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A rash is an area of red, irritated, or inflamed skin. A rash is a symptom of many medical problems. Dr. Michael Sotiriou and his compassionate team will work with you to identify the source of your rash and recommend the best treatments for your condition.

Rashes come in many forms. Some rashes cause blisters, some are small red bumps that are itchy and painful. Other rashes cause patches of raw skin. The rash may affect the entire body or appear in just one area. It may develop immediately, or over days. It may go away quickly or improve and then worsen.

There are thousands of substances in hundreds of products that cause an allergic reaction. A rash can develop in a susceptible person from having their hands in water constantly or frequent hand washing. Sometimes there is an infection or reaction that does not cause a rash until the skin is exposed to sunlight.

When you have a bad or uncomfortable rash that doesn’t go away on its own and if you have additional symptoms like a fever, it is time to seek the help of a professional.

What causes a common rash?

There are many causes of a rash including an allergic reaction, an infection, reaction to a medication, and genetics.  Many skin disorders cause a rash.

How is a rash diagnosed?

Due to the many causes of skin rashes it is important to determine the source of a rash in order to identify the correct treatments and to learn what and how to avoid the cause of the rash in the future.

Dr. Michael Sotiriou will investigate asking questions about when the rash started, where you were and what you were doing. He will review your medical and family history to identify predispositions and potential causes. In some cases, the cause is identified quickly, in other cases it can take time. The goal is to identify the cause and treat it so that it goes away.

Patch testing is a common diagnostic procedure used to test for skin allergies to identify the cause of your rash. Testing looks for reactions to the substances that can cause contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis

A common type of rash is contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a rash caused by touching a chemical irritant or something you are allergic to like poison ivy a or chemical in a skin care product.  It usually begins as itchy skin and progresses to a rash. The rash may be red, itchy and scaly and may burn sting, swell and blister. Diaper rash is a type of contact dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis is common in people with eczema. It can aggravate other skin conditions.

Chemical irritants include fragrances, latex, rubber, elastic, metal allergy (nickel is often combined with gold and silver used in jewelry), cosmetics, soaps and detergents, hair dyes and chemicals in clothing. People who are genetically susceptible and develop contact dermatitis also often have other allergies and asthma.

Drug rashes

Some drug rashes are caused by an allergy and create an itchy or painful rash of red or pink bumps, hives, blisters, red patches and pustules, peeling skin or cause light sensitivity.  They may affect a large area of the body and be painful or appear as red, purple or blue discolorations of the skin. Drug rashes can occur suddenly or be delayed for hours or days. People who develop a drug allergy can develop hives (raised, red, itchy spots) and other allergy symptoms.

Dr. Sotiriou will review all your current prescription medications and over the counter drugs to advise you to stop the offending drugs when they can be identified.

Viral rashes

Direct skin to skin contact with someone with a viral rash or contact with an inanimate object that person used can infect you with the virus. The rash can result from an immune response or damage to the skin. Sometimes the virus lives in the body dormant until a trigger releases the virus and causes a rash. Many viral rashes appear as patches of redness. Sometimes they are associated with a fever, chills and body aches.

Chickenpox, caused by the Varicella zoster virus, creates a red, itchy blistering rash all over the body. It usually affects children but can affect adults. Fortunately, the development of the chickenpox vaccine has reduced the number of cases significantly.

Shingles is a painful blistering rash caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. If you had chickenpox as a child, the shingles virus is lying dormant in your body and can suddenly re-emerge as you age to cause shingles. There is now a vaccine to prevent shingles.

A person infected with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can infect another person. HPV causes warts on the skin and the genitals.

Herpes is a common infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It causes a painful blistering rash around the mouth (cold sores) and on the genitals.

Pityriasis rosea is a common skin rash seen in young adults. It is caused by a virus and commonly occurs in the spring and fall. It is not contagious.

This is just a short list of some common types of rashes. Dr. Michael Sotiriou is a leader in the field of dermatology. He can help you with all sorts of skin rashes. Contact his office at Salt Lake Dermatology & Aesthetics in Salt Lake City Utah to schedule a consultation today.

At a Glance

Dr. Michael Sotiriou

  • Board-certified, Residency-Trained Medical and Cosmetic Dermatologist
  • Sub-Specialty Board Certification in Mohs Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery from the American Board of Dermatology
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology
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