West Houston Dermatology

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Pityriasis Rosea

WHAT IS PITYRIASIS ROSEA?

Pityriasis rosea is a common and harmless skin rash. It is usually seen between the ages of 16 and 40, but can be seen at any age. It often starts with one red round or oval scaly patch, which leads many people into thinking they have ringworm or a fungus infection. Within a week or so after this patch appears, many other smaller pinkish spots develop over the body. Most of the rash stays on the trunk. The arms, legs and face are usually uninvolved, or involved to a much lesser degree.

Pityriasis rosea treatments

WHAT CAUSES IT?

This condition is thought to be caused by a virus, but this has never been proven and the exact cause remains unknown. It is NOT contagious in most instances. Only rarely do people in close contact with patients having this disease develop the rash. It is NOT caused by a fungus or by ringworm. Your doctor may order a blood test to make sure that you do not have some other infectious condition.

HOW IS IT TREATED?

Pityriasis rosea usually goes away spontaneously in 6-12 weeks without any treatment. It almost never leaves any marks or scars. It is very rare for a second attack to occur, but there have been a few reports of this. No treatment is usually necessary, but occasionally patients need treatment for itching. Although itching may not be present now, cal your doctor if itching becomes a problem later. Treatment of itching usually involves oral medication, topical creams or lotions, or ultraviolet light treatment. Natural sunlight seems to be beneficial for this disease, but you should avoid getting sunburn.