ZocdocAnswersWhat is this rash, and how do I get rid of it?

Question

What is this rash, and how do I get rid of it?

I am a 21 year old college student. I have no known allergies or existing medical problems. Two weeks ago a rash appeared on my forearms. The rash is made up of small bumps that are only slightly raised off the skin. The rash tends to appear worse in the morning as there are more bumps then. HOwever, they are not particularly itchy. How can I make the rash go away?

Answer

The mostly likely source of this rash is that you came into contact with something that irritated your skin. The most common offenders are things like new soaps or laundry detergents or chemicals. If you can identify any offending agent, then the important part of treatment is avoiding this agent in the future. You can also keep the skin clean and dry and apply an over the counter steroid cream like hydrocortisone to help with the inflammation. On the other hand, if the bumps look larger and more red and perhaps with small points of pus, like whiteheads, then this is more likely to be folliculitis, which is an infection at the base of the hair shafts. This is sometimes caused by shaving, waxing, or by sweating and irritation from exercise. In addition to keeping the skin clean and dry, applying an antibacterial ointment to the spots may be helpful. If the rash does not clear up within a few more days, you should probably call your primary care doctor and set up an appointment. They will be able to examine the rash and decide whether it is something serious or something that needs additional treatment other than simple measures.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.