Dermatology, General Practice (GP), Primary Care Doctor


Introduction to Rash

A rash indicates abnormal change of the skin colour, appearance and texture.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is a Rash?

A rash indicates abnormal change of the skin colour, appearance and texture. It can affect a localized part of the body or all the skin. There are many types of rashes. The more common ones are eczema, granuloma annulare, lichen planus, and pityriaris rosea. Rashes are also significant to aid diagnosis of diseases. A rash usually lasts 5 to 20 days.

What causes a rash?

Common causes of rashes include food allergy, anxiety, skin contact with an irritant, reaction post-vaccination, skin diseases (such as eczema), poor personal hygiene and exposure to heat.

Except for eczema, the causes of other common rashes are not exactly known yet.
Evaluation of a rash can be extremely difficult. Appearance, distribution and symmetry are the important points to look out in an examination.

What are the symptoms of a rash?

Rashes may cause the skin to change colour. Redness of the skin is described as erythema. Itch, blister and swelling may also occur and can lead to pain. Most skin rashes are harmless but some (dark red or purple rashes) may need immediate treatment.

Eczema describes a person whose skin is inflamed, red, scaly and itchy. People with granuloma annulare usually notice a ring of small, firm, red bumps. Shiny, flat-topped bumps that are purple or a reddish-purplish colour are common signs of lichen planus. Primary symptom of pityriasis rosea is large, scaly, pink area of skin, followed by additional lesions, found on chest and abdomen.

How are ashes treated?

Treatment can vary depending on what type of rash that is diagnosed. Common rashes can be treated using steroid tropical creams such as hydrocortisone, to control itching, swelling and redness. However, hydrocortisone cannot penetrate skin and may be difficult to clear up affected area. Hence it is only normally used in mild rashes. Antibiotics can be used to treat infected skin and antihistamines may help to control itching.

If the rash does not fade with pressure when you press against it, or you feel unwell and concerned, contact your GP immediately. You may be referred to a dermatologist for further treatment.

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