Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis Rosea: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Pityriasis Rosea is a type of rash that can appear as patches on your skin. It may sound and look dramatic. But, the rash is not dangerous as it can clear by itself after some time. In most cases, you may not require treatment to overcome the problem. Itching is the common problem you may suffer due to rash. The mild type of rash can affect people of all age group. So, children, as well as adults, can suffer from skin problem. But, people between the age group of ten and thirty-five years become susceptible to the issue. Though the issue can solve by itself, you may have to suffer the itching. It can cause distress and discomfort in your life. So, you need to see a dermatologist to overcome the agony of the skin condition. Get more information about the skin rash to take the right steps to get relief from the condition.

What Is Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis Rosea It is a form of benign rash that affects people commonly in their life. Also known as the Christmas tree rash, the problem appears in angles as well as vertical forms. It may resemble a Christmas tree. The skin problem first noted as early as 1798 can affect healthy people. Pityriasis Rosea means a fine pink scale that appears as patches. In many women, the condition occurs during pregnancy. Though it may appear harmless, the skin problem can affect the baby of the affected mother. So, the common problem can affect anyone at any time in their life.

Appearance Of Pityriasis Rosea

Unlike other rashes appearing on your skin, the Christmas tree rash has a major difference. The signs visibly appear on your skin in stages. So, the various stages that lead to the development of the rash are:

Stage 1

Stage 1

Usually, the rash begins as a single patch on your skin. The asymptomatic, scaly plaque can measure between two ten centimeters. Your doctor may refer to the large pink patch as mother patch or herald patch. So, the oval-shaped lesion can appear on the areas like the trunk. At first, you may not pay attention to it as it may resemble ringworm. After a few days, several small lesions can appear near the herald patch or on your trunk. Then, it can spread to other areas of your body like face, arms, and legs. The herald patch has a well-defined border. It appears scaly with color ranging from dry pink to red. The lesions may continue to spread even after the initial appearance of the herald patch. After the initial appearance of the mother patch, you can see several small lesion appear on your skin. It can appear after one or two weeks. The crop of salmon colored-lesions can mostly develop pf the regions like your arms, legs, or on the trunk.

Stage 2

Stage 2

The second stage of the skin rash trigger eruption of a large number of spots on your skin of oval shapes. It can range in size from 0.5 centimeters (in diameter) to 1.5 centimeters (in diameter). The individual lesions can form a symmetrical pattern, which looks like a Christmas tree. Therefore, the rash is also known as Christmas tree rash. It can mostly affect the areas like legs, arms, or the trunk region.

Symptoms Of Pityriasis Rosea

The skin rash may affect people in the age group of ten to thirty-five. Once you get affected by the problem, you can see the following signs:

Feeling Unwell

The unwell feeling is the first sign indicating the problem. You may not see the rash at this stage. But, you do not feel completely fit. So, you can experience problems like fever, headache or pain in your joints. The problem may last for some days before the rash appears on your skin.


Itching can indicate the presence of the rash. Most people with skin rash can experience the itching that may vary in severity.

Mother Patch

The itch can precede the appearance of the rash. At first, you may see only a single patch in an oval shape. The patch is named as mother patch or herald patch. It has a pink color with a dark border. It may appear on your skin anytime around two days or two weeks before the main rash develops on your skin. During the time, it spreads to other areas can continue spreading for up to 12 weeks. It can mostly appear on your neck, back, or chest region. It can make a rare appearance on areas like face, scalp or genitals region.

Small Patches

The widespread rash has several masses of small patches. It can cover most of your body. You can see the small rashes on areas like your upper thighs and upper arms. It mostly affects the relaxed areas of your skin. So, it is prominent in areas like both sides of the upper trunk or along cleavage line. The wide rash never appears on the face. It has pinkish-red color (for light-colored skin) or greyish, dark brown, or black color (for darker skin tones).

