Rashes are a very common skin condition, but sometimes they can be a sign of a more serious disorder or disease. Seeing a dermatologist as soon as a rash appears is the best way to receive proper diagnosis and treatment. There are many causes for rashes, but it is always a sign that something’s wrong.
Some rashes are mild, but immediate medical help is required if the rash is:
- Has persisted for two days or more
- Remains the same or gets worse despite over the counter medications
- Is oozing or inflamed
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
Poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac are major triggers of rashes. Most people are allergic to the active ingredient in these plants, called urushiol. It can stick to clothes, pets, and more—you may not even realize that you had contact with these plants. They are prevalent around North America.
Shingles is a very painful and sometimes life-threatening type of rash. If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk of shingles. It is a virus that stays in the body, usually dormant, after chickenpox. The rash lasts up to ten days, but the burning sensation can last for several weeks.
Swimming can expose you to a water parasite that burrows into the skin. Swimmer’s itch presents as little bumps and blisters. It is an allergic reaction to the parasite, and recurring exposure to the infected water can exacerbate symptoms.
There are different types of herpes, which is a viral disease that can cause a rash. The type of herpes a person has is dictated by where the infection occurs. Whether on the mouth or genitals, herpes is a chronic condition marked by a rash and blisters.
Rosacea is a condition with no known cure. It presents a redness and blushing on the face. Bumps similar to acne can also appear. The rosacea rash can be triggered by alcohol, stress, sunlight, and alcohol. Although harmless, it can be an annoying rash. Treatments for the symptoms are available.
Eczema is another condition with no known cure. Around 20 percent of the population has some degree of eczema. Common symptoms include red skin often triggered by a variety of factors. Understanding your personal triggers is key to minimizing eczema flareups.
This fungal infection can cause itching, scaling, and flaking. Named because of its propensity to spread in moist areas where people are barefoot, like locker rooms, athlete’s foot can cause blistering and cracked skin. Open wounds increase a person’s odds of additional infections.
Hives present as bumps and welts. These red rashes can be very painful and may be triggered by both allergic and non-allergic reactions. Most hive breakouts last under six weeks, but they can become chronic.
Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to something your skin has encountered, such as a chemical. Common triggers are soaps and solvents. This rash develops a burn and can peel if the source is not identified. The reaction is often delayed by up to 48 hours, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause.
Heat rash is caused when hair follicles clog due to extensive sweating. Bumps may appear when sweat is obstructed, leading to a rash. Most heat rashes are not dangerous.
This skin infestation is caused by tiny mites that burrow under the skin. They might call a skin surface home for months before a rash occurs. However, when they reproduce, they burrow into the skin to lay eggs. Scabies is very contagious, and children are very susceptible.
A staph bacteria or a fungal infection are common causes of folliculitis. Symptoms include little bumps on the skin. It is contagious, and the bumps can be filled with the pus of varying colors.
Psoriasis is a condition with no cure, but flareups can be minimized and symptoms can be treated. There are many types of psoriasis, and it often presents as raised, red, rough skin with a silver scale tip. Psoriasis is linked to an immune system disorder that encourages the over-production of skin cell growth.
This rash is triggered by the immune system. It is a common inflammatory condition with symptoms occurring on the skin and in the mouth. Red or purple bumps and lesions are common in lichen planus, and they can be triggered by stress, infections, and allergies. There is also a genetic component to this harmless but annoying rash.
Also known as tinea cruris or “groin ringworm,” jock itch is a fungal infection that only affects the groin. The fungi that cause jock itch are usually harmless but can become an infestation if allowed to thrive. Men and boys most often have jock itch, and it presents as redness, changing skin tone, and blisters.
Vitiligo is a harmless disorder that causes patches of skin to lose melanin. Anyone can have vitiligo, but it is most noticeable in those with darker skin. Although technically not a rash, this chronic condition has no cure but symptom treatments often overlap with rash treatment options.