Skin rash: 68 pictures, causes, and treatments

A widespread eruption of skin lesions is known as rash which is a very broad medical term. Rashes can differ in appearance greatly, and there can be various potential causes. A wide range of treatments is present because of the variety. Local to just one small part of the body where a rash can occur, […]

A widespread eruption of skin lesions is known as rash which is a very broad medical term. Rashes can differ in appearance greatly, and there can be various potential causes. A wide range of treatments is present because of the variety.

Local to just one small part of the body where a rash can occur, or it can cover a large area. Rashes come in many types which can be dry, moist, bumpy, smooth, cracked, or blistered; they can be painful, itch, and even change color.

Millions of people are affected with rashes across the world and some rashes may need no treatment and will clear up on their own, some can be treated at home; others might be a sign of something more critical.


A number of potential causes of rashes are present, including allergies, diseases, reactions, and medications. Bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infections can be the cause of rashes.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is one of the most common causes of rashes which occur when the skin has a reaction to something that it has touched. The skin may become red and inflamed, weepy and oozy the rash tends to become. Common causes may include:

  • dyes in clothes
  • beauty products
  • poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and sumac
  • chemicals, such as latex or rubber


Rashes can be caused by certain medications in some people which may be a side effect or an allergic reaction. Also, some medications, including some antibiotics, cause photosensitivity and they make the individual more susceptible to sunlight. The photosensitivity reaction looks familiar to sunburn.


Bacteria, viruses, or fungi infection can also cause a rash. These rashes will differ depending on the kind of infection. For instance, a common fungal infection known as candidiasis causes an itchy rash that generally appears in skin folds.

It is important that a doctor should be consulted if an infection is suspected.

Autoimmune conditions

A condition when an individual’s immune system begins to attack healthy tissue is known as autoimmune condition. Many autoimmune diseases are present, some of which can produce rashes.

For instance, a condition that affects a number of body systems, including the skin is known as lupus and it produces a butterfly-shaped rash on the face.

Home remedies
Young girl with chickenpox
Many forms are there in which rashes come and develop for many reasons.However, some basic measures that can speed up recovery and ease some of the discomfort are mentioned below:

  • Mild soapshould be used not scented. These soaps are sometimes advertised for sensitive skin, or for baby skin.
  • Washing with hot water should avoided, instead opt for warm.
  • Try to allow the rash to breathe by not covering with a Band-Aid or bandage.
  • Rash dry should not be rubbed, pat it.
  • If the rash is dry, for instance, in eczema, unscented moisturizers should be used.
  • Any cosmetics or lotions should not be used that may be causing the rash for instance, newly purchased items.
  • Scratching should be avoided to lessen the risk of infection.
  • Itching may be eased by cortisone creams that can be purchased over-the-counter or online.
  • Some rashes can be relieved with calamine, e.g. poison ivy, chickenpox, and poison oak.

If mild pain is caused by rash, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be useful, but these are not a long-term solution as they will not treat the cause of the rash.

It is important that a doctor is consulted before taking any medication. Brands should be compared before purchasing over-the-counter or online products, to ensure the product is suitable.

A doctor should be visited if a rash occurs with the following symptoms:

  • a sore throat
  • pain in joints
  • if have had a recent animal or insect bite
  • red streaks near the rash
  • tender regions near the rash
  • a large collection of pus

Although cause of concern is not major in the majority of rashes but anyone experiencing the below symptoms should go to the hospital right away:

  • quickly changing coloration on the skin
  • difficulty breathing or feeling like the throat is closing up
  • increasing pain or severe pain
  • high fever
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • swelling of the face or extremities
  • severe pain in the neck or head
  • repeated vomiting or diarrhea

57 possible causes of rash

1. Bites and stings

A rash can be caused by many insects through a bite or sting. Although the reaction will differ depending on the person and the animal, symptoms often may include:

  • redness and rash
  • itching
  • pain
  • swelling – either localized to the site of the bite or sting or more widespread

2. Flea bites

Tiny jumping insects that can live in fabrics within the home are known as fleas. They have a rapid breeding cycle and can take over a home very quickly.

  • flea bites on humans often appear as red spots
  • the skin can become irritated and painful
  • secondary infections can be caused by scratching

3. Fifth disease

Fifth disease which is also known as erythema infectiosum and slapped cheek syndrome is caused by the parvovirus B19. A rash is one of the symptoms, which appears in three stages:

  • A blotchy red rash on the cheeks with groups of red papules.
  • After 4 days, a net of red marks may appear on the arms and trunk.
  • In the third stage, the rash only appears after exposure to sunlight or heat.

