8 Painful Skin Rashes: Recognize & Get Relief Now

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All about Skin Rashes: A rash is a group of skin sores that spread over a large area. It’s a very broad term in medical science. Skin rashes can look very different and can have many different causes. Because there are so many kinds, there are also many different ways to treat them.

A rash can be small and only affect one small part of the body, or it can be large and affect the whole body.

8 Painful Allergic Skin Rashes
8 Painful Allergic Skin Rashes

There are many kinds of rashes; some of the most common causes are contact dermatitis, infections, and allergic reactions to medications. They can be dry, wet, bumpy, smooth, cracked, or blistered. They can hurt, itch, and even change color.

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3 Common Causes of Skin Rashes

A rash can be caused by many things, such as allergies, diseases, reactions, and medicines. They can also be caused by infections with bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites.

1. Medications

Some medicines can make some people break out in skin rashes. This could be a side effect or a sign of an allergy. Also, some medications, like some antibiotics, can cause photosensitivity, making a person more sensitive to sunlight. The reaction to photosensitivity looks like sunburn.

2. Infections

 A rash can also be caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Depending on the type of infection, these rashes will look different. For example, candidiasis is a common fungal infection that causes a rash that usually appears in skin folds and is very itchy.

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3. Autoimmune conditions

An autoimmune condition is when a person’s immune system starts to attack healthy tissue, this is called a Trusted Source. There are many autoimmune diseases, and some of them can cause rashes. 

For example, lupus is a disease that affects many parts of the body, such as the skin. It makes a rash on the face that looks like a butterfly.

How Skin Rashes Break Out on Kids’ Skin?

Children are more prone to get rashes compared to adults when they are sick:

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  • The virus that causes chickenpox causes a rash that looks like small, itchy bumps and blisters all over the body.
  • Measles is a respiratory virus that causes red rashes, and itchy bumps all over the body.
  • Scarlet fever is an infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria that make a toxin that produces a rash that looks like sandpaper and is bright red or the same color as the skin.
  • A viral infection that causes a flat, red rash on the torso, arms, and legs.
  • Kawasaki disease is a rare but severe illness that starts with a rash and fever and can cause heart problems.
  • Impetigo is a bacterial infection that spreads easily. It causes an itchy, crusty rash and yellow, fluid-filled sores on the face, neck, or hands.

6 Tips To Follow At Home When Having Skin Rashes

Most simple rashes will get better if you gently take care of your skin and avoid things that make it worse. Keep these general rules in mind:

  1. Try not to scrub your skin.
  2. Use mild cleaning products.
  3. Don’t put lotions or ointments for beauty directly on the rash.
  4. Use warm water to clean, not hot water. Don’t rub; just pat dry.
  5. Stop using any new lotions or cosmetics that you just bought.
  6. As much as possible, leave the hurt area open to the air.

Hydrocortisone cream (1%), which can be bought without a prescription, can help many rashes feel better. You can get stronger cortisone creams with a prescription. 

Use moisturizers on your skin if you have eczema. You can get oatmeal bath products at drugstores to help with eczema or psoriasis. Antihistamines taken by mouth may help relieve skin that itches.

When to Talk to a Doctor or Nurse

When to Talk to a Doctor or Nurse regarding Allergic Skin Rashes
When to Talk to a Doctor or Nurse regarding Allergic Skin Rashes
  • You have trouble breathing, a sore throat, or a swollen face.
  • Your child has a bruise-looking purple rash.
  • You have a sore throat, fever, or joint pain.
  • You have red spots, swelling, or places that hurt a lot, as these could be signs of an infection.
  • You are starting a new medicine. DO NOT change or stop your other medication without talking to your provider.
  • There may be a tick on you.
  • Home treatment doesn’t work.

8 Painful Common Skin Rashes 

1. Eczema: skin that is red, dry, and itchy anywhere on the body.

Dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin, is another name for eczema. Skin with eczema is red, cracked, itchy, and sometimes oozes. Eczema is not contagious; some of the most common causes are soaps, detergents, dry skin, wool, and synthetic fibers. 

eczema skin rashes
eczema skin rashes

Eczema is common in babies and young kids, but anyone can get it. The best way of treating it is to avoid things that make your skin react and to take care of it regularly by moisturizing it. 

