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Skin Care and Diseases

Dermatitis that won`t go away

12/28/2005

Question:

I have had an going battle with dermatitis -- red, puffy, itchy, etc. It only effects certain areas on my face, the right side of my mouth, my right cheek, around the right side of my nose. It use to be that I would use a steroid cream and it would go away, now if stays, with lesser degrees of annoyance. I have gone through a series of steriod creams which have been useless, and now my dermatologist wants to perscribed anitbiotics. Have you any suggestions. I am lossing faith in my doctor. I am open to holistic approaches as well. Thank you.

Answer:

The possibility of contact dermatitis must be evaluated in a localized recurrent itchy rash such as yours. Another possibility because of the redness and location is rosacea - although rosacea is usually bilateral and not unilateral. Rosacea is treated with topical antibiotics rather than topical steroids. This could be the reason your physician is prescribing antibiotics. A skin biopsy, if not yet done, may be helpful to better determine the cause of the rash.

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Response by:

Elma D Baron, MD Elma D Baron, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Skin Study Center
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University