4. Impetigo

A highly contagious skin infection is impetigo that most commonly affects children. A patch of red, itchy skin is the first sign. There are two types of impetigo:

  • Non-bullous impetigo – red sores appear around the mouth and nose.
  • Bullous impetigo – less common, generally affects children under 2. Medium to large blisters appear on the trunk, arms, and legs.

5. Shingles

An infection of an individual nerve is known as shingles which is caused by the same virus as chickenpox called as the varicella-zoster virus. Symptoms may include:

  • A rash similar to chickenpox in a band around the infected nerve.
  • Blisters can merge producing a solid red band.
  • Rash is often painful.

6. Scabies

A skin condition caused by a microscopic mite is known as scabies which is very contagious and spreads easily through person-to-person contact. Symptoms include:

  • Intense itching – often worse at night.
  • Rash – appears in lines as the mite burrows. Blisters are sometimes present.
  • Sores – may appear where the rash has been scratched.

7. Eczema

One of the most common skin conditions is eczema which often develops first in childhood. Symptoms depend on the kind of eczema and on the age of the individual but often include:

  • dry scaly patches on the skin
  • intensely itchy rash
  • cracked and rough skin

8. Hay fever

An allergic response to pollen is hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. Symptoms can be same as those of a common cold, such as:

  • runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • sneezing

A rash can also be caused in hay fever, similar to hives which will appear as itchy red patches or eruptions on the skin.

9. Scarlet fever

A disease caused by a toxin released by bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes is called scarlet fever. This is the same bacteria that are responsible for Strep throat. A sore throat, rash, and fever is included in the symptoms. The following characteristics are present in the rash:

  • red blotches
  • blotches turn to fine pink-red rash like sunburn
  • skin feels rough

10. Rheumatic fever

An inflammatory reaction to a streptococcal infection, such as Strep throat is known as rheumatic fever which most commonly affects children aged 5-15. Symptoms include:

  • small painless bumps under skin
  • red skin rash
  • swollen tonsils

11. Mono (mononucleosis)

Mono, or mononucleosis, is caused by a virus which is rarely critical, but symptoms can include:

  • a pink, measles-like rash
  • body aches
  • high fevers

12. Ringworm

Ringworm, despite its name, is caused by a fungus. The top layer of the skin, scalp, and nails is affected by the fungus. Symptoms differ depending on the site of the infection, but can include:

  • itchy, red rash in rings – sometimes slightly raised
  • small patches of scaly skin
  • hair near patches breaks away

13. Measles

A highly contagious disease caused by the rubeola virus is called measles. Symptoms include:

  • a reddish-brown rash
  • small grayish-white spots with bluish-white centers in the mouth
  • dry cough

14. Yeast infection (candidiasis)

A common fungal infection of the genitals is candidiasis which affects both sexes, but more commonly, women. Symptoms include:

  • rash
  • pain and soreness in the genital area
  • itching, burning, and irritation

15. Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is also called as varicose eczema develops because of poor circulation and most commonly affects the lower legs. Symptoms include:

  • varicose veinscovered in itchy, dry skin
  • red, swollen, painful skin, which may weep or crust over
  • heavy, aching legs after standing for some time

16. German measles

Also called as rubella and are an infection caused by the rubella virus. Symptoms include:

  • rash – less bright than measles, often begins on the face
  • inflamed, red eyes
  • stuffy nose

17. Sepsis

Sepsis, often known as blood poisoning, is a medical emergency which is the result of a wide scale immune response to an infection. Symptoms differ, but can include:

  • a rash that does not fade under pressure
  • fever
  • increased heart rate

18. West Nile virus

An infection spread by mosquitos is known as West Nile virus. Often, symptoms are not there, but if they do occur, they can include:

  • raised and/or flat, pink skin rash on the trunk, arms, or legs
  • excessive sweating
  • vomiting

19. Lyme disease

A bacterial infection transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick is known as Lyme disease. An erythema migrans rash that often appears in the early stages of the disease is included in the symptoms

  • The rash begins as a small red area that may be warm to the touch but not itchy.
  • The center loses color, giving it a bull’s-eye appearance.
  • The rash does not necessarily appear at the site of the tick bite.

