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About Skin rash

Skin rashes are common irritations of the skin can that be caused by several factors. Common symptoms of skin rash include:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Scaly, leathery, or cracking skin
  • Raised red bumps
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Skin that is warm to the touch

Skin rashes may be caused by exposure to an irritant, pathogen, or allergen. They may also be caused by an underlying health condition or genetics. Below is a list of common rashes, and the irritant that’s thought to cause them. This is not an exhaustive list but covers many of the most frequently encountered skin rashes.

- Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is an irritation caused by exposure to an irritant or allergen. It results in a red, itchy, scaly rash. Contact dermatitis may be caused by certain chemicals, cleaning products, medications, nickel metal, airborne allergens (such as pollen or dust), personal care products (such as shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, and soaps), or plants (such as poison ivy).

- Eczema (Atopic dermatitis): Eczema is a chronic condition that causes red, itchy, flaky, and inflamed skin. Eczema is itchier than other skin conditions and usually appears in flares or episodes of increased irritation. Eczema is caused by genetic variation and has no cure. Instead, its symptoms are managed throughout a patient’s life.

- Ringworm: Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus that lives on the cells of your skin. Ringworm is contagious and can be transmitted through contact with other people, animals, objects, or soil. Ringworm causes a red, itchy, and circular rash to appear on the affected area.

- Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a condition that occurs when the immune system overproduces skin cells, causing a buildup of inflamed skin. Psoriasis commonly occurs on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, and genitals. The overgrowth of skin cells results in patches - or “plaques - of red, scaly, itchy skin.

- Rosacea: Rosacea is a common condition that causes thick, red skin to develop on the face. It may also result in small, pus-filled bumps on the face. Rosacea is commonly confused with acne breakouts but isn’t caused by poor hygiene or skincare. Instead, rosacea is “triggered” by certain factors like spicy food, alcohol, extreme temperatures, hot beverages, cosmetic products, and stress.

- Hives: Hives, also known as urticaria, is a chronic skin condition commonly caused by an allergic reaction or exposure to an irritant (such as a bug bite or parasites). Hives cause patches of red, swollen skin that can hurt or itch.

If you are experiencing itchy, inflamed skin, talk to a doctor right away. While most cases of skin rash are not medical emergencies, they can be extremely uncomfortable. They may also signify the presence of an underlying medical condition.

Treatment Options

Treatment for a skin rash will depend on the cause of the irritation. Below is a list of options commonly used for the treatment of skin rash. During your appointment, talk to your provider about what treatment plan is right for you.


Skin Rash

Skin rash is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of skin reactions. There are countless causes of skin irritation, and skin rashes may take a variety of forms. Most cases of skin rash result in skin that is itchy, red, swollen, scaly, dry, or blistering. The symptoms and appearance of a skin rash will often help determine the irritant causing the reaction. Conditions that cause common skin rashes include:

Sunburn: We've all been there. Prolonged exposure to UV rays from sunlight or sunlamps can lead to red, dry, hot, and blistering skin. Even your eyes can be burned by the sun, resulting in a gritty feeling, headaches, and eye twitches. After a few days, a sunburn will start to peel as the skin heals itself. There is no cure for sunburn, and symptoms usually dissipate within a few days, but you can use moisturizer and sunscreen to ease discomfort and prevent further damage.

Allergens: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) and contact dermatitis occur when the skin has an allergic reaction after exposure to an irritant. Poison ivy, sumac, poison oak, ingredients in creams or lotions, and nickel metal are all examples of irritants that may cause an allergic reaction. Eczema may also be caused by dry skin, genetics, or an immune system condition. Most allergic reactions result in itchy skin, red spots, and scaly patches around the affected area. Dermatitis on the scalp can cause dandruff and hair loss if left untreated.

Fungi: Fungal infections are skin diseases caused by fungi living on the skin. Common types of fungal infections include athlete's foot, diaper rash, yeast infections, and ringworm. These skin infections appear in warm, moist places and often occur as a side effect of poor hygiene. For instance, diaper rash is commonly caused by babies sitting too long in dirty diapers. Ringworm and athlete's foot are often passed through human-to-human contact with an infected person or a surface with fungi living on it. Fungal infections can lead to red rashes, itchiness, blisters, or peeling skin.

