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Common Skin Problem: Pityriasis Rosea

Skin rashes are no fun. They're itchy, irritating, and can be embarrassing. They can appear out of the blue, and you haven't the slightest clue what caused it. One such rash is known as pityriasis rosea. It occurs mostly in the Spring and Fall, so many people may be noticing it on their bodies now. This rash usually lasts for only couple of weeks, but for the unlucky few, it can last as long as three months. You'll usually see one large patch known as the herald or mother patch on the chest or back. Then within a week, smaller pink patches begin to appear on the arms, belly, legs, and neck. The patches are oval shaped, and have a distinct border.

This rash is believed to be caused by some kind of virus, but isn't contagious (phew). If you go to the doctor or dermatologist, she can diagnosis pityriasis rosea just by looking at your rash, but she may take a skin biopsy just to be sure.

An unorthodox remedy can help clear up this skin rash. To find out what it is


Gentle bathing, taking antihistamines, and applying a topical hydrocortisone cream can help deal with the itchiness, but they won't make the rash go away. I would never support UV sun exposure, but apparently moderate time in the sun or indoor tanning can make the lesions disappear more quickly. Though DrSugar warns that while sun exposure can be helpful, watch out for sunburns: they can make the situation worse and most cases will resolve spontaneously without treatment.

The good news is that once you get pityriasis rosea, recurrence is unusual.

Have any of you ever had this rash before?


Join The Conversation
Nikki15183558 Nikki15183558 3 years
I'm not one for tanning either, but I swear it cured PR for me (and quickly!). Unfortunately I did have to burn a little to really kick the "treatment" into action but then the spots disappeared really quickly. I was even able to go to my friend's wedding without itching the whole time. Here's a blog about how I did the tanning thing if anyone is thinking of trying that method - I also found that most tanning salons will give new customers a session or two free, so I hardly paid for my "cure"! :)
livs- livs- 5 years
i am currently going through my 3rd cycle of PR, started last christmas and went away after 3 months, then came back mid july and stayed until september and now is back again. my doctor has given me anti fungel gels and creams which dont help at all, i cant wear low cut tops or dresses as its all over my thighs and torso. i also had to quit my swimming team as i have been dubbed as a disease ridden mess as chlorine brings out the redness. im not one for tanning or a usual sunbed user buti'm going to try sunbeds as im desperate! i've been told its uncommon to have this more than once so if anyone has any tips, please get in touch! :(
1234jmarties 1234jmarties 6 years
i read up on this and it said it effects young age to about 35 i am 49 and have it i noticed a weird looking rash this past winter on my stomach thought it was dry skin stayed in one area. took awhile to go away. but now i have the rash again full blown from my nect to my thighs. i just can't believe that there is nothing out there for this. i was giving a prescription for some pills but all they are suppose to do is stop the itching side effects to them very groggy and dry mouth don't know what's worse the rash or the side effects from the pills. does anyone who has or had this taken anything to control the itching or speed up the healing of this rash
mnievera mnievera 8 years
I have had this for nearly 3 weeks and I'm waiting for it to subside. It's mostly on my arms, shoulders, upper back, and neck. Not a great sight. It's embarrassing. I have darker skin, so the rash raises into bumps--whenever it feels like it! It looks like it's itchy or that it hurts, but often it's neither. It's just there, and I think that's what bugs me most. It flares up at night (from the warmth of my sheets, I think). Oddly, feeling the sun on my skin does make it feel better. I just don't stay out for too long. I was prescribed 4 Fluconazole tablets from a doctor at the student health clinic, which I had to take only once. No results as of yet. I apply anti-itch cream to soothe, and Eucerin to keep my skin soft. The bumps remain, though. I see a dermatologist for further examination this week and hope to share better remedies to make it go away! I'm tired of looking like a creepy creature. :(
angel2007 angel2007 8 years
i have this right now!!!its crazy! first i didnt want to tell anyone i was freaking out! i thought that it was some disease that would end up taking over my whole body! lol then i decided to tell my mom she was shocked and told me to go to the right away, so i did..he told me the name of this skin problem Pytiriasis Rosea and said there was nothing he could give me to cure it he only said it would go away by it self SO .. im still waiting... not cool hope it doesnt take long :(
anon321 anon321 8 years
I had this happen about 2 months ago. It was all over my stomach and chest. I couldn't wear low cut shirts for a couple weeks.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
wow - i didn't realize how common this is. i have never had it (knock on wood) and i don't think that i've known anyone who had it - but i think that it's really helpful to know these tips and what to look out for.
girlgreen girlgreen 8 years
i have this right now!!!! it doesn''t look that bad, but i've already had it for about 2 months...
graylen graylen 8 years
I had this over Christmas break one year in college. I was an RA and I wasn't allowed back until it cleared up. It just looked so gross.
eneriyma eneriyma 8 years
I've had it several times. The second time I was in college and the doctor at the school clinic insisted I had RINGWORM and asked if I was dating a wrestler. I had to argue with him, it was so embarrassing and I ended up going to see an actual dermatologist. I was told it was uncommon and that most people only get it once, so I was surprised to see this entry!
kikidawn kikidawn 8 years
I have had something off and on that looks similar to that, but the one I have is fungal and my dr told me to put athlete's foot cream on it. That clears it up. I also have this really annoying rash that is like very tiny pimples all over my upper arms :( not attractive. I have prescribed lotion for it but it doesn't seem to go away. Ek mentioning all this makes me sound like an unclean person ... I promise I'm not! lol
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