Skin Rashes & Other Skin Problems

The location, appearance and color of a rash will help your doctor make a diagnosis. Look for care suggestions on this chart for common rashes and other skin conditions.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Is your face, chest or back covered in small, pus-filled sacs or pimples, blackheads or sore, red bumps?

  • Do you have a flushed appearance, perhaps with redness around your cheeks, chin, forehead or nose?

  • Do you have a painful red bump or a cluster of painful red bumps?

  • Do you have a small, boil-like infection around a hair shaft or pore?

  • Do you have red, tender and swollen areas of skin, perhaps around a cut or scrape?

  • Do you have red, itchy bumps on your skin, and are they sprinkled randomly?

  • Do you have irregular, raised or flat red sores that appeared after taking medicine?

  • Have bumps formed suddenly on your face or body?

  • Do you have a red, itchy, scaly and oily rash, and does it affect the areas around your eyebrows, nose or the edge of your scalp?

  • Is the person an adult?

  • Is the person a child and does the dry, scaly skin cover the head?

  • Do you have a red, scaling rash, and did it begin after contact with clothing, jewelry or perfume?

  • Do you have a red, itchy rash, and are blisters forming?

  • Are there red, swollen, tender bumps in your armpits or other areas where hair grows?

  • Do you have small red dots on your skin, or larger, bruise-like spots that appeared after taking medicine?

  • Do you have a rash that started with a single scaly, red and slightly itchy spot, and within a few days, did large numbers of smaller patches of the rash, some red and others tan, break out over your chest and abdomen?

  • Do you have an intensely itchy rash with red bumps and blisters, and does it appear on your elbows, knees, back or buttocks?

  • Do you have large, red bumps on your skin that seem to bruise, and are they tender to touch?

  • Do you have a white, scaly rash over red, irritated skin, possibly on your elbows and knees?

  • Do you have a red, blotchy rash, with “target-like” sores or hives?

  • Do you have a red rash that is raised on your forehead and face, then spreading to your neck, trunk and downward, and do you have a fever and sore throat?

  • Do you have multiple blisters on your face, chest and back, and spreading downward, along with a fever, cough, aches, tiredness and sore throat?

  • Do you have red blisters that are extremely painful and that may crust?

  • Is the person a child or an adult who had a fever and then developed a bright red rash covering the cheeks?

  • Do you have soft bumps forming that don’t itch or cause other symptoms?

  • Do you have a bald spot on your scalp or a “ring” of itchy red skin anywhere on your body?

  • Do you have a rash that is red but not itchy and does it affect the palms of your hands or soles of your feet?

  • Do you have a red, itchy rash that affects your groin area?

  • Is an area of your skin covered in light-colored patches?

  • Have crusted, tan-colored sores formed near your nose or lip?

  • Do you have bite-like sores that itch intensely, and that may have started on your hands, or between your fingers?

  • Did a fine rash start on your arms and legs and also affect the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, and have you had a fever and headache?

  • Do you have a “butterfly” rash on your forehead and cheeks and do you have achy joints?

  • Is your skin tinged yellow, and are the whites of your eyes and your mouth yellow?

  • Do you have a blue or black area on your skin, and did the discoloration occur after the area had been hit?

  • Are there scaly, pink, gray or tan patches or bumps on your face, scalp or on the backs or your hands?

  • Do you have a scar that has grown larger than expected?

  • Do you have a soft or rubbery growth?

  • Is the person a newborn and is the baby’s face covered in small, white bumps?

  • Do you have small, firm, round bumps with pits in the center that may sit on tiny stalks?

  • Do you have a bump with a white dome under your skin , perhaps on your scalp, nape of your neck or upper back?

  • Do you have a soft, fleshy growth, lump or bump, perhaps on your face, neck, armpits or groin?

  • Do you have a yellow area under your skin, perhaps near your eyelids?

  • Is there a dark bump that may have started within a mole or blemish, or, is there a spot or mole anywhere on your skin that has changed in color, size, shape or is painful or itchy?

  • Is there a fleshy, growing mass on or near your nose, eyes or other areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as your back or chest?

  • Is there an unusual growth on your face, lip or chin that is red, scaly or crusted?

