Rashes and Rash Treatment

If you’ve ever had a rash, you know that rash treatment should be done as soon as possible. Various factors may cause skin rashes, such as infections from certain bacteria, high temperatures, allergens, a weak immune system, and a reaction to particular medications. A rash is not a diagnosis, rather, it’s a term referring to any sort of skin inflammation and/or discoloration that distorts the skin’s normal appearance, either in color or texture. Simple rashes are called dermatitis, which is another way of saying inflamed or swollen skin.

Dermatitis can be a nuisance for patients. When severe, dermatitis can affect a person’s quality of life. Dermatitis can be painful, itchy, and when not treated well, it can sometimes develop into an infection. Though dermatitis is commonly treated with an at home rash treatment, and with the use of over-the-counter products, there are times where a diagnosis is necessary. If you suspect your dermatitis might be the result of a serious illness, then it should be examined by a skilled dermatologists at the Dermatology Medical Group who will prescribe an appropriate rash treatment.

Common Causes of Dermatitis or Skin Rash


Patients with eczema often also have dermatitis. Eczema is indicated by the development of patches of skin that are inflamed, irritated, rough, and cracked. Blisters can also occur. Eczema has two different versions: atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis. Most people acquire atopic dermatitis during infancy but then continue to have it into childhood.

While a number of people outgrow the condition, others will continue to have atopic dermatitis in adulthood. The specific causes of eczema are unknown, however there are theories that eczema is due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis commonly manifests itself in infants as dry and scaly patches on the skin. These patches are often tremendously itchy. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis will vary depending on the person and how old they are. Any part of the skin affected by eczema will be consistently itchy.


Psoriasis may also resemble a rash or dermatitis. Psoriasis is a kind of skin condition that’s caused by an overproduction of skin cells. The skin cells of people with psoriasis multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. Along with overproduction, their immune system will also attack the skin cells, leading to inflammation. This leads to a buildup of skin, redness, and swelling. Then their skin starts to develop red plaques that are covered with white, scaly skin. Psoriasis typically occurs on the elbows, knees, and scalp. Dermatitis can also appear on the palms, torso, and soles of the feet.

Though there are all sorts of different kinds of psoriasis with different symptoms, the common thread between them is the incredible discomfort they cause. This disfiguring skin disease can be challenging and frustrating to treat. Its symptoms, such as dermatitis, will come and go in cycles of remissions and flare-ups over a lifetime. There is no cure for psoriasis; however, medications and other therapies can help clear up the patches of dermatitis that are red, scaly, and thickened.


Impetigo may also begin as dermatitis. It is a bacterial skin infection where dermatitis develops into red sores. The rash develops into sores, which will eventually burst, excrete fluid, and eventually crust over. Impetigo can appear almost anywhere in the body.

Though impetigo can occur in adults, it is more common in children; in fact, it’s one of the most common skin infections for children. Impetigo is contagious. It can be passed to one person to another through close contact or by sharing towels, sheets, clothing, toys, or other items. Scratching can also spread the sores to other parts of the body.

Two different kinds of bacteria can cause the impetigo infection: the streptococcus bacteria and staphylococcus, the two kinds of bacteria that cause strep throat and staph infections. It begins as small red spots with dermatitis, then eventually changes into blisters that eventually break open. Though the sores that accompany dermatitis are typically not painful, they may be itchy.


Shingles or “herpes zoster” is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It causes the development of painful dermatitis that can be usually seen in small clusters on the face or body.

Most people who get shingles are older adults and people who have a weak immune system. Typically, after getting shingles, people will not get the skin condition again. However, it is still possible to get shingles more than once.

Shingles occurs after acquiring chicken pox, when the chickenpox virus starts up again in the body. After people recover from chickenpox, the virus “sleeps” or becomes dormant in the body’s nerve roots. In some cases, the virus stays dormant forever. However, some people are unfortunate enough to have the virus “wake up” when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system.