Bacterial infection: Bacterial infections occur when bacteria enter the body through a cut or scrape on the skin. Impetigo, boils, leprosy, scarlet fever, and cellulitis are common forms of bacterial infections. These skin conditions are highly contagious and may cause lesions that ooze, ulcers, itchy skin, and swelling. Scarlet fever can result in a fever, sore throat, and a red rash on much of the body.

Viral infection: Like bacterial infections, viral infections occur when a virus enters the body through a break in the skin (usually a cut or scrape). Viral infections may produce different symptoms, depending on the virus. Common viral infections of the skin include shingles, chickenpox, and warts. Shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus and result in itchy rashes, red spots, and blisters on the skin. Warts are caused by an infection from the human papillomavirus (HPV) and result in small, scaly bumps on the skin.

Chronic skin disorders: Conditions such as lupus, rosacea, and psoriasis are chronic skin disorders that may occur without cause, or as a side effect of an autoimmune condition. Lupus and rosacea result in red rashes on the cheeks and nose, while psoriasis produces red, scaly, and itchy skin on the scalp. These conditions can be treated, but not cured.

Dealing with itchy skin? Book an in-person or video dermatology consult on Sesame to talk with a real, quality dermatologist. Doctors on Sesame can address your symptoms, prescribe medication, and offer referrals if necessary. Save up to 60% on skin care when you book a visit on Sesame- no insurance needed.

Skin rashes occur in many different forms, and their symptoms can vary significantly depending on the cause of the irritation.

Some common symptoms of skin rash include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Red spots
  • Excessive dryness
  • Scaly skin
  • Blisters
  • Skin infections

Some skin rashes are accompanied by a high fever, headaches, nausea, and other medical conditions. Many cases of skin rash are caused by common irritation of the skin and can be treated with over-the-counter medication.

If a skin rash occurs along with other symptoms, such as those listed above, you should seek medical attention right away. Skin rash can be a symptom of life-threatening medical conditions such as meningitis, toxic shock syndrome, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. If you have a skin rash along with a high fever, headache, or nausea, contact a health care provider immediately.

It depends on the cause of the rash. In most cases, skin rashes can be treated through home remedies. If a skin rash has been caused by a bacterial or viral infection, additional medication (like an antibiotic) may be needed.

Skin rashes caused by an irritant or allergen (dermatitis) are commonly treated with:

  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Calamine lotion
  • Antifungal cream (like Lotrimin or Lamasil)
  • Topical antihistamine (like Benadryl cream)
  • Oral antihistamine (like Claritin or Benadryl pills)
  • Cortisone injection

Simple steps such as daily moisturizing and sunscreen application can help reduce many skin rash symptoms and prevent further complications. Good hygiene and a skin care routine can go a long way toward preventing skin rash.

In some instances, a skin rash may be a symptom of a more serious illness or disease. Skin rash accompanied by fever, headaches, and nausea is often a symptom of a bacterial or viral infection. If a skin rash is being caused by an infection or illness, advanced medication may be needed to treat symptoms. If you are experiencing a skin rash along with other symptoms of illness, contact your doctor right away.

If you're dealing with a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction or irritant, hydrocortisone cream can help relieve your skin. Topical hydrocortisone can be purchased over-the-counter at most drugstores (Cortizone is an example). If the skin rash is severe, a dermatologist or doctor may prescribe a higher strength hydrocortisone cream to treat symptoms. The topical ointment should be applied 2-3 times a day until the rash begins to disappear. If you've been prescribed a higher dosage hydrocortisone ointment, consult your doctor about how often you should apply the cream.

In the case of an allergic reaction, your doctor may recommend that you supplement a topical ointment with an oral antihistamine to combat allergens irritating the skin. Talk to your doctor before you start taking an antihistamine, as some anti-allergy medication can lead to drowsiness.

For very severe and persistent cases of dermatitis, your dermatologist may recommend a cortisone injection to reduce swelling, itchiness, and irritation. Talk to your doctor about any medications you may be taking, as cortisone injections may cause serious side effects if they interact with other drugs.