  • Are there dark or black raised spots anywhere on your skin that keep growing or have appeared recently?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • Diagnosis

    This may be ACNE, a common skin problem that often begins in adolescence.


    Self Care

    See your doctor if over-the-counter acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, don’t help. Gently washing your face with mild soap on a regular basis may be helpful. Sometimes prescription medicines, such as an antibiotic, may be prescribed by your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be ROSACEA, a skin disease that affects the face.


    Self Care

    Treatment isn’t usually needed, but antibiotics may be useful for moderate to severe symptoms.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be a BOIL. A cluster of boils is called a CARBUNCLE. These occur due to infection under the skin.


    Self Care

    Gently compress the boil with a warm cloth. Use antibiotic ointments if needed. Call your doctor if the boils don’t come to a head, open and drain, or if the redness spreads.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be FOLLICULITIS, an infection of the hair follicle.


    Self Care

    Most of these will heal on their own. Clean the area. Use antibiotic ointments if needed. See your doctor if the condition worsens or doesn’t improve.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be CELLULITIS, an infection of the skin.


    Self Care

    Clean the area carefully with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment. Call your doctor if redness and pain increase.


  • Diagnosis

    These could be INSECT BITES.


    Self Care

    These aren’t usually harmful. Use hydrocortisone cream, antihistamine and ice to relieve itching. If symptoms get worse or don’t clear up, call your doctor. If new symptoms arise, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness or nausea, go to the emergency room right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be an ALLERGIC REACTION to the medicine.


    Self Care

    Call your doctor. Try an antihistamine for itching and rash.


  • Diagnosis

    These could be HIVES, a skin reaction to an allergen, medicine or infection. They can also appear in some people who are very nervous.


    Self Care

    Use an antihistamine and cool compresses for itching. If the hives don’t go away on their own or are accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling around the lips or trouble breathing, see your doctor or go to the emergency room right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be a sign of SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS, a condition in which the sebaceous glands overproduce.


    Self Care

    Try using hydrocortisone cream or selenium sulfide shampoo on the sore areas. See your doctor if the symptoms continue or spread.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be CRADLE CAP, a form of seborrhea in infants.


    Self Care

    Try gently scrubbing the scales to remove them. Hydrocortisone cream may also help. See your doctor if the rash doesn’t go away or if the hair doesn’t grow in that area.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be IRRITANT CONTACT DERMATITIS. It’s caused by a reaction to detergents, perfumes and other substances.


    Self Care

    Avoid whatever you think caused the symptoms and treat the area with hydrocortisone cream or other soothing lotions.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS, caused by POISON IVY, poison oak or poison sumac. The oil from these plants causes an ALLERGIC REACTION.


    Self Care

    Wash the area with soap and water to remove any oil that remains on the skin. The rash will go away after about a week. To relieve itching, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the rash. See your doctor if the rash covers a large area of your body, does not go away, or if new symptoms, such as fever, appear.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be HIDRADENITIS SUPPURATIVA, inflammation of the sweat glands.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Avoid using antiperspirants and deodorants.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be ALLERGIC PURPURA, a serious allergic reaction to a medicine, such as an antibiotic that can cause bleeding.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be PITYRIASIS ROSEA. The causes aren’t known.


    Self Care

    Check with your doctor. Calamine lotion and antihistamines may relieve itching and redness. The rash will probably go away in a few weeks. Pityriasis rosea doesn’t usually respond to treatment.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be DERMATITIS HERPETIFORMIS, a rash associated with a sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in cereal grains such as barley and wheat.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Antibiotics can help control symptoms. Avoid foods that contain gluten.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be ERYTHEMA NODOSUM, possibly caused by an infection or reaction to a medicine.


