Healthy skin provides a barrier between the inside of the body and the outside environment. A rash is a change of the skin which affects its color, appearance or texture. A rash may be localized in one part of the body, or affect all the skin. The skin may itch, change color, become warm, bumpy, dry, crack, blister or swell and may be painful.
The causes, and therefore treatments for rashes, vary widely. Diagnosis must take into account such things as the appearance of the rash, occupation, family history, symptoms and what the patient may have been exposed to.
Athlete's foot (also known as tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the skin that causes scaling, flaking, and itching of affected areas. It is typically transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or bathhouses. Athlete's foot causes scaling, flaking, and itching of the affected skin on one or both feet. Blisters and cracked skin may also occur, leading to exposed raw tissue, pain, swelling, and inflammation. Secondary bacterial infection can accompany the fungal infection.
Tinea cruris, also called Jock itch or ringworm of the groin, is an infection of the groin area caused by fungus. Symptoms include, itching in groin, thigh skin folds, or anus, with red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. The patches often have sharply-defined edges and are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center or abnormally dark or light skin. Severe infections, frequently recurring infections, or infections lasting longer than two weeks may require further treatment by your doctor.
May cause the skin at your ankles and over your shins to become discolored (red or brown), thick and itchy, and can weep and form crusts. Stasis dermatitis occurs when fluid accumulates in the tissues just beneath your skin. This swelling (edema) is caused when plasma (the fluid portion of blood) leaks out of the blood vessels and into the tissues. The excess fluid in the tissues interferes with the blood's ability to feed the tissue cells and dispose of cellular waste products. The tissue becomes poorly nourished and fragile, resulting in stasis dermatitis. The disorder is common on the ankles because there is less supportive tissue in this area.
Stasis dermatitis is usually caused by poor blood flow from the veins of the legs back to the heart. It is seen most often in middle-aged people or people who are elderly. The poor blood flow may be associated with the following conditions; varicose veins, which are bulging veins caused by damage to the valves within the veins, blood clots in the veins of the lower legs or pelvis, kidney failure or congestive heart failure, a condition in which a weakened heart is unable to pump blood effectively throughout the body.
A stasis ulcer is an open sore that appears on the skin, typically resulting from fluid building up underneath the skin. These types of ulcers are common in people who have a history of leg and feet swelling. The likelihood of developing a venous stasis ulcer increases with age. The causes may be from varicose veins, obesity or hereditary factors. Other factors include a history of blood clots, as well as a history of trauma to the lower leg. Most stasis ulcers appear on the inner part of a person’s lower leg, usually slightly above the ankle. A stasis ulcer can be extremely painful in some cases, although individuals with minor ulcers may experience little or no pain. Some individuals develop multiple ulcers, which can appear on both legs. A stasis ulcer may also be referred to as a venous stasis ulcer or a varicose ulcer.
Allergic Reaction / Contact Dermatitis
Allergic Reaction / Contact Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritating or allergy-causing substanceirritant.
Irritant dermatitis, the most common type of contact dermatitis, involves inflammation resulting from contact with acids, alkaline materials such as soaps and detergentsdetergents, solvents, or other chemicals. The reaction usually resembles a burnburn in its early stages, and may peel or scale over time.
Allergic contact dermatitis, the second most common type of contact dermatitis, is caused by exposure to a substance or material to which you have become extra sensitive or allergic. The allergic reaction is often delayed, with the rash appearing 24 - 48 hours after exposure. The skin inflammation varies from mild irritation and redness to open sores, depending on the type of irritant, the body part affected, and your sensitivity.
Urticaria or hives are a kind of skin rash notable for dark red, raised, itchy bumps or plaques. Hives are frequently caused by allergic reactions; however, there are many non-allergic causes. For example, most cases of hives lasting less than six weeks are the result of an allergic trigger. Chronic urticaria, hives lasting longer than six weeks, are rarely due to an allergy. The majority of patients with chronic hives have an unknown (idiopathic) cause. Perhaps as many as 30-40% of patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria will, in fact, have an autoimmune cause. Acute viral infection is another common cause of acute urticaria. Less common causes of hives include friction, pressure, temperature extremes, exercise, and sunlight.
Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak
Approximately 90 percent of Americans are allergic to these plants that cause a bothersome rash and intense itching. Touching the stems, roots, or leaves of these plants results in direct contact of skin with urushiol (pronounced oo-roo-shee-ohl) oil, which causes a rash, blisters, and intense itching. Urushiol can stick to tools, shoes, clothes, pets, or almost anything, and the oil can stay active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years. Just touching them could cause a reaction in a susceptible person. Sensitivity to urushiol can develop at any time and almost all parts of the body are vulnerable to the sticky oil. Urushiol must penetrate the skin to cause a reaction. Places where the skin is thick, such as the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands, are less sensitive to the sap than areas where the skin is thinner.
Also called prickly heat or miliaria, rubra is a common condition in which areas of the skin itch intensely and will often feel prickly or sting due to overheating. Heat rash looks like tiny bumps surrounded by an area of red skin. It usually occurs on clothed parts of the body, such as the back, abdomen, neck, upper chest, groin, or armpits and goes away on its own within a few days. In severe forms, however, heat rash can interfere with the body's heat regulating mechanism and cause fever or heat exhaustion. Heat rash occurs most often in hot, humid conditions. It's most common in infants and active people.
Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) skin condition that causes dry, itchy, irritated skin that can require daily care. Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker. In infants the itchy rash can produce an oozing crusting condition that occurs mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere. Eczema tends to run in families. People who get eczema usually have family members who have eczema, asthma, or hay fever.
Karatosis Pilaris is a common dermatological condition that is manifested by the appearance of rough bumps on the skin. It most often appears on the outer sides of the upper arms (though the lower arms can also be affected), and can also occur on the thighs, hands, and tops of legs, flanks, buttocks, or any body part except glabrous skin (like the palms or soles of feet). Less commonly, lesions can appear on the face, which may be mistaken for acne. Keratosis pilaris is completely harmless; however the condition can contribute to or exacerbate depression and anxiety.
Worldwide, KP affects an estimated 40% of the adult population and approximately 50%-80% of all adolescents. It is more common in women than in men, and may be hereditary.
Keratosis pilaris occurs when the human body produces excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin. The excess keratin surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs (process known as hyperkeratinization). Though people with keratosis pilaris experience this condition year-round, it is during the colder months, when moisture levels in the air are lower, that the problem can become exacerbated and the goose bumps are apt to look and feel more pronounced in color and texture.
Pityriasis Rosea is a skin rash that is non-dangerous but may inflict substantial discomfort on some sufferers. Classically, it begins with a single "herald patch" lesion, followed in 1 or 2 weeks by a generalized body rash lasting about 6 weeks. Its etiology is unknown, though it is thought to involve viral infection. It is generally non-contagious, though there have been reports of small epidemics in fraternity houses and military bases.
The symptoms of this condition can include an upper respiratory tract infection which may precede all other symptoms in as many as 69% of patients. A single, 2- to 10-cm oval red "herald" patch appears, classically on the abdomen. Occasionally, the "herald" patch may occur in a 'hidden' position (in the armpit, for example) and not be noticed immediately. The "herald" patch may also appear as a cluster of smaller oval spots, and be mistaken for acne.
7-14 days after the herald patch, large patches of pink or red, flaky, oval-shaped rash appear on the torso. In 6% of cases an inverse distribution may occur, with rash mostly on the extremities. The more numerous oval patches generally spread widely across the chest first, following the rib-line in a characteristic "christmas-tree" distribution. Small, circular patches may appear on the back and neck several days later. It is unusual for lesions to form on the face, but they may appear on the cheeks or at the hairline.
