Facial Eczema with Dr Lynn Chiam: What Rashes are on my Face? Part 1

Dr Lynn Chiam, a consultant dermatologist who subspecializes in paediatric skin conditions

This is a series focused on facial eczema, with the privilege of having Dr Lynn Chiam, of of Children & Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic, to help explain further the type of facial rashes, its treatment options and daily facial care. Dr Lynn is a consultant dermatologist who subspecializes in paediatric skin conditions at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Medical Centre, Singapore.  Apart from paediatric dermatology, her other subspecialty interests include adult pigmentary conditions and laser dermatology. More on Dr Lynn can be found here.

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. The list is also compiled with reference to ‘Facial Eczema’ leaflet of National Eczema Society.

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 likeAtopic 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.

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.

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


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