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Allergies and Skin Sensitivity – A 10-month Journey With No Answers

I think it took nearly two months for my daughter’s newborn rashy skin to go away.  I asked the doctor about it a couple of times but wasn’t overly concerned.  I know that babies don’t always come out with that perfectly flawless soft baby skin that we all associate with newborns.

She did WHAT?

I changed from using all the nicely scented baby soaps and lotions to the unscented ones. After her doctor recommended using Aveeno products, I discovered that something about the oatmeal was making her break out. I had used two different oatmeal based lotions on her, one scented (Johnson’s vanilla oatmeal) and one unscented (Aveeno) and both increased the rashiness. We switched to Johnson’s Head-to-Toe baby wash (hypoallergenic and dye free) and Johnson’s Aloe baby lotion and things seemed to improve for a while. She was exclusively breastfeeding at the time and I tried to watch what I was eating pretty carefully but never found any correlations between my food and her rashes.

jun_08 116

We started introducing solid foods to her at around five months. I was a little wary of this because of the oatmeal reaction, but she seemed to do just fine. I even fed her oatmeal cereal and it didn’t seem to bother her at all. She was still getting rashes occasionally, but I felt like it was pretty well under control. The other factor was that during floor time she was starting to move off of her blankets and onto the carpet where she was exposed to more potential allergens so determining the exact cause of any rash she had was nearly impossible.

Look Mom, I Did It!

In August we took a last-minute trip to Texas to visit family. While I tried my hardest to pack absolutely everything we could possibly need for the trip, I did forget one thing – towels for Evie. I thought ahead for everything else that might possibly touch her skin or mouth, but didn’t think to bring towels for bath time. While we were there, we also spent quite a bit of time in the pool. The day we left, she started breaking out and ended up with a horrible rash. It was the worst I had seen it (so far) and it drove me crazy trying to figure out what had caused it. Heat seemed to aggravate it even more and you can’t exactly escape heat in August.


At her next check-up, I discussed it with her doctor again and she said that it most likely was Eczema, or Atopic Dermatitis. She simply has very sensitive skin and any little thing can make the Eczema flare up. We talked a little bit about how to treat it when she had a break out and that was that. This wasn’t surprising as I have very sensitive skin myself (and have had bouts with Eczema). The poor girl was just going to have to live with it.

One day early in September, Evie’s day care provider called to tell me that she was breaking out around her neck and that it was worse than she had seen it before. It was nearly time for me to leave anyway, so I just told her I’d take a look at it when I picked her up. When I got there, she was bright red from her chin down her neck. It looked more like an allergic reaction to something than a skin sensitivity rash so I was a little concerned. It was better by the next morning but I took some photos to show the doctor the next time we were in.

Rash 9/3/08

A couple months after that incident, Evie decided that she was ready to start feeding herself. She was doing great with baby foods so I started giving her some soft chunky foods that she could pick up and feed herself. One of the first foods I gave her was bananas. They were soft enough that she could easily smash them with her gums and she loved them. One day while she was eating some banana I noticed a red rash starting around her mouth. By the time she finished eating it was all the way around her mouth and down her neck. When I was cleaning her up, I lifted her arm and found a piece of banana under it. Where the banana had touched there was a red spot with a welt in the middle of it. After she was cleaned up from her meal, the rash mostly went away. The next day I gave her banana again just to be sure that was the cause. Same reaction. Then we tried baby food with bananas in it. She turned red anywhere that the baby food touched her face.


At her 9-month check-up the doctor recommended we see an Allergist to have some testing done. While waiting for that appointment she had another food reaction to macaroni and cheese. I could not wait to get the testing done and finally get some answers as to what might be triggering her rashes.

When we finally saw the Allergist, it was recommended that we change all soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc., bathe her daily (we were doing every other day), and cover her within three minutes of her bath with a moisturizer (Aquaphor or Vanicream). This was supposed to help with the sensitive skin. They did a blood draw to test for allergies and suggested that we might need to put her on a daily allergy medication.

