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7 Types of Skin Rashes and What They Look Like

A rash is an area of swollen or irritated skin on the body. Rashes are normally painful, itchy, and can appear differently depending on skin tone. While they’re usually described as red, they may appear white, grey, or purple on darker skin tones.


    Skin conditions can be difficult to identify. Skin rashes may need to be treated in a particular way. This means if you don’t know what type you have, you could be making it worse. Here are some of the most common types of skin rashes, their symptoms and triggers, and what they look like.


    Rosacea is a long-term skin disease that goes through constant cycles of fading and relapses. A relapse can be triggered by all sorts of things. These include alcoholic drinks, spicy foods, and stress. The four subtypes of skin disease encompass a wide selection of symptoms. Some of these include raised red bumps, facial flushing, skin dryness, and facial redness. On darker skin tones, rosacea may appear as yellow or brownish bumps on the skin. The rash can have a dusky colouration too. Regarding treatment, your GP may prescribe creams or gels that can be put on your skin.

    Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that’s triggered by contact with a certain substance. This can cause an allergic reaction accompanied by a rash and fluid-filled blisters. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis. The first of these is irritant. This is more common and happens when the skin reacts to a chemical like a detergent or perfume. The other is allergic contact dermatitis. This is caused by a reaction to a substance. Common triggers that can cause contact dermatitis include hair dye, nail polish, and skin-care products.

    Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease. This can display a wide selection of symptoms and affects many body organs and systems. One common symptom of the disease is a butterfly-shaped face rash that crosses from cheek to cheek. The rash can appear bright red on light skin tones, whereas on darker skin tones, it may appear brown or red. You can read more information on Lupus and contact your GP for an official diagnosis.


    Shingles are a painful rash that can tingle, burn, or itch, regardless of whether there are blisters present. You may experience fluid-filled blisters that easily break and weep fluid. A shingles rash can emerge in a band-like pattern. This is normally present on the torso. However, it can appear on other areas of the body, such as the face. Some side effects that you may get from a shingles rash include headaches, fatigue, and chills.


    Cellulitis is caused by fungi or bacteria entering through a cut or crack in the skin. The rash tends to be pink or red and may not be as obvious to the eye on darker skin tones. Cellulitis can appear grey, purple, or brown too. You may have swollen, painful skin that oozes and spreads quickly. If your skin feels hot and tender, this could be a sign of a serious infection. Cellulitis is considered a medical emergency, so don’t delay in seeking help if you have these symptoms.


    Common symptoms of measles include a sore throat, fever, and red watery eyes. Depending on what skin tone you have, the rash could appear red or skin-coloured. The rash may appear darker than your natural skin colour too. Measles can spread from your face down the body between 3 and 5 days after your first symptoms present. There are no specific treatments for a measles infection once it takes hold. However, some treatments can provide comfort and relieve symptoms, such as resting and taking fever reducers. You may be prescribed antibiotics too which can help in clearing the infection.


    Hives are regarded as a mysterious and sometimes random skin condition. Some of the triggers for getting a rash include eating foods like eggs, nuts, and peanuts, as well as extreme heat or cold. Hives is an itchy, raised rash that can be incredibly itchy. It can look red. However, hives may not be as noticeable on black and brown skin. Hives can normally be treated with antihistamines which you can get from your local pharmacy. If you find these do not work, it’s best to see your GP. They can prescribe steroids as an alternative option.

    If you believe you have any of the skin rashes listed above, it’s time to see your GP. The sooner you make an appointment, the better. This is because you may not be using the right treatments on the rash, which could be making the symptoms worse. When you get your rash looked over by a medical professional, they can offer the right treatment to clear it up and relieve any pain or discomfort you are in.