20. Cellulitis

A bacterial infection of the deep layer of skin that is the dermis is known as cellulitis. It normally happens when bacteria enters through a break in the skin. Symptoms include:

  • Skin sores or rash that starts suddenly and grows quickly.
  • Warm skin around the redness.
  • Fever and fatigue.

21. MRSA

A contagious bacterial infection that is resistant to a range of antibiotics is known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) which makes it difficult to treat. Symptoms include:

  • rash
  • swelling and tenderness in the affected part of the body
  • wounds that do not heal

22. Chickenpox

An infection by the varicella zoster virus is chickenpox which is unpleasant, but most people recover within a couple of weeks. Symptoms include:

  • An itchy rash of small red spots first appears on the face and trunk, and then spreads across the body.
  • Spots then develop blisters on top.
  • After 48 hours, the blisters cloud and start to dry out.

23. Lupus

An autoimmune disease known as lupus, means that the immune system attacks healthy tissue. Symptoms differ widely from person to person, but can include:

  • Butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose.
  • Flaky red spots or a purple, scaly rash on the face, neck, or arms.
  • Skin sensitivity to the sun.

24. Toxic shock syndrome

A rare condition sparked by a bacterial infection is toxic shock syndrome which develops quickly and can be life-threatening. All people who have toxic shock syndrome have fever and a rash with the below characteristics:

  • looks same as that to sunburn and covers most of the body
  • flat not raised
  • turns white when pressed

25. Acute HIV infection

During the initial stages of HIV, levels of the virus in the blood are very high because the immune system has not yet started tackling the infection. A rash with the following features is included in the early symptoms:

  • mostly affects the upper part of the body
  • flat or barely raised small red dots
  • not generally itchy

26. Hand, foot, and mouth

A childhood illness resulting from a viral infection is hand, foot and mouth. Symptoms include:

  • Rash – flat, non-itchy red blisters on the hands and soles of the feet.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Ulcers on the throat, tongue, and mouth.

27. Acrodermatitis

Acrodermatitis, a type of pustular psoriasis, is also called as Gianotti-Crosti syndrome which is related with viral infections. Symptoms include:

  • itchy purple or red blisters
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • bloated abdomen

28. Hookworm

A common intestinal parasite is called hookworm which can cause a range of complications. Symptoms include:

  • Skin rash in one particular area that is red, itchy, and raised.
  • Breathing complications.
  • Extreme tiredness.

29. Kawasaki disease

A rare syndrome that affects children is called Kawasaki’s disease. It is classified by an inflammation of the walls of the arteries throughout the body. Symptoms include:

  • A rash on the legs, arms, and torso and between the genitals and anus.
  • A rash on the soles of the feet and palms of the hand, sometimes with peeling skin.
  • Swollen, chapped, and dry lips.

30. Syphilis

A sexually transmitted bacterial infection is syphilis. The disease is treatable, but may not go away on its own. Symptoms differ depending on the stage of the disease and include:

  • Initially – painless, firm, and round syphilitic sores (chancres).
  • Later – non-itchy red/brown rash that starts on the trunk and spreads across the body.
  • Oral, anal, and genital wart-like sores.

31. Typhoid

A bacterial infection causes typhoid. It spreads fast by contact with the feces of an infected person. If not treated, 25 percent of cases end in death. Symptoms can include:

  • Rash – rose-colored spots, especially on the neck and abdomen.
  • Fever – up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

32. Dengue fever

Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is transmitted by mosquitos. The condition ranges from mild to severe. Symptoms can include:

  • Initially a flat, red rash appears over most of the body.
  • Later, a secondary rash appears, similar to measles.
  • Severe joint and muscle aches.

33. Ebola

A serious viral disease is Ebola and it spreads rapidly through families and friends and can often be fatal. A rash is often one of the symptoms:

  • Initially, a short-lived mild rash may be present.
  • Rashes begin to peel and look like sunburn.
  • Later in the disease, the rash may turn to abscesses.

