Symptoms A-Z

Scaly Rash Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your scaly rash symptoms with Buoy, including 7 causes and common questions concerning your scaly rash.

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7 Possible Scaly Rash Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced scaly rash. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a non-contagious chronic skin condition that produces an itchy rash. It is caused by a genetic condition that affects the skin's ability to protect itself from bacteria and allergens. The most susceptible are those with a family hi...

Non-specific dermatitis (skin inflammation)

Nonspecific dermatitis, or contact dermatitis, simply means inflammation of the skin from many different causes.

Most nonspecific dermatitis is caused by skin contact with a substance that provokes a reaction, which could be anything from plants to soap to jewelry to fabrics. Some may be due to an autoimmune condition, where the body's immune system attacks itself.

Risk factors include a family or personal history of allergies, asthma, or other condition which weakens the immune system; or constant contact with metals, plant life, or chemicals.

Symptoms commonly include red, swollen skin rash with itching, blistering, or oozing, which may become painful and infected.

Dermatitis itself is not contagious but can interfere with quality of life. A medical provider can help with managing the symptoms.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and sometimes skin biopsy and patch testing.

Treatment involves using protective measures if the substances cannot be avoided; making nutritional improvements to strengthen the immune system; using corticosteroid or other creams; and phototherapy.

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

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes, because it is the result of lifestyle and is not hereditary. Diabetes of any type is the condition where the body does not produce enough insulin to process the sugars in food.

Risk factors include obesity, overeating high-carbohydrate foods, lack of exercise, pregnancy, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS.)

Early symptoms include increased thirst; frequent urination; weight loss despite increased appetite; blurred vision; infections that are slow to heal; and blood sugar somewhat higher than normal.

It is important to get treatment at the first sign of these symptoms, because the high blood sugar levels can cause serious organ damage. Heart disease, neuropathy, kidney damage, and blindness can all result from untreated diabetes.

Diagnosis is made through a series of blood tests to measure blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed through lifestyle changes. A diet which eliminates refined carbohydrates and controls calories; regular exercise; regular blood sugar monitoring; and sometimes insulin or other medications will all be recommended.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, increased appetite compared to normal, vision changes, feeling itchy or tingling all over, excesive thirst

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Psoriasis

Psoriasis causes an overgrowth of surface skin cells, creating a red, scaly, itchy, and painful rash.

It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its own healthy skin cells. It may be genetic in origin but triggered by anything that further strains the immune system, such as infections, skin injury, alcohol consumption, obesity, smoking, and stress.

Symptoms may come and go in cycles lasting weeks or months. They include red patches of thickened skin, sometimes with gray-white scales; dry, cracked, bleeding skin; stiff and swollen joints; and thickened, misshapen nails.

It is important to see a medical provider for care, because psoriasis can interfere with quality of life. It is associated with higher risk of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.

Treatment involves different combinations of topical medications, oral medications, and phototherapy with natural or artificial light. Lifestyle changes such as improved diet, quitting smoking, and managing stress are very helpful in many cases.

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

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.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: rash on sun-exposed areas, rash with well-defined border, painful rash, light red or pink bump on skin, scaly rash

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

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy, coeliac, or sprue. It is an autoimmune response in the gut to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley.

  • Repeated exposure to gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.

Most at risk are Caucasians with:

  • Family history of celiac disease.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease.

Symptoms include digestive upset with gas, bloating, and diarrhea. The malnutrition causes fatigue, weight loss, fragile bones, severe skin rash, mouth ulcers, anemia, and damage to the spleen and nervous system.

A swollen belly, failure to thrive, muscle wasting, and learning disabilities are seen in children, and normal growth and development can be severely affected.

Diagnosis is made through blood testing and endoscopy, and sometimes biopsy of the small intestine.

There is no cure for the condition, but celiac disease can be managed by removing all gluten from the diet. Nutritional supplements will be used and sometimes steroid medication is given to help heal the gut.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, stomach bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition in which areas of dark, velvety discoloration appear in body folds and creases, such as armpits, the groin area, and the neck area. The skin changes of acanthosis nigricans usually occur in people who have diabetes or are obese.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: skin that is darker than it used to be, darkened skin over the neck, constant skin changes

Symptoms that always occur with acanthosis nigricans: skin that is darker than it used to be

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Scaly Rash

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • What color is the skin change?
  • Are there bumps on your rash?
  • What color is the rash?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your scaly rash

Scaly Rash Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced scaly rash have also experienced:

  • 11% Dry Skin
  • 8% Vaginal Itch Or Burning
  • 6% Feeling Itchy Or Tingling All Over

People who have experienced scaly rash were most often matched with:

  • 50% Type 2 Diabetes
  • 33% Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
  • 16% Non-Specific Dermatitis (Skin Inflammation)

People who have experienced scaly rash had symptoms persist for:

  • 29% Over a month
  • 27% Less than a week
  • 25% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Scaly Rash Symptom Checker

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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.