List of Itchy Rashes

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Causes of itchy rash in infancy, childhood, adulthood and pregnancy. Lists of conditions with itchy spots, bumps, crusts and patches.

Newborns

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Itchy Rash in Newborns

  • Erythema toxicum appears as bumps surrounded by red skin, usually on the face and trunk in about half of the newborns in their first days and it clears spontaneously in few days. The rash can quickly appear and disappear in different body areas.
  • Milia are blocked pores on the face that appear as small (1-2 mm) white bumps; they usually clear within four weeks.

Infants

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Cradle cap

Cradle cap
Cradle cap | Source

Itchy Rash in Older Infants

  • Cradle cap, which looks like a thick, yellowish dandruff, usually clears up spontaneously within six months to a year. The rash, which is also called infant seborrheic dermatitis, is rarely itchy.
  • Infantile acne can appear as blackheads on the face after the third month of life.
  • Ringworm is a fungal infection that appears as red, thick, itchy rash on the scalp or in the groin.
  • Eczema can appear as red, itchy, dry and cracked patches on the face or scalp. Eczema under six months of age is usually due to an allergic reaction to milk or eggs; the rash may persist for few years.
  • Hives are raised red bumps or patches that usually appear within an hour and disappear within few hours, usually as an allergic reaction to a certain food.
  • Diaper rash, red patches in the groin and buttocks, can be caused by wet diapers; the rash usually goes away in three to four days but can last for more than ten days.
  • Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is caused by a toxin released by staph bacteria. It is characterized by widespread, large skin flakes with an underlying red, itchy and tender skin, and fever. Hospital treatment is usually required.
  • Impetigo is a severe staphylococcal or streptococcal skin infection with reddened and flaky skin.

Children

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Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever | Source

Red Itchy Spots (Exanthema) in Children

  • Chickenpox, an infection caused by the Varicella virus, appears as red bumps and blisters that eventually crust over, mainly on the face and trunk. Nowadays, due to vaccination in infancy, chickenpox is rare.
  • Measles, an infection caused by the Rubeolla virus, appears as red flat macules on the face, trunk and limbs; white spots in the mouth and cough may be also present. Nowadays, due to vaccination in infancy, measles in the western world are rare.
  • Rubella (German measles), caused by the Rubella virus, usually starts with red spots on the face that eventually spread all over the body.
  • Roseola infantum, caused by the Herpes virus 6 affects the face and trunk.
  • Fifth disease is caused by the Parvovirus B19, and presents as "slapped cheek."
  • Scarlet fever is a bacterial disease caused by the Staphylococci bacteria; it appears as red rash that may cover the whole body within a day and looks like a bad sunburn.
  • Bacterial meningitis, caused by the Meningococcus bacteria, can present with pin-sized, red, blotchy spots all over the body.
  • Kawasaki disease presents with a red tongue, eyes, palms, soles and rash all over the body. The disease is possibly contagious.

Bacterial folliculitis

Bacterial folliculitis
Bacterial folliculitis | Source

Itchy Red Bumps

Itchy red bumps may have very different causes.

  • Insect bites by mosquitoes, ants, flies, scorpions or spiders can cause itchy, red bumps within minutes.
  • Foreign objects in the skin, like thorns or piece of sand, can be visible or not.
  • Acne, either whiteheads (red bumps with white centers) or blackheads (pin-sized black dots), most commonly appear on the face, shoulders, upper back, chest or thighs in adolescents but also in adults.
  • Staphylococcal folliculitis, a very contagious infection of the hair follicles, which looks like acne can clear spontaneously in few weeks.
  • Hot tub folliculitis, caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria presents with red bumps, usually under the swimsuit.
  • Eosinophilic folliculitis with red bumps on the face and neck usually occurs in individuals with HIV/AIDS.
  • Razor bumps or ingrown hair can appear several hours after shaving.
  • Miliaria or prickly heat are red bumps in the deeper layers of the skin that develop in some individuals during hot, humid weather. A milder form with translucent vesicles is usually less itchy.
  • Perioral dermatitis with red, scaly rash appears around the mouth and eyes, usually in women.
  • Bumpy hives can appear as an allergic reaction to physical stimuli, like heat, could, touch or stress.
  • Side effects of medications, such as antibiotics (clindamycin, sulfamethoxazole), antiepileptics (oxcarbazepine), diuretics (furosemide), ritalin, antihypertensives (losartan) can involve itchy red bumps.

Hives

Patchy hives (urticaria)
Patchy hives (urticaria) | Source

Itchy, Red, Non-Scaly Patches

  • A mild sunburn usually presents with redness and itchiness on the sun-exposed skin.
  • Hot flashes, which present as a sudden redness in the face, neck and upper chest, can occur at the onset of menopause, in scombroid fish poisoning, or after an overdose of certain drugs and supplements, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, niacin, steroids, tamoxifen.
  • Hives (urticaria), which appear as slightly elevated, itchy red patches, can occur due to allergic reactions or, in sensitive individuals, even after a mild physical irritation or hot shower or during or after exercise. Hives also occurs after a contact with a nettle. Medications commonly causing hives include penicillin, amoxicillin, beta-blockers (atenolol), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen), ACE inhibitors (lisinopril) and morphine.
  • Cellulitis, an infection of the tissues under the skin, caused by the staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria, appears as a red, swollen and itchy patch of the skin.
  • Granuloma annulare presents with raised, red bums, usually on the back of the hands or on the top of the feet. The cause is unknown but may include physical irritation or certain medications. The rash is rarely itchy; it often disappears spontaneously within two years.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis on the arm
Psoriasis on the arm | Source

