Often perplexing and never pleasant, rashes plague literally everyone at one point or another. Fortunately for you, rashes do not occur without cause, and if you can determine the cause of a rash, you may be able to eradicate it. One of the rashes described below may be what is causing you to itch.
Atopic Dermatitis, or Eczema
A chronic condition characterized by frequent flare-ups, this skin condition may be caused by allergens, heat, medications, immune system disorders, or infections. Medicated creams, ointments, or lotions may help, but there is often an environmental factor behind the presence of eczema.
Check your soap for the following to make sure it is not causing your suffering:
- Is it scented? The cosmetics industry is highly competitive, and for this reason, most brands release products whose ingredients list includes the term “fragrance.” In order to maintain the uniqueness of their products, companies are not usually forthcoming with all of their secrets. “Fragrance” can mean any number of things, synthetic or otherwise, and it is impossible for an allergy test for “fragrance” to cover the breadth of materials used in the market. If you have a rash and allergies, look for products labeled “fragrance-free.”
- Parabens, known to cause hormone disruption, are in some soaps and not others.
- Coconut ingredients, though popular among alternative skincare communities and gaining popularity in the mainstream cosmetics market, does not agree with everyone.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate, also found in toothpaste, is used in many soaps because of its frothy quality and ability to break up oil and grease. Less pleasant is its adverse effect on the skin’s protective moisture barrier. This ingredient can be a factor in causing eczema because, without its protective layer, the skin becomes less healthy and more susceptible to other allergens. Therefore, though sodium lauryl sulfate does not directly cause eczema, it can be an indirect cause.
- Balsam of Peru, otherwise known as Myroxylon, often causes allergic reactions and should be used for only a short time.
If you suffer from eczema, these factors are important not only in soap selection, but also in the selection of other cosmetic products, deodorant, and laundry detergent. Try Seventh Generation, or if you are sensitive to that, Planet detergent.
Even if you bought your soap or other products three months ago and problems are just arising now, the soap can still be the culprit. This is because of the process of sensitization, by which the body builds up an aversion to a foreign substance over the course of sustained or repeated exposure.
From the Inside
Allergies may occur not only in response to topical stressors but also to chemicals ingested. Some reactions of this type are obvious, like hives after ingestion of shellfish by someone who is allergic. Others are less obvious, like a rash in response to the allergy/asthma medication Singulair, or a side effect of a drug. Rashes caused by drugs often manifest as a scourge of red spots that gradually merge as the condition worsens.
To overcome this sort of rash, think critically about when symptoms began, and look everywhere for a cause, rather than at only the most obvious details. It may help to keep a symptoms, food, and medication journal for a couple of weeks.
You’re Not Letting It Air Out
After a bath or shower, as silly as it may seem, do not immediately armor back up without thoroughly drying your crotch. You could be trapping bacteria down there and providing with the ideal warm, wet incubator. Compounded with the use of soaps including the ingredients listed above, this may lead to a rash. Consider switching to underwear made of breathable fabrics like cotton, wear looser, more breathable pants, and air dry when possible.
Forming blisters and bumps, contact dermatitis may arise after direct contact with cleaning products, latex, industrial chemicals, or poison ivy. Unlike eczema, the causes of contact dermatitis tend to be substances with which human bodies in general, rather than individuals, struggle. This rash also arises more immediately than atopic dermatitis/eczema.
Though the name suggests the infection is caused by a worm, it is fungal. Occurring in various locations throughout the body, the infection first becomes visible as red patches that gradually spread.
Developing slowly over the course of weeks, lichen planus is inflammatory and manifests as smooth but itchy red or purple bumps. Usually itchy, the bumps most often appear on the genitals, wrists, and ankles, or forearms. White bumps may also appear inside the mouth, and the nails may become brittle.
A chronic condition that causes part of the face to turn red, flare-ups can be triggered by stress, bacterial infection, exposure to sunlight, spicy food, or alcohol. There are several different subtypes of rosacea, but they share in common skin sensitivity and dryness, red skin on the face, and red bumps.
Millaria (Heat Rash)
Do you live in a hot climate and wear multiple layers? If your sweat glands are backed up or obstructed, and you are sporting a red rash with blisters, you may have millaria, or “sweat rash.”
A disease that strikes some adults even after their kindergarten vaccination and has nothing to do with chickens, chicken pox is characterized by scattered, itchy, mosquito bite-like bumps. Rash symptoms occur along with fever, body aches, and sore throat. Highly contagious, it is important to keep chicken pox away from those who may become infected. The good news for those who contract the chicken pox in adulthood is that childhood vaccination makes adult cases less severe.
Bites from different insects present differently, but flea bites are distinctive because they are surrounded by what may be described as a halo.
Causes unknown, psoriasis is caused by overactivity in the immune system that leads to overproduction of new skin cells. As skin cells are replaced rapidly, however, the body cannot shed skin in pace with its creation, and the overabundance of skin cells are pushed together on the surface to form plaques, or itchy, red, flaking patches.