MEDICAL DERMATOLOGY
& DERMATOLOGIC
SURGERY

Rashes

Skin rashes can be red, inflamed, bumpy or swollen skin. Rashes can be dry, itchy and painful.  Consultation and treatment regarding a variety of skin diseases or conditions are available. Rashes can have a variety of causes, from bug bites to allergic reactions to medications. Often the cause of a rash can be determined from how it looks and its location and symptoms.  Skin testing, such as scraping or biopsy, may also be used to help with determining a diagnosis.  The main cause is typically dermatitis, which is when your skin reacts to allergens or irritants.  A variety of treatments ranging from topical creams and gels to oral agents can relieve your symptoms and get rid of a rash. Patch testing is available for chronic allergic rashes.

A simple rash is called dermatitis, meaning inflammation of the skin.  Causes of dermatitis include:

  • Chemicals in elastic, latex and rubber products
  • Cosmetics, soaps and detergents
  • Dyes and other chemicals used in clothing
  • Poison ivy, oak or sumac

Other common causes of rashes include:

  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis) — Tends to happen in people with allergies or asthma. The rash is generally dry, flaky, red, itchy, scaly and can resemble a burn.
  • Psoriasis — Tends to occur as red, scaly, patches over joints and along the scalp. It is sometimes itchy. Fingernails may also be affected.
  • Rosacea— Is a chronic skin disease that goes through cycles of fading and relapse.
  • Impetigo — Is most common in children ages 2-5 years, this infection is from bacteria that live in the top layers of the skin. It appears as red sores that turn into blisters, ooze, then form a honey colored crust over all or part of the rash.
  • Ringworm — Is a fungal infection that causes a ring-shaped infection on the skin.
  • Shingles — Is a viral infection, that causes painful blistered skin condition that may burn, tingle, or itch.  The virus can lie dormant in your body for many years and re-emerge as shingles.
  • Childhood illnesses — Such as chickenpox, measles, roseola, rubella, hand-foot-mouth disease, fifth disease, and scarlet fever.
  • Medicines — A common side effect of many medications.  Skin begins to itch slowly, then signs of a rash begin on the torso and spread to the arms and legs.
  • Insect bites or stings — A skin reaction can either be an allergy or hypersensitivity with symptoms including small, raised bumps that are itchy and painful.
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