immune reaction to the substance. Irritant contact dermatitis, on the other hand, may affect anyone provided they have had enough contact with the irritant.

What it looks like: The rash caused by allergic contact dermatitis normally develops a few hours after being in contact with the substance. It is normally confined to the site where the skin had been in contact with the allergen though in severe cases, the rash can extend outside of this area and can even be generalized. The rash is red, itchy, swollen and blistered.

Allergic contact dermatitis on the face is often due to allergens found in skin care products or cosmetics. Other common sites are the ears and the neck secondary to nickel containing costume jewellery.

Who gets these rashes: Anyone can get allergic contact dermatitis as long as they are in contact with substances to which their body mounts an immune reaction to.


What it is: Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness and acne-like zits on the central face. It can be transient, recurrent or permanent.

What it looks like: A patient with rosacea flushes or blushes easily especially in hot environment, when excited or after ingestion of alcohol. There is obvious redness of the face with prominent blood vessels. There can also be pimples on the face.

Who gets these rashes: Fair-skin females between the ages of 30-60 are more likely to suffer from rosacea.

Rosacea on face (picture credit Dermnet NZ)
Rosacea (picture credit Dermnet NZ)


What it is: Psoriasis is a chronic non-contagious skin condition caused by rapid growth of the outer skin layer. It is one of the more common skin conditions seen in Singapore and genetics is believed to play a part.

What it looks like: Psoriasis usually presents with thick silvery flakes of scales on raised pinkish red skin with well-defined margins. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body including the face. On the head, it commonly affects the hairline, scalp, and behind the ears.

Who gets these rashes: People of any age can get psoriasis from infants to the elderly. It commonly starts in the 20-30 age group and the 50-60 age group.

Psoriasis (picture credit Dermnet NZ)
Psoriasis (picture credit Dermnet NZ)

Facial Eczema Treatment

Treatment options for the face may differ slightly from the rest of the body due to the thinner skin and higher concentration of superficial blood vessels found in the face. Before Dr Lynn helps with the treatment specific for facial eczema, let’s run through good skin care routine that’s applicable for the whole body.

1. Moisturizing – Dry skin needs moisturizing and as there is a high concentration of sebaceous glands on the face, it will be good to choose a product that is non-comedogenic. A non-comedogenic product does not lead to the formation of whiteheads or blackheads.  As always, choose one that does not contain an ingredient that you are allergic to and always choose one that has been clinically tested. Read this post for the top allergens and here for a better understanding of product label. For the face, you may also want to use a sunscreen that protects your face and not irritate it, read here for sunscreen selection.

2. Cleaning – As with the body, you will have to clean the face. Choose a facial cleanser that works for you, without abrasive materials. There’s no need to exfoliate your face more than how it is naturally exfoliating on its own. Moisturize after cleaning. Pat dry your face, do not rub and always avoid hot water.

3. Cold Presses – If you have an itchy rash on your face, you can apply a cooling pack on the area to reduce the itch. Dr Lynn advises not to use a hot pack as this may make the rash and itch worse. A cooling pack can be placed to temporarily reduce the itchiness on the face.

4. Avoiding Irritants and Allergens – Avoid harsh soap, common allergens which you are sensitive to.

Question: I have more than one type of eczema on my face! How do I treat both atopic dermatitis and seborrhoeic dermatitis? What if I have both irritant contact and atopic dermatitis?

Dr Lynn: It is not uncommon to see patients with eczema also having seborrhoeic dermatitis. These two conditions can be treated with similar creams. A thin layer of low-to mid potency steroid cream  can be applied to the rash for a limited amount of time. Alternatively, a steroid-sparing cream like calcineurin-inhibitors (Tacrolimus or Pimicrolimus) can also be used. It is important to use moisturizer regularly together with the steroid cream/ Tacrolimus as it will help improve the barrier function of the skin. In order not to over-dry the skin, use a gentle soap and avoid facial scrubs.

