Types of Skin Rash

There are many different types of skin rashes.

Dermatitis, also called eczema, is a common rash characterized by dryness, redness, swelling and itching. In some cases, excess scratching of the rash can lead to occurrence of blistering and oozing (weeping) from the rash. The most common form of eczema seen in North America is called atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis
affects at least 20% of children and teenagers. It is known to cause severe dryness and itching of the skin, which can be moderate to severe in intensity. In most cases, atopic dermatitis resolves on its own as the child grows. However, there are a few individuals who continue to have atopic dermatitis life long. Why atopic dermatitis occurs is not fully understood but it does run in families and maybe genetically linked. Atopic dermatitis is more common in individuals who have a history of asthma or other type of allergies.

Contact dermatitis:
Over the past 3 decades, the incidence of contact dermatitis has risen exponentially. Today, there are millions of individuals who have some type of contact dermatitis and environment pollution is partly a cause of it. Substances which are known to cause contact dermatitis include:

- Soaps, detergents

- Perfumes, cosmetics

- Plants

- Chemicals, liquids, solvents

- Lead, gold, silver

- Clothing fabric

- Poison ivy

- Rubber gloves

- Glues

- Sunscreens

In the majority of cases, the area of the skin in contact with the substance becomes red and itchy. The first exposure is never noticed but subsequent exposures usually become more obvious.

Seborrheic dermatitis. This type of dermatitis often is common in children and young teenagers and is more prominent on the face, behind the ears, or on the scalp (called dandruff). The typical findings of Seborrheic dermatitis include oily (waxy) scales, red patches and flaking skin or scalp.

Nummular dermatitis:
This dermatitis also known as discoid dermatitis is characterized by the presence of round or oval shaped lesions which are itchy. The majority of the lesions have a similar shape and size. The lesions typically appear on the hand, legs and trunk and are seen in the older age group. The dermatitis does flare up in the winter months, is recurrent and life long. No one knows why it occurs. It is not related to any infection and is not contagious.

Rashes are common in infants and young children. The most common rash in babies is the diaper rash (diaper dermatitis). It is typically seen in the groins and buttock area and is due to prolonged wearing of a soiled diaper. The humidity of the diaper, urine and constant irritation from the diaper cloth is thought to cause the rash. Diaper rash is easily treated with frequent changes of soiled diaper, keeping the groin clean, avoid diaper wearing for long periods and applying powder to the area.

Common causes of skin rash include:

- stress, emotional lability

- food allergies

- sensitivity to heavy metals

- insect of bee stings

- bacterial or viral infections

- fungal infections

- exposure to sun

- cloth fabrics

- soaps, detergents

- cosmetics, perfumes

- skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, lupus

- pregnancy

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