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Rash (cont.)

Rash Symptoms and Signs

Most rashes tend to be itchy. Rashes can be further subdivided into itchy or non-itchy.

Types of itchy rashes

  • hives (urticaria)
  • bug bites
  • scabies (mite infestation)
  • eczema (skin allergy)

Non-itchy rashes (although these may at times also be itchy)

  • rosacea
  • psoriasis

Rashes come in many different colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns. Most rashes tend to be red because of skin inflammation. Rashes may be described as:

  • flat (macular),
  • raised (papular),
  • small pus bumps (pustular),
  • small clear blisters (vesicular),
  • red or pink,
  • silvery white scales (psoriasis),
  • annular (circular with central clearing, like in ringworm infections),
  • eczematous (dry, scaly, rough, and thickened), or
  • excoriated (scratched areas).

Noninfectious rashes

  • Contact dermatitis is by far the most common cause of noninfectious rash. It includes dermatitis as from poison ivy/oak as well as allergic skin rashes. External agents such as nickel can typically produce an inflammatory reaction over a period of time, causing itching, rash, or burning of the skin. Over the short term, this type of rash may cause superficial peeling, whereas more chronic cases cause thickened patches of skin.
  • Psoriasis typically looks like thickened patches of dry red skin, particularly on the knees, elbows, and nape of the neck. There are many types of psoriasis, and this type of rash may uncommonly involve the entire body.
  • Rosacea is a type of adult acne that may cause facial flushing, small pink bumps, and redness of the cheeks and nose.
  • Lupus-related skin findings are known to become exacerbated by sunlight exposure. Lupus can present as red, raised patches or a generalized rash on the nose, ears, cheeks, and base of the nail folds.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea is a common rash that is characterized by redness and scaling of the face, ears, eyebrows, and scalp.

Infectious rashes

  • Herpes produces groups or clusters of small water blisters on a red base.
  • Ringworm (Tinea) leads to dry, red patches with dry skin flakes. Often there is central clearing, creating a donut pattern (annular).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2014
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