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Pityriasis Rosea: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

Dr. Sandesh Gupta 92% (5137 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Delhi  •  23 years experience
Pityriasis Rosea: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

Pityriasis Rosea is a common skin problem which causes a rash. Although, it can occur at any age, it is most often seen in those between the age  of 10 to 35. It is usually harmless and a pretty common condition. It is also worth noting that Pityriasis Rosea does not spread from person to person.

Causes: The exact cause of Pityriasis Rosea has not been identified yet. Some doctors claim that it is caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus while others claim that it is caused by an allergic reaction.

Symptoms: There are a fair number of warning signs of the Pityriasis Rosea rash. The symptoms may differ depending on the patient's general health condition, the climate condition, and the season.

  1. Size and appearance at first: When the rash first appears, it has a raised border. Basically, it is a pink patch which can be single, round, or oval in shape. 2 cm to 10 cm is the usual range when it comes to the size of the patch.
  2. Few days or weeks later: After a few days, 1cm to 2cm patches appear on the abdomen, back, chest, legs and arms area. They sometimes spread to the neck, but rarely to the face.
  3. Back patches: The patches on the back are slightly different from the rest. They tend to be angled and look somewhat like a Christmas tree. Sometimes it is itchy, but it goes away within 6 to 8 weeks.

Treatment: Pityriasis Rosea goes away without treatment. It usually lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. However, in order to relieve itching at home:

  1. Apply anti-allergic powder.
  2. Avoid taking hot showers. Keep the water as cool as possible while taking the bath.
  3. Eat a lot of oatmeal and try bath products which have oatmeal in them.
  4. Hydrocortisone cream is very good for the itchy areas on your body. However, do not use these on the face or pubic areas.
  5. Use antihistamines, but, for children, you must check with the doctor first.
  6. Apply moisturizer regularly.
  7. Use gentle soaps and avoid deodorant soaps as these worsen the rash and the itching.
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