When to Rush a Rash to a Dermatologist

by Tracey Pollack

A rash can spread like wildfire and you’ll quickly feel the burn. A rash can appear in several ways, but your skin typically becomes red, itchy, bumpy and blotchy for no apparent reason. It may be caused by an allergy, a medical condition, the weather or even stress. While some rashes will disappear on their own, others demand a dermatologist to properly treat the trouble. Before you get scared and schedule that appointment, let us clear up any confusion by helping you figure out the cause of your rash and whether the best cure is seeing a dermatologist.

Scratch the Surface On Eczema

If you’re itching to learn the cause of your uncomfortably scratchy skin, it’s most likely a case of eczema. This is a common skin condition, also known as atopic dermatitis, where skin becomes itchy, red, scaly and inflamed. Too much scratching can cause tiny, fluid-filled blisters to form or skin to become infected. While the cause remains unknown, a flare-up of eczema can be triggered by stress, the climate or skin irritants like soap and skincare products. If your rash looks and feels like eczema, you need to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. Only then can you discover the right treatment, which can include gentle moisturizers and special creams that contain itch-stopping hydrocortisone.

You May Not Be Immune From Psoriasis

Do you have thick, itchy, scaly patches on your skin? You may have a chronic autoimmune condition called psoriasis. This skin disorder causes skin cells to rapidly build up as red, scratchy scales on the skin’s surface called plaques. While these scaly patches tend to emerge on elbows and knees, they may develop anywhere, from your hands to your feet, scalp, face and neck. Most people go through cycles of symptoms, sometimes in remission altogether and other times severe. Since psoriasis can appear throughout your lifetime, you need to see a dermatologist to diagnose what triggers an outbreak and how to comfortably manage the condition.

Touch On Contact Dermatitis

There’s no need to overreact about contact dermatitis because it’s simply a dry, scaly rash that’s caused by coming in contact with a certain substance, perhaps a cleaning product, skincare ingredient or strong chemical. You may be allergic to that irritant or just having a mild reaction. The best cure is figuring out which substance caused your reaction and avoiding that irritant altogether. By staying away from the substance, your rash will go away on its own, but feel free to apply a medicated cream to relieve any discomfort.

Keep Your Cool About Heat Rash

If your rash is very itchy and made of tiny, prickly bumps that resemble a bunch of blisters, you probably have a heat rash. The rash is triggered by hot, humid weather that causes excessive sweat, which gets trapped in your pores and causes these bumps to pop up. Luckily, there’s no need to get all hot and bothered about heat rash. It usually clears up on its own in three or four days. Using heavy creams and ointments isn’t recommended because they can clog your pores even more. The best way to keep your cool is by applying cold compresses, wearing lightweight clothing, taking cool baths and using a light calamine lotion to ease any itch.

Signs a Rash Demands a Dermatologist

  • The rash has spread all over your body.
  • You have a fever with your rash.
  • The rash starts to blister.
  • It’s painful.
  • The rash is oozing and showing other signs of infection.
  • It’s interfering with your life.
  • The rash isn’t going away.

Use these rash-relieving tips to know when seeing a dermatologist for your rash is just what the doctored ordered.

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