Atopic dermatitis makes an individual more susceptible to irritant contact dermatitis. This is because people with atopic dermatitis have a suboptimal skin barrier which makes them more sensitive to chemical and physical agents. It is important to identify which substances/products are responsible for the irritant contact dermatitis. It is advisable to see your dermatologist. Avoidance of the irritant product and application of a suitable steroid cream and moisturizer are needed to treat both the irritant contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Sometimes, if the dermatitis is severe, a course of oral steroids may be required.

Question: I’m told to use only mild steroids but the eczema on my face isn’t getting better! Are there other treatment options?

Dr LynnIn general, only low to mid potency steroids should be used on the face for a limited amount of time (1-2 weeks). There are certain mid-potency steroids with minimum side effects that can be used on the face. I will advise starting with a mid-potency steroid cream if the eczema is persistent then tailing down to a low potency steroid once the rash is better.  Another alternative is to use topical Calcineurin- Inhibitors like Tacrolimus and Pimicrolimus. This is a group of creams that have similar effect as steroids but without the steroidal side effects. They can be used for a longer period of time compared to steroid creams.  It is important to see your dermatologist to decide on which cream is suitable for you. The regular use of a good moisturizer and gentle soap is also important.

Rashes on Eyelids

A particularly tricky part of the face are the eyelids because the eyelid skin is very thin and steroids can be absorbed more readily, leading to problems such as cataract and glaucoma. Dr Lynn’s advice on treatment options include:

1. Do consult a doctor if you have rashes around the eyelid. It is important to determine what is causing the rash. Common causes include eczema and contact dermatitis secondary to eye make-up.

Topical Steroid on Face – Precautions

In general, mild to mid potency steroids can be applied to the face. It should be applied twice a day and for not longer than 1-2 weeks. A mid potency steroid can be used initially then tailing down to a low potency steroid once the rash is better. Alternatively, a steroid-spring cream such as Tacrolimus or Pimicrolimus can used . In a minority of patients,Tacrolimus can cause a stinging sensation. At night, apply the cream just before you go to sleep. To prevent the steroid from dripping into the eyes, you can use a cream or ointment based steroid rather than a lotion based one which is more ‘watery’. Allow 20-30 minutes after application of the cream to the eyelids before doing activities that may cause sweating.

2. Clean the eyelid area, with lukewarm water, including cleaning the ‘mascara’ area of the eyelid. Avoid using water that is too hot. Use a gentle soap and do not rub this area excessively. Avoid using products with ingredients you’re allergic to. A patch test can be taken at the dermatologist, and ingredients that you’re tested sensitive to should be avoided for your face and eyelids as well.

3. Moisturize the eyelid, taking care again to use products that you are not allergic or sensitive to. If you feel that the moisturizing lotion you are using is too “watery“ and runs into your eyes, you can change the moisturizer to a cream or ointment form which is thicker.

4. For those who are using makeup, it is important to wash your brushes  and change them regularly. Do not use make-up past their expiry dates as bacteria will accumulate in make-up which can irritate and infect your skin. Avoid mascara and choose products from large cosmetics and skincare companies that clinically test their products. Also avoid products that are shimmery or glitters as these contain metal particles, mica, which can irritate the skin.

A final note is to avoid rubbing the eyes, as this can lead to neurodermatitis, a thickening (lichenification) of the eyelids due to prolonged scratching. The appearance of the eyelids will be darker and in some instance, lead to skin folds on the eyelid.

Eczema Rash on Mouth and Lips

Apart from being prominent and noticeable as one will look inevitably look at someone’s mouth when he/she is talking, the lips is also an area that comes into contact with the food we eat, lip balm, lip stick and to some extent, toothpaste!

What sort of rash is common around the mouth? And is the same common on the lips? What is allergic contact cheilitis?

