Skip to content

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Rash, Age 12 and Older - Home Treatment

Most rashes will go away without medical treatment. Home treatment can often relieve pain and itching until the rash goes away.

If you have come in contact with a substance such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac, immediately wash the area with large amounts of water.

After a rash has developed, leave it alone as much as possible.

  • Use soap and water sparingly.
  • Leave the rash exposed to the air whenever possible.
  • Do not scratch the rash.

If you have a rash, you should not be in contact with children or pregnant women. Most viral illnesses that cause a rash are contagious, especially if a fever is present.

Relief from itching

  • Keep the itchy area cool and moist. Put cloths soaked in ice water on the rash a few times a day. Too much wetting and drying will dry the skin, which can increase itching.
  • Keep cool, and stay out of the sun. Heat makes itching worse.
  • Try an oatmeal bath to help relieve itching. Wrap 1 cup of oatmeal in a cotton cloth or sock and boil as you would to cook it. Allow it to cool to room temperature, and use it as a sponge and bathe in cool water without soap. You may also buy a product at the store, such as Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal bath.
  • Avoid scratching as much as possible. Scratching leads to more scratching. Cut nails short or wear cotton gloves at night to prevent scratching.
  • Wear cotton clothing. Do not wear wool and synthetic fabrics next to your skin.
  • Use gentle soaps, such as Basis, Cetaphil, Dove, or Oil of Olay, and use as little soap as possible. Do not use deodorant soaps.
  • Wash your clothes with a mild soap, such as CheerFree or Ecover, rather than a detergent. Rinse twice to remove all traces of the soap. Do not use strong detergents.
  • Do not let the skin become too dry, which may make itching worse.
  • Take several breaks during the day to do a relaxation exercise, particularly before going to bed if stress appears to cause your itching or make it worse. Sit or lie down, and try to clear your mind. Managing your stress by relaxing every muscle in your body, starting with your toes and going up to your head, may help your symptoms.
1 | 2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 21, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 

Itching for Relief?

Get Help With the

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz