Rashes and skin irritations can be bothersome, embarrassing, or serious. There are medical and alternative ways to deal with them.
Causes of Rashes
Rashes can appear anywhere on the body. These changes to the skin texture and color can be bumpy, chapped, dry, blistered, and cause pain. Depending on the cause of the rash, treatments will be different. It is important to know if the rash is contagious due to certain diseases. This skin irritation can be caused by so many factors, such as allergies, anxiety, irritants, vaccinations, eczema, acne, heat, or friction. Rarely, they will be due to autoimmune disorders, pregnancy, Lyme disease, or scarlet fever.1 Contact dermatitis occurs when skin becomes irritated from particular substances, such as certain fabrics, cosmetics, or metals, for example. Diaper rash, bites, stings, and fungal infections are also typical causes of rashes, as are drug allergies. Other infections can also cause rashes, such as shingles, fifth disease,rheumatic fever, mononucleosis (“mono”), West Nile virus, ringworm, and German measles (rubella). MRSA, a staph infection, can be life threatening.2 There are many other kinds of disorders and diseases that can trigger rashes as well. An allergic reaction to poison ivy or certain foods can make a person develop rashes or hives. Latex can cause a serious allergic reaction in some people, especially in health care and rubber industry workers. Viral, yeast, and bacterial infections, as well as some sexually transmitted diseases, can all be culprits in rashes. Some types of skin irritations are from chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, acne, or eczema. Others are more situational, such as skin irritations caused by cold weather, heat rash, and stress.3
Typical Rash Treatments
For rashes caused by poison ivy, it is important to clean the skin to remove the oils of the plant. Scratching will not help the situation. For itch relief, the area should be kept cool and moist. An oatmeal bath may provide comfort. Dry skin will make the itching worse. Over-the-counter treatments for itching include calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, and oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (i.e., Benadryl). If the particular rash is causing pain, some patients might seek acetaminophen, NSAIDs, or aspirin.4 If the rash is infected or contagious, it is important to consult with a professional about treatments.
Some rashes are from allergies. Dermic rashes are on the skin, and they are caused by contact with an allergen. Systemic rashes are from something a person might have ingested, such as tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, or seafood. Finding out the triggers can help prevent the rash. Some natural options for treating skin rashes could include chamomile tea, olive oil, cod liver oil, and vitamin E. Raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and vitamin C may also be helpful.5 Sunburns may be soothed by aloe. Burt’s Bees buttermilk lotion could help some people with eczema or contact dermatitis. Stress reduction is also important. Yoga, acupressure, and meditation can help with this.6 Chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture are all useful therapies in putting the body back in balance, thereby reducing inflammation. Chiropractors may be able to boost the immune system by keeping the body in alignment so that the nerves are not irritated. They may also suggest dietary changes and nutritional supplements.