About one-in-four people with PR suffer from mild to severe symptomatic itching. The itching is often non-specific, and worsens if scratched. This tends to fade as the rash develops and does not usually last through the entire course of the disease. The rash may be accompanied by low-grade fever, headache, nausea and fatigue.
Oral antihistamines or topical steroids may be used to decrease itching. Steroids do provide relief from itching, and improve the appearance of the rash, but they will not speed up the resolution of the rash. While no scarring has been found to be associated with the rash, itching and scratching should be avoided. Irritants such as soap should be avoided, however a gentle skin cleanser may be used, and moisturizers can help to manage over-dryness. Direct sunlight makes the lesions resolve more quickly. According to this principle, medical treatment with ultraviolet light has been used to hasten resolution, though studies disagree whether it decreases itching or not. UV therapy is most beneficial in the first weeks of the eruption.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin disorder affecting the scalp, face, and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. It particularly affects the sebum-gland rich areas of skin. Seborrheic dermatitis may be aggravated by illness, psychological stress, fatigue, change of season and reduced general health. The cause of seborrhoeic dermatitis remains unknown, although a yeast that often lives on the skin, Malassezia furfur, may play a role.
The condition's symptoms appear gradually and usually the first signs of seborrheic dermatitis are the flakes of skin called dandruff. The symptoms may occur anywhere on the skin of the face, behind the ears and in areas where the skin folds. These are common sites that become red and flaky. The flakes can be yellow, white or grayish. In more rare cases, redness and flaking may occur on the skin near the eyelashes, on the forehead or around the sides of the nose. Other body areas where these symptoms occur are the chest and upper back. The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can appear basically on any part of the body where there is certain amount of hair and therefore follicles which might became inflamed. A sign that the condition has become more severe is the formation of thick, oily and yellow scales which might appear on the forehead, around the sides of the nose or on the skin near the eyelashes and eyebrows.
Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in infants younger than three months and it causes a thick, oily, yellowish crust around the hairline and on the scalp called cradle cap. Itching is not common among infants. Frequently, a stubborn diaper rash accompanies the scalp rash. Usually, when it occurs in infants the condition resolves within days and with no treatment.
Many patients experience alternating periods of the symptoms, when they either improve or suddenly worsen. In adults, symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis may last from a few weeks to years.
Addressing the condition with a doctor is important in order to prevent potentially long-lasting damage to the hair follicles which may lead to hair loss.
Using dermatologist recommend topical treatments such as shampoos, cleansers or creams/lotions that contain antifungal, anti-inflammatory, sebo-suppressive or keratolytic ingredients and maintaining scalp cleanliness is an effective way of preventing the worsening of this condition.
Psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious. It commonly causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin, although some patients have no dermatological symptoms. The scaly patches commonly caused by psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques, are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. Skin rapidly accumulates at these sites which gives it a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees, but can affect any area including the scalp, palms of hands and soles of feet, and genitals. In contrast to eczema, psoriasis is more likely to be found on the outer side of the joint.
Lichen Planus is a relatively common inflammatory disease that affects the skin and the mouth, and presents itself in the form of pinkish purple scaly papules, lesions or rashes on the skin. Mouth lesions may appear as a whitish lacy network or eroded open areas. The cause of lichen planus is not known, and is not contagious. Some lichen planus-type rashes known as lichenoid reactions, occur as allergic reactions to certain medications. Lichen planus has been reported as a complication of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and can be a sign of chronic graft-versus-host disease of the skin. It has been suggested that true lichen planus may respond to stress, where lesions may present in the mouth or skin during times of stress in those with the disease. Lichen planus affects women more than men, and occurs most often in middle-aged adults.
Granuloma Annulare is a chronic (long-lasting) skin disease consisting of a rash with reddish bumps arranged in a circle or ring over the backs of the forearms, hands, knees or feet and is often centered around joints or knuckles. It is usually asymptomatic, but the rash may burn and be itchy. The cause is unknown but may be related to physical trauma to the area.
Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by central facial redness, flushing and sometimes small bumps or pimples. Unless it affects the eyes, it is typically a harmless condition but can be cosmetically and psychologically distressing. Treatment, if wanted, usually involves topical medications to reduce inflammation, or oral antibiotics in more severe cases. It primarily affects Caucasians of mainly northwestern European descent but can also affect people of other ethnicities. Rosacea affects both sexes, but is almost three times more common in women. It has a peak age of onset between 30 and 60.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious illness caused by an infection with varicella zoster virus. It usually starts with vesicular skin rash mainly on the body and head and becomes itchy, raw pockmarks, which mostly heal without scarring.
Chicken pox is spread easily through coughs or sneezes of ill individuals or through direct contact with secretions from the rash. Following primary infection there is usually lifelong protective immunity to further episodes of chickenpox.
Chickenpox is rarely fatal, although it is generally more severe in adult males than in adult females or children. Pregnant women and those with a suppressed immune system are at highest risk of serious complications. The most common late complication of chicken pox is shingles, caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus decades after the initial episode of chickenpox.
Herpes Simplex is a viral disease caused by both herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Infection with the herpes virus is categorized into one of several distinct disorders based on the site of infection. Oral herpes are called cold soresor fever blisters, infects the face and mouth. Oral herpes is the most common form of this infection. Genital herpes known simply as herpes is the second most common form of herpes. Symptoms of herpes simplex virus infection include watery blisters in the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth, lips or genitals that can tingle, itch or become painful. As they heal they become crusted, and usually heal without scarring. Local recurrences are common.
Commonly known as shingles, Herpes Zoster is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body, often in a stripe. The initial infection with varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox which generally occurs in children and young people. Once an episode of chickenpox has resolved, the virus is not eliminated from the body but can go on to cause shingles. The blisters usually heal within 7-10 days, but localized pain can last for weeks or months. Shingles in or around the eye area is a medical emergency.
Folliculitis is the inflammation of one or more hair follicles that causes a rash of small red bumps and pustules that may itch or be mildly painful. The condition may occur anywhere on the skin.
Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection most common among pre-school children. It generally appears as honey-colored scabs formed from dried serum, and is often found on the arms, legs, or face. People who play close contact sports such as football and wrestling are also susceptible, regardless of age. Impetigo is not as common in adults. It is primarily caused by Staphylococcus aureus, and sometimes by Streptococcus pyogenes. The infection is spread by direct contact with lesions or with nasal carriers. The incubation period is 1–3 days. Dried streptococci in the air are not infectious to intact skin. Scratching may spread the lesions.
Good hygiene practices can help prevent impetigo from spreading. Those who are infected should use soap and water to clean their skin and take baths or showers regularly. Non-infected members of the household should pay special attention to areas of the skin that have been injured, such as cuts, scrapes, insect bites, areas of eczema, and rashes. These areas should be kept clean and covered to prevent infection. In addition, anyone with impetigo should cover the impetigo sores with a dressing. All members of the household should wash their hands thoroughly with soap on a regular basis. It is also a good idea for everyone to keep their fingernails cut short to make hand washing more effective. Contact with the infected person and his or her belongings should be avoided, and the infected person should use separate towels for bathing and hand washing. If necessary, paper towels can be used in place of cloth towels for hand drying. The infected person's bed linens, towels, and clothing should be separated from those of other family members, as well. Treatment usually consists of a topical or oral antibiotic depending on how severe the infection is.
Scabies is a contagious parasitic skin infestation characterized by superficial burrows, red or pink papules or bumps and intense itching. It is caused by the mite Sarcoptes Scabiei. The characteristic symptoms of scabies infestation include superficial burrows, intense itching, a localized or generalized rash and secondary infection. A cropustulosis, or blisters and pustules on the palms and soles of the feet, are characteristic symptoms of scabies in infants. S-shaped tracks in the skin are often accompanied by small, insect-type bites called nodules that may look like pimples. These burrows and nodules are often located in the crevices of the body, such as the webs of fingers, toes, feet, buttocks, elbows, waist area, genital area, axilla, and under the breasts in women.
