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Rash around Mouth—Pictures, Causes, & Treatment

Updated on May 29, 2015
A common source of mouth rashes for children and infants is saliva. Here is a child who developed a rash because of a habit of licking around the lips.
A common source of mouth rashes for children and infants is saliva. Here is a child who developed a rash because of a habit of licking around the lips. | Source

What Is the Definition of a Rash?

Waking up and to find a rash around your mouth can be quite shocking. A rash is a medical condition that can appear suddenly for no apparent reason and is quite common. The definition is any change in the texture, look, or color of your skin. When you have a rash around the mouth, you may notice irritation, redness, pain, and swelling. Rashes around the mouth can affect people of any age, gender, or race, although the rash may be less visible on people with darker skin.

What Causes It?

Rashes around the mouth can happen to both infants/children and adults.

Causes in Infants and Children

Infants and children can develop rashes around the mouth for a number of reasons.
Infants and children can develop rashes around the mouth for a number of reasons.
  • Drooling—For infants, the rash can be caused by drooling. This is especially true if the saliva is left on the skin for long periods of time.
  • Pacifiers—Pacifiers can also cause rashes because of the drool that they collect. These will likely occur in the corner of the infant’s mouth.
  • Messy eating—If the child smears food around his or her mouth and it is left there for some time, a rash may develop.
  • Bacteria from clothing—Infants and small children can get rashes around their mouths if they rub their faces along the clothes their parents are wearing.
  • Impetigo—Impetigo is a bacterial infection that causes a contagious rash. The rash will consist of raised red bumps and a light brown crust around the child's mouth and nose.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease—This is caused by a virus named coxsackie. With this disease, the rash is accompanied by a fever.

Causes in Adults

A rash around the mouth.
A rash around the mouth.

Adults who develop a rash around the mouth are more likely to be suffering from one of the conditions below. These can also affect children and infants although the most common causes of rashes among that demographic are listed above.

  • Perioral dermatitisThis is a skin condition that is more common among women. Perioral dermatitis will cause groups of small red bumps to appear around your mouth. The rash can also spread to your upper lip, chin, and cheeks, making the areas of the skin very flaky and dry. This medical condition happens to people with oily faces and can be caused by using certain lotions and creams containing strong chemicals.
  • Eczema—This skin problem causes both irritation and inflammation around your mouth and can also cause a rash to appear on your feet, face, knees, and hands. The rash can cause itching, redness, and swelling, and will appear thick and flaky. There are many different triggers that may cause eczema to flare up, such as extreme temperatures, stress, and certain chemicals that may be found in the soaps you use, etc.
  • Hives—When a person has this skin problem, it is usually due to the allergic reaction that your body produces because of some medication or food. Another trigger of hives is stress. If the rash is on your lips, it is called angioedema, which is like hives.
  • Contact dermatitis—This skin problem can happen after coming in contact with allergens or irritants, such as certain makeup products, poison ivy, or some skin care products. Contact dermatitis appears as itchy red bumps that are sometimes painful.


Rashes around mouth do not usually require any medical treatment because in most cases they are caused by an allergic reaction and will disappear over time on their own. If the rash becomes severe, you can take an over-the-counter antihistamine. Taking antihistamine will help reduce the symptoms such as swelling, redness, and itching. For infants and children, talk to a doctor before using an antihistamine to make sure it is safe for the child to take and how much should be used.

If the rash is caused by a medical condition like eczema, you can use hydrocortisone creams or visit your physician for topical antibiotics. For impetigo, the physician will normally prescribe an antibacterial cream. If the impetigo is a severe case, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics. You can get over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or anti-itch creams, but if they do not help, you may need to see your physician for a prescription. Using these creams will help to reduce any pain and soothe your skin.

When you have a rash around your mouth, you should see your physician to find out what the cause is. If it lasts for more than a week, appears to be getting worse, or is causing severe itching or pain and over-the-counter medications do not seem to be helping definitely see a physician.


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      Janet 23 months ago

      Any home method that can treat rashes around the mouth.

      Thanks in advance.

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      Sana 5 months ago

      My son got rash around his lips ,hw can I cure it

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      Cathy Smartt 4 months ago

      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 peppermint lavender scent, too. I recommended foderma already to a few coworkers with chapped and cracked hands.

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