Appointments at Mayo Clinic
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. A rash is defined as a widespread eruption of skin lesions. It is a very broad medical term. Rashes can vary in appearance greatly, and there are many potential causes. Because of the variety, there is also a wide range of treatments. Rashes come in many forms, and common causes include contact dermatitis, bodily infections, and allergic reactions to taking medication. They can be dry, moist, bumpy, smooth, cracked, or blistered; they can be painful, itch, and even change color. Rashes affect millions of people across the world; some rashes may need no treatment and will clear up on their own, some can be treated at home; others might be a sign of something more serious.
A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin. Many rashes are itchy, red, painful, and irritated. Some rashes can also lead to blisters or patches of raw skin. Rashes are a symptom of many different medical problems. Other causes include irritating substances and allergies. Certain genes can make people more likely to get rashes. Contact dermatitis is a common type of rash. It causes redness, itching, and sometimes small bumps.
Skin rashes can occur from a variety of factors, including infections, heat, allergens, immune system disorders and medications. One of the most common skin disorders that causes a rash is atopic dermatitis ay-TOP-ik dur-muh-TI-tis , also known as eczema. Atopic dermatitis is an ongoing chronic condition that makes skin red and itchy. Most often it appears as patches on the hands, feet, ankles, neck, upper body and limbs. It tends to flare up periodically and then subside for a time. At-home interventions can lessen symptoms and reduce the risk of flare-ups.