Complications Of Pityriasis Rosea

The rash may cause some trouble for some people. So, if you choose to ignore it completely, then it can trigger some issues like:


Research suggests that women who get affected by the Christmas tree rash in their early pregnancy have high chances of miscarriage. The staggering number of women miscarriage suggests the severity of the problem. Therefore, women who are in their early stages of pregnancy must never ignore the rash. Consult a doctor immediately to know the underlying cause of the skin rash and get treatment.

Problem During Delivery

The skin rash can trigger some problems in the unborn child before or after birth. In some cases, pregnant women may experience premature delivery. So, talk to your gynecologist immediately when you observe a rash on your skin.

Atypical Pityriasis Rosea

In some cases, the Christmas tree rash can escalate into the atypical rash. It makes the proper diagnosis difficult for your doctor. The confusing symptoms make the doctor baffle, which can make them perform several tests to come to a proper conclusion. It can add only further distress and discomfort for you. The atypical rash has the following signs:

  • It has an unusual appearance with small blisters, bumps, bruises, and weal-like patches.
  • At times the large patches can run or merge into other rashes making it look more unusual.
  • Uncommon distribution of the skin lesion affecting areas like the folds of the relaxed skin. So, you can see the rashes on armpits, breasts or groin region.
  • Trigger problems like mouth ulcers (include mucosal sites)
  • It may have single herald patch, but may not follow by the widespread rash.
  • Sometimes it has several herald patches or none at all.
  • You may have severe itching.
  • It may have a larger than a usual number of plaques.
  • The duration of the disease may feel like longer than the normal pityriasis rosea.
  • The rash can recur several times.

Therefore, when you see skin rash on your body, see a doctor immediately. Your doctor can decide on the severity of the condition and provide a suitable solution for the issue.

Causes Of Pityriasis Rosea

The exact cause of the skin rash is not known to the researchers or doctors. But, it is an established fact that skin rash does not occur in your body due to allergy. Bacteria or fungi never trigger the problem. So, what exactly causes it? It is determined that a certain virus can result in skin rash development.

Herpes Viruses

One of the common theory suggested by scientists holds the herpes virus 6 and 7 as the main cause of the problem. But, it is not caused by the common herpes virus that triggers varicella, oral or genital herpes. Therefore, it does not transfer from one person to another through contact. It is not contagious as people close to affected patients never get attacked by the skin rash. So, health care providers and close contacts do not contact the rash.

The mode of transmission of the skin rash remains a mystery. Some studies suggest that it can affect others through respiratory contact. But, it does not transfer through physical contact. In some rare cases, side-effects of certain drugs can lead to the development of pityriasis rosea.

Diagnosis Of Pityriasis Rosea

When you observe the symptoms. Never panic! It is not a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Therefore, you can relax as it has health on its own. But, the skin rashes can cause embarrassment to you. You may feel ashamed to interact in a social circle due to the patches. Therefore, you can see the advice from your doctor. A dermatologist can help find the remedy to prevent the itching and dryness. It is always better to get confirmation about the rash. Some skin problems suggest an underlying health problem. Therefore, consult your dermatologist.

Physical Examination

The diagnosis of the problem occurs with a physical examination. The doctor can closely look at the rashes and its distribution. So, your doctor eliminates the presence of other skin issues that may have the same appearance as:

Skin Biopsy

Skin Biopsy

If your doctor cannot come to a conclusive decision, you need a skin biopsy. The lab technicians check the affected skin tissue sample for cancerous presence. So, your doctor can come to a proper conclusion.

It is advised to see a doctor and get an opinion about the unexplained skin rash you observe in your body. Your doctor can recommend the best medication for alleviating the issue.

Treatment Options For Pityriasis Rosea

The skin condition can alleviate itself after eight to twelve weeks without undergoing any medical treatment. But, the rash may cause your pain. It may also cause irritation and itchiness. So, you can see a dermatologist find relief to the issue. In most cases, the rash can make your skin look bad. So, it may make you feel self-conscious about the appearance. Therefore, you can seek medical treatment to alleviate the problem easily and quickly. Your doctor may suggest different treatment options like:

Moisturizing Creams

Your doctor can suggest the soothing creams that also provides hydration to your skin. It can reduce the dryness and tightness of the skin. You can substitute the creams in place of the soaps. Soaps can cause an allergic reaction on your skin. It can result in the skin rash to flare up quickly. Therefore, you can use creams to avoid the problem. The best part is, you can get the creams over the counter from the pharmacy stores.

