A rash is a noticeable change in the texture or color of your skin. Your skin may become scaly, bumpy, itchy, or otherwise irritated. Some rashes can also lead to blisters or patches of raw skin. Rashes are a symptom of many different medical problems. Other causes include irritating substances and allergies. Certain genes can make people more likely to get rashes.
Rash is not a specific diagnosis. Instead it refers to any sort of inflammation and/or discoloration that distorts the skin’s normal appearance. Common rashes include eczema, poison ivy, hives, and athlete’s foot. Infections that cause rashes may be fungal, bacterial, parasitic, or viral.
Over-the-counter products may be helpful treatments for many skin rashes. Rashes lasting more than a few days that are unexplained should be evaluated by a doctor.
Causes of Skin Rash
There are different causes of rashes, which includes allergies, diseases, reactions, and medications. They can also be caused by bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infections.
One of the most common causes of skin rash is contact dermatitis. It occurs when the skin has a reaction to something that it has touched. The skin may become red and inflamed, and the rash tends to be weepy and oozy. Common causes include: dyes in clothes, beauty products, poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and sumac chemicals, such as latex or rubber.
Certain medications can cause rashes in some people; this may be a side effect or an allergic reaction. Also, some medications, including some antibiotics, cause photosensitivity which makes the individual more susceptible to sunlight. The photosensitivity reaction looks similar to sunburn.
Infections by bacteria, viruses, or fungi can also cause a rash. These rashes will vary depending on the type of infection. For instance, candidiasis, a common fungal infection, causes an itchy rash that generally appears in skin folds.
An autoimmune condition is another likely cause of rashes. It occurs when an individual’s immune system begins to attack healthy tissue. There are many autoimmune diseases, some of which can produce rashes. For instance, lupus is a condition that affects a number of body systems, including the skin. It produces a butterfly-shaped rash on the face.
A rash can sometimes develop in the area of a bug bite, such as a flea bite. Tick bites are of particular concern because they can transmit disease.
Common Conditions That Come With A Rash
- Eczema, or atopic dermatitis: is a rash that primarily occurs in people with asthma or allergies. The rash is often reddish and itchy with a scaly texture.
- Psoriasis: is a common skin condition that can cause a scaly, itchy, red rash to form along the scalp, elbows, and joints.
- Seborrheic eczema: is a type of eczema that most often affects the scalp and causes redness, scaly patches, and dandruff. It can also occur on the ears, mouth, or nose. When babies have it, it’s known as crib cap.
- Lupus erythematosus: is an autoimmune disease that triggers a rash on the cheeks and nose. This rash is known as a “butterfly,” or malar, rash.
- Rosacea: is a chronic skin condition of unknown cause. There are several types of rosacea, but all are characterized by redness and rash on the face.
- Ringworm: is a fungal infection that causes a distinctive ring-shaped rash. The same fungus that causes ringworm of the body and the scalp also causes jock itch and athlete’s foot.
- Diaper rash: is a common skin irritation in infants and toddlers. It’s usually caused by sitting too long in a dirty diaper.
- Scabies: is an infestation by tiny mites that live on and burrow into your skin. It causes a bumpy, itchy rash.
- Cellulitis: is a bacterial infection of the skin. It usually appears as a red, swollen area that is painful and tender to the touch. If left untreated, the infection causing the cellulitis can spread and become life-threatening
Home Remedies For A Rash
Rashes come in many forms and develop for many reasons. However, there are some basic measures that can speed up recovery and ease some of the discomfort:
- Use mild soap not scented ones. These soaps are sometimes advertised for sensitive skin, or for baby skin.
- Avoid washing with hot water.
- Try to allow the rash to breathe. Do not cover with a Band-Aid or bandage.
- Do not rub the rash dry, pat it.
- If the rash is dry, for instance, in eczema, use unscented moisturizers.
- Do not use any cosmetics or lotions that may be causing the rash, for instance, newly purchased items.
- Avoid scratching, to lessen the risk of infection.
- Cortisone creams that can be purchased over-the-counter or online may ease itching.
- Calamine lotion can relieve some rashes, e.g. poison ivy, chickenpox, and poison oak.
- If the rash causes mild pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be useful, but these are not a long-term solution. They will not treat the cause of the rash.
- Mayo Clinic Staff – Common skin rashes.
- Cleaveland Clinic – Rashes (red skin)
- Kids Health Rashes: The itchy truth
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology – Medications and drug allergic reactions