Skip to main content

Last Updated on May 20, 2024

Is Drool Rash the Same as Eczema?

No, drool rash, caused by excessive saliva around a baby’s mouth, differs from eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin condition linked to genetic and environmental factors.

Parents often encounter various skin conditions in their little ones, with drool rash and eczema particularly challenging due to their similar appearance. Therefore, understanding their differences is crucial for effective treatment and management. Thus, this blog aims to delve into the characteristics, causes, symptoms, and treatments of drool rash and eczema, providing you with the knowledge to identify and address drool rash vs eczema.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Understanding Drool Rash

What is Drool Rash?

Drool rash, or perioral dermatitis or irritant dermatitis, is a skin irritation caused by excessive drooling around babies’ mouths, chins, and necks. However, this condition is prevalent in teething infants, as increased salivation can lead to prolonged moisture exposure on the skin.

Causes of Drool Rash

The primary cause of drool rash is the constant wetness and friction from saliva. When a baby drools, the saliva can pool in skin folds around the mouth and chin. Moreover, the enzymes in the saliva can break down the skin’s natural barrier, leading to irritation and rash. Additionally, the moisture can create an ideal environment for yeast and bacteria, further aggravating the skin.

Symptoms of Drool Rash

Drool rash typically presents with the following symptoms:

  • Redness and inflammation around the mouth, chin, and neck.
  • Small red bumps or patches that may appear shiny.
  • The affected area may feel warm to the touch.
  • In severe cases, the skin may become cracked and painful.

How to Treat Drool Rash

Empower yourself with these practical steps to manage and prevent drool rash:

  • Keep the Area Dry: Gently pat the baby’s skin with a soft cloth to keep it dry. Avoid rubbing, as this can cause further irritation.
  • Use a Barrier Cream: A barrier cream, such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointment, can protect the skin from moisture.
  • Change Bibs and Clothing Frequently: Ensure that the baby’s clothing and bibs are dry, and change them regularly to avoid prolonged moisture exposure.
  • Use Soft Fabrics: Opt for soft, breathable fabrics for clothing and bedding to minimize friction.
  • Regular Cleaning: Clean the baby’s face with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser, and ensure thorough but gentle drying.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Understanding Eczema

What is Eczema?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Moreover, it can affect individuals of all ages but is particularly common in infants and young children. However, unlike drool rash, eczema is often associated with a genetic predisposition and can be influenced by environmental factors and allergens.

Causes of Eczema

The exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from genetic and environmental factors. Key factors include:

  • Genetics: A family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever increases the likelihood of developing eczema.
  • Immune System: An overactive immune response to irritants or allergens can trigger eczema.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain soaps, detergents, allergens, and climate conditions can exacerbate eczema symptoms.
  • Skin Barrier Dysfunction: Eczema is associated with a deficiency in the skin’s barrier function, leading to increased moisture loss and vulnerability to irritants.

Also Read: Understanding Eczema Coxsackium: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Option

Symptoms of Eczema

Eczema symptoms can vary, but common signs include:

  • Dry, scaly skin: Patches of dry, flaky, and rough to the touch.
  • Itchiness: Intense itching can lead to scratching and further skin damage.
  • Redness and Inflammation: Affected areas may appear red, swollen, and inflamed.
  • Oozing and Crusting: In severe cases, the skin may ooze clear fluid and develop a crusty surface.
  • Thickened Skin: Chronic eczema can cause the skin to become thickened and leathery (lichenification) due to repeated scratching.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Treatment and Management of Eczema

Eczema management often requires a multifaceted approach, including:

  • Moisturizing: Regular application of emollients to keep the skin hydrated and maintain the skin barrier.
  • Topical Steroids: Corticosteroid creams and ointments can reduce inflammation and itching. Nevertheless, these should be used under medical supervision.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Identifying and avoiding environmental triggers, such as harsh soaps, certain fabrics, and allergens.
  • Bathing Practices: Short, lukewarm baths with mild, fragrance-free cleansers, followed by immediate moisturizing.
  • Medications: Sometimes, doctors may prescribe oral medications or other treatments for severe eczema.
  • Wet Wrap Therapy: Apply wet bandages over moisturizers and topical steroids to enhance skin hydration and medication absorption.

Differentiating Drool Rash vs Eczema

While drool rash and eczema can appear similar, there are distinct differences that can help in identification:

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Location and Distribution:

  • Drool Rash: This rash primarily affects areas around the mouth, chin, and neck. It is often localized to where saliva accumulates.
  • Eczema: Can appear anywhere on the body, but common areas include the face, scalp, hands, feet, and inside creases of elbows and knees.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Appearance:

  • Drool Rash: Red, shiny, and inflamed patches with small bumps. The rash is usually confined to the drool-affected areas.
  • Eczema: Dry, scaly patches that can be red, inflamed, and itchy. In chronic cases, the skin may become thickened and leathery.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Causes:

  • Drool Rash: Directly caused by saliva exposure and associated moisture.
  • Eczema: Linked to genetic predisposition, immune system factors, and environmental triggers.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Itchiness:

  • Drool Rash: This may cause mild discomfort but is not typically intensely itchy.
  • Eczema: Often very itchy, leading to scratching and potential skin damage.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Chronicity:

  • Drool Rash: Usually resolves quickly with proper care and as the baby outgrows the drooling phase.
  • Eczema: A chronic condition that can persist into adulthood, with periods of flare-ups and remission.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Practical Tips for Parents

Monitoring and Early Intervention

Regularly inspect your baby’s skin for any signs of rash or irritation. Remember, early intervention can nip minor issues in the bud, ensuring your baby’s comfort and preventing them from escalating. However, if you notice persistent or worsening symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a pediatrician or dermatologist.

Drool Rash vs Eczema: Gentle Skincare Routine

Establish a gentle skincare routine for your baby, including:

  • Mild Cleansers: Use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic cleansers to avoid irritation.
  • Moisturizers: Apply fragrance-free, gentle moisturizers to maintain skin hydration.
  • Avoid Over-Bathing: Limit baths to once a day and use lukewarm water.

Clothing and Environment

Choose soft, breathable fabrics like cotton for your baby’s clothing and bedding. Avoid wool and synthetic materials that can irritate the skin. Additionally, keep the environment calm and humidified to prevent skin dryness.

Diet and Allergens

Consider potential dietary triggers for eczema-prone babies, especially if there is a family history of allergies. Moreover, some common allergens include cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, and soy. Discuss with a healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If your baby’s skin condition does not improve with home care or if you notice signs of infection (such as oozing, crusting, or increased redness and warmth), seek medical advice. Persistent or severe eczema may require prescription treatments or specialized care.


Differentiating between drool rash or eczema is essential for effective management and treatment. While drool rash is typically a transient condition resulting from excessive saliva, eczema is a chronic condition with a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. However, by understanding each condition’s unique characteristics and treatment approaches, parents can better care for their baby’s delicate skin and ensure their comfort and well-being.

When in doubt, consulting a healthcare professional can provide peace of mind and tailored advice for your baby’s needs. With proper care and attention, drool rash vs. eczema can be effectively managed, allowing your baby to thrive with healthy, happy skin.


MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

Leave a Reply