Causes of Skin Rashes
A rash can be caused by several different triggers, but it is usually a sign of skin irritation. A rash can be a sign of an allergic reaction, or a rash may appear when skin encounters a specific substance or material, such as a poisonous plant, harsh chemicals, soaps, lotions, jewelry (metals), or latex. Insects or parasites can also cause rashes, as well as prolonged exposure to heat and moisture. Certain medicines can also trigger a rash.
A rash also may be a sign of a viral infection, chronic skin problem, or a more serious disease. If you’re unsure of your rash’s cause, a visit to the dermatologist is a good idea. Inflammation may be a sign of something more serious than a common rash.
Skin Rash Symptoms
Depending on the person, a rash can vary in appearance and have different symptoms. A rash may appear red, swollen, cracked, dry, bumpy, or blistered. It may cause itchiness or feel warm to the touch. If you are experiencing a rash that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or a fever, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Types of Severe Skin Rashes
While some rashes have a known cause and disappear on their own, others are more serious. Below, we’ve detailed some of the chronic conditions and serious rashes we see at our offices.
- AtopicEczema– This is a chronic form of eczema that flares periodically. The condition makes the skin red and itchy, and it may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. While there is no cure for eczema, several symptom management treatments exist. Talk to your dermatologist about your options.
- Psoriasis– This is a bumpy, scaly, itchy rash that flakes (rather than oozing or weepy). It most often appears on the scalp, elbows, and knees. Psoriasis is an immune system reaction, and most cases are chronic. Visit our office to talk about psoriasis management strategies.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis– This common rash is not generally dangerous, but when scratched, it can easily develop an infection. Caused by cold climates, yeast, overall health, and genetics, this rash consists of pale yellow, scaly patches that can look greasy. When the patches flake off, they reveal reddish skin.
- Bacterial Infections– Bacterial infections often cause rashes. Some of these patches of inflammation are very common, like folliculitis. Eruptions from bacterial infections are often pustular, and hey can be very painful. Some bacterial rashes will require medical support and antibiotic treatment, such as in the case of spirochetes, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and secondary syphilis.
Rashes can be a symptom for other skin problems. The most prevalent of these are:
- Atopic Dermatitis, the most common form of eczema.
- Bacterial Infections, such as impetigo.
- Contact Dermatitis, a type of eczema caused by coming into contact with an allergen.
- Chronic skin problems, such as acne, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis.
- Fungal Infections, such as ringworm and yeast infection.
- Viral Infections, such as shingles.
A rash may be a sign of a more serious illness, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, liver disease, kidney disease or some types of cancers. If you experience a rash that does not go away on its own after a few weeks, make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists to have it properly diagnosed and treated.