What is pityriasis rosea?

This common condition causes a rash in patch formations on the skin that lasts 6 to 8 weeks. It is thought that it is not contagious, as it does not spread from person to person.


What causes it?

All ages and skin types can get the condition. It’s more likely to occur between 10 and 15 years of age, or during pregnancy. If it happens during pregnancy, you should tell your dermatologist at Dermatology of Seattle right away. The cause of pityriasis rosea is unknown, but it is known that it is not an allergy, or caused by fungus or bacteria

What are the symptoms?

A “mother” patch starts on the skin for 2 weeks, can get large, and feels scaly. Fair and olive skinned people will see pink or rose colored patches, while people with a darker complexion see violet to dark gray patches. Then, additional patches appear on the skin, called “daughter” patches. Patches can develop in the mouth as well, but rarely appear on the scalp, face, palms or soles.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The rash is easily recognizable, but this isn’t always the case, as it can look like nummular dermatitis (eczema.) A blood test or biopsy may be needed. This condition usually goes away if left untreated, although it may last months. If the itching becomes severe, Dermatology of Seattle can provide relief with a variety of prescription ointments. Once the rash fades, there is usually no marks or scarring left behind, although sometimes people notice brown spots after it clears, but these fade with time. The majority of people do not experience additional outbreaks.