A rash is an area of redness and widespread eruption of skin lesions, usually appearing as a result of an irritation or illness. There are various types of rashes, depending on the colour, texture and cause.
The most common types are:
- Contact dermatitis: this appears as a red, itchy skin reaction caused by direct contact with a substance or product (soaps, or materials such as latex or rubber).
- Seborrheic dermatitis: a harmless rash that often affects the scalp. It causes reddened areas, scaling and dandruff. This condition is usually caused by stress or the use of lotions or soaps that contain alcohol.
The prognosis depends on the type and cause of the rash. Sometimes, a rash can be contagious, so special care must be taken not to pass it to other areas of the body or other people.
The main symptom of a rash is itching accompanied by reddish welts. This rash can be located in a specific part of the body or throughout the skin and causes the skin to become warm, dry, inflamed or even cause blisters.
There are simple tests to diagnose a rash and what is causing it:
- physical exam
- blood test
- allergy test
- skin biopsy
The causes can be varied. Some of the most common causes include:
- clothing such as latex or rubber products
- cosmetics products including soaps and detergents
- allergic reactions
Many diseases can cause rashes, and these rashes may share a very similar appearance. Some of these diseases include chickenpox or measles, herpes zoster virus, psoriasis and eczema, insect bites or reactions to certain medications.
Prevention is aimed at avoiding substances that can irritate the skin. There are also some basic skin care tips you can follow to help prevent a rash appearing.
- avoid rubbing the skin with force
- use special soaps designed for sensitive skin
- use warm water to clean areas that may be most affected
- avoid using strong chemical cleaning products
- follow proper personal hygiene
The treatment for skin rashes depends on the cause and can range from cortisone creams to oral medications. So it is necessary to identify all the symptoms and possible triggers to reduce the irritation and effectively treat it.
What specialist treats it?
The type of specialist who diagnoses and treats rashes is a dermatologist.