Is This Acne? Allergic Dermatitis? Eczema? Or Worse......?

My facial breakouts have become more frequent & severe.Been to 3 dermatologists with 3 different DXs:1)acne(2)eczema(3)dermatitis. Im so frustrated b/c none of the Tx ranging from benzoyl peroxide wash, Tri-luma, cetaphil wash/lotion;PO doxycyline & desonide have proven effective. It starts out as a very itchy tingle,then I get an open sore that oozes yellow drainage, then it scabs over & heals w/out a scar IF I dont de-scab by itching. Gums are usually sore & swollen during my episodes. Help!

Doctor Answers 2

Possible Herpes Simplex

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I read your description before reading Dr. Shelton's astute advice. In other words, my thoughts were running on the same lines: herpes simplex ( cold sores). One certainly has to think of herpes simplex if the lesions are repeatedly occurring in the same location. The itching and tingling that procede the breakout, along with the sore mouth during the breakout, are even more of a clue in my opinion.

 The herpes virus is a fragile one, so you should have a herpes culture done within the first three days, and perferably as soon as you break out.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist


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Depending on the extent this could be cold sores or fever blisters which can be associated with mucosal involvement in some, even a major swelling called Stevens Johnson's syndrome. See another derm within the first 24 hours of the next eruption. Sometimes a viral culture can be done.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

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