A rash refers to inflammation and discoloration of the skin that appears on the body. Several triggers can cause a rash to occur, such as infections, bug bites, allergies, irritants, chronic skin disorders, and prescription medications. Rashes may change the skin’s appearance, as they are often characterized by red, spotty, patchy, or raised areas. Treatments are available to help alleviate some symptoms of a rash. These treatments include creams and other medications. If a rash does not respond to over-the-counter treatment, is unexplained, or lasts longer than a few days, see a health care provider. Although most rashes disappear without intervention, some may require prescription medications to treat. Internists, pediatricians, dermatologists, and other disease specialists can diagnose most rashes. Additional testing - such as blood tests, allergy tests, skin scrapings, or skin biopsies - may be required to confirm the cause of a rash. Here are 5 of the most common rashes.
There are two types of contact dermatitis. Irritant dermatitis (type A) manifests as a scaly, dry rash that does not itch. Several substances can cause irritant dermatitis, including heat, industrial chemicals, and cleaning products. Exposure to a trigger typically affects the severity of the rash and it varies from person to person.
Allergic contact dermatitis (type B) manifests as a bumpy, itchy, red rash that may blister. They occur after exposure to an allergen. Examples include poison ivy, latex rubber, nickel, and gold. Identifying and avoiding triggers is prevents rashes from recurring.
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema is a chronic skin condition that produces red, itchy skin. It is most common in children but can appear at any age. A gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to combat irritants, allergens, and bacteria causes eczema. This makes the skin susceptible to environmental allergens and irritants. There is no cure for eczema, but some simple remedies help diminish symptoms and prevent flare ups from occurring. These remedies include avoiding triggers, moisturizing twice a day, taking cool showers, and using gentle cleansers.
There are two types of heat rash. Prickly heat (type A) creates clusters of small, red bumps that generate stinging or pricking sensations. Miliaria crystallina (type B) creates clear, fluid-filled bumps. Heat rash typically occurs when hot, humid weather or overdressing obstructs the flow of sweat. The rash usually disappears once the affected areas cool down. Effective treatments include cool baths and cold compresses. Heat rash is preventable by wearing light, loose clothing, and avoiding extreme humidity and heat.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Psoriasis causes skin cells to develop rapidly, forming scaly, red, raised patches on the skin. Over time, dead skin cells accumulate, resulting in thick, scaly patches. These patches typically appear on the scalp, knees, and the outsides of the elbows, but can appear anywhere on the body. They may also burn, sting, and/or itch. Psoriasis usually flares up periodically, and the severity of psoriasis varies. For some, flare ups are mild, but for others, they are disabling. Treatments attempt to eliminate scales and reduce the rapid skin cell turnover rate.
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that causes itchy, scaly, red patches or bumps on the skin. Over time, the bump grows into a ring-shaped patch that is typically scaly or clear on the inside, and bumpy and raised on the outside. This infection can occur on the skin, hair, and nails, where fungi thrive on dead tissue. Jock itch refers to ringworm on the groin. Ringworm on the scalp usually begins as a small sore that may be scaly, flaky, and sore. The hair may fall out in patches. Ringworm is highly contagious and spreads through skin-to-skin contact, grooming pets, and touching infected objects. An over-the-counter cream, powder, or lotion can treat the infection.