Dr Lynn: Some of the common rashes which can occur around the mouth include

  1. Facial eczema. This happens in individuals with eczema and facial eczema is more common in infants.
  2. Perioral dermatitis consists of groups of itchy or tender small red papules (bumps) which appear most often around the mouth. They spare the skin bordering the lips but develop on the sides of the chin, then spreading to include upper lip and cheeks. The surrounding skin may be pink, and the skin surface often becomes dry and flaky. Perioral dermatitis can be caused by the overuse of steroid creams, moisturizers, make-up and sunscreen. It is important to see your doctor as a course of oral antibiotics is needed.
  3. Cheilitis is inflammation of the lips. It can cause deeps cracks at the sides of the lips which can be painful. There are many causes of cheilitis and they include: eczematous cheilitis, contact cheilitis (reaction to substances like make-up etc), medications and nutritional deficiencies. Allergic contact cheilitis is allergic contact dermatitis affecting the lips. It is an immune reaction of the body towards a substance to which the individual is allergic. Lip cosmetics, toothpaste, medication and dental materials are the most common cause of allergic contact cheilitis.

Identifying the Allergen/ Irritant: What can one try to isolate the product or food that is causing the rashes? For instance, should one note if a rash occurs after shaving, brushing teeth or ingesting certain food? What is the appropriate allergy testing?

Dr Lynn: The appropriate test is the patch test. A patch test is a method used to determine if a substance is responsible for causing an allergic inflammation of the skin. Diluted amounts of the substances are placed in contact with the skin on the back. If the individual is truly allergic to the substance, a local reaction will occur on the skin. Testing should include the standard series of test allergens as well as any other materials suggested by the history (like lip cosmetics, toothpaste). If you notice that a particular facial or dental product or food causes a rash around the lips consistently, do inform your doctor and include it into the patch test.

Food versus Contact Allergens: Is there a difference in the time lag between an allergic reaction triggered by contact, say with a musical instrument, or a cosmetic/skincare product versus food?

Dr Lynn: Allergic contact dermatitis triggered by contact with a musical instrument or cosmetic/skincare product is an itchy skin condition caused by an allergic reaction to a substance in the product. It arises some hours after contact with the responsible material, and settles down over some days provided the skin is no longer in contact with the skin. Contact dermatitis should be distinguished from contact urticaria, in which hives appears within minutes of exposure and fades away within minutes to hours.

Likewise, food allergy can present with immediate reactions occurring within minutes after ingestion like swelling of the lips, hives and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. It can also present few hours later and can cause late reaction like eczematous rash.

Treatment: What is the treatment available for lips? Can steroid be applied?

Dr Lynn: If the lips are involved in contact dermatitis or eczema, a low potency steroid or a topical calcineurin-inhibitor like Pimecrolimus or Tacrolimus can be applied. As the skin on the lips is thinner and absorbs more cream compared to similar sized-skin on other areas on the body, only low potency steroid creams should be used for a limited amount of time.

52 replies on “Facial Eczema with Dr Lynn Chiam: Rashes, Treatment & around the Mouth and Lips”

Thanks for sharing, agree to be careful of what is applied on the face, especially around the eyes and the mouth. It is wise to be mindful of side effects, and to note what is the safe cream, potency and frequency + amount to apply, take care!

I bought foderma serum to use on my two year old’s face. She gets horrible eczema around her mouth and chin. I like to use natural and organic and tried other homemade recipes, but nothing I tried helped it completely. After using foderma serum a few times the first day, it was noticeably better. And by the next night it appeared to be healed. We apply now morning and night. I like the light scent, too. I recommended this already to a few coworkers with chapped and cracked hands.

Ive never had this issue before this past July. Out of blue I started noticing a redness around my lips and if I didn’t shave the hair around my lips was very sensitive , but can’t say it’s itchy at all. I do get the very dried cracked lips in the corners also. I’ve seen a dermatologist with no luck so far. I have changed shaving cream, soaps, shampoos and i don’t really eat or do anything every day except drink water and use a CPAP machine but I don’t use the mask the one I have only touches my nostrils. I look forward to any feedback. Thanks

Hi Steve, thanks for dropping by my blog and sorry to hear of the eczema. I’m not sure what can be done… one thing I thought of is taking a skin patch test to figure out contact dermatitis, since sensitivity can be developed overtime and identifying the product ingredients that you are sensitive to can help with better product selection.