People with shingles may feel itching, tingling, or pain in a particular area. Then, painful dermatitis may occur a few days later. The dermatitis eventually turns into clusters of blisters. The dermatitis-caused blisters will be filled with fluid and then crust over. A portion of people with shingles will only get a mild version dermatitis. Others do not get a dermatitis at all. It is imperative to see a doctor immediately when the shingles occurs near the eye or nose, as it can cause permanent eye damage.

Chicken Pox

The main symptom of chickenpox is a reddish dermatitis or rash made up of spots or blisters.

Once symptoms appear, it usually takes between one and three weeks for the dermatitis to become infected. A chickenpox infection usually occurs 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus, and its symptoms usually last about five to 10 days. Patients suffering from chickenpox may have all three stages of the dermatitis — bumps, blisters and scabbed lesions. These three stages may happen at the same time. Once infected with the chickenpox virus, it is contagious for up to 48 hours before the dermatitis even appears. Chickenpox can can continue to infect people until the sores and the rash completely dry out.

It is recommended to consult a doctor if you suspect that you or your child have chickenpox. Some symptoms of chickenpox include dermatitis red bumps, blisters, or small lesions. To reduce the severity of chickenpox and treat its complications, our doctors may prescribe a rash treatment to lessen discomfort.


Measles often have symptoms like dermatitis, which comes in the form of a red blotchy rash that covers the entire body. Measles is a highly infectious illness caused by the rubeola virus, which can be spread through airborne transmission. Dermatitis normally develops about 3-4 days after the first symptoms start to appear. The visible symptoms on the skin like dermatitis usually starts with the head and neck and then eventually spreads down the body. It usually takes 2-3 days for the dermatitis to cover most of the body. Over a few days, dermatitis often turns into a brownish color and gradually fades.

In several cases, people mistake the dermatitis caused by other viruses for measles. The measles virus is a highly contagious and serious condition. Thus, it’s incredibly important to contact a doctor if you suspect that you or a loved one has the measles.

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is caused by the bacteria group A streptococcus, and it’s recognizable by a distinctive rash all over the body that resembles small pink dots. Scarlet fever symptoms like dermatitis usually last about a week. Once the skin has healed and the dermatitis has subsided, the skin will sometimes peel and flake off. The scarlet fever’s rash is caused by a toxin released by  streptococcus, the same bacteria that causes sore throat. People are more likely to get scarlet fever if they have, or just recovered from a sore throat or impetigo. It’s usually children ages 4-8 who get scarlet fever, and men and women are equally likely to get it.

Insect Bite

Some insect bites cause rashes or dermatitis that sometimes burn. A few of the insects that cause dermatitis are tick bites, spider bites, and scabies.

Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dermatitis is a common symptom of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, two autoimmune diseases that result in inflammation of the tissues. When lupus results in dermatitis, it takes the form of a “butterfly rash” that forms on the cheeks and bridges the nose. Rheumatoid Arthritis often leads to different kinds of dermatitis; some form around the legs and are very painful and red, and some are purple and mottled.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor

Though it is common for dermatitis be self-treated, it’s important to know when you need professional help for a rash treatment. If you experience the following symptoms along with your dermatitis, you should get medical help:

  • Severing pain or spreading of discoloration
  • Tight throat or difficulty in breathing
  • The face starts to swell
  • New pain or a new occurence of dermatitis
  • Fever over 100°F
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Severe head or neck pain
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

On Scratching Rashes

Rashes can be extremely itchy. However, dermatitis must never be scratched as it can make the condition worse. When the itch becomes unbearable, the advice is to at least trim the nails to avoid damaging the skin and spreading infection and seek a consult for an effective rash treatment. Irritation and prickling of the dermatitis may also be reduced by doing the following:

  • Avoid using hot water for bath
  • Moisturizing the skin
  • Wearing comfortable, cotton clothes

Schedule a Consultation for a Rash Treatment

Our dermatologists are usually able to identify the rash by looking at it and asking about accompanying symptoms.

Are you concerned about dermatitis and need a sound rash treatment? Contact us today to find out which treatment option is right for you.