The cause of a rash may be determined from its visible characteristics and other co-existing symptoms. However, the cause of many rashes is never determined.
Common causes include:
Eczema Medications or insect bites that cause allergic reactionsVarious diseases cause rashes, including:
- Dyes and other chemicals found in clothing
- Chemicals found in elastic and rubber products
- Feminine deodorants
- Poison ivy and poison oak
- Lupus erythematosus
- Hand-foot-mouth disease
- Fifth disease
- Juvenile arthritis
- Kawasaki disease
Most common rashes will improve with gentle skin care and avoidance of irritating substances. Avoid scrubbing the skin, minimize the use of soap (using gentle cleansers when possible), and moisturize frequently. Eliminate any newly added cosmetics or lotions. Hydrocortisone cream (1%) is available without prescription and may soothe many rashes.
Call your health care provider if home treatment is ineffective, or if symptoms persist or worsen and if other symptoms accompany the rash.
A dermatologist is most qualified to deal with skin disorders, though many primary care doctors are comfortable dealing with common rashes.