Evie - 9 Months

It took a week to get the test results. When the nurse finally called me she said that the Atopic Dermatitis test was negative. Since the rash hadn’t cleared up in over a week, the Dr. recommended putting her on a daily dose of Zyrtec and continuing with the bathing/moisturizing recommendations. She said nothing about the food allergies or whether those had come up negative or not but she did say to feed her a regular diet and not withhold any food other than peanuts and shellfish. when I asked for more clarification, she said she would have to check with the doctor and get back to me.

Fortunately, the Doctor himself called me the next morning to clarify things a bit. He said that Evie tested clean on everything. In fact, he said that she had one of the cleanest tests he has ever seen. She showed no allergy to bananas, milk, or oats which were my three biggest concerns. She showed no reaction to anything. He did say that she could be having a reaction to acids in her foods that could cause the redness around her mouth but that wasn’t necessarily an allergy. Supposedly, the Zyrtec should help reduce that as well as the mild rashes she gets on her tummy and hands.


So, for now, that’s where we’re at. I have answers, but I still don’t feel like I have any answers. I still don’t know what is causing her skin to constantly break out. I’m still afraid to feed her any new foods because they may turn her face all red. I still hate to let her crawl on the floor because I know that she’ll be rashy wherever she contacts it with her skin.

We started the Zyrtec two days ago and have been continuing the recommended bathing routine. I haven’t seen any improvement at all yet, but I know it may take some time. I really hope that it makes a difference because right now I’m really frustrated with the whole thing.

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  1. Her rashes look exactly like the ones Nolan has been getting since day one. he still breaks out randomly now and again. Microwave popcorn is the worst- and some pizza will do it too and a few other things that we eat so rarely that i forget about them until he starts breaking out. I also can’t use any sort of scented laundry soap at all or he starts itching until he is bleeding. Tide is the absolute worst for this.
    We haven’t had any testing done yet but i had his pediatrician look at one of the scabby rashes and she told me it looked like eczema… but who knows.
    please keep us updated on any news, I for one and very interested!

  2. dee dee

    I did forget to mention the laundry soap. I’m using Dreft (or the Target brand equivalent of it) on Evie’s stuff and All Free & Clear for the rest of us. With my sensitive skin I’ve never been able to use any type of scented laundry detergent.

  3. Oh, I feel you sister. Anjali has had sensitive skin since Day 1. However, we have not had food issues – never a reaction after eating and not any rashes on the face or neck (other than the typical newborn stuff). Some of the rashes on Evie definitely look skin related, but the one on her face and neck look to be food related. Maybe? I should not be diagnosing, right? Right.

    Have you taken her to a dermatologist? We had a very Meh Experience with the pediatric derm at Children’s Mercy – it was USELESS and we had to wait over FOUR months for the appointment. However, there is a dermatologist here in Olathe who will see children. She is a mother and she actually LIKES seeing children. We took Arun to her and she was wonderful. Dr. Tauscher of JoCo Dermatology – (913) 764- 1125.

    re: detergents, lotions – we use Kirkland’s Free n’ Clear (Costco brand), Curel non fragrence, Aquaphor and Cetaphil wash.

    It sounds like you are doing all the right things, but maybe a dermatologist could help figure out something with a prscription?

  4. dee dee

    Cagey – We have not seen a dermatologist yet, just the Pediatrician and Allergist. I think I’ll give it a few weeks with the Zyrtec and see how that does. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up going to a Dermatologist though, so I appreciate the recommendation.

    I completely agree about the rashes though. The rash on her tummy, arms, etc. seems to be a skin thing and the face/neck a food thing. If the food part continues, I think I’ll take her to the Dr. with a banana and let them watch the reaction. We have been giving her a little milk over the last couple of days and haven’t seen a reaction yet so that part at least is ok.

