Any change in the color or texture of the skin is called a rash. Rashes can range from simple rashes (dermatitis) to more significant skin or health conditions. A variety of home or in-office treatments can be used to treat rashes and ease symptoms.

or Call: 847.499.5500

Types of Rashes

  • Dermatitis – simple rash in which the skin becomes inflamed or swollen
  • Contact dermatitis – red rash caused by contact with an allergen (varies per individual)
  • Eczema – red patchy rash that may be itchy and irritated
  • Psoriasis – chronic patches of itchy, burning, scaly, or crusted over skin
  • Impetigo – a common, highly contagious infection with red sores that burst and develop honey-colored crusts; is found on the face, hands, and feet and usually affects infants and children
  • Lichen planus – a bumpy rash with patches of thickened, rough skin that is a shiny reddish purple; usually on the wrist, leg, torso, or genitals
  • Shingles – viral infection (varicella-zoster virus) causing a red rash with fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust; usually on the back or chest
  • Chicken pox – a highly contagious viral infection (varicella-zoster virus) causing an itchy, red rash with small, fluid-filled blisters
  • Measles – a viral infection that causes a rash of red spots and large, flat blotches that often flow into each other; often causes additional symptoms and may be serious or fatal for small children
  • Scarlet fever – strep throat rash that is scarlet red and becomes rough like sandpaper
  • Blistering diseases – various conditions that may cause scaly, blistery rashes all over the body
  • Insect bites – a red, often blotchy rash that begins at a central point (bite location) and may spread to other parts of the body, especially in the event of an allergic reaction
  • Fifth disease – a viral infection that causes a round, bright red rash on the cheeks as well as a lacy-patterned rash on the upper body and extremities
  • Ringworm – a fungal infection that causes a ring-shaped rash with clearer skin in the middle; may be scaly and itchy
  • Rashes caused by lupus or rheumatoid arthritis – wide variety, an example being the butterfly-shaped face rash caused by lupus

Prevention and Treatment

You may be able to prevent some rashes from occurring using the following prevention steps:

  • Avoid known allergens and irritants
  • Avoid contact with individuals known to have viral infections such as those listed above
  • Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations
  • Use insect repellant when hiking, camping, or visiting places known for high bug populations
  • Wash thoroughly after interacting with animals
  • Wear protective clothing, gloves, and/or face mask when using chemicals, harsh cleansers, or other potential irritants
  • Use moisturizing creams or lotions to protect your skin

A dermatologist will usually be able to identify the cause of a rash by examining it and asking accompanying questions. Home and medical treatments for rashes may include:

  • Steroid ointment or cream, applied directly to the rash
  • Oral medications, such as corticosteroids, antihistamines, or antibiotics
  • Anti-itch creams or drugs
  • Cool, wet compress
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Light therapy treatments
  • Additional, more extensive treatment

Rashes are often temporary; however, any rash that causes concern should be examined by a dermatologist.