Rash is a General Term to Describe a Variety of Skin Conditions
Do you have a skin condition that affects the appearance of your skin, but are just not sure exactly what it is? One of the most common ailments treated at Georgia Dermatology Center are rashes. Nearly everyone will have some type of rash at some point in their life. A rash is a general, non-specific term that describes many types of visible skin outbreaks. There are a wide variety of different skin rash diagnosis and many different causes. As well, rashes can be experienced at any age, and individuals at certain stages of life, from infants to seniors, may be more prone to a specific type of rash, with symptoms varying depending on age. Consult our dermatologist, Dr. Gross, who specializes in diseases of the skin, to specifically diagnose and treat the rash that is affecting you.
Types of Rashes
There are many different types of rashes, and a variety of characteristics that can be classified to help diagnose them. Most often rashes can generally categorized as two types: infectious or non-infectious.
- Non-infectious rashes include: eczema; contact dermatitis; psoriasis; seborrheic dermatitis; drug related reactions and eruptions; rosascea; hives; dry skin; and allergic dermatitis. Most non-infectious types of rashes are treated with a prescription steroid cream and/or prescription oral medication.
- Infection associated rashes include disorders such as: ringworm; impetigo; athletes foot; staphylococcus; scabies and lice; herpes; chicken pox; and shingles. Origins of infectious rashes may be attributed to viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic causes. Bacterial sourced rashes are very common and include folliculitis, abscesses, furuncles, cellulitis, impetigo, Staph Scalded Skin Syndrome; and surgical wound infections. Treatment for infectious rashes are typically treated by targeting the underlying cause, and may include a prescription topical medication, an antibiotic, an anti-viral oral prescription, or a combination.
Most rashes tend to itch, although some are also painful, and although few, others may not cause any physical discomfort. Rashes can also be generally grouped by whether or not they are itchy. When subdivided by itch factor, infectious and non-infectious rashes may be represented in each classification.
- Itchy Rashes may include: hives, bug bites, scabies, contact dermatitis, eczema; skin allergy, chicken pox
- Non-Itchy Rashes may include: rosascea and psoriasis
Visual Symptoms of a Rash
The physical characteristics of a rash depend largely on its cause, be it infectious, viral, fungus, bacterial, allergy, or other factor. Physical symptoms of rashes present different colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns, and redness of the area is usually always apparent due to inflammation. Physical appearance characteristics may include:
- Flat (macular)
- Raised (papular)
- Small pus bumps (pustular)
- Small clear blisters (vesicular)
- Red or pink
- Silvery white scales (psoriasis)
- Annular (circular with central clearing like in ringworm infections)
- Eczematous (dry, scaly, rough, and thickened)
- Excoriated (scratched areas)
A Little More About Ringworm
Ringworm is not, as its name suggests, caused by a worm, but a fungal infection that can affect your body, scalp, groin, or feet. Symptoms include itchy, red, scaly, raised patches that sometimes form in a ring-like shape. The infection is contagious and is passed through direct skin contact or contact with contaminated articles. Over the counter anti-fungal creams can be effective, but prescription oral and topical medications are sometimes prescribed. In cases where the rash has been scratched and a bacterial infection has resulted, an antibiotic may be recommended.
Diagnosing the Type of Rash
A multitude of factors are important in identifying the correct diagnosis. Our dermatologists will conduct a detailed examination of your condition, complete with description of the lesion, shape, arrangement, distribution, duration, symptoms, and history. The information we collect helps identify the duration of onset, the relationship to various environmental factors, physical skin symptoms, and symptoms associated with infectious rashes such as a fever, headache, and chills.
Based on the initial evaluation of your rash, Dr. Gross will devise a treatment plan specific to your skin disorder. It has been found that many non-infectious type rashes such as acne, eczema, atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, hives, and rosacea exhibit waxing and waning characteristics dependent on a number of underlying factors, and can’t actually be cured. As such, Dr. Gross has developed procedures for controlling them, and will work with you to educate yourself about a rash you’ve been diagnosed with so you know what to expect in the future. Your treatment plan may be modified through its course pending response to prescribed medications, laboratory testing and special skin examinations.