About Skin Rashes
What are Skin Rashes?
“Skin rashes” is a general term that describes a group of spots, an area of inflammation, or changes in the colour or texture of the skin.
Skin rashes may be associated with itching, tingling, burning, pain, swelling, or no discomfort at all. They may or may not be contagious. Some rashes affect the whole body (generalized); others appear on discrete areas of the skin (localized) and can be short-lived, recurrent or chronic.
Who Gets Skin Rashes?
Almost everyone, at some point in their lives, will encounter skin rashes. Diaper rash and cradle cap (infants), ringworm and chicken pox (children), acne and athlete’s foot (teens), psoriasis and rosacea (adults), shingles and scabies (seniors) are just some of the rashes associated with different stages of life, however many do not discriminate by age.
What Causes Skin Rashes?
Infections: Bacteria, viruses and fungi are common causes of rashes.
Infestations: Some rashes are caused by tiny parasites like lice and mites.
Irritants and Allergies: Insect bites or stings, plants like poison ivy, certain foods, abrasion, heat or sun exposure, chemical pollutants, medications, chemicals found in household cleaners, cosmetics, an overly dry environment—this is just a sampling of possible causes of rashes.
Systemic Illnesses: Skin rashes may be one of the symptoms of a primary disease like rheumatic fever, Lupus or Lyme disease.
But the precise cause of many rashes, like psoriasis and eczema, is still unknown. Stress, hormonal changes, genetic predisposition, and autoimmune problems are among the factors thought to be associated with some skin rashes.
Diagnosing Skin Rashes
There are hundreds of different types of rashes. To the untrained eye, many look very similar to one another. Even dermatologists, trained to distinguish between skin rashes, may need to order tests to confirm a particular diagnosis.
Many are short-lived and relatively minor however some skin rashes are highly contagious. They can also be the early signs of a number of serious, even life-threatening, diseases, among them, meningitis, Lyme disease, typhoid fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Play it safe. Don’t self-diagnose. See your family doctor or dermatologist if skin rashes enter your life, especially if you have other symptoms, like fever, swollen lymph nodes, infection, headache, shortness of breath, sensitivity to light, a stiff neck, or achy joints.
Skin Rashes and Skin Care
Good skin care can accelerate healing and reduce the discomfort of skin rashes. It can also decrease the risk of secondary infection or scarring. Check with your doctor to ensure that the following skin-care tips are suitable for your particular skin rash:
- Use a mild soap, or just water, to clean the affected area.
- When bathing, use warm, not hot, water. (Very hot water will dry out your skin.)
- Don’t scrub your skin. Ideally, use your hands, not a wash cloth, to apply soap.
- Take showers or quick baths. (Long soaks dehydrate your skin.)
- Dry your skin gently, by patting, not rubbing, which can remove important natural oils.
- Keep your skin well-moisturized throughout the day but avoid moisturizers that clog the pores or are highly perfumed. Best time to apply a moisturizer: immediately after patting dry.
- Wear natural fibers, like cotton, that allow air to circulate over affected areas.
- Apply cool or lukewarm compresses to itchy or sore areas.
- Avoid or minimize exposure to potential irritants, like harsh household cleaning products.
- Humidify the air in your home if you have dry skin, especially in the winter months.
- Preventing Skin Rashes
Keeping your skin healthy is the first line of defense against skin rashes, and doesn’t have to be complicated: Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, keep your skin clean and well-moisturized, and protect it from the elements (especially sun and wind). Most of all, be gentle with your skin. It’s designed to be with you for a very long time.
Emu Oil and Skin Rashes
Emu oil has been used for thousands of years by Australian aboriginals to treat a variety of skin conditions. It is an excellent component of good skin care, whether prevention, symptom relief or accelerated healing of skin rashes is the goal.
Emu oil contains natural anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and bacteriostatic agents, which promote faster healing and help prevent scarring. As a moisturizer, it penetrates deep into the skin, without leaving a greasy film, and is non-comedogenic (won’t clog the pores).