Read below about itchy rash, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your itchy rash from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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10 Potential Itchy Rash Causes

  1. 1.Sunburn

    A sunburn is inflammation (a reaction by your body's immune system) caused by too much UV (ultra-violet) radiation, which is part of the sunshine. While the symptoms eventually go away, the cells of the skin are permanently damaged, and over time, the risk of skin cancer is higher. Further, the damage reduces the skin's ability to repair itself, speeding up the formation of wrinkles and other signs of aging.

    It typically resolves within 3-5 days for mild sunburns, and 7-14 days for blistering episodes

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    painful rash, red rash, itchy rash, warm and red rash, swollen rash
    Symptoms that always occur with sunburn:
    painful rash, red rash
    Symptoms that never occur with sunburn:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Irritant Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore, or inflamed after direct contact with a substance. This condition most often affects skin of the hands, and may occur after repeated and prolonged exposure to substances such as water, detergents (soaps, bleach), solvents (such as gasoline), acids, powders, dust, and soil. The onset of the skin reaction is usually within 48 hours of coming in contact with the substance.

    1-2 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with well-defined border, itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, painful rash, red rash
    Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    rash with well-defined border
    Symptoms that never occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Non - Specific Dermatitis (Skin Inflammation)

    Dermatitis is the inflammation ("-itis") of the skin ("derma" is a layer of the skin). It can be caused by any number of causes, from allergies to infections to autoimmune issues. Dermatitis of Normal Variation (also called, "NOS") means that all of those other causes of your rash have been ruled out. This is very common.

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    red rash, itchy rash, painful rash
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific dermatitis (skin inflammation):
    red rash
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Hives

    Urticaria are itchy, temporary rashes that rarely become swollen. It is often referred to as "hives."

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    red or pink, rough patch of skin, itchy rash, curved rash, insect bite or sting, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center
    Symptoms that always occur with hives:
    red or pink, rough patch of skin
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Benign Skin Growth

    Seborrheic keratosis is a condition that causes wart-like growths on the skin. The growths are benign (not-cancerous) and look like stuck-on plaques.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    constant skin changes, itchy rash, rash with well-defined border, abdominal skin changes, neck skin changes
    Symptoms that always occur with benign skin growth:
    constant skin changes
    Symptoms that never occur with benign skin growth:
    cherry red lower leg bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch

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  6. 6.Allergic Reaction to Poison Ivy / Oak / Sumac

    Plants of the Toxicodendron genus are found throughout the continental United States, and exposure to these plants is a leading cause of contact dermititis, a medical term used to describe irritation and itching of the skin.

    With treatment, symptoms should resolve from a few days to two weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash, itchy rash, red rash, skin changes on arm, stinging or burning rash
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac:
    itchy rash, rash
    Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Chronic Hepatitis c

    Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is carried in human blood. It spreads through contact with infected blood, such as through infected needles, toothbrushes, or razors, through unprotected sex with an infected person, and from mother to baby during childbirth.

    Hepatitis C is a chronic infection and without treatment the effect on life expectancy is difficult to predict.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite, joint pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic hepatitis c:
    pain in the lower right abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain in the upper left abdomen, pain around the belly button
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

    Shingles (herpes zoster) is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus - the same virus that causes chickenpox. Early signs of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching, usually on one side of the body or face. Rashes or blisters appear anywhere from one to 14 days later. If shingles appears on the face, it may affect vision or hearing.

    An episode usually lasts 2-4 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    symptoms of infection, dizziness, fatigue, rash, diarrhea
    Symptoms that always occur with shingles (herpes zoster):
    grouped rash, rash
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Perianal Skin Infection

    Perianal Dermatitis is caused by some irritant or allergen that causes the area around the anus to be burning/stinging.

    Resolves after removing irritant

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rectal bleeding, rectal pain, anal itching, itchy rash, red rash
    Symptoms that always occur with perianal skin infection:
    rash, red rash, rash
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  10. 10.Seborrheic Dermatitis

    Seborrheic dermatitis is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp, face or inside the ear. It can occur with or without reddened skin. The exact cause of this condition is not known, although doctors think that some common skin yeast organisms, called Malassezia, may play a role in some people.

    Weeks to months with treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, rash with well-defined border, scalp skin changes, cheek skin changes
    Symptoms that never occur with seborrheic dermatitis:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Itchy Rash

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Is your rash raised or rough when you run your hand over the area of skin?
  • Q.Is your rash:
  • Q.What color is the skin change?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our itchy rash symptom checker to find out more.

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Itchy Rash Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced itchy rash have also experienced:

    • 5% Feeling Itchy or Tingling All Over
    • 4% Vaginal Itch or Burning
    • 4% Leg Skin Changes
  • People who have experienced itchy rash had symptoms persist for:

    • 29% Over a Month
    • 27% Less Than a Week
    • 25% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced itchy rash were most often matched with:

    • 35% Non - Specific Dermatitis (Skin Inflammation)
    • 15% Irritant Contact Dermatitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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