34. SARS

A contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness is called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Symptoms can include:

  • skin rash
  • chills
  • stiff muscles

35. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis happens when the skin comes in contact with an irritant and this is relatively common, and can be unpleasant. Symptoms include:

  • red, flaky rash that stings
  • blistered skin
  • burning sensation
  • cracked skin

36. Fungal infection

Although naturally some fungi live on the human body but sometimes they can overtake. Symptoms depend on where the infection hits, but can include:

  • a red rash with a circular shape and raised edges
  • cracking, flaking, or dry peeling of the skin in the infected area
  • chafing, irritation, itching, or burning in the infected area

37. Drug allergy

Allergic reactions to prescribed drugs are present in some people. The medication is mistakenly attacked by body’s immune system as if it were a pathogen. Symptoms differ depending on the individual and the drug, but can include:

  • Rash, including hives
  • Itchy skin or eyes
  • Swelling

38. Atypical pneumonia

Also known as walking pneumonia, atypical pneumonia is less severe than the typical kind. Symptoms can include:

  • rashes (uncommon)
  • weakness and fatigue
  • chest pain, especially when breathing deeply

39. Erysipelas

Erysipelas is a skin infection which is a type of cellulitis, however, unlike cellulitis; it only affects the upper layers of the skin, rather than deeper tissue. The skin in a specific area becomes:

  • swollen, red, and shiny
  • tender and warm to the touch
  • red streaks above the affected area

40. Reye’s syndrome

A rare syndrome and most commonly occurs in children is known as Reye’s syndrome which can cause serious damage to the body’s organs, particularly the brain and liver (image opposite shows fat accumulation in liver cells). Early symptoms include:

  • Rash on the palms of the hands and feet.
  • Repeated, heavy vomiting.
  • Lethargy, confusion, and headaches.

41. Addisonian crisis

Addisonian crisis which is also called as an adrenal crisis and acute adrenal insufficiency is a rare and potentially fatal condition where the adrenal glands stop working properly. Symptoms include:

  • skin reactions, including rashes
  • low blood pressure
  • fever, chills, and sweating

42. Chemical burns

Chemical burns are relatively common which can occur when direct contact is made with a chemical or its fumes. Symptoms differ but can include:

  • skin that appears black or dead
  • irritation, burning, or redness in the affected area
  • numbness and pain

43. Colorado tick fever

Colorado tick fever, also called as mountain tick fever and American tick fever is a viral infection that produces after a bite from a Rocky Mountain wood tick. Symptoms can include:

  • a flat or pimply rash
  • skin or muscle pain
  • fever

44. Accidental poisoning by soap products

Strong chemical are contained in some soap products which if ingested or inhaled can cause serious damage. Symptoms can include:

  • chemical burns on the skin
  • swelling of the throat, lips, and tongue
  • difficulty breathing

45. Adult-onset Still’s disease

A rare inflammatory disorder is Adult-onset Still’s disease that usually affects people in their 30s. Symptoms include:

  • A pink rash, mostly affecting the chest and thighs, which tends to fade quickly.
  • Joint and muscle pain, commonly affecting the knees, wrists, and ankles.
  • Enlarged spleen, liver, or lymph nodes.

46. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

The most common form of arthritis in children is juvenile idiopathic which used to be called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms differ depending on the subtype, but can include:

  • fleeting rashes
  • a scaly psoriasis-like rash
  • spiking fever

47. Histoplasmosis

A fungal infection of the lungs is histoplasmosis. Sometimes, no symptoms are present, but in other cases, it produces pneumonia-like symptoms; these include:

  • rash
  • chest pain
  • red bumps on lower legs

48. Dermatomyositis

A medical condition that causes muscle weakness and rashes is called dermatomyositis. Red and patchy or bluish-purple in color may be the rash; it happens in a number of places, including:

  • shoulders and upper back
  • knuckles
  • palms and fingers
  • around the eyes

49. Graft-versus-host disease

A stem cell transplant may be undergone by people being treated for certain cancers; in some cases, the donor cells attack the recipient’s healthy cells instead of the cancer cells. Symptoms may include:

  • Rashes affecting the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, ears, or face.
  • Other skin changes, such as drying, scaling, scarring, hardening, and darkening.
  • Hair loss.

50. Icthyosis vulgaris

A hereditary skin condition that often begins in childhood is known as ichthyosis vulgaris. Mutation is caused in the gene that codes for the protein filaggrin; features include:

  • The skin’s surface becomes dry, thick, and scaly.
  • The dryness is often accompanied by fine, white, or skin-colored scales.
  • It commonly affects the elbows, shins, face, scalp, and torso.

