Tag Archives: Rashes

Reviewing Common Skin Rashes


This Straight, No Chaser post reviews a few common skin rashes. The guide features in-depth discussion on several of them.

Common Skin Rashes

Here are a few of the more common skin rashes. There are many additional rashes and conditions not covered in this brief guide. This include patterns seen in sexually transmitted infections. If you have any questions or concerns about your condition, please consult a physician. Click the links for additional posts discussing them in detail.

Contact dermatitis

poison ivy

Have you ever been affected by poison ivy, poison oak or sumac? Has costume jewelry (most likely containing nickel) made you break out? Contact with chemicals to which the patient is allergic or with skin irritants cause this condition. Contact dermatitis can occur anywhere there’s contact with an irritant or allergen. It tends to be weepy and oozy. Furthermore, it may discolor this skin.

Diaper rash

Common skin rashes - diaper rash

Diaper rash is an irritant contact dermatitis caused by prolonged exposure to urine and/or feces. The rash occurs due to entrapment by a diaper or other restrictive garments. You’ll see it in the distribution of the diaper.

Drug eruptions

Common skin rashes - Drug eruptions

Drug eruptions represent a wide range of rashes brought on by antibiotics and other medicines. The lesions are mostly non-specific and will resolve with stopping use of the medicine.

Eczema (Atopic dermatitis)

Common skin rashes - eczema

The lesions of eczema are red itchy, weeping rashes. They are most commonly seen on the inner aspects of the elbows and in back of the knees. They also are seen on the cheeks, neck, wrists, and ankles. Eczema is commonly found in patients who also have asthma and/or hay fever.

Hives (urticaria)

Common skin rashes - hives

Hives are red bumps and wheals that commonly are causes by drug exposure. They appear and resolve suddenly, most typically in about eight hours. Due to the risk of recurrence and breathing difficulty, drugs and foods that cause these should be avoided once identified.

Miliaria (heat rash)

Common skin rashes - heat rash

Heat rash is caused by blocked sweat ducts, which occurs most commonly during hot and humid temperatures. These rashes resemble small blisters or acne-like lesions. Also, heat rash is more likely to occur in areas that can’t release heat as easily. These areas include the groin, elbow creases, under breasts and around the neck and upper chest. Getting to a cooler environment is often sufficient treatment.


Common skin rashes - psoriasis

Psoriasis is recognizable due to silvery flakes of skin, most commonly occurring on the elbows, knees and scalp.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Common skin rashes - seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrhea is the most common adult rash. You’ll see a scaly, itchy and red rash that is most likely located on the scalp, forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, and ears. In infants, it may involve the scalp and diaper area.

Stasis dermatitis

common skin rashes - stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is often seen in individuals with poor circulation in the veins. It’s a weepy, oozy rash that occurs on the lower legs of those affected.

General Treatment Considerations

In the absence of other symptoms, it is perfectly reasonable to wait a few days to see if most rashes resolve on their own. Also, it’s reasonable to treat symptoms such as itching and dry skin with over-the-counter remedies.

Consider the following:

  • Anti-itch creams containing 1% hydrocortisone cream can be helpful.
  • Oral antihistamines, including diphenhydramine (eg. Benadryl) and hydroxyzine can be helpful for itching. However, you should be careful about side effects, including drowsiness, which can affect your function and operation of machinery.
  • Moisturizing lotions are always a good choice. They prevent the dryness and cracking of skin that can lead to infections.
  • Antifungal medications are useful for athlete’s foot, jock itch or other obvious common fungal infections. These medicines tend to contain clotrimazole (Lotrimin), miconazole (Micatin), or terbinafine (Lamisil).

If these measures aren’t successful, if the rash persists, or if it becomes more widespread, you should consider visiting a physician or dermatologist.

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Straight, No Chaser: The Week in Review and Your Quick Tips

Another week of knowledge and good health has come and gone at Straight, No Chaser.  Here’s your Week in Review.  Click on any of the underlined topics for links to the original posts.
On Sunday, we started the week reviewing rashes found on the palms and soles.  The entire post was meant to raise awareness that secondary syphilis presents like this, which is an important consideration given how easily primary syphilis can be missed, how devastating tertiary syphilis is and how simple treatment is once diagnosed.  Get it checked, and get it treated.  Sunday also brought a tear jerker of a topic in reviewing the physical signs of child abuse.  We often say knowledge is power, but in this example, knowledge could mean continued life for a victim.  Review those patterns of symptoms, and commit to being involved when needed.
On Monday, we reviewed lactose intolerance, which we tend to think is funny in theory but never is if you’re the one affected.  Remember it’s not the dairy that’s important to your health but the calcium it provides.  There are alternatives.  We also provided Quick Tips for the newborn in your family.  It’s never a bad thing to have a newborn evaluated, but don’t be distraught if the answer to your questions involve a lot of reassurance.  Remember, lots of answers to your questions involve things that happen underneath the diaper.
On Tuesday, we reviewed rabies.  We all knew there was a reason we didn’t like bats, skunks and raccoons, but if you live in the wrong area, your household cat or dog could be just as deadly if they aren’t completely immunized against rabies.  We also looked at injuries that occur from playing golf.  Who’d have thought five hours of swinging a club 100 MPH could cause back problems?  It’s such a peaceful game!
On Wednesday, we discussed ulcers.  Amazingly, peptic ulcer disease is most commonly traceable to a bacterial infection.  This is another condition where smoking and drinking (and overuse of pain medications) will come back to haunt you.  Wednesday also brought a review of allergic reactions and the potential life-threatening nature of them.  Because of this fact, it’s just not a good idea to wait around for things to get better on their own.
On Thursday, we discussed antioxidants and free radicals, which surprised a lot of you.  Although you seemingly can’t go wrong with antioxidants you eat, taking all those expensive supplements has been shown not to provide the same level of benefit and may in fact be harmful.  We also reviewed grief and bereavement.  I hope many of you learned that your suffering and responses are not only normal, but they’re universal.
On Friday, we provided an update on CPR and gave you another reason to remember the BeeGees.  Layperson and bystander CPR has been made so easy that you just have to take the two minutes to learn what to do.  We also reviewed cocaine myths and truths, which is important because cocaine often leads to the need for CPR.  I think I scared some people off with the image of big needles to treat their cocaine erections… Oh well!
On Saturday, we discussed drowning.  Keep your infants at arm’s length, and remember to bring a few life-savers (preservers, ropes, etc.) when you plan on being especially adventurous in the water.  We wrapped the week up discussing bedwetting, which often resolves on its own but sometimes is a symptom of another medical condition.
Thanks for your support and continued feedback.  If you have topics you’d like to see discussed, please feel free to send me an email or comment.
Jeffrey E. Sterling, MD