Most cases of dermatitis (an allergic reaction or irritation of the skin) will clear up within 2-4 weeks if treated properly. If you can avoid the irritant that caused the rash, while treating the skin with moisturizer, anti-itch cream, and cool compresses, you should be able to treat moderate dermatitis on your own. Refrain from scratching the rash, as this further irritates the skin.

Some cases of skin rash may be caused by underlying health conditions or infections. Rashes caused by an infection (such as impetigo or chickenpox) or rashes brought on by an illness (such as rosacea or lupus) may require medical treatment before they begin to clear up. Because these conditions require advanced treatment, recovery time may take longer. If you are dealing with a chronic skin rash or a skin rash caused by a health condition, talk to your doctor about treatment options and a timetable for when the irritation may begin to subside.

Whatever you do, don't scratch the rash! This can spread an infection to other parts of the skin and further irritate an already irritated area.

Eczema is a chronic condition that results in dry, itchy, red, and inflamed skin.

Eczema affects 1 in 10 Americans, from infants to adults 65 and older, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). There are several types of eczema, including:

Atopic dermatitis: The most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis is caused by a weakened natural barrier of the skin, leaving you more vulnerable to irritants and allergens. Atopic dermatitis can be caused by environmental factors, a weakened immune system, or genetics.

Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis can be caused by an allergic reaction to something you touch or by chemicals and harsh substances you may come into contact with. This can be caused by certain cleaning products (like bleach), poison ivy, skin care products, latex, or nickel metal.

Hand eczema: Hand eczema, as its name suggests, is eczema that only affects the hands. It can often be caused by cleaning products, hair products, or laundry products.

Neurodermatitis: The cause of Neurodermatitis is unknown. It can occur along with chronic skin conditions and may be triggered by stress. The irritated area becomes itchier as it is scratched, leading to wounds or skin infections.

Nummular eczema: Nummular eczema describes a skin condition that results in itchy, coin-shaped spots on the skin. These spots can become crusty, scaly, or leak fluid. Nummular eczema can be caused by irritation from a bug bite, an allergic reaction, or excessively dry skin.

Stasis dermatitis: According to the AAD, about 15-20 million people above the age of 50 live with stasis dermatitis. Stasis dermatitis results in affected skin that is rough, itchy, and red around varicose veins. Stasis dermatitis usually occurs due to poor blood flow in the legs. This skin condition can worsen and cause adverse side effects such as wounds, discoloration, and pain.

Eczema is a highly persistent skin condition that usually won't go away without treatment. Unaddressed eczema can lead to open wounds, discolored skin, and bacterial skin diseases.

While there is no known cure for eczema, at-home remedies have been shown to help reduce side effects and symptoms associated with the condition. Common at-home remedies include:

- Moisturizing: Moisturizing once or twice daily can help soothe skin. Dry skin can cause flare-ups of eczema, so keeping skin moisturized not only helps reduce the side effects of eczema but can also help prevent flare-ups from occurring.

- Cool compress: Soak a clean washcloth in cold bathwater and apply it to itchy and inflamed skin. The cool compress can help reduce the inflammatory swelling that can occur, while soothing itching.

- Oatmeal baths: Add colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak affected skin to relieve itching and reduce irritation. Studies have shown that colloidal oatmeal protects skin and diminishes inflammatory cells that can lead to flare-ups.

- Using gentle soaps and detergents: Because contact dermatitis can be caused by exposure to harsh chemicals and bleaches found in some cleaning products, swapping these products out for products that use natural ingredients and gentle cleansing compounds can help prevent flare-ups. Look for fragrance-free, color-free, and exfoliant-free products to help soothe the skin and reduce irritation.

- Allergy medication: Because many forms of eczema flare-up due to irritation from allergens, taking an oral antihistamine or using anti-itch topical gel can help minimize the body’s reaction to allergens.

- Protect the skin: Eczema gets itchier the more it is scratched. Continued scratching can lead to bleeding, open sores, and bacterial infections. Keeping the skin under clothing, using anti-itch treatments (such as those listed above), and keeping the skin moisturized can help prevent itchy, dry skin.

