Rashes appear on the body for many reasons, and the key to keeping them at bay is to uncover their source. At Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery, our physicians can determine the cause of your rash by performing a skin evaluation in conjunction with our understanding of your symptoms. When your skin has become inflamed, itchy or swollen, you may be experiencing a rash in some form, and it’s important to obtain a proper diagnosis so that you can alleviate your discomfort and receive treatment.

What Exactly is a Rash?

A rash is usually characterized by a rough skin texture and a change in skin color, but the cause of these physical symptoms is usually due to skin inflammation, which occurs for a variety of reasons. Rashes are often itchy and uncomfortable, with the skin displaying bumpy, dry or cracked features. They can be located within a specific region on the body or spread throughout the skin’s surface. The severity of a rash usually depends on it’s underlying cause.

Types of Rashes

Our physicians can usually determine the type of rash affecting your skin if we are able to recognize the appearance of the rash and learn more about your lifestyle. The rash that you have will typically include defining characteristics that give us clues about a certain diagnosis. Understanding environmental factors that you might be exposed to as well as collecting your medical history will also help us pinpoint the causes of your rash.

Contact dermatitis

Rashes caused by contact dermatitis are among the most common rashes that people acquire. The condition usually appears as a result of coming into contact with allergens that effect your immune system and irritate your skin. This can be caused by touching something – either a substance in the environment or a manmade material – that results in your body having an allergic reaction. Contact dermatitis can be triggered by poison ivy, latex, nickel, citrus fruits, fragrances in cosmetics, insect bites and more. Whether or not you have a reaction to any of these substances depends on your immune system; every individual has different sensitivities.

Allergy rashes

Although similar to contact dermatitis and triggering the same immune response, allergy rashes occur as a result of ingested materials. Nut allergies are a common example of rashes that may occur after eating a particular food. Certain oral medications can also cause an allergic reaction and result in a rash (often in the form of hives) on the skin.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Unlike contact dermatitis or allergy rashes, seborrheic dermatitis is not caused by an allergy. Instead, seborrheic dermatitis is thought to be a result of genetics, stress, environmental conditions or natural yeast that lives on the skin. The condition is characterized by a rash that causes flaky and scaly skin. Although it commonly occurs on the scalp and looks like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis can appear on other parts of the body as well. It has a tendency to mirror other skin conditions, which is why it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis from a physician who can rule out other possibilities.

Viral or bacterial skin conditions

Some viral and bacterial infections are known to cause side effects that include rashes on the skin. Conditions like psoriasis, impetigo, or pityriasis rosacea result in blistered skin and can also cause significant discomfort. When a bacterial infection is thought to be the cause of your rash, a diagnosis much take place that identifies the specific pattern of the rash. A proper diagnosis is important to ensure that permanent damage isn’t done to the body and that the condition doesn’t spread to other regions or individuals.

Systemic diseases

Many childhood sicknesses include side effects like rashes. These systemic diseases include chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever and others. In adults, the same viruses can cause debilitating diseases such as shingles and rheumatoid arthritis. Oftentimes, recognition of these diseases happens once a rash is discovered and diagnosed, after which a treatment method is recommended that targets the disease causing the rash.

Heat and stress rashes

Heat rash occurs as a result of sweat becoming stuck within the sweat gland, keeping perspiration from happening naturally. The condition results in small bumps that line areas of the body and have a tendency to itch. Too much exposure to UV light can cause heat rash in many individuals. Stress rashes occur seemingly without any sort of initiation except when an individual experiences brief periods of anxiety.

What Treatment Options are Available?

The treatment recommended to you will depend on the underlying cause of your rash. A rash on it’s own is not a prevailing condition. Rather, rashes normally occur as a result of another disorder. With a skin evaluation, the physicians at Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery can determine the issue that is resulting in a rash and suggest an effective solution. Evaluations may include examination of bacterial cultures, microscopic examinations, gram stains, blood tests and patch tests. Physicians will also assess the color, pattern and texture of the rash to reach a proper diagnosis.

Rashes that appear as a result of an allergy can usually be treated with a form of antihistamines or, in more severe cases, steroids. If the rash is a result of an underlying disorder, whatever treatment is necessary for it to be resolved must be administered. Bacterial infections that cause rashes should be treated with antibiotics and likewise, antiviral medications are prescribed for rashes that are caused by viruses. A preventative solution that limits the break out of a rash is to avoid any irritating substances. If you are experiencing a rash and seeking diagnosis or treatment, please contact Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery at 631-979-0909 and schedule a consultation.