Skip to content
in this discussion +6 following
kjsx988 kjsx988

Toddler's Perioral Dermatitis

My daughter's journey with perioral dermatitis has gone on for over a year and she isn't even three years old yet. It began last winter with a rash around her mouth that pediatricians kept saying was eczema or bacterial or fungal, so they kept prescribing steroid creams and bacterial/fungal ointments. Nothing would help and we were constantly in and out of the doctors office.

Finally, around summertime, her pediatrician was at a loss and brought in the pediatric dermatologist who diagnosed her with perioral (and orbital) dermatitis. We have tried finacea, elidel and protopic. All worked for a little bit but eventually the rash would come back. It also seems prone to bacterial and fungal infections.

I have to use elidel or protopic continuously in order for her skin to stay somewhat healthy but it makes me nervous. The dermatologist says not to worry, but the labels says not to use for more than 6-12 weeks and there is a risk of lymphoma and skin cancer. It's a total scare label, but I'm not going to lie-- it makes me scared! This is my sweet two year old's health!

The rash has come back with a vengeance. She is now on a months dose of an erythromycin suspension 2x a day. It's hurting her belly and I've had to supplement with probiotics. Even worse, we are on day 4 and her face is the worst it has ever been!

Adults freak out thinking she is contagious and ask questions in front of her as if it is going to hurt their kids. Like she is diseased. She is nearly three and, though we don't talk about it in front of her and tell her she is beautiful and so pretty all the time, she is starting to notice it and says "my face! My face!" It's heartbreaking. And she struggles eating because food hurts her face when it touches her skin so I try to feed her myself to keep the contact down. But it goes against her independence.

I'm at a lost. I am desperate. We are out hundreds and hundreds of dollars with no remedy in sight. Summer is coming and I'm worried about her being in the sun because of the topical ointments and sunscreen seemed to make it worse last summer. If this antibiotic treatment doesn't work, I feel like we are out of options. Any suggestions for my little one?

7 Replies

  • kjsx988 kjsx988

    Note: we've tried coconut oil and apple cider vinegar as was suggested in other forums and it made it worse. We completely avoid fluoride with her, though it is in our water, and try our best to avoid pyrophosphates and other triggering foods--- but this is a picky toddler with a low weight we are dealing with so she must eat what she will eat. sad

  • heather39579 heather39579 kjsx988

    Oh I feel your pain. My 6 year old recently developed perioral dermatitis. By recent I mean we've been dealing with it for almost 6 months now. Also tried ellidell, an antibiotic cream, steroids, everything. I have stopped putting it all on her face because I got so tired of lathering her up in chemicals that were not working. We have another appointment next week in which I fully expect to start the oral antibiotics. Not looking forward to it.

    I did notice during spring break it got a little better. Could have been a coincidence but being outside in the sun and in chlorine pools seemed to calm it down. I was shocked because I fully expected it to get worse.

    I don't know know. I also feel totally defeated by this. It is so very unsightly and the looks from other parents......I'm just over it.

    • kjsx988 kjsx988 heather39579

      I’m sorry I never replied! I never received a notification until now! How is your child doing? The oral antibiotics kicked in and really helped my daughter. She has only gotten little bumps here and there, but I don’t think they would even qualify as perioral dermatitis (I put a little protopic on just in case anyway!). Hopefully it says this way. I’m always nervous it’s going to come back and she is almost 4 now so she is very aware of how she looks.

  • jill26988 jill26988 kjsx988

    How is your daughters PD doing? We have been battling for a few months now. Zinc seems to work some but I can’t get it to go away completely. 

    • kjsx988 kjsx988 jill26988

      She finished the month’s oral antibiotics and she was all cleared up and has been fine since (fingers crossed). I think it was the only thing that really kicked the rash’s butt for good. Sometimes she will get a tiny breakout but it doesn’t last long and probably isn’t even the perioral dermatitis, just a regular little rash. It’s been a huge relief!

    • christine55665 christine55665 kjsx988

      Hi there!

      How is your daughter now, if I may ask? My 9 YO daughter has been dealing with this since last year. The same thing happened to us, doctors prescribing steroids that made it so much worse. Now she is on Metrogel and Protopic for four months and it helped but would not completely go away. The only thing she has not tried are the oral antibiotics. Please, any advise would be appreciated.

    • kjsx988 kjsx988 christine55665

      Hi! I would have to say the oral antibiotics is the only thing that made the rash go away completely. It’s rough, but my daughter seemed to do fine since I gave her probiotics along with it, so it wasn’t too harsh. I would do it again if I really had to. She just broke out the last two weeks a little bit and I think it’s because her cold and runny nose got her skin worked up. I’ve been using protopic and that has been keeping it under control and she only has a couple of dots here and there— hardly noticeable! So I think using the oral antibiotics are definitely worth it!

      Also— I had it for a little bit when I stopped nursing and it came back when I got pregnant again. The only thing I could use was finacea and that worked well for me. 

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.