What Causes Skin Rashes

To gain a better understanding of what causes rashes, we need to take a look at what happens within the layers of the largest organ of our bodies. Think of your skin as a playground where many scores between opposing sides are settled after school. The two sides are made up of our immune systems and antigens. What are Antigens, you might wonder? Antigens are substances such as toxins and enzymes that stimulate and build up our immune system by resulting in the production of antibodies. When the lymphocytes (the soldiers of our immune system) come into contact with these antigens, they produce several chemicals to fight them and that results in inflammation. Allergic reactions to antibiotics and other drugs also make the skin their fighting ground. Viral infections can also result in rashes when viral particles are presented to the immune system in the epidermis.

skin rashes

The resulting rashes might either be spread all over the body or might be limited to a specific area. The extent of the rashes, their appearance, and the way they feel are all subject to the cause and the type of rash. Here are some common types of rashes:

Atopic Dermatitis: Commonly referred to as Eczema, it occurs mostly in children resulting in dry, cracked bumps on the skin covering the knees and elbows. These areas also tend to itch a lot. In its most critical form, it results in red, scaly and swollen skin.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis: This condition refers to the red, swollen, and itchy state of the skin when it comes into contact with chemicals and other such ingredients in soaps and detergents that irritate it.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis: This can result from contact with such allergy provoking substances as rubber, hair dye, nickel jewelry (which causes the red, scaly, scabby rash) and Urushiol (the resin found in Oak, Poison Ivy, and Sumac).

Refrain from giving in to the itchy feeling. Scratching a rash results in it taking a longer period to fade away and might even result in the development of a scar or an infection. While it’s possible to get yourself some over-the-counter medicines to deal with this issue, it’s recommended that you first consult your doctor who’ll help you identify the cause and then prescribe a suitable treatment.

Rashes caused by allergies require the identification and avoidance of specific allergens. Those resulting from Eczema are best treated with moisturizers that hydrate the skin and thereby reduce the dryness that causes itching. Frequent cool showers also help so long as moisturizers are applied right after. Rashes caused by poison ivy will require the use of calamine lotion to soothe the skin. Severe cases might warrant the use of an antihistamine to reduce the symptoms.

The most effective way of avoiding rashes is to identify things that you’re vulnerable to and consciously make an effort to stay away from those substances. For instance, if you’re allergic to resinous plants and trees, take the time to familiarize yourself with their appearance so you can avoid contact when you come across them while camping or hiking.

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