When the skin changes in appearance or texture this is known as a rash. Rashes come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes even covering most of the body. Skin rashes can cause your skin to change in color, become warm, bumpy, itchy, dry, scaly, cracked, blistered, or chapped and can even become painful or start to swell. Sometimes, a rash might not have any symptoms at all. Due to the variety of underlying causes contributing to skin rashes, the best form of treatment can vary.
Many factors should be considered when diagnosing your skin rash, such as the distribution and appearance of the rash. Some other important things to consider are:
You should also factor in occupation, recent travel, bathing habits, and any bad habits, such as scratching, picking, or rubbing.
The list of potential causes for rashes is vast. Common causes include:
- Dry skin
- Rubbing, Picking, or Friction
- Sun Damage
- Bug bites
- Rosacea, Folliculitis, or Acne
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Both over the counter and prescription medications
- Systemic Lupus Erythematous, Psoriasis, Bullous Pemphigoid, or Vasculitis
- Infections to include:
- Bacterial: e.g., Staph or Strep infections or Rickettsia
- Viral: e.g., Measles, Shingles, or Chicken Pox
- Fungal: e.g. Candida (under the breasts or in the groin), Athlete’s Foot, Valley Fever, or Tinea Versicolor
- Parasites: e.g., Scabies
Due to the highly variable nature of rashes, diagnosis is best left to the professionals. Your team of dermatologists at the Golla Center for Dermatology in Pittsburgh are well trained and will consider all possible causes. Sometimes, we will conduct further tests to be as accurate as possible including scraping dead surface skin to check for fungus or a biopsy which samples multiple layers of your skin. A biopsy is quick and painless when performed using local anesthesia, usually during a routine visit.