  5. Beth Beth

    I feel like I could have written this story myself. This is the exact same thing we are going through with our 9 month olf daughter. The rashes are the same. We have seen a pediatric dermatologist for her ecxema. But a week ago she started getting blisters (I call them “aunt bites”) where ever the food touches her skin. We are seeing an allergist tomorrow. I just want answers, but it sounds like i shouldn’t hold my breath.

  6. dee dee

    Do the blisters correlate with any new foods being introduced? With my daughter is seems to be related to fruits, even though she is showing no true allergies to them. The doctor seems to think that it has to do with the acids in the fruit and the eczema/sensitive skin. We still have no true answers, but she has been doing a little better the last couple of weeks or so.

    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope that the allergist is able to give you some answers!

  7. Beth Beth

    The reaction has been to a variety or foods, fruit (bannanas), vegetables (peas) and even pureed chicken. The funny thing is, that we have been giving her these foods for three months with no problem, and allowing her to get very messy. But the rash came out of no where about a week ago.
    I am glad to hear your daughter has been doing better. It’s encouraging to hear! And I thank you for sharing your story, becuase it has helped me tremendously to know that we are not alone.

  8. Londa Londa

    WOW!! My 4 month old baby girl, Maddee, is going through the same skin rash as your little Evie. And, I too had same experience with the Aveeno Products. I will definately try the body wash that you have suggested. The rash was the worst it had ever been and I was able to get her into the Pediatricians office the next day. Our Dr. as did yours put her on Zyrtec 2 x’s a day and gave us a Rx for Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment. As soon as I filled the Rx, I immediately started to apply it to her skin plus I gave her the dose of Zyrtec, and within a couple of hours the rash was completely gone on tummy and just a few patches were left on her arms near elbow. Although you could still see the little dots (it reminds me of tiny blood specs beneath the skin in a freckled pattern) the redness of dots was not as bold. I have always noticed the freckled pattern on her stomach, but it would never be really red between freckled specs until after bath. When I would notice that it was starting to become rash form, I applied a product called “Corona” its rich with lanolin (and used mainly on horses) but I was told from a dear friend it helped with diaper rashes. Sure enough, it would take a little bit of redness away but never the whole thing. Until today with the Rx has it never fully went away. I too am very curious as to what is causing this. With her age she is only breastfed, no formula ever!! I had a large bowl of tomato basil soup the night she had her worst break out. So I will watch my tomato intake for now, but that would make sense with what your Dr. had said about acidic foods. Good Luck to all MoMs with this! and Thanks to you Dee for your blog! Maybe with all of us we can find comfort for our little ones. 🙂

  9. Kelly Win Kelly Win

    Hi there, I have been searching boards for answers for my friends baby who is 10 months old and appears to have baby acne. I am surprised to find this board as my own baby boy, now 11 months, has suffered from eczema from birth which appears very similar to what your beautiful daughter Evie has. I am from NZ, Im not sure where you guys are, but if possible you should try to find a nautropath, kinesiologist or other certified natural healthcare provider. My husband and I have found mainstream medicine have really let us down, they have such a limit on their understanding of these types of things, and when they dont know the cause they automatically result to drugs. Western medicine is purely curative, not preventative, and this is where people are being let down as they dont realise how amazing preventative medicine is- and its drug free! You know in your heart that something is causing your little girls skin condition, dont give up and accept that the Dr is right by filling her body with more chemicals. Its not easy, but keep looking for answers.
    My baby, Ryder, at times had such bad eczema it looked like burns all over his face and torso. After seeing many drs, specialists and so called ‘experts’ we finally found a kinesiologist in Christchurch, NZ, who muscle tested Ryder and discovered he is ‘intolerant’ to wheat, dairy and soy. This is also a significant difference between mainstream and natural medicine, in mainstream unless you are ‘allergic’ they sign you off as normal. But this is far from correct as an intolerance can also make you very sick. Ryder now has beautiful skin, not even one small scar.
    If you feel like Evie may be intolerant to a certain food or group of foods, cut it out of her diet and see what happens. Just because the Dr says she isnt allergic to it, doesnt mean it wont effect her physically (and mentally) if her wee body is better without it. If you are still breastfeeding, remember to remove the same foods from your diet as they will pass through your milk. A good guide of where to start is the recommendation of foods for specific blood types. If you can find out Evies blood type you can then refer to the book ‘Live Right for your Blood Type’ or Eat Right for your Blood Type’. But use as a guide, only you know your baby the best.
    For gentle relief of the inflammation and itching skin condition try Pot of Gold ( An amazing product, just check out the website.
    I am a 25 yr old stay at home wife who has no association to these books or products, it has only been from my experience that I am recommending these to you.
    I hope this is of some help. All the very best 🙂

