Q: My 10-month-old often has a rash on her cheeks. Her pediatrician described it as mild eczema. Her skin is clear elsewhere. Could the rash be from something she is eating or that I’m eating (I’m breastfeeding)? Should I keep a food diary?
Dr. Watson: Rashes on young children’s faces are common, and eczema can be a general term that describes any dry, scaly rash. This could be from irritation of the skin.
Atopic dermatitis, the name for the allergy-related condition, is a specific type of eczema. There are specific criteria to make a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis including itch, typical distribution, personal and family history of allergies.
The milder the rash, the less likely it is that there are food allergies triggering it. At age 10 months, your child is probably feeding herself. Much of this could be irritation from foods on the face.
Before spending time keeping food diaries, it may be easier to try more basic interventions. You might consider using a moisturizer-barrier cream on your child’s face.
If the skin is red and inflamed, I would suggest that you speak to your doctor about getting a mild anti-inflammatory cream.
Dr. Wade Watson is a pediatric allergist and Professor of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University. He is also the head of the Division of Allergy at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.