Hope the rashes would go away soon!

I have a rash around my moustache and the patch under bottom lip and it only happens when sweat gets in the hair and drys up.
I dont understand, ive had my facial hair for about 4 years and its only been going on the past 6 months.

Hi Taylor, thanks for dropping by my blog. Sweat residue can irritate skin – you can read more about sweat in this interview with US dermatologist

And on face washing

As to why it only becomes an issue for the past 6 months, can think of (1) can conduct patch test to have a better idea of what chemicals would irritate your skin (just in case it’s not sweat) and (2) irritant contact dermatitis built up overtime, that’s why even when using a skincare product, some experts would recommend switching every few months just in case the skin gets sensitized to some of the ingredients

Hope above helps and you’re reading this, take care!

hi there! I amm 23 years old and work in the medical field, it Is extremely embarrassing when I walk into work with a red rash around my mouth, either its flaky and itchy or swollen and red and I just look awful. I don’t use anything other than Vaseline jelly and oatmeal soap on my face. I recently found out I became allergic to soy based items (soap, food, etc) I don’t have insurance either so I cant go get a food test done right away. any recommendations?

Sorry to hear that Destiny 🙁 usually either mild steroid (in Singapore, we can get it from pharmacy in hospital without seeing a doc) or Protopic (requires prescription). Maybe not use vaseline? See this post for more info – paraffin may irritate skin for some.. but creams without paraffin tend to be more expensive as the replacement ingredients to lock in moisture (likely) cost more.

If the eczema is just on your face.. may not be food related.. could be contact eczema. Consider patch test to have more clarity on the irritants?

Take care, big hugs,

Hello my name is Jeremy and I have this rash on my face, cracks on my lips, and swollen eyes. This is the second time this has happened but the first time my face didn’t swell up. I went to the doctor the first time and they said it was caused by me eating a pineapple. I haven’t ate pineapple since then but recently I ate a mango and it came back. The first time lasted for about a week and it has been 3 days since I ate the mango. The rash is red and scaly. The cracks on my lips go deep and the dead skin peels off and when I wake up in the morning my face is usually swollen. The swelling usually goes down after I take a benadryl. Both times this has happened I had a canker sore in my mouth. Can you please tell me how to get rid of it or how to prevent it?

Sorry to hear of your rash and swelling. Did the doctor do any test before concluding it is pineapple. Read that mango peel/parts near the skin tend to create more allergic reaction than the flesh inside. I think taking an allergy test is worth considering, esp when there’s swelling since swelling around the throat area is dangerous. In the meantime, may want to avoid fruits in similar group with pineapple and mangoes like kiwis, peaches, papaya, avocado and bananas. Also avoid contact with latex as this material is cross-reactive with these tropical fruits’ allergy. Best thing is to get allergy tested, that way, you only avoid fruits that you’re allergic to. Check out oral allergy syndrome too – there are various pollen that may trigger allergy for those with certain allergies to fruits.
Take care, do get tested too as there are cases of anaphylactic shock in adults with these allergies,

Hey guys
I have eczema all over my body really bad! But at the minute I keep getting a red itchy patch just in the middle of the top of my lip….. It gets dry and really flakey? just wondering if anybody could help ??

Hi Jack, thanks for dropping by. I’m not sure.. is it from sweat residue? Not sure about dry and flakery though.. no help from doc at all?
Take care,

Hi, I’m 15 years old and I’ve been having problems with my lips for about 5 months. I’ve tried blistex balm and a steroid cream called cutivate and I’ve tried applying honey on my lips to. But nothing has helped. I have redness on my upper lip and even below my lips. and my skin also peels in those areas and can become very irritating. I apply vaseline before going to sleep. I dont think I am allergic to anything and i don’t apply makeup. I was wondering what to do and just wanted to ask in case you would be able to tell what this is being cause by.

