3 Types of Rashes and How They Develop

Jun 12, 2023
3 Types of Rashes and How They Develop
Having a rash can be uncomfortable and concerning but understanding how it develops can help put your mind at ease. Read more to learn about three types of rashes and what causes them.

We've all experienced the discomfort of a rash at some point in our lives. Whether it's the persistent itch, the unsightly appearance, or the sheer frustration of not knowing how to treat it, rashes can be a real nuisance. That's why understanding rashes and their causes is crucial for finding effective treatment and relief. 

At Anchorage Dermatology & Cosmetics, skin experts Courtney Bagayoko, MD, FAAD, Roy E. Howard, PA-C, and our team in Anchorage, Alaska, can evaluate your rash, determine what caused it, and find the right treatment plan to help you recover. 

In the meantime, we familiarize you with rashes, their origins, and the most prevalent types. 

What is considered a rash? 

A rash is a visible change in the texture or color of your skin that often occurs in response to an underlying condition, infection, or irritant.

Rashes often manifest as inflamed, itchy, swollen, and irritated skin, resembling pimples or sores. While some rashes may appear suddenly, others may have a slower onset, gradually developing over time.

The good news is that many factors can help you determine the proper diagnosis and treatment for your rash symptoms. From location on the body to color and appearance, understanding the different types of rashes can significantly ease your discomfort. 

Three common types of rashes 

Each rash is unique, with symptoms that can arise from various causes such as allergic reactions, chronic conditions, or spontaneous appearances. 

Our team of experts specializes in treating a wide range of rashes, including these three common types: 

Contact dermatitis 

Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs when the skin is in direct contact with an irritant or allergen. Common ones include soaps, detergents, cosmetics, certain metals, and plants, such as poison ivy or oak. 

This rash is usually itchy, red and may have small bumps or blisters. Avoiding the irritant and using over-the-counter corticosteroid creams can help alleviate symptoms.


Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. What often starts in childhood may persist into adulthood, and the exact cause is unknown. However, the cause of eczema typically involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Triggers can include certain foods, allergens, harsh soaps, stress, and climate changes. Treatment typically involves moisturizing the skin, avoiding triggers, using corticosteroid creams, and in severe cases, oral medications.


Urticaria, commonly known as hives, is a rash characterized by itchy, raised, and swollen welts on the skin. Various factors can trigger hives, including allergic reactions, medications, insect bites, infections, and physical stimuli like pressure, heat, or cold. 

Most cases of hives are acute and resolve within a few days or weeks. Antihistamines usually relieve symptoms, and identifying and avoiding triggers is critical to prevent a recurrence.

How are rashes treated?

Treatment approaches for rashes vary depending on the underlying cause and the type of rash. At Anchorage Dermatology & Cosmetics, Dr. Bagayoko and our team rely on their expertise and diagnostic tests to determine what triggered your symptoms. From there, we develop an individualized care plan for your specific needs. 

Here are some treatment solutions: 

  • Topical hydrocortisone
  • Moisturizers
  • Oatmeal beats
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy
  • Retinoids 
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Lifestyle modifications 

Alongside in-office treatments, you can take steps at home to alleviate symptoms and soothe your skin. Our dedicated team is committed to your well-being and ensures you receive the appropriate therapies for your rash.

For further guidance on managing rashes, contact us at 907-865-8455 or use our online booking tool to request an appointment today.