What’s the cause of my rash?

Not all skin inflammations are the same. If you have a rash and you’re not sure what’s causing it, it’s a good idea to see your dermatologist. The skin is the first line of defense against the causes of many illnesses and infections, and your dermatologist can determine the cause and the approach to resolving it to give you relief.

Here are six things you need to know about skin inflammations such as rashes. 

  1.     It’s important to bring a list of medications and vitamins you are taking to your appointment. Your doctor will want to know your medical history and current condition to have a better understanding of what could be causing the problem.
  2.     Often, skin irritations and inflammations are caused by a contact allergy. Patch tests are a good way to expose the skin to small amounts of particular substances to see if it triggers an allergic reaction.
  3.     Rashes caused by something that is touching the skin is called contact dermatitis. Causes behind this condition may be dyes used in clothing, cosmetic products, detergents and soaps. Latex, rubber and elastic products can also cause this due to the chemicals in the products. Certain plants such as poison sumac, poison ivy and poison oak are also culprits.
  4.     Insect bites and stings as well as certain medical conditions and medications can trigger rashes. This includes eczema or atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles and impetigo. Children who have chicken pox, scarlet fever or hand-foot-mouth disease often have rashes as a sign of these illnesses.
  5.     A rash that appears on the scalp as dandruff or forms around the eyelids, nose, mouth, brows and behind the ears is called seborrheic dermatitis.
  6.     The good news about rashes is that they can be treated at home with prescription medication or over-the-counter medication. Hydrocortisone cream helps with discomfort and soothe the affected skin. Moisturizers are effective with eczema, while oatmeal baths are effective with psoriasis, eczema and shingles.

If you have a rash but become short of breath, your face swells, or you have a bruise-like rash, seek immediate medical help. Most rashes aren’t life-threatening and can be treated at home. That’s why it’s important to find out what the underlying cause is by visiting your dermatologist. To make an appointment, call (480) 610-6366.

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