Hi, sorry to hear of your problems – visit to dermatologist hasn’t helped? I’m thinking asking about topical calcineurin inhibitor cos the lips being very thin, may want to explore non-steroid option
Triggers? allergy testing? Sweat residue?
If the steroid cream doesn’t work, you may want to consider getting an earlier appointment with your doctor and asking for an alternative cream. It shouldn’t have not worked for months, typically results should be seen in a week with steroid cream.

Take care and keep us posted,

It looks like I’m in good company here! I had allergy testing done today because I truly think that when I eat certain things–tomatoes, bell peppers, bananas, coffee, sometimes tree nuts–my problem gets worse. However, skin tests today ruled out all those (except they didn’t test coffee). I am so embarrassed at this yuck around my mouth. It looks like a bad clown-paint job, not to mention it’s incredibly itchy. It feels like a burn. The allergy doc said they could try skin patch testing, but I don’t know if I want to do that yet.

I found another website that recommended stopping all heavy face products, even natural ones like beeswax. I stopped regular toothpaste a couple months ago, thinking it might be the foaming agent, and have been using children’s toothpaste. But here, I read that maybe it’s fluoride in the toothpaste.

So, thank you all here for the excellent ideas for me to try. I’m going to stop using lotion on my face, no more beeswax lip balm, wash with water only for awhile.

I wish all of you the best in your quest to solve your problem!

Hi Shawnna! Good that you dropped by and share with us your experience! Do go for the patch testing – you’d know which ingredients irritate your skin and thereafter, you can start scrutinizing all products you use and make sure those are excluded! If you’re in the US, I think you can get the dermatologist to enter these ingredients into the ‘CARD’ database which would then give you products with/without those ingredients. That would make life easier 🙂

Take care and keep us updated!

My rash has healed significantly! I went ahead and used the steroid ointment the allergist prescribed after a few days of trying to let it heal on its own and not getting noticeable improvement. There is a bit of red left, which is understandable given the nasty rash that was there. I’m convinced it’s beeswax! I’ve even eaten some bananas and tomatoes recently and not had a reaction! I feel like I’ve been healed just by knowing what to stay away from I’m going to go ahead with allergy patch testing next week, but just learning on my own that beeswax may have been my problem for years is amazing. It certainly explains why I haven’t been able to wear makeup for about 20 years now.

This is such great news Shawna! Yes, definitely supportive of allergy test – there are so many chemicals/ingredients in a product and some of it we may not notice or be able to identify easily. It’d even be better if your doctor has access to a database or can advise which products to use that won’t contain those ingredients you’re allergic to!

Im 16, and i have had this for about 2 years now, its on my upper lip, its all red and getsvreally itchy and dry and oftsn look like I have a mustache. I also have red/brown like skin around the dorners of my mouth which also tend to get very itchy and dry and skin peels off at times from there.I have tried so many creams such as betnovate, diprobase, doublebasd gel and also mny emoilents and even vaseline, but nothing seems to work and its so irratating and embarrasing as its so noticeable, please I really need your help

Hugs Jessica! I understand the rashes around the mouth is so apparent that it would affect how people look at you, hugs and hang on. Have you seen a dermatologist? I’m thinking whether you’ve tried topical calcineurin inhibitor creams that are non-steroid? Also patch testing? Allergy to ingredients we use can develop overtime, so it may even be something which you’ve been using. The other thing I could think of is sweat residue.
Check out this post by dermatologist Dr Cheryl Lee where she mentioned about sweat residue in sold form irritating the skin.

