A skin rash might seem like a minor inconvenience, but some pesky rashes are actually a sign of an underlying health problem that deserves medical attention. While most rashes are harmless and resolve on their own, some can point to a more serious condition.
At HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, our board-certified dermatologists know that identifying the root cause of a rash is essential to proper care and treatment. We’ve curated this post examining five potentially severe causes of a rash and the signs it’s time to seek help.
1. Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis, often called eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes itchy and inflamed skin. While mild eczema isn’t usually severe, the skin can become thickened and infected if left untreated.
Secondary bacterial infections are common with eczema. Plus, the constant itching and scratching can lead to permanent scarring. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
- Red and inflamed skin
- Intense itching
- Cracked, scaly skin
- Blisters with oozing and crusting
Our team creates a personalized eczema treatment plan that may include emollients, topical corticosteroids, light therapy, and other therapeutic modalities.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. It leads to the acceleration in the life cycle of your skin cells. As a result, you experience a rapid skin turnover. That leads to a build-up of cells on your skin's surface. Symptoms include:
- Red patches covered with silvery scales
- Dry and cracked skin that may bleed
- Itching, burning, or soreness
- Thickened nails
Without treatment, psoriasis can lead to complications, such as psoriatic arthritis, heart disease, and mental health issues.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect the skin, causing rashes. The butterfly-shaped rash across the face is a well-known sign of lupus, but other skin rashes are also common. Additional symptoms include:
- Skin lesions that worsen with sun exposure
- Joint pain or swelling
- Chest pain
Untreated lupus can lead to serious health complications affecting various organs, including the heart and kidneys. Be sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you’re concerned about lupus.
4. Herpes zoster (shingles)
Shingles is caused by a viral infection that leads to a painful rash. The same virus that causes chickenpox triggers shingles and the rash that results can happen anywhere on your body. Symptoms include:
- Painful rash with blisters, typically on one side of your body
- Sensitivity to touch
- Fever and headache
Without timely treatment, shingles can lead to chronic pain, vision loss if near the eye, and other neurological problems.
Some rashes are actually a condition called cellulitis. This bacterial infection takes root in the deeper layers of your skin.
If you don’t get medical attention, cellulitis can spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes, it can even become life-threatening. Symptoms include:
- Reddened area of skin that starts to expand
- Swelling and tenderness
Immediate medical intervention is vital if you have cellulitis, so don’t wait to call for an appointment if you notice these symptoms.
Personalized help for pesky skin rashes
If you notice a persistent or worsening rash, don’t dismiss it as merely an annoyance. Understanding the underlying cause is vital for proper care and management.
A rash that doesn't improve deserves professional assessment, and we are committed to offering expert care tailored to your individual needs. At HK Dermatology, our skilled dermatologists are here to help you with personalized solutions to ensure that your skin condition is diagnosed and treated effectively.
Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, and take the first step towards healthy, rash-free skin today.