Diagnose & Treat Rashes of the Skin
A rash is commonly known to change the skin by affecting its appearance or texture, and may even be localized to one part of the body or wide area. Skin rashes may cause the skin to change color (usually red), itch, become warm, bumpy, chapped, dry or scaly, cracked or blistered, swell, and become potentially painful. Sometimes, a rash may have no symptoms at all. Because of the variety and causes of skin rashes, treatments can vary widely.
Skin Rash Causes
Multiple factors must be taken into account when diagnosing a skin rash, including the appearance and distribution of the rash. Other important factors include:
- Factor 1
Symptoms (e.g. itching or burning),
- Factor 2
the patient’s general health (recent or chronic illness; fever),
- Factor 3
medications (including over-the-counter preparations and supplements, as well as prescription medications), and
- Factor 4
exposure to plants, animals, or other people with a similar rash.
One may also consider recent travel, occupation, bathing habits, and other habits, such as rubbing, scratching, or picking.
The list of possible causes of rashes is enormous. Major categories include:
- Dry skin
- Mechanical: friction, rubbing or picking
- Sun exposure
- Bug bites
- Acne, Rosacea, and Folliculitis (highlight)
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Drug eruption: a reaction to a medication
- Cancer: e.g. certain internal cancers, such as Lymphoma and Adenocarcinoma may cause a variety of skin rashes
- Immunologic: e.g. Psoriasis , Systemic Lupus Erythematous, Vasculitis, Bullous Pemphigoid
- Infections including:
- Bacterial: e.g., Strep or Staph infections; Rickettsia, responsible for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Typhus
- Viral: e.g., Chicken Pox, Measles, Herpes Zoster (shingles)
- Fungal: e.g. Tinea (athlete’s foot, jock itch), Candida (under the breasts or in the groin), Tinea Versicolor, Coccidiodomycosis (Valley Fever)
- Parasites: e.g., Scabies
Skin Rash Diagnosis
The diagnosis of rashes must take into account a wide spectrum of variables. Los Angeles dermatologist, Dr. Brian Mekelburg, is trained to consider all possibilities and can diagnosis a skin rash quickly and easily through taking a history and examining the patient. Sometimes, further diagnostic tests may be needed, such as a simple scraping of the dead skin on the surface (to look for fungus), a skin a biopsy which samples several of the upper layers of skin, or a punch biopsy which takes a small plug of full-thickness skin. A biopsy can easily be performed under local anesthesia, usually in the same visit.
It is a primary function of the Dermatologist to diagnose and treat rashes of the skin. Please make an appointment with Dr. Brian Mekelburg in Los Angeles and let us help you.