Take care,

I have had a “mustache rash” above my lip for 2 years now. Dermatologist say it’s eczema, which I have had all my life, but this is different. The patch of skin between my nose and top lip stays inflamed red, dry, flaky, and at times may itch a little and flares up worst when my allergies are triggered or I eat something like fruits, veggies, ect. I am at my wits end! Nothing helps…I’ve tried creams, natural creams, no makeup or lotions on it for months….any idea what could the trigger be or what I should do? It’s so embarrassing it looks like a red mustache every day of my life not to mention I have angular chelitis, asthma, allergies, and alot of steroids in my 28 years. HEEEELP

Sorry to hear that Jessica, hugs! Any chance of allergy test/ patch test giving you any idea? I’m not sure if it’s anything to do with sweat.. I read that sweat in crystal form can irritate skin and wiping off it will help. If I have a hint of what it might be, I’d let you know. Off the top of my head, I’m wild guessing it could be sweat and hoping that patch test can help figure it out.


Thanks for this article. I have an redness, itchiness, flaky skin on my lips and around my mouth for the last 2 years. No matter what I try, I can’t get it under control. I use only vaseline on my mouth because anything else irritates it more. Vaseline keeps it from drying and cracking, but the redness and itching won’t go away. I’ve seen a dermatologist more times than I can count. I’ve changed facial products, toothpastes, done the allergy patch test, done the food sensitivity test, eliminating all those items on a trial basis but still have the problem. Any advice is welcome…I’m clearly at my breaking point by now!

Sorry to hear of this JG! Maybe can check with your dermatologist on Protopic – its non-steroidal for thinner skin and I read some forum users saying it worked for them (but there are also others that say didn’t work). Do ask your doc about it, take care!

Hello, I’m a 40 year old women that has always had sensitive skin so I don’t use make up or any soaps on my skin. I wash with warm water and that’s it. No perfume or scented lotions either. I’ve always had perfect skin except for a few years ago I started having red, swollen, itchy spots around the sides of my mouth. With trial and error I figured out my rash always appeared after eating tomatoes, ketchup, or tomatoe sauce etc. Recently I’ve noticed it appears after eating potatoe chips or chocolate bars with nuts. I’ve been diagnosed by doctors that have said….. Cole sores, acne and today rosesatia. It’s very frustrating that no doctors will listen to me and my symtoms. I know this is some type of strange developing allergy. Why else would it appear seconds after I eat tomatoes, chocolates, or potatoe chips. They have prescribed steroid creams which control it but never clear it up completely…..I’ve sort of started to give up and just seem to avoid public situations which isn’t easy because I have 4 children.

I have this exact same reaction to those foods! It’s like I wrote this myself. It’s been going on for months and I now have a red flaky rash around my mouth 24/7. Some days are better than others but I still haven’t found out exactly what foods/cosmetics to avoid so I just live in fear it will happen. I don’t want to go out of my house, I’ve never felt so low and so ugly. Did you ever find anything that helped? Im at a loss and I can’t get in for allergy testing or to see a dermatologist for another 5-6 months. Help 🙁

I need help please .rashes comes on my lips turns to blisters then dry up and peel.repeadly since the rash is coming out round the mouth. What do i do?

Sorry to hear that Ruth! Did putting moisturizer and avoiding facial/wash products help? Any chance to see a specialist and take a patch test?

I have had this rash in just the corners of my mouth, nowhere else, for the last couple of months, and I can’t figure out what it is. I’ve never had eczema before, and there are no blisters or cracking of the corners of the lips, or bleeding. It just started off with redness and a little scaliness. Now it is starting to itch and become annoying but no tenderness or pain. I tried tea tree oil with vitamin E, but that didn’t help, and some homemade salve, which didn’t help much. It gets a little better, then flares up again. I’m almost fifty and I’ve never had this before, so I’m baffled! Any thoughts?

Hi Romy,
I’ve no experience with this too, but offhand, I can think of cutting out the facial products you’re using (may take some time for the skin to be hypersensitive to it, i.e. not this morning you use, and afternoon you see a rash), moisturizing (oil is not a very good moisturizer, choose a fragrance and preservatives free one) and observe. If it still rashes, got to see a dermatologist. Be careful that if you’re seeing a GP, you’d likely get a higher potency cream (cos they don’t carry low potency one) which isn’t really suitable for thinner parts of skin like the face.
Take care!

