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Learn about your painful rash, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your painful 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.

Painful Rash Checker

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Your Painful Rash May Also be Known as:
Rash hurts
Sunburn
Sunburnt

Top 10 Painful 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.

    Although there is not much clinical evidence to support its effectiveness, moisturizers like aloe vera and oil-based lotions, creams, and ointments provide a protective layer on the damaged skin, speeding up healing. Cool compresses are also useful. Ibuprofen or other similar NSAIDs are effective in reducing inflammation and pain. Wearing sunscreen when going back out in the sun is also key to reducing further damage.

    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.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own. The main treatment for this disease is to avoid the substance that triggers the skin inflammation. Moisturizer can also be helpful to provide relief for your inflamed skin.

    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.

    You can treat this at home and the rash should go away on its own. In the meantime, you can use an anti-histamine (both by mouth OR as an ointment), or a topical corticosteroid to treat the itch and/or pain due to the rash.

    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.Skin Infection (Cellulitis)

    Cellulitis is a common and possibly dangerous skin infection if left untreated. It is typically caused by bacteria living on the skin getting into the skin itself.

    You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours to examine the infection and possibly provide antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    moderate fever, painful rash, feeling confused and not making sense while talking, red rash, abnormally high heartrate
    Symptoms that always occur with skin infection (cellulitis):
    red rash, painful rash
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.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.

    You should go to a retail clinic or your primary care physician to be treated for shingles. Most common treatments involve pain killers and prescription antiviral medicines.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, dizziness, diarrhea, headache, weight loss
    Symptoms that always occur with shingles (herpes zoster):
    grouped rash, rash
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Painful Rash Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having painful rash.

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  6. 6.Pressure Ulcer

    Pressure Ulcer, or bed sores, are areas of damaged skin caused by staying in one position for too long. They commonly form where the bones come close to the skin, such as the ankles, back, elbows, heels and hips.

    A pressure ulcer can be diagnosed by having doctors just look at it; no further testing is needed. Treatment involves cleaning the wound and dressing it properly.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, painful rash, loss of appetite, butt pain, sunken area of the rash has broken the skin
    Symptoms that always occur with pressure ulcer:
    sunken area of the rash has broken the skin, rash resembling a pressure ulcer
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Hand - Foot - and - Mouth Disease

    Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children. It is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own by using a topical oral anesthetic to relieve the pain of mouth sores. Over-the-counter pain medications other than aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may help relieve general discomfort.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    loss of appetite, cough, fever, sore throat, new headache
    Symptoms that always occur with hand-foot-and-mouth disease:
    spontaneous skin changes
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  8. 8.Non - Melanoma Skin Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma)

    Squamous cells are the small, flat skin cells in the outer layer of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) a type of skin cancer that usually appears as a tiny, painless bump or patch. The most common spots for this cancer are the head (including scalp, lips, ears, and mouth), legs, and the backs of the hands and the arms.

    You should visit your primary care physician, who will coordinate care with a dermatologist. Squamous cell carcinoma needs to be confirmed by examining a piece of your affected skin in a laboratory. If SCC is confirmed, treatment involves cutting out a patch of affected skin, scraping the cancer away, or destroying it by freezing or radiation.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rash on sun-exposed areas, rash with well-defined border, painful rash, light red or pink bump on skin, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter
    Symptoms that always occur with non-melanoma skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma):
    rash on sun-exposed areas
    Symptoms that never occur with non-melanoma skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Psoriasis

    Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. The patches mostly affect the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet.

    There are many over-the-counter creams that could help which you can first try to see if your symptoms get better. However, psoriasis is a diagnosis that should be made by a physician and might need longer term follow up.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, rash with well-defined border, painful rash, scaly rash
    Symptoms that never occur with psoriasis:
    fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Allergic Reaction to a Bee Sting

    Allergic reactions to bee stings can be severe, sometimes causing intense swelling and difficulty breathing.

    You should go to an urgent care center immediately. Take an antihistmaine tablet (such as Benadryl) or use an EpiPen if you have one.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    painful rash, itchy rash, warm and red rash, skin changes from a bug bite, insect bite or sting
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic reaction to a bee sting:
    insect bite or sting, warm and red rash, skin changes from a bug bite
    Urgency:
    In-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Painful Rash

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Is your rash:
  • Q.Are there bumps on your rash?
  • Q.Do you have a sore throat?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our painful rash symptom checker.

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Painful Rash Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced painful rash have also experienced:

    • 10% Red Rash
    • 9% Warm and Red Rash
    • 5% Headache
  • People who have experienced painful rash had symptoms persist for:

    • 35% Less Than a Day
    • 25% Over a Month
    • 23% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced painful rash were most often matched with:

    • 8% Non - Specific Dermatitis (Skin Inflammation)
    • 3% Irritant Contact Dermatitis
    • 1% Sunburn

Painful Rash Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having painful rash.

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