Rash Face

We are still not exactly sure what is triggering Jasper’s skin problems, but I think I may be closer to solving the puzzle..

Two weeks ago or so the back of his neck went from blotchy raised red bumps to a large angry red area that looked like a chemical burn. I picked him up from daycare and brought him to the pediatrician so he could see the rash while it was at it’s worst.

The pedi’s theory was that it was more likely caused by a surface irritant than a food because it was in such a localized area.  Jasper had been wearing a wool sweater that had some mohair in it so we figured he could be allergic to the mohair (he wears other wool without problems) and the back of his neck HAS been better since we took that sweater out of his wardrobe.

But the rash on his face is still there, some days worse than others making it pretty difficult to pinpoint what if any food triggers it.

So two days ago Jasper demanded to eat a “mato”  (tomato) which I sliced up for him, looked away and looked back about 5 seconds later and saw this:

and this:

(please excuse the poor quality of the iphone photos!)


At first I thought he had a tomato “allergy” but since reading up on it realized that this sort of reaction is common in toddlers with sensitive skin when it comes into contact with acidic foods like tomato.  This reaction is a bit extreme because I don’t think he smeared it all over his face or anything, but still the tomato didn’t cause any internal problems so it’s obviously not an allergy – more like an inconvenient reaction.

It also makes me realize that his beloved guacamole which is made with vinegar is probably an irritant as well, and lastly his own drool which is acidic trapped and rubbed under his paci is probably what keeps the raised red patches on the sides of his mouth constantly irritated.

So the good news is that I don’t think he is ‘allergic’ to any foods and so don’t need to cut anything out, which is such a relief!

As far as treatment, for particularly bad reactions I apply the 2.5% cortisone the pedi prescribed.  Also, on the recommendation of one of my nutritionist friends I ordered a  bee balm salve with propolis that when applied liberally last night seemed to almost completely clear up even the stubborn patches around his mouth!

Of course I don’t know why his skin is so sensitive or reactive to begin with, but I think that’s fairly common in babies so I’m just assuming it’s one of those things he’ll grow out of eventually.

Now, onto cuter and more fun things..

I apologize if you already saw this posted on facebook, but it’s so cute I have to share it again:

A few nights ago we were playing with Jasper’s before bed and all of the sudden out of nowhere he said “Yoga!” and did this:

It took us totally by surprise, I guess the yoga they do with the toddlers at daycare actually made an impression!

Hope you all had a nice weekend..

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Gracey says:

Hi my son has the same thing… it’s been going on and off since he was 4 months… We have tried several creams… aquaphor, e45, oilatum, aveeno, antifungal, corticosteroids, antibacterial, epaderm and even weleda… nothing worked… finally we got sick of it my partner and I decided to leave it alone and to see if it’s because of his food I put him back to simple mashed food like carrots and sweet potato… it cleared up… then I decided to see if it was because of tomatoes and I was right it came back really bad… so now tomatoes are out of his diet :( it’s a pity coz he loves his pasta sauce that I make….

Kay says:

I know this has been awhile since it was posted ,but our son has had something tht looks very similar to this. He has had it for awhile, but it seem to get much better and then the other day his face started getting red again. I was just wondering if you had ever found out the problem. I would like to know if it is something he is eating. Thanks

Karen says:

thank you so much for this info!! Our lil guy has AWFUL looking skin. After exhausting creams, we’re taking him to the pediatrician tmrw….however, he ate pizza Fri and spaghetti Sun…hum…..it certainly is sounding like a tomato allergy to me. I’m hoping and praying that it is theanswer

Sarah says:

This is so cute and Kaity has been doing the same thing! She sees me do mine in P90X and she copies me. I love it!

ariana says:

Hi Margie, I haven’t taken him to a ped. allergist. At this point, I’m taking a wait and see approach. I think basically his skin has become extremely sensitive in a way that it wasn’t before.. for example yesterday he used a boogie wipe (the saline soaked wipes that we used to love) and wiped his entire face with it..two seconds later, he was bright red like in these pictures! We used to use these wipes all the time without problems, so I guess now I just have to be incredibly mindful about what comes into contact with his face. Fortunately, the reactions don’t seen to bother him, he doesn’t seem like he’s in any pain, he doesn’t scratch it so for now I’m just going to watch and wait. If it starts to bother him our next stop will be an allergist!

Margie says:

I have no idea how I came across your website or this post, but I am SO GLAD I did! So helpful! My poor little guy just went through allergy testing only to find out he is not technically allergic to anything. Yet, we still have some pretty serious skin issues, one being the same skin rash on the cheeks pictured above! It all makes sense now! Have you taken him to a ped. dermatologist? That is our next step… Thank you for the insight!!

ariana says:

Thanks Joanna, I thought so too!!

Joanna says:

On a side note the “yoda” was beyond cute!

ariana says:

Kyra, how interesting!

Kyra says:

The daughter of my friend had a similar issue. She had eczema with a food sensitivity. The pediatrician had her load her face/mouth area up with Aquaphor before eating to act as a barrier to keep the irritants away from her skin.

Ava says:

Poor Jasper! Major hugs kiddo!

Ariana, honestly, unless the rash is causing him pain, I would experiment to see if there’s a difference in the acidic foods that cause this reaction? I would try vinegar on a salad, separate from lime, separate from tomato and other foods (other citruses, etc.)

Samm Ivri says:

Tag rash? Interesting – I never thought of that. Maybe you’re right. I’ll have to be more mindful to notice. Thanks!

ariana says:

Meredith, do you get the rash even if you are careful not to get any on your face?

Kimberly, yes – premade, costco or trader joes. The problem is that lemon juice is just as acidic as vinegar right?

Kimberly says:

Poor little man!
Re: guacamole… it’s made with vinegar? Are you buying a pre-made guac? I mash up fresh avocado, add a dash of salt, pepper, cumin, and a little squirt of lime juice and it’s delicious. You can also add a little bit of granulated onion and garlic to taste… maybe that will help avoid reactions to his beloved guacamole! :)

Meredith says:

I’m glad you’re figuring out the rash!

I’d keep an eye on tomatoes in the future–I’m actually allergic to them, and get a similar rash if I eat too much of them.

Heather says:

My son has the same thing going on! We know he is prone to exema…same raised red areas you described, esp around his wrists, but his cheeks do look red like this, and my husband just suggested the other day that it might be tomato related since he loves ketchup and tomato sauce.

That video is darling!

Stephanie says:

Poor little guy! :(

Lourdes says:

Ariana – I don’t think Wes’s skin has gotten quite as severe as Jasper’s looks in the photos, but we’ve come to the same conclusion as you. We don’t think Wes is allergic to anything, but he has definitely inherited my side of the family’s sensitive skin. My capillaries break fairly easily. And my brother has always had this thing where as soon as he scratches his skin, even barely, it raises.

We had a similar scenario when he ate something with tomato paste in it. But then he’s had tomato a couple of times since then without incident. So it’s not the tomato itself but sometimes it coming in contact with his skin, if that makes sense.

His cheeks are also really prone to flushing, to chapping (with the odd cool weather we’ve been having in SoFla), or to just plain getting rashy from crawling on our carpet.

I haven’t done much to combat it, other than using the Butt Paste lip/cheek balm from time to time. I’ll have to ask the pedi at his 1 year appointment if he recommends anything else.

Glad you figured out what was going on!

Maria says:

Jonah gets that redness around his mouth occasionally. He starts off looking fine in the morning but by evening he’s got some redness. I’m sure me wiping it with a rag after meals, his drool and the binky at night don’t help. We put vaseline on him before bed and it has helped overall.

ariana says:

@Cathrine, I love the calendula cream as well for soothing! I just wasn’t finding that it seemed to make the redness go down so was trying some other things… be propolis is supposed to be antiseptic, antibiotic, disinfectant, antibacterial, and antifungal. I recently read a study that said the the ONE thing that hugely improved eczema in babies was giving them baths in diluted bleach!! I wouldn’t do that, but I thought to maybe try something that had natural antiseptic qualities like the propolis.

@Samm that also sounds like “tag rash”. Does she have anything she wears often that is particularly scratchy?

@Shane – potatoes are nightshades too! In Jasper’s case I THINK it’s the acid, but only time will tell..

@Sara B. – I don’t think it hurts him. He does sometimes itch (though the back of his neck MUCH more than his face). Surprisingly, as horrible as his face looks here he didn’t even seem bothered.. which I can’t even comprehend LOL.

Sara B. says:

Poor Jasper! Does it seems to itch or hurt?

Marino’s skin is super sensitive, too (he has atopic dermatitis) and that looks just like him after eating his favorite food: clementines (very acidic). He also gets horrible red blotchy skin from the slightest touch of certain kinds of plastic, skin lotioned with any fragrance, drooly days, kisses from the dog, even his own hands! I’ve stopped worrying about it since it seems to go away quickly and it doesn’t seem to bother him. We just keep him lotioned with Aquaphor at night and Cetaphil during the day (less greasy).

Shane says:

A quick reply… a had a co-worker that developed a food allergy as an adult to foods in the ‘night shade’ family. I had never heard of this before but it includes tomato, eggplant, some peppers… it was a pretty long list. Her allergy manifested itself as blotchy skin and swelling ankles.

Just in case this helps with identifying other foods.

blue skies! –shane

Samm Ivri says:

Mia had the same thing on the back of her neck! She’d scratch it and make it worse. I told her to tell me when it itches and I’d put cream on it. Luckily, she has been doing that. I tried a bunch of stuff – cortizone cream, baby eczeme cream, aquaphore, desitin, etc. Somehow, between all of that stuf, it started getting better. She also had it on her forehead. I was gonna have the dr look at it at her next checkup.

Catharine says:

Yep, same thing with my mr. P. Spaghetti sauce, and anything tomato related etc. Still love Wedela’s Calendula cream.

ariana says:

Thanks Jennilynn – Please do let me know, this is still sort of new to us so any knowledge of what to avoid would be helpful!

Jennilynn says:

My eczema and sensitive skin have a rough time with tomatoes too. I usually have Nate chop them for me because it hurts so bad. I also cannot cut citrus fruits or garlic without having flareups. If I think of anything else I’ll let you kno`w so you can avoid those too, at least for now.