Steroid Creams/Ointments

If your problem does not solve with the use of the moisturizer cream, then you need something stronger. So, your doctor can suggest steroid ointments or creams. The hydrocortisone present in the steroids can reduce itching, swelling, and redness associated with the rash. While the betamethasone in some creams can treat the redness and itchiness. Therefore, depending upon the severity of the issue, your doctor prescribes the cream.


The skin rash can trigger an allergic reaction in your body. At times, the rash can result in severe itching. So, you can lose sleep due to the problem. In such cases, your doctor can prescribe antihistamines. It will help you relax and have a good night sleep.

Light Therapy

In some cases, your dermatologist can suggest light therapy. Your exposure to natural sunlight can provide you relief from the signs associated with the problem. The use of artificial light that contains ultraviolet rays can also reduce the severity of pityriasis rosea. During the artificial light therapy, your skin gets exposed to the controlled UV rays. So, it helps the progression of the rash. But, remember the treatment option has some side effects. It can lead to the darkening of certain areas of the skin. It can even last for a long time even after the rash goes away completely.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies

You may not a medical treatment for pityriasis rosea. But, you can adopt some steps at home. It will help you relieve the discomfort and itching associated with the problem. The steps can also help with quick healing. Therefore, adopt the following steps to reduce the severity of the issue.

Use Lukewarm Water

When you have the skin rash, you need to avoid the use of hot water for bathing. Hot water or shower can make your problem worse. The hot water can peel away your skin’s protective layer and make it dry. So, the skin loses its hydration, which leads to the itching sensation. It also makes the rash more visible on your skin. Therefore, avoid overheating of your skin.

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal Baths

Adding oatmeal to the water you use for bathing can provide you relief from the itching and dryness. It is the common home remedy that can provide soothing effects. It can improve the rash symptoms and reduce the discomfort. The oats contain compounds known as avenanthramide. It has anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties. So, it can heal the pityriasis rosea without any side effects.

Aloe Vera

Moisturizing can heal your skin rashes. The moisturizer can hydrate your skin and discourages itching. It also promotes the healing of your skin. Aloe Vera is one of the best natural remedies for alleviating pityriasis rosea. It is can have an amazing effect on your skin as it soothes and moisturizes it effectively. The anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties can make your skin healthy. It also contains minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants can boost the health of your skin.

Coconut Oil

When you think about home remedies for the skin rash, moisturizer can provide good results. It can replenish the skin with hydration to avoid the itching. Coconut oil is one of the most famous remedies for several skin problems. Coconut oil contains fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and dryness. It is a great natural remedy to prevent the itching due to pityriasis rosea. Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. You just need to apply the coconut oil ion the rashes to see visible results.

Keep Your Body Cool

You need to keep your body cool to avoid the progression of the rashes and its discomfort. Therefore, avoid strenuous physical activities like exercises or other activities. It can only flare up the itching. You can observe that most people suffering from severe itching due to the skin rash have overheated body. It is often brought by hot showers or strenuous physical activity. Therefore, avoid hot showers and wear a breathable dress. Tight, synthetic fabric dresses can worsen your symptoms. So, opt for natural, breathable fabrics that do not worsen the itching. Using loose-fitting, cotton clothes can also promote quick healing.


Pityriasis Rosea is not a serious condition that can result in a fatal complication. It is a benign rash with no severe effects of your body. It resolves itself after some duration of time. So, the rash can go away on its own without any treatment. The estimated healing window may differ from person to person. You can adopt some home remedies to get rid of the rashes faster and swiftly. The skin rash affects mostly once in your lifetime. So, once you get cured of the problem, it may never reoccur again in your lives.

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