Overview

A rash is a noticeable change in the texture or color of your skin. Your skin may become scaly, bumpy, itchy, or otherwise irritated.

Pictures of different rashes

There are many different causes for rashes. Here is a list of 21 with pictures.

Warning: graphic images ahead.

Flea bites

flea bites
  • Usually located in clusters on the lower legs and feet
  • Itchy, red bump surrounded by a red halo
  • Symptoms begin immediately after being bitten
Read full article on flea bites.

Fifth disease

Fifth disease
  • Headache, fatigue, low fever, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea, and nausea
  • Children are more likely than adults to experience a rash
  • Round, bright red rash on the cheeks
  • Lacy-patterned rash on the arms, legs, and upper body that might be more visible after a hot shower or bath
Read full article on fifth disease.

Rosacea

Rosacea

By M. Sand, D. Sand, C. Thrandorf, V. Paech, P. Altmeyer, F. G. Bechara [CC BY 2.0 ()], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Chronic skin disease that goes through cycles of fading and relapse
  • Relapses may be triggered by spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, sunlight, stress, and the intestinal bacteria Helicobacter pylori
  • There are four subtypes of rosacea encompassing a wide variety of symptoms
  • Common symptoms include facial flushing, raised, red bumps, facial redness, skin dryness, and skin sensitivity
Read full article on rosacea.

Impetigo

Impetigo
  • Common in babies and children
  • Rash is often located in the area around the mouth, chin, and nose
  • Irritating rash and fluid-filled blisters that pop easily and form a honey-colored crust
Read full article on impetigo.

Ringworm

Ringworm

James Heilman/Wikimedia Commons

  • Circular-shaped scaly rashes with raised border
  • Skin in the middle of the ring appears clear and healthy, and the edges of the ring may spread outward
  • Itchy
Read full article on ringworm.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis
  • Appears hours to days after contact with an allergen
  • Rash has visible borders and appears where your skin touched the irritating substance
  • Skin is itchy, red, scaly, or raw
  • Blisters that weep, ooze, or become crusty
Read full article on contact dermatitis.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

Image by: KlatschmohnAcker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Usually affects children under age 5
  • Painful, red blisters in the mouth and on the tongue and gums
  • Flat or raised red spots located on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet
  • Spots may also appear on the buttocks or genital area
Read full article on hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Diaper rash

diaper rash
  • Rash located on areas that have contact with a diaper
  • Skin looks red, wet, and irritated
  • Warm to the touch
Read full article on diaper rash.

Eczema

eczema
  • Yellow or white scaly patches that flake off
  • Affected areas may be red, itchy, greasy, or oily
  • Hair loss may occur in the area with the rash
Read full article on eczema.

Psoriasis

psoriasis

MediaJet/Wikimedia Commons

  • Scaly, silvery, sharply defined skin patches
  • Commonly located on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back
  • May be itchy or asymptomatic
Read full article on psoriasis.

Chickenpox

chickenpox
  • Clusters of itchy, red, fluid-filled blisters in various stages of healing all over the body
  • Rash is accompanied by fever, body aches, sore throat, and loss of appetite
  • Remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over
Read full article on chickenpox.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Image by: Doktorinternet (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

  • An autoimmune disease that displays a wide variety of symptoms that affect many different body systems and organs
  • A wide array of skin and mucous membrane symptoms that range from rashes to ulcers
  • Classic butterfly-shaped face rash that crosses from cheek to cheek over the nose
  • Rashes may appear or get worse with sun exposure
Read full article on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Shingles

Shingles
  • Very painful rash that may burn, tingle, or itch, even if there are no blisters present
  • Rash comprising clusters of fluid-filled blisters that break easily and weep fluid
  • Rash emerges in a linear stripe pattern that appears most commonly on the torso, but may occur on other parts of the body, including the face
  • Rash may be accompanied by low fever, chills, headache, or fatigue
Read full article on shingles.