51. Pemphigoid

A group of rare autoimmune conditions called pemphigoid that primarily cause rashes and skin blistering; there are three main types:

  • Bullous pemphigoid which is blistering on the lower torso, groin, armpits, inner thighs, soles, and palms.
  • Cicatricial pemphigoid which mostly affects mucous membranes.
  • Pemphigoid gestationis which develops during pregnancy and mostly affects the upper body.

52. Sarcoidosis

A condition involving the growth of persistent or inappropriate granulomas or clumps of inflammatory cells is known as sarcoidosis. Symptoms include:

  • Erythema nodosum – a raised red rash on the lower extremities.
  • Nodules or growths under the skin, especially around scar tissue.

Skin discoloration

53. Phenylketonuria

A genetic condition that affects how phenylalanine is broken down by the body is known as phenylketonuria which affects around 1 in 10,000 babies in the U.S. If not treated, phenylalanine builds up, causing:

  • skin rashes, such as eczema
  • lighter skin and eyes due to abnormal levels of melanin
  • seizures

54. Porphyria

A group of genetic disorders is known as porphyria that can affect the nervous system or the skin; symptoms are differed but can include:

  • redness and swelling on the skin
  • burning pain on the skin
  • changes in skin pigmentation

55. Dermatitis neglecta

A skin disorder that arises when an individual does not clean themselves sufficiently is known as dermatitis neglecta. It can look same as that to other allergic conditions. Patches of scaly skin are included in symptoms that are collections of:

  • sweat and moisture
  • dirt
  • bacteria and other germs

56. Heliotrope rash

The first noticeable symptom of an inflammatory muscle disease called dermatomyositis is the heliotrole rash. The rash often includes:

  • raised and bumpy skin
  • red patches
  • skin looks dry and irritated

57. Uric acid skin rash

A rash may be developed when high levels of uric acid in the blood cause crystals to form and accumulate in and around a joint. This can also cause gout. Symptoms include:

  • A dotted rash on the surface of the skin
  • Redness, tenderness, and swelling of the joints
  • Prolonged joint pain for weeks following the reaction
11 irritable reactions

1. Amoxicillin reaction

Antibiotic amoxicillin can be allergic for some people. If any of the following symptoms are experienced they should stop taking it and report to their doctor:

  • skin rash
  • blotchy skin
  • itchiness

2. Erythema ab igne (hot bottle rash)

Overexposure to heat can cause erythema ab igne. Frequently using hot water bottles or other forms of heat, to relieve pain from muscle or joint damage may be a cause of developing this skin condition.

3. Ketoconazole shampoo reaction

Dandruff and psoriasis are skin conditions which can be reduced by applying ketoconazole shampoo to the scalp. If a person is having an allergic reaction to ketoconazole their symptoms may include:

  • enflamed rash covering the area that came into contact with the shampoo
  • itchiness

4. Beard dye reaction

Chemicals found in beard or hair coloring dye may make some people allergic. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • dry, flaky skin
  • redness
  • itchiness

5. Infant milk rash

A rash may be developed in breastfed babies if they are allergic to a food group that their mother is consuming. Symptoms of a food allergy may include:

  • hives
  • itchiness
  • coughing
  • diarrhea

6. Urticaria (nettle rash)

A raised, itchy rash may develop in a person with urticaria that is usually triggered by an allergen. Common symptoms of urticaria may include:

  • pink wheals (swellings) on the skin
  • redness
  • extreme itchiness

7. Grass allergy

Fever symptoms may develop in a person with a grass allergy when coming into contact with grass. Below is also common to experience:

  • small red dots on the skin
  • hives
  • itchiness

8. Poison ivy reaction

Contact dermatitis can be developed in a person when coming into contact with poison ivy plant oil. Symptoms of this include:

  • small bumps or blisters on the skin
  • redness
  • itchiness

9. Smallpox vaccination reaction

Following a vaccination, the following symptoms may be developed in some people:

  • small bumps
  • redness
  • itchiness
  • fever

10. Hyposensitization therapy reaction

For treating an allergic disease, hyposensitization therapy is used. While receiving the course of injections, the following symptoms may be experienced by the person:

  • redness
  • itchiness

11. Euproctis chrysorrhoea (brown-tail moth) reaction

A rash might be developed by a person after touching a brown-tail moth which is caused by a reaction to the toxins found in the moth’s hairs. Symptoms include:

  • red, blotchy skin
  • raised bumps

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