Thank you! I switched toothpastes almost a month ago, to Tom’s of Maine, and all I use on my face is coconut oil, and the same make-up I always have. This is very odd, and I’m baffled! I have contacted my naturopath, to see if she can treat it, or recommend a good dermatologist.

Hi I had this for about 6 months and the corners of my mouth would crack and be so sore. I discovered it was because I was eating cornchips often and it just have been when the chips rubbed against the corners of my mourh when I was eating them.aybe something your eating is doing the same?

Thanks for sharing this! Interesting, so the rash/dryness stopped after cornchips? I wonder why though? Cos of the texture/abrasion, the inflammatory nature of processed foods or some hypersensitivity to corn? Thanks for sharing this, collectively we can figure out about rash around mouth – many struggle with it! All the best in the new year too!

Hello Romy, I’m a 40 year old mother that has that same rash around the corners of my mouth. My post in a few posts below yours. When a flare up starts do you ever get little kinda like white heads on the top of your rash? My rash appears after eating anything with tomatoes, potatoes and chocolates with nuts. Within minutes red itchy,swollen painful rash, with some of the red spots having white heads on top. This rash comes and goes but just when it’s starting to heal it flares up again. Very frustrating to say the least.


Mine isn’t so much like whiteheads, just more like little pieces of dead skin flaking off. Then it itches and gets red underneath. My naturopath suggests that it may be a vitamin deficiency, particular of B, due to something I’m eating that may be irritating my gut and blocking it. I quit using Xylitol, a sweetener, as the timing seemed to match when I started using it. It has improved some, but not quite gone away. It flares up here and there. It seemed to do better when I remember to take vitamin B, so I’m going to keep trying that as well. Yeah, it IS frustrating! And even makeup doesn’t cover it all that well.

I have the exact same thing with the white heads. Ive been using silver gel which keeps it from getting really bad but I have to basically scrub it and then put silver on. Very weird. Still havent figured out what it is

I just asked someone at a Natural Food Store about redness and scaliness at the corners of mouth and she said she had the same thing. It was when she had a mold problem in her master bath.
I have had this for the past month and just found mold in our bathroom. She thinks she took anti fungal supplements and she
did get better. I have been eating more chocolate recently, so I
am going to cut out sugar and chocolate, along with removing mold off shower walls. (already GF and Dairy free, except for
recent milk chocolate)

Thanks for sharing Nan! Mold is one of the common indoor allergens and you can test if you’re allergic to it via skin prick test. Definitely cut down on inflammatory foods 🙂 Good for general health too!

I’ve got red blotches either side of my lips, it can itch really bad some times, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. It didn’t bother me that much until I noticed that the redness was beginning to grow and get more noticeable.

I’ve got the same stuff on my hands and all up my arms as well. My GP prescribed an emollient moisturizer cream and something called Eumovate? It doesn’t seem to be working, though. 🙁

Hi Anastasia,

Hope your skin has got better in 2014! Eumovate is a low potency steroid cream. May want to take an allergy test. Also, did you have eczema/allergy when young? Usually if it’s eczema, it will have started as a child. If not, could be other form of dermatitis, e.g. contact with irritants.

Take care, hugs,

Had it when I was a kid, but it only returned recently. They’ve given me a more powerful steroid now, so here’s hoping it’ll help!

Happy new year, by the way. 🙂

How do you cure the redness around my lips? Irs red and its obviously noticable it has bumps around it, it can be itchy and skin may come off. Help its very irritating.

Sorry to hear that.. it can be more than one type of skin condition at the lips so can’t really say how to get rid of the redness without seeking the help of a dermatologist. Have you seen one yet? In the meantime, keep cosmetics products off.. hugs.
Take care,

Your sharing will help others!