Cellulitis

Cellulitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

  • Caused by bacteria or fungi entering through a crack or cut in the skin
  • Red, painful, swollen skin with or without oozing that spreads quickly
  • Hot and tender to the touch
  • Fever, chills, and red streaking from the rash might be a sign of serious infection requiring medical attention
Read full article on cellulitis.

Drug allergy

Drug allergy

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

  • Mild, itchy, red rash may occur days to weeks after taking a drug
  • Severe drug allergies can be life-threatening and symptoms include hives, racing heart, swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing
  • Other symptoms include fever, stomach upset, and tiny purple or red dots on the skin
Read full article on drug allergies.

Scabies

scabies

No machine-readable author provided. Cixia assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Symptoms may take four to six weeks to appear
  • Extremely itchy rash may be pimply, made up of tiny blisters, or scaly
  • Raised, white or flesh-toned lines
Read full article on scabies.

Measles

measles

By Photo Credit: Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Symptoms include fever, sore throat, red, watery eyes, loss of appetite, cough, and runny nose
  • Red rash spreads from the face down the body three to five days after first symptoms appear
  • Tiny red spots with blue-white centers appear inside the mouth
Read full article on measles.

Tick bite

Tick bite

Image by: James Gathany Content Providers(s): CDC/ James Gathany [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Pain or swelling at the bite area
  • Rash, burning sensation, blisters, or difficulty breathing
  • The tick often remains attached to the skin for a long time
  • Bites rarely appear in groups
Read full article on tick bites.

Seborrheic eczema

Seborrheic eczema
  • Yellow or white scaly patches that flake off
  • Affected areas may be red, itchy, greasy, or oily
  • Hair loss may occur in the area with the rash
Read full article on seborrheic eczema.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever

Image by: (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ()], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Occurs at the same time as or right after a strep throat infection
  • Red skin rash all over the body (but not the hands and feet)
  • Rash is made up of tiny bumps that make it feel like “sandpaper”
  • Bright red tongue
Read full article on scarlet fever.

Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

  • Usually affects children under age 5
  • Red, swollen tongue (strawberry tongue), high fever, swollen, red palms and soles of the feet, swollen lymph nodes, bloodshot eyes
  • Usually gets better on its own, but may cause severe heart problems
Read full article on kawasaki disease.

What causes rashes?

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is one of the most common causes of rashes. This type of rash occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with a foreign substance that causes an adverse reaction, leading to a rash. The resulting rash may be itchy, red, or inflamed. Possible causes of contact dermatitis include:

  • using beauty products, soaps, and laundry detergent
  • using dyes in clothing
  • being in contact with chemicals in rubber, elastic, or latex
  • touching poisonous plants, such as poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac

Medications

Taking medications may also cause rashes. They can form as a result of:

Other causes

Other possible causes of rashes include the following:

  • A rash can sometimes develop in the area of a bug bite, such as a flea bite. Tick bites are of particular concern because they can transmit disease.
  • Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a rash that primarily occurs in people with asthma or allergies. The rash is often reddish and itchy with a scaly texture.
  • Psoriasis is a common skin condition that can cause a scaly, itchy, red rash to form along the scalp, elbows, and joints.
  • Seborrheic eczema is a type of eczema that most often affects the scalp and causes redness, scaly patches, and dandruff. It can also occur on the ears, mouth, or nose. When babies have it, it’s known as crib cap.
  • Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that triggers a rash on the cheeks and nose. This rash is known as a “butterfly,” or malar, rash.
  • Rosacea is a chronic skin condition of unknown cause. There are several types of rosacea, but all are characterized by redness and rash on the face.
  • Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes a distinctive ring-shaped rash. The same fungus that causes ringworm of the body and the scalp also causes jock itch and athlete’s foot.
  • Diaper rash is a common skin irritation in infants and toddlers. It’s usually caused by sitting too long in a dirty diaper.
  • Scabies is an infestation by tiny mites that live on and burrow into your skin. It causes a bumpy, itchy rash.
  • Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin. It usually appears as a red, swollen area that is painful and tender to the touch. If left untreated, the infection causing the cellulitis can spread and become life-threatening.