If eczema is persistent or severe, speak with your primary care doctor or dermatologist about treatment options. Dermatologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat severe skin conditions like eczema and can prescribe maximum-strength medication to help alleviate the discomfort that comes with it.

There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatment plans that can help manage and ease symptoms. These treatments include:

- Over-the-counter medication: Anti-allergy medications such as antihistamines and topical anti-itch cream can help fight itchiness and inflammation of the affected skin. Non-prescription hydrocortisone creams can also help temporarily relieve itching, which may help the condition improve.

- Moisturizing: Moisturizers, such as lotions, oils, or ointment can help reduce dryness and relieve itching. Moisturizing twice a day has been shown to soothe skin and relieve symptoms. If you are using hydrocortisone cream, it is best to apply the hydrocortisone after moisturizing so that the cream can be more easily absorbed by the skin.

- Phototherapy: If a patient experiences flare-ups due to topical treatments, phototherapy (or light therapy) has been shown to reduce symptoms of eczema. Phototherapy is a process that exposes the patient to controlled doses of natural sunlight or UV rays. There are dangers associated with sun exposure, however, such as skin cancer and accelerated skin aging. Because of this, phototherapy is rarely used as a long-term treatment plan for eczema in adults and is never used for children or infants.

- Prescription medication: For some severe or persistent cases of eczema, a doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce irritation and fight itchiness. These prescription medications may come in the form of an oral corticosteroid (such as prednisone) or topical steroid creams. It is recommended that you apply these medications after moisturizing to best help the medication penetrate the skin. Along with a corticosteroid treatment plan, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help keep bacteria from infecting the open cracks or sores on the surface of the skin.

While there is no known cure for eczema, the side effects of eczema can be reduced and relieved with either at-home remedies, or prescription medication. Moisturizers, anti-itch creams, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs have all been shown to help patients manage their itching while reducing redness and scaly skin. Many of these methods have proven effective in minimizing side effects.

Yep! Telehealth has made it easier than ever to speak to a licensed dermatologist from the comfort of your home. Sesame offers video skin consults with real, quality doctors near you. Dermatologists on Sesame can diagnose a wide range of skin conditions including:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Rashes
  • Psoriasis
  • Hair loss
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Warts

Search for the doctor you want to see, compare prices, and save up to 60% on your visit with our affordable cash-pay prices. Sesame works directly with doctors - not insurance networks- so you don't ever have to worry about surprise bills or copays. Just quality care at affordable prices. Book a skin care visit with a doctor near you today!

Dermatologists are medical doctors who undergo special training to diagnose and treat various dermatological needs. Some conditions dermatologists are trained to diagnose and treat include:

- Eczema: Eczema is a red and itchy rash that is caused by irritants and allergens. Dermatologists can treat eczema with topical corticosteroid creams, moisturizers, or oral medication.

- Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a common, chronic, condition that flares in cycles. A psoriasis flareup can cause red, itchy, and flaky skin on the torso, knees, elbows, or scalp. Dermatologists can treat psoriasis with topical creams, light therapy, or oral medication.

- Dermatitis: Dermatitis refers to skin irritation that results in red, itchy, and dry skin. This can be caused by an allergic reaction, eczema, or yeast in the oil of the skin. A dermatologist can prescribe light therapy, creams, gels, or oral medication.

Skin care, on the other hand, is handled by estheticians, professionals who specialize in the cosmetics of the skin. Estheticians are not medical doctors and cannot diagnose skin conditions or prescribe medication. They perform elective skin treatments that can help the appearance of the skin. Estheticians can perform cosmetic procedures such as waxing, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and hair removal.

Doctors on Sesame can provide a range of dermatology services for a range of skin conditions over video including dermatitis, eczema, rashes, warts, acne, and more. To make the most out of your video visit, make sure you have a strong wifi condition or any photos you can share with your doctor that will help them diagnose or treat your condition. Keep in mind that your doctor may recommend in-person follow-up care, especially if you have a severe condition, need a biopsy, or require more extensive screening.

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