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Pityriasis Rosea Vs Ringworm

Updated on January 31, 2014

What is Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is a very perplexing skin ailment that comes and goes on its own within several weeks. It is assumed NOT to be contagious even though it is viral in nature. However, there have been small epidemics of this skin condition occurring in fraternity houses, Turkish baths, and military establishments.

Pityriasis rosea resembles several skin lesions. It is most commonly mistaken for ringworm. It can also resemble rashes secondary to taking medications such as penicillin, accutane, barbiturates, and beta-blockers.

The classic sign for pityriasis rosea is a "herald" patch or a "mother" patch which starts as a single, large, round or oval, pinkish patch. This solitary lesion is most commonly found on the back, the chest, or the abdomen. Typically, two to three weeks later, multiple small/flat/oval/and scaly patches will form all over your chest and back. It is common to find lesions on your scalp and pubic areas as well.

The lesions will fade with time in the order that they appeared, usually in six to eight weeks. Thankfully, no scars or marks are found following clearing!


Treatment for Pityriasis Rosea

The best treatment for pityriasis rosea is exposure to UV light. Sunbathing and spending time outdoors will help clear this condition faster. It will clear up on its own eventually but laying out by the pool will speed up the process!

Taking lukewarm baths and applying Calamine lotion will help with the itching and irritation.

Pityriasis Rosea versus Ringworm

Pityriasis rosea is commonly misdiagnosed as ringworm. These two have very similar skin lesions, especially the "herald" or "mother" patch resemble one another. Your doctor may initially prescribe medications to treat ringworm. If you find the treatment is not helping, it may be because of the mis-diagnosis. Anti-fungal creams like athlete's foot or Lamisil will not clear Pityriasis Rosea.

Ringworm is contagious and has the classic elevated ring-like pattern. Ringworm is a fungal infection and needs to be treated well to prevent an outbreak among your family and pets.

Treatment for Ringworm

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