Lupus Erythematosis is one of many disorders of the immune system known as autoimmune diseases. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect. This leads to inflammation and damage to various body tissues. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. Although people with the disease may have many different symptoms, the most common ones include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems. The degree of skin involvement can vary widely, from faint pink areas to widespread rashes to thick scarred lesions.
At present, there is no cure for lupus. However, lupus can be effectively treated with drugs, and most people with the disease can lead active, healthy lives. Lupus is characterized by periods of illness, called flares, and periods of wellness, or remission.
Vitiligo is a chronic disorder that causes white patches to appear on the skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. The cause is not known. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, which happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks some part of your own body. Symptoms usually begin between ages 10 years and age 30 years, and may include, whitening or graying of hair, loss of skin color inside the mouth, loss of eye color but the most notable symptom of vitiligo is depigmentation of patches of skin that occurs on the hands, feet, arms, face, and lips. Other common areas are: Armpits and groin, around the mouth, eyelids, nostrils and navel. Although patches are initially small, they often enlarge and change shape, and can become widespread.
Vasculitis is characterized by inflammation of blood vessels. It causes changes in the walls of your blood vessels, including thickening, weakening, narrowing and scarring and can be short term (acute) or long term (chronic) and can be so severe that the tissues and organs supplied by the affected vessels don't get enough blood. The shortage of blood can result in organ and tissue damage. The skin lesions are usually red or purple spots or bumps with a bruise like quality. Legs are most commonly involved, but other areas can also be involved.
Vasculitis can affect anyone, though some types of vasculitis are more common among certain groups. Some forms of vasculitis improve without medical intervention, but others require treatment, often including taking medications for an extended period of time.
Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma is a class of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a type of cancer of the immune system. The malignant T lymphocytes in the body initially migrate to the skin, causing various lesions to appear. These lesions change shape as the disease progresses, typically beginning as what appears to be a rash which can be itchy and can eventually form plaques and tumors before spreading to other parts of the body. The condition is usually slowly progressive and treatments can be very effective.
Polymorphic Light Eruption
Polymorphous light eruption (PLE), or polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), is an itchy rash caused by sun exposure in people who have developed a sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity). Symptoms include skin irritations, which may be itchy or painful, and are sometimes confused with hives. These irritations appear upon exposure to sunlight, sometimes only hours after exposure and may last from 1 to 7 days. The cause of PLE is not yet understood. It is thought to be due to a delayed-type hypersensitivity to an allergen produced in the body following sunlight exposure. About 10 to 20 per cent of the northern European population is affected by PLE, which is more common in females than in males.
The condition can affect all ethnic groups, and research suggests that 20 per cent of patients have a family history of the complaint. Those suffering from PLE usually do so by the age of 30. Generally, PLE resolves without treatment, medications may be needed to treat severe or persistent cases. Measures to protect the skin from sun exposure or light therapy may help prevent recurring episodes of polymorphous light eruption.
Dyshidrotic eczema is a skin condition that is characterized by small blisters on the hands or feet. It is an acute, chronic, or recurrent dermatosis of the fingers, palms, and soles, characterized by a sudden onset of many deep-seated itchy, clear blisters. Later, scaling, fissures and lichenification occur. Recurrence is common and for many can be a chronic lifelong condition. This condition is not contagious to others, but its unsightly nature can lend to awkward social interaction. The compromised skin can increase susceptibility to infection, and the accompanying itch can be a source of psychological duress.
The name comes from the word "dyshidrotic," meaning "bad sweating," which was once believed to be the cause, but this association is unproven; there are many cases present that have no history of excessive sweating. There are many different factors that may trigger the outbreak of dyshidrotic eczema such as allergens, stress, or seasonal changes. Emotional stress may also further aggravate the condition.