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What Are the Causes of Rash on a Child's Face & Around the Eyes?

author image Ruben J. Nazario
Ruben J. Nazario has been a medical writer and editor since 2007. His work has appeared in national print and online publications. Nazario is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and is board-certified in pediatrics. He also has a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
What Are the Causes of Rash on a Child's Face & Around the Eyes?
Allergic reactions can cause a facial rash on a child.

Rashes are very common in children. There are different causes for rashes in kids, and the location of the rash can give a clue as to the underlying cause of the eruption. Other symptoms can help you in the diagnosis, including the appearance or physical description of the rash and if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or respiratory infections. There are several causes for rashes in the face and around the eyes of children.


According to the Nemours Foundation, infections are one of the most common causes of rashes on the face and around the eyes in children. Cellulitis, which is a skin infection caused by several types of bacteria, can occur on the face. The rash of cellulitis is usually flat, extremely bright and tender to the touch. Another common bacterial infection on the face of children is impetigo. This infection shows up as a honey-colored crusty rash around the lips, the nose or the eyes. Both of these infections may need topical or oral antibiotics. Cellulitis that spreads around the eyes is called periorbital cellulitis. This is a potentially dangerous condition if the infection spreads behind the eye and forms an abscess, a condition then called orbital cellulitis. Periorbital and orbital cellulitis may need intravenous antibiotics and surgical drainage if an abscess forms.


Allergies also commonly cause rashes on the face. Children can have allergic reactions to pollen and other seasonal allergens, or they can have a reaction to something in their diet. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, at least 10 percent of infants and children in America have atopic dermatitis, a rash associated with allergies. Infants with lactose intolerance can have a rash on the face that starts early in life and only goes away after a milk or formula change. Older children can have an allergic reaction to dairy products, shellfish or peanut-containing products. Patients with seasonal allergies will exhibit symptoms during high-pollen seasons. The rash caused by allergic reactions is usually a raised, splotchy eruption called a wheal, or they can have another raised, red rash on the face called urticaria. Both of these rashes can cause itching and discomfort.

Systemic Conditions

There are a number of conditions that can affect the whole body and that can have as one of their manifestations the presence of rashes on the face and around the eyes. Lupus usually affects preteen and adolescent patients. Patients with this systemic, autoimmune condition can have a malar rash, or a red pale rash around the eyes and crossing above the bridge of the nose. Also, certain nutritional deficiencies can cause rashes on the face. For example, zinc deficiency can cause a crusty rash on the face of infants who lack this important mineral.

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