Pityriasis rosea — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes and treatment of this common skin condition.
Pityriasis rosea is a rash that usually begins as a large circular or oval spot on your chest, abdomen or back. Called a herald patch, this spot can be up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.
The herald patch is typically followed by smaller spots that sweep out from the middle of your body in a shape that resembles drooping pine-tree branches.
Pityriasis (pit-ih-RIE-uh-sis) rosea can affect any age group. It most commonly occurs between the ages of 10 and 35. It usually goes away on its own within 10 weeks. Pityriasis rosea can cause itching. Treatment may help relieve the symptoms.
Pityriasis rosea typically begins with a large, slightly raised, scaly patch — called the herald patch — on your back, chest or abdomen. Before the herald patch appears, some people experience headache, fatigue, fever or sore throat.
A few days to a few weeks after the herald patch appears, you may notice smaller scaly spots across your back, chest or abdomen that resemble a pine-tree pattern. The rash can cause itching, which is occasionally severe.
See your doctor if you develop a persistent rash.
The exact cause of pityriasis rosea is unclear. Some evidence indicates the rash may be triggered by a viral infection, particularly by certain strains of the herpes virus. But it's not related to the herpes virus that causes cold sores. Pityriasis rosea isn't believed to be contagious.
Complications of pityriasis rosea aren't likely. If they do occur, they may include:
In most cases, your doctor can identify pityriasis rosea simply by looking at the rash. He or she may take a small scraping of the rash for testing, as this condition can sometimes be confused with ringworm (tinea corporis).
In most cases, pityriasis rosea goes away on its own in four to 10 weeks. If the rash doesn't disappear by then or if the itching is bothersome, talk with your doctor about treatments that can help. The condition clears up without scarring and usually doesn't recur.
If home remedies don't ease symptoms or shorten the duration of pityriasis rosea, your doctor may prescribe medicine. Examples include:
Exposure to natural or artificial sunlight may help the rash fade. Light therapy may cause lasting darkening in certain spots, even after the rash clears.
The following tips may help relieve the discomfort of pityriasis rosea:
You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
For pityriasis rosea, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about your symptoms and possible causes. Questions to expect include:
August 5th, 2020