Sometimes a red rash or red skin could mean a more serious condition or sometimes it’s just a simple rash from an allergic reaction that will go away as quickly as it appeared. Unfortunately, there’s no one explanation for why rashes form or spread. Regardless of how it looks, your skin is telling you in the form of rashes and other skin conditions that something is going on.

Skin rashes caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal sources are common complaints to dermatologists, emergency departments, and primary care physicians. Although many symptoms overlap, there are uniquely identifiable factors for each disease can help aid in diagnosis and treatment.

The sooner you get rid of your rash the better you’ll feel. Contact your dermatologist if:

– You’re experiencing pain or the rash is painful
– Over the counter drugs aren’t helping
– 2 days have passed since the onset
– Your rash is spreading
– You see oozing, or it’s otherwise puffy or inflamed
– Blisters are developing
– It’s generally interfering with your life

If you’re experiencing a rash and would like to be seen by a provider, please contact Spectrum Dermatology to book an appointment.

Common Rashes

Poison Ivy Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

The vast majority of people are highly allergic to poison ivy, oak, and sumac and the active “ingredient” called urushiol. Coming into contact with urushiol is easy as it sticks to shoes, clothing, pets, and more. But don’t worry, your pets won’t be harmed. Only humans experience symptoms including rash, blisters, ulcers, and may be painful to the touch. Finding poison ivy, oak or sumac is easy in the United States, where it grows virtually everywhere except for Alaska, Hawaii, and some desert areas of the southwest.

Shingles Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Once an episode of chickenpox has resolved, the virus is not eliminated from the body but can go on to cause shingles. Also referred to as Herpes Zoster, shingles may live in the nervous system for years. This type of viral infection is characterized by a red rash that lasts for 7-10 days with a burning sensation that can go on for weeks. It usually appears as a strip of blisters on one side of the body such as the abdomen, knee, or neck.

Swimmers Itch Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Swimmer’s Itch

Swimmer’s itch is a burning or itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to a waterborne parasite that burrows into the top layer of skin. The rash usually produces tiny blisters or bumps. Because it is an allergic reaction, repeated exposure to water that is infected can increase sensitivity resulting in worse symptoms with each exposure.

Herpes Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Herpes Simplex

Herpes is a viral disease caused by both herpes virus type 1 and type 2. An infection with the herpes virus is categorized based on the location of the infection. Specifically, oral herpes (HSV-1) are essentially fever blisters which infects the mouth area and is the most common form of the virus. Genital herpes (often referred to simply as herpes or HSV-2) is the second most common type of symptoms including blisters, mucous membranes of the mouth, lips or genitals that tingle or are itchy and painful. Reoccurrences are very common.

Psoriasis Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Rosacea is a common condition that usually starts with a faint blush or redness on the face and continues to develop. Over time, the redness becomes more visible and more persistent. Acne-like pimples also can develop. Sunlight, alcohol, spicy foods, stressful situations can exacerbate the condition. Unless it affects the eyes, it is typically a harmless condition but can be cosmetically and psychologically distressing. It has a peak age of onset between 30 and 60. Learn more about rosacea.

Eczema Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Eczema is an extremely common skin condition that affects 20 percent of the population with itchy, sensitive skin that can be extremely aggravating. Eczema is most common in childhood but can persist into adulthood or even newly arise in adulthood. Also known as Atopic Dermatitis, Eczema is a chronic condition that requires daily care and affects pigmentation of the skin making it appear lighter or darker, as well as itchy and red. Eczema tends to run in families. Learn more about Eczema.

Athlete's Foot Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin that causes flaking, itchiness, and scaling of the area. It is not limited to athlete’s as the name suggests. Rather, it’s transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or bathhouses. Blisters may form, as well as cracked skin, leading to exposed raw tissue, inflammation, and pain. Additionally, a bacterial infection may be present in addition to the fungal infection.

