Skin rashes cover a wide range of skin conditions, everything from reactions to a substance, to signs of more serious medical problems. Here’s some more information on this common skin problem. At Signature Plastic Surgery, we will provide a personalized treatment for your skin rashes.
What is a skin rash?
A skin rash isn’t a diagnosis, it simply refers to an area of the skin that has become swollen, inflamed, or irritated. The area of irritation can include skin bumps that resemble pimples; sores; blotchy, scaly, or red skin; and itchy or burning skin. Rashes can result from exposure to certain substances, as indicators of a medical condition, or even in response to high temperatures. Some rashes occur very quickly, while others show more slowly. They can occur across the body, but the location, appearance, and color all are used by Dr. Booth for diagnosis and treatment.
common symptoms of most rashes
While every rash has different characteristics, there are some symptoms that are present in many of them:
- Blister formation
- Development of scaly skin
- Skin ulceration
- Skin discoloration
- Bumps on the skin
What causes skin rashes?
A rash is the skin’s reaction to an allergen, toxin, infection, or larger systemic disease. Each rash has thousands of possible causes. The rash is the reaction where the skin develops an abnormal texture and other features, such as pain, itching, and fluid discharge. The cause of an individual rash is linked to the type of rash.
What are some common skin rashes?
The causes of the rashes may differ, but here are the most common ones:
- Atopic dermatitis
One of the most common skin disorders that cause a rash is atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. This is a chronic skin condition that makes the skin red and itchy. It can appear anywhere on the body. It tends to flare up and then subside.
- Contact dermatitis
This is a rash caused by direct contact with certain substances or as an allergic reaction to a substance. Irritant contact dermatitis will produce a dry, scaly, itchy or painful rash. Allergic contact dermatitis produces a very itchy, red rash with bumps and blisters (at times). Common causes are poison ivy, latex rubber, nickel, and other items.
- Heat rash
Heat rash occurs when the flow of sweat is obstructed, usually due to hot, humid weather or from overdressing. Cool compresses usually can help, as can wearing loose, lightweight clothing when in hot climates.
This skin condition creates a rapid buildup of rough, scaly skin due to a rapid acceleration of the skin cell cycle. This creates an accumulation of dead skin cells that results in thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, inflamed patches that can be painful. There is no cure for this condition that tends to flare up and then subside.
Despite the name, this rash isn’t caused by a worm. This is a fungal infection that appears as itchy, red, scaly, slightly raised, expanding rings (hence the name) on the body. Ringworm is contagious through skin-to-skin contact or through contact with contaminated items such as bedding or clothing.
This is a chronic skin condition that causes redness in the face that can also produce small red or pus-filled bumps. Flare-ups are usually triggered by certain foods, skin products, extreme temperatures, alcohol consumption, and sun exposure.
Shingles is a painful, blistering condition caused by the chickenpox virus. If a person had chicken pox as a child, the virus remains active in the nerve tissue and may reactivate in later years, usually after age 60. Clusters of small blisters form in a defined area on one side of the body. A new shingles vaccine is very effective and recommended for people over 60.
Sometimes an allergy or infection will make a person’s immune system release histamines into the bloodstream. Histamines are the body’s reaction to allergy or inflammation. This can result in swelling, or hives. They are raised areas without a border that are spongy and can be intensely itchy. They usually will come and go, only stayin in the same place for 24 hours or less.
How are rashes treated?
Treatment is as varied as the rashes themselves. Dr. Booth will develop a plan of treatment based on her evaluation.
How long will my rash last?
Most rashes last a relatively brief period of time and then the body adjusts and calms down the inflammation. Other rashes, such as rosacea, are chronic and an outbreak can last for weeks and periodically flare up.
Is there anything I can do to avoid developing rashes?
This depends on the type of rash. For instance, if your rash is due to contact dermatitis, then if you remove the substance causing the reaction from your life, your rashes shouldn’t return. This can be true for something as innocuous as a new makeup brand or lotion. Rosacea and eczema (atopic dermatitis) are thought to involve overactive immune system responses, but they can often be lessened by avoiding certain triggers such as spicy foods. If a rash reoccurs often, we will discuss strategies with you to hopefully limit the causes, if possible.