Pityriasis Rosea - Topic Overview
If the diagnosis is unclear, your doctor may
potassium hydroxide (KOH) test to make sure the rash
is not caused by a
fungal infection. A skin sample may be taken from the
infected area and examined under the microscope (biopsy). If the
diagnosis is unclear in a sexually active person, a test for syphilis is often
How is it treated?
Pityriasis rosea will usually go
away in 6 to 8 weeks without treatment. If the rash itches, you may wish to use
skin lotions and lubricants to soothe itching. If symptoms are severe,
anti-inflammatory medicines such as
corticosteroids may be used to relieve itching and
reduce the rash. Some people may try other medicines, such as antifungals,
because the rash looks like ringworm. But because pityriasis rosea is not
caused by a fungus, these medicines are not effective.
the rash to sunlight may make it go away more quickly. But exposing your skin
to the sun too long can result in sunburn and increase your risk of
If the rash lasts more than
3 months, contact your doctor.
To relieve itching at home:
- Keep the itchy area cool and moist. Apply
washcloths soaked in ice water. But remember that repeated wetting and drying
will actually dry out your skin. Dry skin can make itching caused by a rash
- Avoid taking hot showers or baths. Keep the water as cool as
you can tolerate.
- Try an oatmeal bath, such as Aveeno Colloidal
Oatmeal bath, to help relieve itching. You may also wrap
1 cup of oatmeal in a cotton cloth and boil as
you would to cook oatmeal. Use this as a sponge and bathe in cool water without
- Try an
over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream for small
itchy areas. Use the cream very sparingly on the face or genitals.
Note: Do not use the cream on children younger than age
2 unless your doctor tells you to. Do not use in the rectal or vaginal area in
children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
antihistamine, such as chlorpheniramine maleate
(Chlor-Trimeton) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Don't give antihistamines to
your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
- Apply a moisturizer or calamine
lotion to the skin while it is damp.
- Wear cotton or silk clothing.
Avoid wearing wool and acrylic fabrics next to your skin.
- Use as
little soap as possible. Use gentle soaps, such as Basis, Cetaphil, or Dove. Avoid deodorant soaps when you have a rash.