Numular dermatitis

Nummular dermatitis (discoid eczema)
Nummular dermatitis (discoid eczema) | Source

Melanoma

Skin cancer - melanoma
Skin cancer - melanoma | Source

Itchy Scaly Patches with Blisters

  • A cold sore is group of small, translucent, itchy or burning blisters surrounded by red skin, usually near the lips or nose; it is caused by a reactivation of an old infection during stress or certain diseases, or by a fresh infection with Herpes simplex virus. It can be transmitted by kissing or by touching the moth by infected hands.
  • A severe sunburn with painful, burning skin that starts to shed off only after several hours after the sun exposure.
  • A fungal infection, such as athlete's foot (on the soles and between toes), jock itch (in the groin) and scalp ringworm, usually presents with itchy, red-brownish scaly patches.
  • Contact dermatitis (eczema) appears as reddish skin with blisters and scaling; it occurs in sensitive individuals after a contact with various irritants.
  • Chronic actinic (solar) dermatitis is scaly, itchy skin that can occur after long-term excessive exposure to sun.
  • Photosensitivity refers to a rash that appears after an exposure to the sun in sensitive individuals who use certain medications or sunscreens.
  • Psoriasis presents with silvery scales in the scalp or over the joints or on the hands.
  • Discoid eczema, also known as nummular dermatitis, presents with round or oval, blistered or dry skin lesions, usually on the limbs, but sometimes, also on the trunk. The cause is uncertain; it may involve an infection with Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Lichen sclerosus appears as thinned skin with white patches around the penis, vulva or anus. It most commonly occurs in women after menopause. The cause is uncertain, but it may involve the lack of sex hormones.
  • Skin cancer:
    • Basal cell carcinoma, which appears as a pearl-like nodule, usually develops on the sun-exposed areas (the face, upper trunk or arms) in fisherman, farmers and other individuals frequently exposed to the sun.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a scaly, fleshy, reddish, dome-shaped nodule on the sun-exposed skin.
    • Melanoma is a fast growing, malignant cancer that can appear as a small, bluish, brownish or black nevus of the irregular shape anywhere on the skin. In men, it most commonly appears on the trunk and in women on the back and legs, so on the parts rarely exposed to the sun.

Shingles

Herpes zoster (shingles)
Herpes zoster (shingles) | Source

Itchy Crusts

Itchy crusts appear after the original rash breaks and oozes fluid. It commonly appears in:

  • Chickenpox (varicella zoster)
  • Shingles (reactivation of varicella zoster)
  • Impetigo
  • Erythema multiforme


A furuncle

A furuncle on the chin
A furuncle on the chin | Source

Itchy Boils and Nodules

Boils:

  • Furuncle or carbuncle is usually due to an infection by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Itchy nodules can appear in:

  • Nodular prurigo
  • Erythema nodosum

Sandworm

Larva migrans - sandworm
Larva migrans - sandworm | Source

Itchy Burrows on the Skin

Few millimeters or centimeters long burrows may be caused by:

  • Scabies mites, which form small burrows, usually in the wrists, on the knees or around the ankles
  • Larva migrans (Creeping eruption, sandworm)

Scalp ringworm

Scalp ringworm - Tinea capitis
Scalp ringworm - Tinea capitis | Source

Itchy Rash on the Scalp, Beard, in Armpits or Groin

Below are examples of itchy rashes on the hairy skin areas.

  • Dandruff appears as small, white, itchy, greasy flakes on the scalp.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a fungal infection, either as a cause or a result of dandruff.
  • Head lice and pubic lice cause red bumps.
  • Tinea capitis (scalp ringworm) is a fungal infection of the scalp.
  • Barber’s itch is a fungal infection of the beard in men.
  • Tinea cruris (jock itch) is a fungal infection of the inner thighs and groin.
  • Genital warts are sexually transmitted.
  • In hydradenitis suppurativa, itchy lumps appear in the armpits or in the groin.

PUPPP

Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP)
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) | Source

Herpes gestationis

Herpes gestationis
Herpes gestationis | Source

Itchy Rashes During Pregnancy

Below is a list of common itchy rashes during pregnancy.

  • Stretch marks, which appear as red or bluish streaks, mainly on the belly, occur only in some pregnant women, usually in the late pregnancy; they may persist after delivery.
  • Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is severe itch with gross, dark rash anywhere on the skin, especially within stretch marks and on the belly wall; it usually appears in the third trimester and resolves after delivery.
  • Prurigo of pregnancy is extremely itchy rash that may appear on the limbs or trunk in the late second or early third trimester.
  • Pemphigoid gestationis or herpes gestationis starts like hives around the belly button and develops into big blisters during the third trimester.
  • Impetigo herpetiformis is probably a form of psoriasis, which may appear in the third trimester as red areas with herpetic-like pus-filled blisters.
  • Papular dermatitis of pregnancy
  • Safe and category C anti-itch creams and drugs in pregnancy

In-Depth Explanation of Itch

Which itchy rashes have you experienced?

  • Staphylococcal folliculitis
  • Ingrown hair
  • Shingles
  • Impetigo
  • Erythema nodosum
  • Scabies
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Jock itch
  • Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy
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Comments 2 comments

Jaggie 16 months ago

I have this weird kind of boil near my ankle which gets really itchy. Is it safe if i squeeze and pop it?


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janmodric 16 months ago from Europe Author

Some people take a risk and squeeze boils themselves but since there is some risk of worsening of the infected boil, skin scar or even blood infection, I should not officially recommend this.

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