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David Nguyen
David Nguyen

Types Of Skin Rashes In Adults

A skin rash occurs when skin becomes red, inflamed and bumpy. Some skin rashes are dry and itchy. Some are painful. Many things can bring on a skin rash, including viruses, bacteria, allergens and skin conditions like eczema.

Types Of Skin Rashes In Adults

Depending on the cause, some skin rashes go away with treatment. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis cause chronic, recurring skin rashes that need ongoing care. Treatments can soothe pain, inflammation and itching.

Infections that involve bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites can also cause a rash. These rashes will vary depending on the type of infection. For instance, candidiasis, a common fungal infection, causes an itchy rash that generally appears in skin folds.

Other causes of rashes outdoors include hay fever (seasonal allergy) and exposure to poison ivy and other plants. If a person has a skin reaction to pollen, poison ivy, a jellyfish sting, brown-tail moth caterpillars, and other plants or animals, a doctor may refer to it as contact dermatitis.

Eczema is a blanket term for several non-contagious conditions that cause inflamed, red, dry, and itchy skin. Doctors aren't sure what makes eczema start in the first place, but they do know that stress, irritants (like soaps), allergens, and climate can trigger flares. In adults, it often appears on the elbows, hands, and in skin folds. Several medications treat eczema. Some are spread over the skin, and others are taken by mouth or as a shot.

Impetigo is a common and highly contagious skin infection that causes sores and blisters. It isn't usually serious and often improves within a week of treatment. There are two types of impetigo called non-bullous and bullous.

Pityriasis rosea is a relatively common skin condition that causes a temporary rash of raised, red scaly patches to develop on the body. Most cases occur in older children and young adults (aged between 10 and 35).

Don't allow young children in spas or hot tubs. In addition to the risk for drowning and overheating, young children are also at higher risk of bacterial skin infection because they tend to spend more time in the water than teens or adults.

A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin. Many rashes are itchy, red, painful, and irritated. Some rashes can also lead to blisters or patches of raw skin. Rashes are a symptom of many different medical problems. Other causes include irritating substances and allergies. Certain genes can make people more likely to get rashes.

There are more than 12 million office visits annually for rashes and other skin concerns in children and adolescents, of which 68% are made to primary care physicians.1 Recognizing key features can help distinguish the different types of rashes (Table 1). This article includes common infectious and noninfectious inflammatory rashes in children.

The distribution of atopic dermatitis lesions can vary based on the age of the child. Infants and younger children often have lesions on the extensor surfaces of extremities, cheeks, and scalp. Older children and adults often present with patches and plaques on the flexor surfaces (antecubital and popliteal fossa). Hands and feet are also commonly affected. Thickened plaques with a lichenified appearance may be seen in more severe cases. Children with atopic dermatitis often have dry, flaky skin and are at risk of secondary cutaneous infections.16 The treatment is aimed at controlling, not curing, the disease with parent counseling on good skin care (e.g., liberal use of emollients and avoidance of triggers, such as cold weather, frequent hot baths, fragrant products, and harsh detergents). Despite good skin care practices, topical corticosteroids are usually needed during flare-ups. Atopic lesions that do not respond to traditional therapies should be biopsied or cultured if there is concern for infection.16

Rashes and skin conditions that resemble rashes can be a symptom of some types of cancer. They can also be a side effect of the therapies used to treat cancer, or caused by other factors entirely, such as allergic reactions, shingles (herpes zoster), and other infections.

There are several forms of psoriasis, but they all fall into a category of chronic skin diseases without a cure. The itchy, scaly rashes associated with this condition typically appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, and trunk. They can also be incredibly painful, making it difficult to sleep or concentrate.

There are many different types of skin rashes and many different causes of skin rashes. Although most skin rashes are harmless, some do need treatment (which may be tablets, creams or ointments) from your doctor or pharmacist. Some rashes (especially dark red or purple rashes that don't fade with pressure) may even need urgent medical treatment as they can be associated with meningitis and blood infection (septicaemia).