Causes of rashes in children

Children are particularly prone to rashes that develop as a result of illnesses, such as:

  • chickenpox, which is a virus characterized by red, itchy blisters that form all over the body
  • measles, which is a viral respiratory infection that causes a widespread rash consisting of itchy, red bumps
  • scarlet fever, which is an infection due to group A Streptococcus bacteria that produces a toxin causing a bright red sandpaper-like rash
  • hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is a viral infection that can cause red lesions on the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet
  • fifth disease, which is a viral infection that causes a red, flat rash on the cheeks, upper arms, and legs
  • Kawasaki disease, which is a rare but serious illness that triggers a rash and fever in the early stages and can lead to an aneurysm of the coronary artery as a complication
  • impetigo, which is a contagious bacterial infection that causes an itchy, crusty rash and yellow, fluid-filled sores on the face, neck, and hands

Taking care of rashes at home

You can treat most contact rashes, but it depends on the cause. Follow these guidelines to help ease discomfort and speed up the healing process:

  • Use mild, gentle cleansers instead of scented bar soaps.
  • Use warm water instead of hot water for washing your skin and hair.
  • Pat the rash dry instead of rubbing it.
  • Let the rash breathe. If it’s possible, avoid covering it with clothing.
  • Stop using new cosmetics or lotions because they may have triggered the rash.
  • Apply unscented moisturizing lotion to areas affected by eczema.
  • Avoid scratching the rash because doing so can make it worse and could lead to infection.
  • Apply an over-the-counter to the affected area if the rash is very itchy and causing discomfort. can also help relieve rashes from chickenpox, poison ivy, or poison oak.
  • Take an oatmeal bath. This can soothe the itchiness associated with rashes from eczema or psoriasis. Here’s how to make an oatmeal bath.
  • Wash your hair and scalp regularly with if you have dandruff along with a rash. Medicated dandruff shampoo is commonly available at drugstores, but your doctor can prescribe stronger types if you need them.

Over-the-counter medications

Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) in moderation for mild pain associated with the rash. Talk to your healthcare provider before you start taking these drugs, and avoid taking them for an extended period because they can have side effects. Ask your healthcare provider how long it’s safe for you to take them. You may not be able to take them if you have liver or kidney disease or a history of stomach ulcers.

When to see your healthcare provider about rashes

Go to the hospital immediately if you experience a rash along with any of the following symptoms:

  • increasing pain or discoloration in the rash area
  • tightness or itchiness in the throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face or extremities
  • fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • severe head or neck pain
  • repeated vomiting or diarrhea

Contact your healthcare provider if you have a rash as well as other systemic symptoms including:

  • joint pain
  • a sore throat
  • a fever slightly above 100.4°F (38°C)
  • red streaks or tender areas near the rash
  • a recent tick bite or animal bite

What to expect during your appointment

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and inspect your rash. Expect to answer questions about your:

  • rash
  • medical history
  • diet
  • recent use of products or medications
  • hygiene

Your healthcare provider may also:

  • take your temperature
  • order tests, such as an allergy test or complete blood count
  • perform a skin biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of skin tissue for analysis
  • refer you to a specialist, such as a dermatologist, for further evaluation

Your healthcare provider may also prescribe medication or medicated lotion to relieve your rash. Most people can treat their rashes effectively with medical treatments and home care.

What you can do now

Follow these tips if you have a rash:

  • Use home remedies to soothe mild contact rashes.
  • Identify potential triggers for the rash, and avoid them as much as possible
  • Call your healthcare provider if the rash doesn’t go away with home treatments. You should also contact them if you’re experiencing other symptoms in addition to your rash and you suspect you have an illness.
  • Carefully follow any treatments your doctor prescribes. Speak with your healthcare provider if your rash persists or gets worse despite treatment.

Healthline and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link above.