Dermatology

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

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Causes and Treatments for a Skin Rash

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Risk Factors for Rashes 

  • Sensitive skin: Some people have more sensitive skin that is irritated more easily making them more susceptible to skin rashes. Try to buy products for sensitive skin or try to narrow down specific irritants that affect you.

 

Treatments for Rashes

  • Contact dermatitis treatments:
       
    • Calamine medicated lotion: These lotions are particularly helpful in treating rashes caused by poison ivy, oak or sumac. They can also help with other forms of contact dermatitis.
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    • Hydrocortisone cream: Applying this to the irritated skin can help soothe and heal a rash.
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  • Seborrheic dermatitis treatment:
       
    • Anti-dandruff shampoo: Apply to the patches on your skin, taking special care to apply to the hairier areas of your skin such as your eyebrows. Leave the shampoo on for approximately 10 minutes and then rinse off thoroughly. While this often helps, if it is uncomfortable or further irritates your skin stop immediately.
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    • Avoid alcohol-based lotions: These can irritate your skin further.
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  • Eczema treatment:
       
    • Moisturizer: Apply moisturizer to effected skin.
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    • Oatmeal bath products: These can be found inn most drug.
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  • Psoriasis treatment:
       
    • Oatmeal bath products: These can be found in most drug.
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    • Prescription: Alternative forms of treatment for psoriasis include ultraviolet light therapy. Most of these psoriasis treatments require a prescription from your doctor. Talk to your doctor to see if any other treatments may help you.
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  • Impetigo treatment:Because bacteria causes this disease, treating it involves killing off the bacteria rather than solely healing irritated skin.
       
    • Antibacterial cream
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    • Oral antibiotic
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  • Shingles treatment:
       
    • Oatmeal bath products: These can be found inn most drug.
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    • Heat rash treatment:The best and most effective treatment for heat rash is letting your body cool down. Taking a cool bath can often do this efficiently.
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  • Childhood diseases:Because the rashes in these childhood diseases are virus based, treatment is not usually aimed on the rash itself.
       
    • Tylenol (acetaminophen):This non-prescription medication can help treat the fevers associated with these childhood diseases to relieve discomfort. DO NOT give any other pain medications, like Aspirin, to a child as it can cause Reye's syndrome - a rare but serious disease that only affects children.
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    • Saltwater mouth rinse: For Hand-mouth-foot disease, having your child rinse their mouth out with a salt water mixture of approximately half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water can help soothe the throat irritation. 
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    • Antibiotics: While not effective for some of the childhood diseases, getting a prescription for antibiotics is necessary for Scarlet Fever

 

Home Remedies for Rashes

For the most part, simple rashes heal on their own. Some of the best guidelines for ensuring your rash heals quickly is to avoid further irritating it.

     
  • Don't scrub your skin: This can irritate your rash further and cause it to take longer to heal.
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  • Be cautious of cosmetics used: Don't apply any ointments or cosmetic lotions to your rash. Also, if you recently started using new cosmetics or lotions, try to not use them as they may have caused the initial rash.
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  • Expose to air: Depending on the location of your rash, try to leave the irritated skin exposed to air as often as possible.

 

How to Prevent Rashes 

  • Identify and avoid: Since most skin rashes are due to allergies, an important way to prevent them is to identify what you're allergic to and then take precautions to avoid it. If it's particularly difficult to identify the allergy, your doctor may suggest skin testing.

 

Katherine Solem is a health writer and editor living in San Francisco.

Published: July 5, 2011

 

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