The pityriasis rosea main symptoms are a dry skin rash that is scaly in texture and reddish-pink in color. The skin discoloration can range from faint pink to deep red depending on the individual and their skin pigmentation. When this skin rash first becomes evident, one oval spot up to three inches in size becomes visible on the skin. More spots then appear within a few days or even weeks after the first skin rash spot appeared. The affected skin areas can be very itchy for some people, while for others the skin itch may be mild or not present at all. The back and stomach are usually the target skin areas for pityriasis rosea. In some cases the upper thighs, upper arms, or neck region may be affected. Some have described the skin rash shape as a Christmas tree when it occurs on the back. A feeling that the individual has the common cold or a viral upper respiratory track infection often precedes the pityriasis skin rash.
The cause of this skin rash is generally considered to be unknown. Most physicians believe it is a type of viral skin rash. Recent medical studies point to a virus in the herpes family as possibly being responsible. Others believe the cause might be bacterial. It is even thought that some types of medications can cause this skin rash, but this for the most part is just speculation.
The treatment options are limited. Patience is probably the best treatment. The skin rash usually subsides in a couple of months on its own. The medication prescribed for this skin problem is anti-itch medication such as antihistamines or steroidal creams to help relieve the discomfort of the itchy skin. In addition, proper dry skin care procedures should be followed, such as using an appropriate moisturizer and avoiding factors which cause or irritate dry skin.
If the pityriasis rash persists (most say for longer than a three month period), then consultation with a physician is advised at which point oral steroidal medication or phototherapy may be prescribed. Once the pityriasis heals, there is generally a full restoration of normal skin pigmentation. For darker skinned individuals, skin discoloration may persist for several months longer.
Diagnosis of pityriasis rosea can at times be difficult because other skin rashes are similar. Examples are: psoriasis, eczema, ringworm rash, tinea versicolor rash, antibiotic rash, and syphilis or STD rash.
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