Itchy rashes are the bane of many people worldwide, and are part of what keeps dermatologists in practice year after year. Itchy rashes can take a number of forms and can have a wide variety of causes. Some rashes are easily treatable with over-the-counter remedies, but others require a doctor’s attention and prescription medication to treat. Some rashes will resolve on their own without any medical intervention, but it may be desirable to treat the rash not so much to clear it up, but to provide relief for the symptoms of itching and burning that may accompany the rash.
One of the chief causes of itchy rashes are topical allergies and reactions to surfaces, items, or compounds your skin has come into contact with. Persons with sensitive skin, especially children, can develop a rash after contact with particular soaps or laundry detergents, or beauty products such as lotions and creams. Insect bites or exposure to certain natural chemicals, like the urushiol found in the crushed leaves and stems of poison ivy, can also cause an itchy rash. Usually rashes from insect bites or poison ivy are raised rashes, with small itchy bumps, and while sometimes these rashes will resolve on their own without medical treatment, some people are so sensitive that a doctor will prescribe steroids or steroid creams to hasten the healing process and reduce the symptoms of the rash.
Some rashes are not the result of the skin coming into contact with anything, but as a result of an internal allergic reaction that manifests on the skin. Even stress can cause a person to break out into itchy hives! Rashes can also be caused by diseases, such as chicken pox.
Most rashes are red and will present with itching and burning. Some rashes are flush to the skin, while others comprise small itchy bumps. A rash can present with welts rather than bumps, which tend to be larger and flatter than the small bumps associated with itchy rashes.
It is rarely a good idea to scratch an itchy rash, as that can further inflame the skin and actually damage the skin around the rash to let in bacteria that will compromise the affected area. Hydrocortisone creams and similar over-the-counter products can provide relief for itching, though if the itching is too great, you may want to consult a doctor for prescription-strength relief. Sometimes home remedies like colloidal oatmeal can provide relief for an itchy rash.