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Infant Face Rashes Due to Formula Allergies

author image Jessica Lietz
Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.
Infant Face Rashes Due to Formula Allergies
Cow's milk-based formula is a common cause of infant face rashes. Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

A rash on your baby's face might cause you to worry about her health. A formula allergy can result in facial rashes and, according to Baby Center, such allergies are common among babies. Fortunately, you can treat and prevent face rashes due to formula allergies with topical lotions and changing formulas.


The rash on your baby's face might appear bright red or a reddish-pink color -- babies with lighter skin often have a more noticeable rash. The rash might look like tiny bumps around your baby's mouth, face and forehead or the bumps might grow larger in size to form hives. Your baby's skin might start to flake in the area of the rash, and she might try to scratch at the skin. If your baby is persistent in scratching her face, redness, swelling and even bleeding might develop. In addition to rashes on her face, your baby might develop unusually watery or hard stools, an area of redness around her rectum that does not clear up with application of diaper rash cream, and she might spit up frequently as a result of formula allergies.

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The most common type of formula allergy in babies is to cow's milk protein, notes Baby Center. In addition, half of babies with a cow's milk allergy are also allergic to soy-based formulas. Your baby's pediatrician can identify whether her face rash is a result of formula allergy by conducting a physical exam. This exam can differentiate other causes of skin problems on your baby's face, such as acne, eczema or yeast. The pediatrician or a specialist such as a pediatric allergist or immunologist might conduct a skin test or blood to diagnose milk allergy if the physical exam is inconclusive.


Your baby's pediatrician might change her formula or prescribe a special hypo-allergenic formula so that your baby is not exposed to cow's milk proteins. Application of a gentle lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help reduce redness, flaking and itching until the rash diminishes. If your baby receives any breast milk, the pediatrician might recommend that you eliminate any cow's milk from your own diet so that your baby is not exposed to cow's milk protein through your breast milk. The pediatrician might prescribe an antihistamine or epinephrine for you to keep on hand in the event your baby has a severe allergic reaction to her formula.


Exclusively breastfeeding your baby for her first six months of life is the best way to prevent food allergies, especially if either parent has a personal or family history of food allergies, advises the Mayo Clinic. Avoiding feeding your baby any solids until she reaches the age of 4 to 6 months or as recommended by her pediatrician can also help prevent formula and other food allergies. To prevent any dietary deficiencies caused by formula allergies, your baby's pediatrician might recommend a supplement of vitamin D or an infant vitamin drop.

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