A rash, simply put, is a change in the color, texture, or appearance of the skin. It can be very small and barely noticeable or large and covering large parts of your body. There are different reasons someone might get a rash, ranging from irritation from soap used to chronic skin conditions involving rashes such as seborrheic dermatitis. The causes, symptoms, and treatments for rash depend on the type of rash in question.

Rash-Inducing Medical Conditions

There are a wide variety of rashes to be concerned about. These include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact, dermatitis, stress dermatitis, fungal infections, bacterial infections, diaper rash, psoriasis, and nummular eczema. These skin conditions are the most common causes of rashes, though other events and environmental factors also lead to rashes. Seborrheic dermatitis is the most common cause of rash in adults while diaper rash is the most common cause of rash in infants. Atopic dermatitis also very common in children, though adults may get it as well.

Diagnosing Skin Rashes

A physical examination is the only way to diagnose a skin rash and determine its origin before deciding on a treatment plan. The dermatologist will view the rash and look at its size, texture (whether it is flat or raised), shape, color, tenderness, consistency, and possibly the temperature. Some of the things to look for are a rash that is ring-shaped, circular, linear, or snake-like all which describe the shapes of the rashes. The distribution of the rash on the body is another important part of diagnosis. The doctor will also look for other skin imperfections like blisters, burns, pimples, bruises, and itchy patches of skin. Categories of skin rashes include non-infectious rashes, fungal or bacterial infection rashes, and widely-distributed rashes.


There are two types of infections that may cause skin rashes, including fungal and bacterial infections. Fungal infections are common sources of skin rash caused by infection and include yeast infections and ringworm. These usually affect the folds of the skin such as the groin area or under the breasts. This type of rash will look like a fiery red rash with pustules on the edges of the rash. The most common treatment for fungal infections in an anti-fungal cream. Bacterial infections are also common, with the most common types of bacterial infection that causes skin rash being impetigo. This is called by germs known as strep or staph. It is more common in children and hygiene doesn’t play a role in getting a bacterial infection. Antibacterial creams don’t help treat these infections, so prescription-strength creams are usually needed.

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