Rash Identification

When you suddenly develop a red, itchy patch on the skin you will probably spend a lot of time wondering what caused it. If your rash appears to be getting bigger or worse you might start wondering if something serious caused it and whether or not you may require medical treatment.

Rash is typically the result of the body’s defenses against things like parasites, viruses or fungi that can cause damage to the skin or the body. In some cases rashes may appear if the skin gets too hot. Skin is more prone to developing different kinds of rashes as you age, which can help you narrow down the irritants that might be causing your discomfort.

Rash Identification and Remedies

Atopic dermatitis


This skin condition is more commonly referred to as eczema, which causes the skin to become itchy and inflamed. This is a chronic condition that tends to affect the trunk, limbs, neck or face. These areas will flare up and subside when different stimulants trigger your condition. Avoiding triggers such as harsh detergents and soaps or applying lotions or creams designed to provide relief for people with eczema can help you get relief. Your doctor can also prescribe medicated creams that can help you treat flare-ups.

Pityriasis rosea


This rash is more commonly known as the Christmas tree rash. This rash is fine and scaly, causing the skin on the abdomen, back or chest to become itchy. After it appears, small patches may spread to other parts of the body such as the chest or limbs. These patches may form a pattern similar to a Christmas tree. Pityriasis rosea should disappear within 6-8 weeks, but it can last for several months. Creams are available to help relieve the itching this rash causes, and these may also help the rash fade more quickly.

Contact dermatitis


Contact dermatitis is caused when the skin is affected by an irritant or allergen. This can produce a dry, scaly rash that burns or is itchy or a rash that is very itchy with red bumps or blisters. The first type of rash can be transferred to others that may come in contact with it so it is important to avoid exposing others to this rash or the irritant that caused it to appear. The second type of contact dermatitis is caused by an item such as nickel, latex or cosmetics that led to an allergic reaction of the skin. Avoiding the allergen that caused your reaction is essential to allowing your symptoms to heal.

Drug rash


This type of rash can be an allergic reaction or side effect of a medication you are taking. Anti-seizure medications, diuretics and antibiotics are particularly known for causing this reaction. In some cases, you may be more likely to develop a drug rash if your skin is exposed to sunlight. These rashes will typically appear within the first week of using the medication, causing red spots to spread across the body. This should disappear after you stop using the mediation or after a few days. If you also develop trouble breathing or trouble with other organs when this rash appears, contact emergency medical services immediately.

Heat rash


If the sweat becomes obstructed your skin can develop clusters of small, red bumps known as prickly heat. This is more likely when the weather is very humid or if you are wearing excessive clothing or clothing that is very tight. This rash may produce fluid filled bumps, but in many cases they will not have any other symptoms. This type of rash is not serious and can easily be treated by changing into proper clothing or working to cool and dry the skin.



This is a skin-to-skin infection that tends to appear in areas of the body that are warm and moist like under the breasts, near the groin, under the arms, between the toes or between folds of skin on the abdomen. These areas will develop a painful sensation which can cause the skin to crack, bleed or develop oozing sores. These symptoms will make you more susceptible to fungal or bacterial infection. Making a point to keep these affected areas clean and dry by wearing loose clothing or applying powder to absorb excess moisture can help ease your symptoms. Losing weight can also help you avoid these symptoms from reappearing. If the rash does not fade with these efforts you will need to visit a doctor to get a medicated cream.

Lichen planus


This condition is commonly associated with Hepatitis C, but the overall cause of this disorder is unknown. Those that have developed lichen planus will develop reddish-purple bumps on the skin. These are typically flat on the top and may appear on any area of the skin, though they are most likely to develop on the neck, back, wrists, lower legs and ankles.



Psoriasis causes the skin to quickly build up scaly, rough skin because the life cycle of the skin has been increased. As the dead skin accumulates it can cause thick, silvery scales that are dry, itchy or inflamed to appear. These patches can also be painful. In most cases this condition will flare up and subside over periods of time. The severity of this condition will vary from different patients. In severe cases it can render the skin unable to protect the body or encourage arthritis. Light therapy and topical ointments can help reduce these lesions to help manage your symptoms.



Ringworm or tinea corpus is a fungal infection. When affected the skin will develop slightly raised rings that are scaly, red or itchy. The ring will continue to grow outward as the center becomes less infected and the infection spreads to other areas of the skin. This rash is very contagious by skin-to-skin contact or coming into contact with an object that may be contaminated by the fungus. You will need to get a prescription for an antifungal cream to treat this condition.



This chronic condition can cause acne-like marks to appear on the face. These can be small and red or filled with pus. These bumps will flare and lessen in severity in different periods of time. Skin products, sun exposure, extreme temperatures or certain foods can cause the rash to appear. There is no cure for this rash but your doctor can help you find treatments that can lessen your symptoms.



Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Those that have suffered from chickenpox have an inactive form of this virus waiting in their nerve cells. During adulthood this virus can be activated, causing a rash to appear. At first you will experience a shooting or burning pain that may tingle or itch. Over time small blisters that look very similar to those caused by chickenpox will appear on one side of the body. These can leave blisters that break and ulcer, creating a dry crust. This rash can fade in a few weeks but if the breakout is severe you may need to visit a doctor to get antiviral drugs to lessen you symptoms. A vaccination is now available to help prevent outbreaks of this condition. Those over 60 are recommended to get this vaccine if they suffered from chickenpox in their youth.

Swimmer’s itch


This condition, known medically as cercarial dermatitis causes an itchy or burning rash to appear on the skin. This is an allergic reaction to a parasite living in contaminated water that burrows into the top layers of your skin, leading to the appearance of blisters or small bumps. Continuing to expose yourself to infected water can cause more severe symptoms with each outbreak. In most cases swimmer’s itch does not require treatment but you can take a baking soda or oatmeal bath and apply lotion to relieve the itching.