Some medicines you put on your skin or take by mouth can help ease symptoms.

2. Chickenpox: A rash of bumps on the skin

Varicella zoster, or “chickenpox,” is a virus that causes a rash of itchy blisters on the face that spreads to the chest, back, and the rest of the body. It usually comes with a fever and a headache. 

chickenpox skin rashes
chickenpox skin rashes

Chickenpox is less common now that there is a vaccine, but it still happens, especially in children under the age of 12. The primary goal of treatment is to take control of symptoms, like fever, with pain relievers that don’t contain aspirin, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and to relieve itching with an oatmeal bath. 

People with chickenpox should stay away from babies, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems because chickenpox is very contagious for people who have never had it or haven’t had the vaccine.

3. Rubella: The skin is covered with small, red spots

Rubella, also called German measles, is another skin rash caused by a virus that affects children and young adults. Rubella causes a rash of red spots that spread from the face down, just like chickenpox. 

rubella skin rashes
rubella skin rashes

The rash on the skin can itch. A sore throat, fever, swollen glands, headache, and a runny nose are also signs of the flu. Rubella can be prevented with a vaccine, and the Centers for Disease Control say that the virus has been wiped out in the U.S., but it is still common in other countries. 

Rubella can cause birth defects, which can be very dangerous for pregnant women. For pain relief, the treatment includes rest and acetaminophen.

4. Hives: sudden, itchy bumps and welts on the skin

Urticaria, which is also called “hives,” is a sudden skin rash that causes itchy, pale pink, or red welts that sometimes burn or sting. This skin problem can happen on any part of the body. Up to 20% of the population may get hives at least once. 

hives skin rashes
hives skin rashes

Hives can last for some days or a few weeks. They are usually caused by an allergic reaction to a food or medicine, but they can also be caused by a cold or illness you just got over. 

The most common way to treat it is to avoid what’s making it happen and take an antihistamine to treat the symptoms. Talk to a doctor if a welt or hive lasts for more than 24 hours and hurts or makes you feverish.

5. Prickly Heat: A rash that happens when sweat clogs your pores

Prickly heat also called heat rash, is red, itchy, and painful skin. There may also be small bumps appear on the skin. Heat rash happens when your pores get clogged up with sweat. 

prickly heat skin rashes
prickly heat skin rashes

These skin rashes are common in babies, but they can happen to anyone at any age. This skin condition usually shows up in places where skin rubs against other skin or clothing, like the neck, breasts, groin, and underarms. 

The best way of treating it is to cool it down, dry it off, and make it move less.

6. Intertrigo: A rash that appears in the skin folds and causes itching

Intertrigo is a skin condition that happens in folds of skin, like under the breasts, on the inner thighs, under the armpits, or the belly folds. The rash on the skin might ooze and itch. 


People who are overweight or have diabetes are more likely to get this rash. The areas need to be kept dry, infections must be treated, and antibiotic, antifungal, or steroid creams must be used.

7. Impetigo: A rash on the skin that bacteria cause

Impetigo is a skin infection that causes skin rashes. The disease is usually caused by either group A streptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. 

Impetigo skin rashes
Impetigo skin rashes

This rash shows up as brown blisters or sores around the nose or mouth. The rash is very itchy and easy to spread to other people. 

The rash will spread if you scratch it and then touch other parts of your body or other people. Impetigo can be treated by applying antibiotic creams or lotions; in more severe cases, antibiotics can be taken by mouth.

8. Psoriasis: a disease that affects the way skin cells grow and divide

Psoriasis is a long-lasting inflammatory disease that can cause thick, dry, scaly patches of skin. Psoriasis affects nearly about 7.5 million people in the United States

Psoriasis skin rashes
Psoriasis skin rashes

It is thought to happen when a problem with the immune system speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. Up to a third of people with the disease also have psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain and swelling. 

It’s unclear what causes psoriasis, but genes may play a role. Psoriasis symptoms can be controlled with treatments like topical creams, light therapy, and medicines.

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Dr. Angela Olivares
Dr. Angela Olivares
Dr. Angela Olivares is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed her residency in dermatology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ashton has a private practice in New Jersey and New York City, where she specializes in skin cancer detection and treatment, as well as general dermatology.

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