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Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis Rosea is a skin condition that has a distinctive spotty rash that appears to sweep out over your body, but it is not contagious or harmful. It usually appears between the ages of ten and thirty. Many times, people misunderstand pityriasis rosea with other skin conditions (especially in the early stages) because dermatologists may often suspect other skin conditions to be the cause of this rash like eczema, folliculitis, and psoriasis. In most cases, a person gets pityriasis rosea in the spring and fall.


There are three stages of pityriasis rosea which are:

  • Stage 1 – this is considered the elementary stage where your skin surface does not have any significant symptoms but is itchy.
  • Stage 2 – in this stage you will start to feel excessively itchy especially if you are under stress or have just been exercising. At this stage, your dermatologist may think it is an eczema attack or a developing rash because your skin will become dry due to a change in the weather.
  • Stage 3 – this is when the rash has really begun to take over your body.

What are the Symptoms of Pityriasis Rosea?


When the rash first appears they are usually scaly and wrinkled with crisp edges and appear reddish. The symptoms that associate with pityriasis rosea depends on the stage.

  • Stage 1: the first symptom at this stage are skin bumps that are in a distributed or collective manner. At first, you might think that they are insect or mosquito bites.
  • Stage 2: in this stage, your skin will slowly become dry, rough, and scaly and you may also have white patches. These white patches will give your skin “the look” that you usually see during the winter time.
  • Stage 3: this is when you will start to develop spot like patches on your arms and legs and around your stomach area.

Other symptoms that you could have with pityriasis rosea can include:

  • Skin that looks crinkled
  • An increase in skin sensitivity
  • When the rash concentrates at one place, it could resemble a ringworm
  • Boils and papules may appear on your skin
  • Nausea
  • Scratchy throat
  • A slight rise in temperature

Possible Causes

The reason for the cause of pityriasis rosea is not known. It is thought by researchers that it is caused by a viral infection because of the number of viruses where you develop a rash as one of the symptoms of that virus. There are some who develop pityriasis rosea after having a respiratory infection.

Treatment for Pityriasis Rosea

Most of the time pityriasis rosea will resolve on its own without any treatment within eight to ten weeks, but there are some treatments that can be done to help make you feel more comfortable. In stage two your dermatologist may give you some creams to help soothe the symptoms, especially the itchiness. Your dermatologist may have you use over-the-counter or give you a prescription for topical steroid creams like hydrocortisone cream and anti-itch medications like calamine lotion. Soaking in a soothing oatmeal bath can also help with not only the itching but can even lift away the dead skin. You should keep from scratching or picking at the areas because this can cause your skin to open up and create lesions where you can let bacteria into your body. It can also lead to scars developing. Do not use soap that contains alcohol because these can dry out your skin.


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Pityriasis Rosea
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