Also known as Eczema, atopic dermatitis is a common skin disease in children. It is rare for adults to develop atopic dermatitis. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90% of people get atopic dermatitis before the age of 5. About 50% of people who get atopic dermatitis during childhood continue to have milder signs as an adult. If a child gets atopic dermatitis, it will show as dry and scaly patches, often located on the scalp, forehead and face. This type of rash is extremely itchy, but scratching can lead to skin infection. While treatment for atopic dermatitis cannot cure it, it can control it. Your local Forefront Dermatologist will work with you to create a treatment plan that often includes medicine, skincare and lifestyle changes.

A skin rash is a common side effect of certain types of cancer treatments. Cancer treatments that can cause skin rash may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplant.

There are many different types of drug reactions, and many of them are rare. Dermatologists at NYU Langone have the expertise to distinguish between different types of drug reactions, often just by looking at the skin and learning more about your medical history.

An allergic reaction happens when the immune system has an unusual reaction to a harmless substance. The job of immune system cells is to find foreign substances, such as viruses and bacteria, and get rid of them. Normally, this response protects us from dangerous diseases. People with skin allergies have over-sensitive immune systems. They can develop allergic skin rashes and other conditions due to proteins found in food, pollen, latex, drugs or other things. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens.

Some dermatologists have reported cases of so-called "COVID toe" in both adults and children. These lesions may be reddish, elevated lesions that flatten after about a week. Some of the patients found their COVID toe rashes itchy, and others did not. Some found it painful when their toes were pressed, and others did not. More research is needed, as some of the rashes reported in COVID-19 patients resemble drug reactions. For safety reasons, researchers have been unable to determine if drug interactions are responsible in these cases, or whether the novel coronavirus itself causes these rashes.

Certain drugs (like antibiotics) can produce a skin rash as an unwanted side effect. The common appearance is similar to rashes produced by certain common viral infections. On the other hand, drugs may produce a wide variety of other types of rashes.

The term rash has no precise meaning but often is used to refer to a wide variety of red skin eruptions. A rash is an inflammatory condition of the skin. Dermatologists have developed various terms to describe skin rashes.

Fungal infections are fairly common. Yeasts are botanically related to fungi and can cause skin rashes. These tend to affect folds of skin (like the skin under the breasts or the groin). They look fiery red and have pustules (blisters) around the edges.

The most common bacterial infections of the skin are folliculitis and impetigo. Staph or strep germs may cause folliculitis and/or impetigo, two conditions that are much more common in children than adults. Eruptions caused by bacteria are often pustular (the bumps are topped by pus) or may be plaque-like and quite painful (such as with cellulitis). Rarely, streptococcal sore throat can produce scarlet fever, a rash affecting large areas of skin. Rashes produced by certain classes of bacteria, Rickettsia or spirochetes, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and secondary syphilis respectively, are often able to be suspected clinically.

One of the most common rashes from a parasite infection is scabies. Scabies is produced by a small mite (related to a spider). This mite is usually contracted by prolonged contact with another infected individual. The mite lives in the superficial layers of human skin. It does not produce symptoms until the host becomes allergic to it, which occurs about three weeks after the initial infection. It can resemble eczema. Bedbugs cause a series of eruptions where they pierce the skin.

Rashes that characteristically occur as part of certain viral infections are called exanthems. Many rashes from viruses are more often symmetrical and affect the skin surface all over the body, including roseola and measles.

Most rashes are not dangerous. Many rashes last a while and get better on their own. It is therefore not unreasonable to treat symptoms like itchy and/or dry skin for a few days to see whether the condition gets milder and goes away.

There are many, many other types of rashes that we have not covered in this article. So, it is especially important, if you have any questions about the cause or medical treatment of a rash, to contact your doctor. This article, as the title indicates, is just an introduction to common skin rashes.

People with atopic dermatitis or eczema should not be vaccinated against smallpox, whether or not the condition is active. Patients with atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to having the virus spread on their skin, which can lead to a serious, even life-threatening condition called eczema vaccinatum. In the case of other rashes, the risk of medical complications is much less. Consult your doctor about the smallpox vaccine.


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