  10. […] If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you will remember that sensitive skin seems to run in my family.  Because of that I was really excited to try out Skin Free.  Skin Free products are made from […]

  11. Beth Beth

    Hi Dee,

    Scince you were so kind to share your child’s journey with me, I wanted to let you know that we have recently gone through a similar series of allergy tests. And, like you, have some answers but still feel as if we have no answers:) My child’s blood test came back with a strong allergy to chicken, eggs and peanuts.

    Her skin has gotten better as the weather has improved, and we no longer have the heater on, but the ithcing has gotten so much worse! We may try the Zyrtec. Our doc said it was okay to help stop her constant itching. But I am worried about side effects like drowsiness or hyperactivity. Have you had any negative side effects?

    Thanks so much,

  12. Paula Paula


    I was amazed at how similar your story was to my baby’s. I have had Chloe to the pediatrician who recommended we put the Aquaphor on thick at night, she broke out in a bad red rash, blisters, fluid oozing out of her skin, worse than the original rash. I took her to a dermatologist and she said she may have been allergic to something in the Aquaphor, because it contains wool and she recommended we stop using it. I have, but she still has the rash. She prescribed Vanos which is a very expensive steroid cream (clears her right up), Eladil for maintenance (which doesn’t seem to do much) and Vanicream. I have had to her to an allergy doctor, and she is allergic to the cat, oats, wheat and egg whites so far. She had not been exposed to the egg whites or the wheat. I did bathe her in the Aveeno oatmeal bath and was feeding her oatmeal and noticed her rash would get worse. I have been keeping her off the carpet too, thinking she may be allergic to something in it. The allergist told me she was too little to test for enviromental allergies (she’s 6 months old), so we’re taking it one day at a time right now. She does take Benadryl for the itching. I’ve been at my wits end trying to get this rash taken care of. Thanks for sharing your story. Paula

  13. cigi cigi

    Hi there. My son (2 1/2) has a rash that looks just like this and the Dermatologist said it was also atopic Eczema. I am beginning to think he has some sort of allergy. Did you figure out what was wrong with your baby? Thanks.

  14. Ania Ania

    my baby had the same rash and it was even more severe rash on his neck. I went to see the doctor while traveling in Poland and he said that my boy is allergic to cow’s milk and the products. He prescribed me a cream that had hydrocortozone in it and I also eliminated any milk products from my diet. His neck cleared up over couple of days like never before! Once in awhile I ate a cheesecake or a yogurt and that night his neck got rash and he become uncomfortable and itchy. So that was a proof to me that he truly is allergic to cow’s products. The funny thing is that I went to a doctor in US prior to the trip and he only said that is a rash, possible eczema and he said to try different lotions, soaps and see what helps!
    I hope that would help some people.

  15. Kevin Kevin

    Testing be hanged. If banana on skin equals allergic reaction, then the child has a food allergy in my humble opinion. I can’t tell you how many times I have clearly gotten wrong information from doctors, in analyzing cause-and-effect relationships with my own health.

    Thanks for doing this blog/post.

