MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY MONA A. GOHARA, M.D. BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGIST
PREVENTION – In our quest to maintain healthy skin, a few bumps in the road (or on our complexion) are inevitable.
And while nobody likes to deal with bumpy, red, or itchy skin—rashes happen. Combing through pictures of skin rashes can help identify exactly what you’re dealing with and help you determine the best treatment.
“A rash is essentially inflammation in the skin that can be caused by either an external exposure or an internal factor,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Basically, a rash is your skin’s way of telling you something is up, whether you’ve been exposed to an irritant or you have an underlying medical condition.
The unifying feature of all rashes is inflammation, Dr. Zeichner explains. That inflammation could be minor or could greatly impact the color, texture, or feeling of your skin—it all depends on the type and severity of your rash.
(Note: Some of the chronic skin conditions listed below, like acne and rosacea, might not be considered rashes by all dermatologists, but their symptoms and treatments are similar enough to other rashes to include them in this list.)
What causes skin rashes?
When it comes to the root causes of rashes, they tend to fall into two main categories: outside-in and inside-out, explains Dr. Zeichner. A few distinct features make their identification and treatment unique.
Outside-in rashes, like contact dermatitis and ringworm, are due to direct exposure to an outside irritant, allergen, or organism.
Irritants (substances like household cleaners and chemicals that can affect anyone) and allergens (substances like latex and poison ivy that only affect those with specific allergies) can both trigger rashes such as contact dermatitis.
Meanwhile, organisms living on the skin can cause conditions like ringworm and scabies …