Chronic Itchy Skin Rashes in Adults
There are many types of skin rashes. A rash is an outbreak of many red bumps or patches on the skin. Many conditions can cause an itchy rash. In adults, several types of skin inflammation, various allergic reactions (contact dermatitis), and sometimes infection with a mite can cause a longstanding itchy skin rash.
Determining whether the condition is chronic, generally lasting more than 1-2 weeks, or recurrent, coming and going several times over weeks to months, helps to narrow the number of possible causes for the rash. The location and the extent of the skin rash on the body can also help determine a cause. Limited areas of involvement are typical of irritant or allergic contact dermatides, as well as a form of skin inflammation called lichen simplex chronicus. A rash in body folds is often due to intertrigo or a fungal infection. Eczema (atopic dermatitis), dry skin (xerosis), and psoriasis may involve either limited or extensive areas of skin covering the entire body.
Infections of the scalp include bacterial infection of hair follicles (folliculitis), infestation of head lice (pediculosis capitis), and fungal infection of scalp ringworm (tinea capitis). Itching and excessive flaking of the scalp is seen with both dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) and psoriasis.
Click any of the skin rash pictures below to help identify a specific health concern.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction (the reaction to the allergen occurs 48–72 hours after exposure). The most common allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis…
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis is an inflammatory rash caused by direct chemical injury to the skin. Unlike allergic contact dermatitis, which appears 48–72 hours after exposure to an allergen, the symptoms…
Psoriasis is a noncontagious, lifelong skin condition that affects about 2–3% of the population of the United States. People with psoriasis have thickened, red, and often scaly patches on their skin.
Lichen Simplex Chronicus
Lichen simplex chronicus (LSC), also known as neurodermatitis circumscripta, is an itchy skin condition causing thickened skin at the areas of skin injured by repeated scratching and rubbing. Lichen simplex…
Scabies is an infestation of the skin caused by a tiny mite called Sarcoptes scabiei
. Scabies is very contagious and spreads rapidly in crowded areas such as hospitals, nursing…
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a disorder is associated with dry skin, which begins with intense itching that is aggravated by scratching. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, and there is no known cure.
Intertrigo is irritation of touching skin surfaces in body fold regions (armpits, under the breasts, belly, buttocks, groin, and sometimes between fingers or toes). Intertrigo can be worsened by any conditions…
Hives (urticaria), also known as welts, is a common skin condition with an itchy rash of pink to red bumps that appear and disappear anywhere on the body. An individual lesion of hives typically lasts a few hours…
Dry Skin (Xerosis)
Dry skin (xerosis) is a condition of rough, dry skin with fine scaling of skin and, occasionally, with small cracks in the skin. Dry skin is also known as winter itch or asteatosis.