  16. Emily Emily

    My daughter is now 4, also Evie, and we have had many of the same issues you had over these 4 years. If food stayed on her face, she broke out. If we bathed her too often, she broke out. Even now, if she touches brush or foliage outside, she has a reaction. We went though Aveeno, changing to “free” laundry soap and even double rinsing her clothes, but it didn’t seem to help. The positive news is even though she still has it to some extent, she seems to be growing out of it. One of the biggest improvements I found was using Eucerin cream, not lotion, on her after her bath. I do think keeping the cream on her right after her bath has made a big difference.

  17. Meghan Meghan

    Hello all….

    I’ve had similar experience with my 11 month old son James. His eczema comes on very strongly after eating ANYTHING! I’ve treated it with an aquaphor ointment since he’s a tiny baby. However, someone suggest that my son get tested for a staph infection since he was born in a hospital, was delivered C section, where his body was not colonized by the good bacteria found in the birth canal. I’m on my way to the Dr. now to get him tested, because if he does have a staph infection, and I’m putting my hand in the tub of aquaphor, I’m continuing to re-infect him. It’s worth a try, and my pediatrician said to come right in. I will let you all know when we find out the results (in a few days). We also had my son’s stool tested to look for an internal fungus that he may be fighting as well. I trying to get to the root of the issue, something MUST be causing this terrible eczema, and I don’t want to resort to only using meds to cover up the symptoms. I will fill you all in!!

  18. Meghan Meghan

    NOT Staph! Going to a GI specialist to find out more!

  19. Meghan Meghan

    Ok…It IS staph!! My pedicatrician sent me home and told me it wasn’t staph. I went back and demanded he get tested, and it came back POSITIVE! I suggest all kids with any form of eczema get tested for staph infections. I read that about 90% of kids with eczema also have a staph infection, many times caught when they were in the hospital.

  20. Tonya Tonya

    Hi all,
    My daughter is 11mo old, she broke out in a rash yesterday. I thought it was just her teething, but went searching online and now I’m thinking it may be Roseola. After looking at Evie’s rash, I’m thinking it could be an allergic reaction to something she ate; because my daughter’s rash looks just like Evie’s. She has been extremely cranky since last Friday, she also had a slight fever Fri/Sat. She also doesn’t want to eat hardly anything. My daughter’s rash is only on her torso and back with a little of the rash on her neck. She doen’t have a fever now or last night. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks Dee for your blog and all others..

  21. Anett M. Anett M.

    Wow, I thought about the acidity in the foods, but I wasn’t sure. Now, the acidic food sounds about right! We have been battling with rashes, hives and dry skin with our 15 month old Sophia. I don’t think she is allergic to any foods, but anytime I leave food on her face it will get all red and blotchy. She also had dermatitis when she was little, her back used to look like snakeskin. We have used every kind of cream from OTC to steroids (after numerous doctor visits).
    Her skin looks good now except for her face at mealtimes. I also use everything “free of dyes and perfumes”, including wipes and detergents. She mostly eats organic too.
    I don’t know when it will end, but I hope she will outgrow this sensitivity soon!
    Thank you for sharing!

  22. Angela Angela

    Is it possible she is allergic to some type of fabrics or fibers in her clothing?? Cotton maybe?? Me and my children have crazy skin…we break out all the time….but in your situation it sounds like something she is doing daily…I agree with the Dr on acidic foods…but all over rashes…I would think something in the clothing.

  23. Anna Anna

    POTASSIUM RICH FOOD- that’s the answer!!!!
    I’m in my 30s now but I had the same issues with Tomato when I was your daughter’s age. The doctor told my mum that i’m allergic to tomatos but mum ignored him and let me continue eating them untill it eventually went away by the age of four-ish. However, in the past two years I have noticed temporary rashes pop up within a few minutes of eating certain foods which go away after about 15 minutes. It wasn’t untill a neightbour of mine suggested that it may the the potassium high content that it clicked to me!!! Anb bananas, tomato, peanuts- they are all high in potassium!!
    hope this helps 🙂

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