Pictures of Common, Itchy Skin Rashes

There are many types of skin rashes, so if you develop one, you may be wondering what type you might have. Whether a rash itches or not is often an important clue to knowing what kind of rash you have. The following are pictures and descriptions of common itchy rashes. Do you see yours? Whether you do or not, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

1
Psoriasis

Psoriasis on Elbow. iStockPhoto.com

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that is caused by changes in certain immune system cells that make them "fight" normal skin.

Psoriasis produces thick, silvery scales on a red base that has a distinct border. It's commonly found on the knees, elbows, and scalp.

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2
Pityriasis Rosea

CDC

Pityriasis rosea is a common rash that has a striking appearance. It starts with a "herald patch"—a single, round or oval lesion that often occurs on the trunk. The rash is very itchy and lasts for six to eight weeks.

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3
Poison Ivy

(c)2006 Heather Brannon, MD licensed to About.com, Inc.

Poison ivy, or Rhus dermatitis, is caused by exposure to a resin called urushiol that's found in certain plants of the Rhus genus. These plants include poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

This well-known rash starts out with blisters and redness on the exposed areas. Poison ivy and other forms of irritant contact dermatitis are treated with topical steroids.

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4
Chickenpox

CDC - Dr. Heinz Eichenwald

Chickenpox is a very itchy rash that's caused by the varicella virus. Ever since the chickenpox vaccine was made available in 1995, chickenpox in the United States doesn't occur as often.

See the classic chickenpox rash in this photo (which is often described as looking like "a dew drop on a rose petal") and other chickenpox pictures.

Pregnant women with chickenpox may need treatment with special medications. Anyone who has been exposed to chickenpox (even if he or she was immunized) is at risk for developing shingles later in life.

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5
Scabies

CDC

Scabies is a rash that's caused by a tiny mite that burrows under the skin. The rash is red and bumpy and often appears on wrists, between fingers, in armpits, and around the waistline. Scabies is treated with a lotion to kill the mite, but the rash can last up to a month.

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6
Eczema

iStockPhoto.com

Eczema is an itchy rash that is closely related to allergies. 

The exact cause of eczema is not known, but it seems to be related to abnormalities in the epidermis that make the skin drier than normal and more sensitive to common chemicals.

There is no cure for eczema, but its symptoms can be managed by lifestyle changes and medications.

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7
Hives

iStockPhoto.com

Urticaria (also known as hives) is a rash that can evolve and change in hours—even in minutes.

Hives can either be acute (lasting fewer than six weeks) or chronic hives (lasting longer than six weeks). This distinction is important because chronic hives have some unusual causes like pressure or water contact.

The factors that can cause hives are numerous, and it's often not possible to isolate just one. The good news is that there are medications that can treat hives effectively.

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8
Ringworm

CDC/Dr. Lucille K. Georg

Ringworm is a fungal infection. It's usually a round rash that is also red, raised, and scaly on the outside of the lesion. Ringworm can be effectively treated with oral or topical medications.

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9
Athlete's Foot

CDC/Dr. Lucille K. Georg

Athlete's foot (also known as tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, moist areas and causes redness and scaling between the toes. Athlete's foot is treated with topical antifungal medications.

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