Allergic contact dermatitis develops when you come into contact with something to which you have an allergy, such as chemicals in makeup and soaps, or plants like poison ivy. Allergy testing (patch testing) may be necessary to determine the cause.

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when chemicals we use, such as those in cosmetics or cleaning solutions, cause the skin to become inflamed due to direct contact, and not from an allergic reaction.



Viral diseases can present as rashes, either directly such as chickenpox, shingles, and herpes, or indirectly as a rash appearing during a viral illness, such as roseola.


Chickenpox displays the classic symptom of a red rash that often begins on the chest and back, and spreads over the entire body. The spots become itchy blisters and eventually scab. Other symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. Chickenpox is highly contagious and usually lasts about a week. Anyone who is not vaccinated against chickenpox, or has not had it, is at risk of getting it.


Shingles can develop in adults who have had chickenpox. The virus lies dormant and can emerge as shingles in later years. It is characterized by a painful red rash of blisters, usually in one small section, anywhere on the body. Symptoms may include pain, burning, numbness or tingling, itching and sensitivity to touch. Shingles is highly contagious to those who are not immune to chickenpox. There is a vaccine against shingles for those who are not vaccinated against chickenpox. Care from your Advanced Dermatology physician or other specialist here can help relieve the symptoms of shingles.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus and can appear as a rash of tiny red blisters on and around the lips. Herpes spreads through close personal contact. Cold sores can recur as there is no cure for the herpes virus, but medications prescribed by your Advanced Dermatology provider can speed healing and reduce recurrence.

Autoimmune Diseases


Psoriasis is a very common condition in which the skin cells build up and create itchy, red, dry patches. While the exact cause of psoriasis is not known, it’s thought to involve the immune system. There are a variety of types of psoriasis, each with different symptoms, though all produce a type of red rash of some sort.


Lupus occurs when your body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. A distinctive sign of lupus is a red rash across the cheeks and nose. The rash may be sensitive to sunlight (photosensitivity). There are many other symptoms, but lupus indicators aren’t the same for any two people. It’s important to have any rash across your face examined by your Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery dermatologist or other rash expert to determine its cause and treatment.


Eczema is a term for rash-like skin conditions. The main symptoms of eczema are dry skin with intense itching and a red rash. It usually appears on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees and on hands and feet. Scratching can make the skin red and swollen, and even more itchy.


Medications, such as antibiotics and those used to regulate blood pressure and control cholesterol, can often cause rashes. Any medication can cause a rash to develop, so it’s important to identify the cause of any rash that develops while properly treating the condition for which the medication was prescribed.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can sometimes look like a scaly pink patch, however, it is uncommon for skin cancer to appear like a rash.

Treatments for Rashes

Treatments for Rashes

There are many treatments for the different kinds of rashes, depending on the cause, severity, location and duration. Many rashes look the same to the untrained eye, so it’s very important to consult your Advanced Dermatology rash specialist, when you have any skin rash that is not going away.

NOTE: Rashes accompanied by dizziness or fainting, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, or a sense of dread could  signal a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis which should be considered a medical emergency. Please seek help at a local emergency department immediately or call 911.

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