Skin rashes, such as eczema, are often irritating and painful and depending on the type, may need medical attention to treat. Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery develops personalized treatments for all types of skin rashes, including dermatology surgery. If you're suffering from eczema or a different type of skin rash, contact our office today to schedule a skin rash appointment or to learn more about our other skin care services.
What Is A Skin Rash?
A skin rash is defined as a widespread eruption of lesions on the skin, though rashes may vary in size, shape, and location. Because of this variety, and the fact that they may appear on only one spot or all over the body, it’s difficult to pin down the causes or symptoms of skin rashes. A rash indicates an abnormal change in skin color or texture and they are typically caused by skin inflammation, which may result from any number of different causes. Many rashes are itchy, painful, and irritated, while some rashes may result in blisters, welts, or patches of raw skin. Some rashes develop right away, while other rashes may form over several days. Although the majority of rashes clear up relatively quickly, certain rashes may be long-lasting and require professional treatment from a dermatologist. There are a significant number of different types of rashes, including eczema, granuloma annulare, lichen planus, and pityriasis rosea.
Causes Of Skin Rashes
Dermatitis — a general term used to describe skin irritation or skin inflammation — may be caused by infections, allergies, and irritating substances, among other reasons which include the following. If you require treatment for any type of skin condition, contact our office.
Various infections from bacteria, fungi, or viruses can cause some types of rashes which differ in size and shape. For example, candidiasis — a common fungal infection — causes an itchy skin rash to develop and burrow within skin folds on the body.
Contact dermatitis occurs when a person comes into direct contact with or has an allergic reaction to certain substances. Cleaning products and industrial chemicals are common causes of contact dermatitis with a dry, non-itchy, scaly rash as a result. An itchy, red rash with bumps and blisters forms with allergic contact dermatitis. Frequent allergens are latex rubber, adhesives, dyes, cosmetics, poison ivy, nickel, and other metals.
Autoimmune disorders occur when a patient’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. There is a myriad of autoimmune conditions that cause skin rashes, such as lupus. Lupus often results in a large rash which spreads across the face.
Certain medications can cause patients to develop rashes — a telltale sign of an allergic reaction. Some medications, such as antibiotics, can cause photosensitivity, which makes patients more sensitive to sunlight and prone to skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.
How Are Skin Rashes Diagnosed?
When diagnosing all types of skin conditions, including skin rashes, the team of dermatologists at Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery uses its expertise to correctly pinpoint and determine the type of skin rash of our patients. Most important is a thorough medical history and detailed exam of the skin and affected areas. A dermatologist may take a sample of the skin and test it for other infections. If the dermatologist suspects allergic contact dermatitis, they may perform a patch test, during which a small sample of chemicals are placed on the patient’s skin in order to determine whether a rash develops. In order to achieve an accurate diagnosis, the dermatologist may inquire about all products that were in contact with the patient’s skin, even if the products were used sparingly or only after the rash appeared.
Skin Rash Vs. Acne
To an untrained eye, different types of skin rashes can look similar to acne. It’s important to know the differences between a patch of pimples and a more serious skin condition, such as heat rash. Acne comes in many different forms including whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, or nodules. However, skin rashes don’t exhibit some or any of these characteristics. Acne treatment consists of mostly at-home remedies and over-the-counter creams, while rashes may require treatment plans recommended by trained dermatologists in Gainesville, FL.
Common Types Of Skin Rashes
The following comprises seven of the most common types of skin rashes that are both diagnosed and treated by Gainesville dermatology professionals, including the surgeons at Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery.
Heat Rash (Miliaria)
Hot and humid weather often causes heat rash for many people but the rash can also form by overdressing. Heat rash has two forms, prickly heat and miliaria crystallina. Prickly heat is characterized by small, red bumps that create a prickling or stinging sensation. Clear, fluid-filled bumps characterize miliaria crystallina, generally without the presence of other symptoms.
Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)
A fungal infection rather than a rash, ringworm is characterized by expanding rings that are itchy, red, scaly, and slightly raised. As the infection spreads, the rings grow outward and infection in the center diminishes. This skin condition is highly contagious and requires treatment to fully resolve.
Christmas Tree Rash (Pityriasis Rosea)
Christmas tree rash earned its name from the pattern that often forms, which resembles the outline of a Christmas tree. The rash itself has a fine, itchy, and scaly texture which forms in a single patch, usually on the abdomen, back, or chest. Christmas tree rash generally goes away without treatment in several weeks, but may take months in more severe cases.
Hives, or urticaria, is a random outbreak of swollen, red bumps called plaques. They appear on the skin suddenly as a result of an allergic reaction or unknown reasons and cause itching, burning or stinging on the affected area. Hives can pop up anywhere on the body and range in size from as small as a pencil eraser to as large as a dinner plate.
Rosacea causes facial redness and sometimes small bumps that are red or pus-filled in adults. Every type of rosacea is a chronic skin condition marked by intermittent flare-ups caused by environmental triggers that vary from person to person. These triggers increase the blood flow to the skin’s surface.
Silvery, thick scales along with dry, inflamed, and sometimes painful patches characterize psoriasis. The patches and scales result from a sped-up skin cell life cycle and rapid accumulation of dead skin cells. There are many types of psoriasis, and it tends to have intermittent flare-ups.
What Is Eczema? (Atopic Dermatitis)
Atopic dermatitis, or eczema is a chronic skin condition that may be congenital and causes the skin to become red and irritated. The skin develops itchy, brownish-gray to red patches with eczema. Though these symptoms vary widely, they may also include small, raised bumps and cracked, scaly, or thickened skin. Eczema is most common in children but can occur at any age. Eczema is chronic (long-lasting) and flares up periodically. There is no cure for atopic dermatitis, but treatments can help prevent new outbreaks and the occurrence of flare-ups.
Common Causes Of Eczema
There is no single cause of eczema; instead, the skin condition is caused by a myriad of factors including the following factors.
- Immune system abnormalities
- Defects in the skin barrier that diminish moisture and allow germs to proliferate
- Environmental factors
- Activities that result in greater skin sensitivity
How To Prevent Eczema/Rash Flare-Up
Although eczema isn’t a curable condition, there are a number of ways to prevent it from spreading or inconveniently flaring up. Contact the team at Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery for more information on preventing flare-ups and reducing the severity and occurrence.
Moisturize Your Skin
Most important in preventing flare-ups of both atopic and contact dermatitis is to moisturize the skin at least twice a day; eczema dries the skin out so it’s important to hydrate to maintain silky skin and reduce irritation. For sensitive skin, baby lotion and natural, non-irritating oils soothe the skin without producing adverse side effects. Whatever you use, make sure it’s compatible with your skin — contact our office for dry skin care recommendations.
Identify & Avoid Triggers
There are a few distinct triggers patients with eczema should be aware of and avoid in order to limit the number and occurrence of flare-ups. Some of these triggers include sweat, stress, obesity, dust, pollen, and certain detergents or soaps. Choose mild soaps that don’t dry out the skin and opt for products with skin-soothing ingredients that will help prevent additional irritation.
Take A Bleach Bath
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends considering a bleach bath to help prevent flares. A diluted-bleach bath decreases bacteria on the skin and related infections. For this bath, add 1/2 cup of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon bathtub filled with warm water. Once in the bath, soak only from the neck down — never fully submerge in a bleach bath. Once out of the tub, ensure moisturizer is properly applied. Prior to starting bleach bath therapy, we recommend discussing the process with one of our dermatologists.