Hives Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Hives are itchy welts or bumps that are raised on the skin. They are usually a reddish color, and sometimes they are painful to the touch. Also known as urticaria, hives are caused by both allergic causes and non-allergic sources. Allergic reactions generally last less than six weeks. However, when hives are chronic, they last longer than six weeks, are rarely due to an allergy.

Contact Dermatitis Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Contact Dermatitis

Perhaps you have purchased a new skincare product, detergent, or something else that touches your skin and you become red and inflamed. If so, you may have experienced contact dermatitis. This is the most common type of dermatitis is an allergic reaction which results in inflammation from contact with acids, alkaline in soaps and detergents, solvents, or other chemicals. This reaction usually resembles a burn, and may eventually peel or scale over time. The allergic reaction is often delayed, with the rash appearing 24 – 48 hours after exposure.

Heat Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Heat Rash

Many parts of the country experience season moisture and temper increases which are chief reasons why hair follicles get easily clogged and small zit-like bumps may appear on the back and chest. Then the flow of sweat is obstructed causing the rash to appear. In more severe situations, these heat rashes can develop into deep, painful breaks. Heat rashes usually aren’t serious and will resolve on their own.

Scabies Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Scabies is a skin infestation caused by a microscopic mite that can live on your skin for months. The mites reproduce on the surface of your skin and continue to multiply by burrowing in and laying eggs. Scabies is a highly contagious condition that can be passed easily from one person to another – especially in children. Symptoms of scabies include rash, itching, blisters, and other pimple-like bites. You’re likely to find scabies in the webs of fingers and toes, elbows, armpits, feet, waist area, genitals, buttocks, and other moist areas. In children, scabies may infect the head, feet, neck, hands, and soles of feet.

Folliculitis Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Folliculitis is usually caused by staph bacteria or fungi which result in small crusty bumps to form on your skin. You can also contract them through contact with contaminated personal items, such as towels, soap, or clothing used by someone with an infection. These bumps can be red, white, or yellow in color and may also include a fever, spreading, or pus-filled bumps with a foul odor.

Psoriasis Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that appears on the skin that most commonly appears as thick scaly areas located on the scalp, elbows, knees, and buttocks. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells and ranges from mild to severe. In contrast to eczema, psoriasis is more likely to be found on the outer side of the joint. Learn about psoriasis.

Lichen Planus Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Lichen planus

Lichen planus is a rash on the skin that is triggered by then body’s own immune system. It’s a relatively common inflammatory disease that is found in the skin and mouth and presents itself with lesions or other purple/red scaly bumps. There may be several contributing factors including allergies, stress, genetics, a viral infection, and more. While it may be uncomfortable, in most cases lichen planus is not a serious condition. It is also not contagious.

Jock Itch Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ

Jock Itch

Tinea cruris, most commonly known as jock itch or ringworm of the groin, is a fungal infection that is found in the groin area. These microscopic fungi naturally live on the skin as well as on the hair and nails. They’re typically harmless, but they can multiply quickly and cause infections when they’re allowed to thrive in warm, moist areas. Jock itch is most common in men and adolescent boys. Symptoms include blisters, oozing, redness, swelling, darker or lighter skin, and raised patches.

Vitiligo Rash | Spectrum Dermatology Scottsdale, AZ


Vitiligo is a disorder in which patches of skin lose pigment and become white. It is an auto-immune disorder in which melanocytes, the cells in the body which produce pigment, are destroyed. Most people tend to have localized patches in areas such as the hands and arms. Symptoms usually begin between ages 10 years and age 30 years, and may include, whitening or graying of hair, loss of skin color inside the mouth, loss of eye color, and depigmentation of patches of skin. Learn about vitiligo.

Contact Spectrum Dermatology

Spectrum Dermatology provides expertise, knowledge and passion to medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Our experience and reputation make Spectrum Dermatology one of the most sought-after dermatologist in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. For more information or to set up an appointment please contact us at (480) 948-8400.

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