Updated January 30, 2023
Immune, Allergy & Infection Program
While many sources define rash as having a red or pink color, it is possible to have a brownish color (melasma) or a whitish-scaly look without being red or pink. Rash certainly involves the skin. Rash can be flat or raised, confluent (continuous) or patchy, localized or diffuse, itchy or burny or neither, episodic or chronic, environmental (hot or cold induced) and many other features. Certain rashes are given clinical names, including acne, dandruff, eczema, hives (urticaria), psoriasis and vitiligo. Other descriptions include maculo-papular, butterfly, bulls eye and others.
Rash is not the same as a skin lesion, such as a wound, ulcer, scar or keloid. However a rash can become a wound, ulcer or scar, especially with scratching or picking during the day or while sleeping.
The cause(s) of rash can external, via touch or exposure such as a contact “dermatitis” (inflammation of the skin) and sunburn. Internal causes of rash include allergy, toxicity, infection and cancer. Many people have both.
While rashes can become intolerable, especially if associated with itch or heat, they are easy to monitor unlike many other conditions that require lab testing. Since rash is often a manifestation of something underlying, as rash becomes responsive to various holistic interventions, other associated conditions may also improve.