What Is A Rash?

A rash is an abnormal change in your skin’s texture or color, usually characterized by a red, scaly irritation on your skin. There are literally hundreds of different types of rashes, and the same rash can appear differently on different people.

What Causes A Rash?

Rashes fall into three general categories: infectious, inflammatory, and immune system-related.

  • Infectious Rashes – These rashes are most commonly bacterial, fungal or viral infections.
  • Inflammatory Rashes – There are many different types of inflammation. Acute inflammation comes and goes in a short period of time, while chronic inflammation stays for a long time.
  • Immune system-related Rashes – These rashes appear when the body’s immune system produces antibodies through the skin. For example, some antibodies cause a histamine release, which can result in hives.

What Are the Symptoms of A Rash?

To the untrained eye, rashes are difficult to distinguish. On your internet image search, what looks like psoriasis could actually be eczema. What looks like skin cancer could be another type of inflammatory condition. The only way to really know what it is and how to treat it is to see a professional who can diagnosis it.

Some of the common types of rashes we encounter include:

Treatment Options for Rashes

Because of the sheer number of rashes and the subtle differences between them, very specialized training is required to properly diagnose and treat rashes.

Your family practice, general practitioner, cardiologist, or emergency room doctor are skilled professionals and they are exactly who you need to see for general health concerns, blood pressure management, heart problems, and broken bones.

Dermatologists spend years learning about the skin in a rigorous training program and are best trained to diagnose your rash. Dermatologists also have to go through new medical education and training each year to maintain that certification and stay up on the latest developments.

If you have a skin lesion that isn’t disappearing on its own after two weeks, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss treatment. Red, scaly rashes are particularly difficult to diagnose at home, and the best course of action is to be evaluated by a specialist who can help you find the best treatment for your rash.

Rash FAQs

How Long Should I Wait to See My Dermatologist About A Rash?

Differences in skin conditions can be subtle and need to be evaluated by a specialist. If you have a skin lesion that isn’t disappearing on its own after two weeks, call your dermatologist.

Is It Skin Cancer?

If you have a rash, spot, or group of spots that stay red and scaly, it should be evaluated by a dermatologist. It’s especially important to see a professional if it’s in a sun-exposed area.

One of the most common misinterpreted skin lesion is a pre-cancerous spot or skin cancer. If that’s the case, you need to stop treating it like eczema or ringworm and begin the appropriate treatment immediately. A skin cancer misdiagnosis can be detrimental to your treatment.

How Many Possible Diagnoses Could There Really Be?

Literally hundreds. The cause of red, scaly rashes are one of the trickiest issues to diagnose. Rashes can look fairly similar to the untrained eye but have dramatically different diagnoses ranging from fungal infections to skin cancer.

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Additional Rashes Resources