    Self Care

    This condition usually isn’t serious, but see your doctor to check for other diseases or causes of your symptoms.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be PSORIASIS, a condition caused by the overproduction of skin cells.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Keep the skin moisturized. Your doctor may prescribe ointments, oral medications and/or light therapy, also called phototherapy, to treat the symptoms.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be ERYTHEMA MULTIFORME, a common rash caused by strep throat, viral infections and reactions to medicines.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be MEASLES, a virus that often affects children.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away. Make sure your child gets an MMR immunization to help prevent this disease. Be sure to keep the affected person away from pregnant women, as measles can lead to birth defects.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be CHICKENPOX, a virus called varicella-zoster that most often affects children.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Treat symptoms with acetaminophen, cold medicines and anti-itching creams, cool compresses and baths. A vaccine is available to prevent this disease.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be SHINGLES, a herpes-zoster viral infection of the nerves.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and cool compresses may help.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be FIFTH DISEASE.


    Self Care

    Use cold medicines to treat symptoms. See your doctor if the rash is widespread or if you are pregnant.


  • Diagnosis

    These could be WARTS. PLANTAR WARTS appear on the feet. Warts also commonly appear on the hands. GENITAL WARTS appear in the genital area and are a type of sexually transmitted infection.


    Self Care

    For most warts, you can try over-the-counter treatments. If they don’t work, see your doctor about freezing them off. If the warts appear in the genital area, see your doctor. These warts shouldn’t be treated without your doctor’s care.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be RINGWORM, a fungal infection that’s most common in children.


    Self Care

    Treat with an antifungal cream and/or see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be SYPHILIS, a sexually transmitted infection.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be a fungal infection called JOCK ITCH in men, YEAST INFECTION in women, or DIAPER RASH in infants.


    Self Care

    Try an over-the-counter antifungal cream. If the rash doesn’t go away, see your doctor. Women with irritation inside the vagina should first see their doctor before using over-the-counter yeast infection medicines.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be TINEA VERSICOLOR, a discoloration caused by a fungus.


    Self Care

    Tinea versicolor can be treated with seleneum sulfide or an antifungal cream.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be IMPETIGO, a rash caused by a bacterial infection, such as strep or staph.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Treatment usually involves an antibiotic cream or ointment and an oral antibiotic. The condition is very contagious, so wash your hands well to avoid infecting anyone else.


  • Diagnosis

    This is a sign of SCABIES, an infestation of mites.


    Self Care

    Prescription medicine may be needed, along with washing clothing and bed coverings in hot water and detergent.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER, a disease spread by ticks.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be a symptom of LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS, a severe, arthritis-like disease.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be JAUNDICE. It’s common in newborns but can be a sign of HEPATITIS, a disease of the liver.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This is probably a BRUISE.


    Self Care

    No treatment is usually necessary. Ice may slow the bleeding and swelling under the skin.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be ACTINIC KERATOSES, a skin condition that can especially affect people with light skin who have been overexposed to the sun.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. Actinic keratoses may lead to skin cancer.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be a KELOID, an overgrown scar or HYPERTROPHIC SCAR.


    Self Care

    These are benign (non-cancerous) and may fade in time. See your doctor if you want the keloid removed, but surgery may cause more scar tissue to form. Keloids may be prevented by using a pressure dressing.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be a LIPOMA, a growth made up of fat cells.


    Self Care

    These aren’t cancerous, but have them checked by your doctor. You can have a lipoma removed if it bothers you.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be MILIA, or baby acne.


    Self Care

    This condition usually clears up after the first few weeks of life and doesn’t require treatment.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM, bumps caused by a virus.


    Self Care

    See your doctor. These bumps are contagious and most common in children and teens. Early treatment helps prevent the spread.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be a SEBACEOUS CYST, or blocked oil gland.


    Self Care

    These cysts aren’t cancerous, but have them checked by your doctor to make sure of the diagnosis. Large cysts can be removed with surgery.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be a SKIN TAG.


    Self Care

    These are harmless, but if one gets irritated, you can have it removed.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be an XANTHELASMA, a fatty deposit.


    Self Care

    If it bothers you, see your doctor about having it removed.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be a MELANOMA, a type of skin cancer.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be BASAL CELL CARCINOMA, the most common type of skin cancer.


    Self Care

    Have this checked by your doctor. This type of cancer is easily treated if caught early.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA, a type of skin cancer.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    This could be KAPOSI’S SARCOMA, a serious type of skin cancer most common in people who have AIDS or other immune deficiencies.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away.