Pityriasis Rosea

1 What Is Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is a scaly, reddish-pink skin rash commonly found in children and young adults, which spreads all over the upper portion of the body. The disease generally occurs during the spring and fall. 

2 Symptoms

The skin condition causes congestion, a sore throat, and continuous cough. The initial reddish spot appears on the stomach or back and is known as a “herald patch.”  Smaller spots will then develop on the body and itch all the time. 

3 Causes

The causes of pityriasis rosea are still not known. Most doctors believe the disease is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, or certain medicines. Pityriasis rosea Is not contagious, so patients with rashes on the body do not have to keep away from others.

If the doctor is uncertain, he/she may ask the patient to take a blood test to find out more about the disease. 

4 Making a Diagnosis

Pityriasis rosea normally begins with a single, large pink patch that appears on the body, mainly on the back or stomach. The spot becomes reddish, then, nearly a week after, it starts to grow and change into the shape of a Christmas tree. The area around the spot becomes itchy, and more spots will appear all over the body, mainly on the upper portion. 

The disease usually reduces on its own, without any medication; 50% of cases clear up spontaneously in six to eight weeks of time. Mostly, pityriasis rosea is accompanied by a fever and flu-like symptoms, and it may seem like a fungal infection. The disease does not have any harmful effects on the body, nor does it spread, because the disease is not contiguous. Pityriasis rosea offers lifetime immunity after the first instance; once a person has the disease, they will not suffer from it again.

Pityriasis rosea commonly appears on people between the ages of twelve and forty. The rashes on the body last about ten to twelve weeks, then slowly disappear. The disease displays patches over the skin that measure from two to ten centimeters. The patches are called herald patches, or mother patches. The herald patches are made of dry plague, which is red or pink in color. The patches will appear on the stomach, back, neck, and even on the arms and shoulders. The patches spread slowly, within one to two weeks. Pityriasis rosea produces spots that get bigger and are in the shape of a Christmas tree or various oval shapes the size of a peanut. The spots form on the back along a long axis called "Blaschko’s lines" (invisible skin lines of embryonic origin). The rash appears mainly on the trunk, arms, and legs, and rarely on the face or neck.

The appearance of pityriasis rosea remains normal except for the rashes, and it mostly goes unnoticed. The mild, but acute itching increases and becomes stressful. The disease is mild in nature and mostly produces symptoms similar to the flu, such as a sore throat, tiredness, vomiting, and pain. The disease decreases appetite, but otherwise, the person remains in good health and recovers within two to three weeks.

5 Treatment

The disease pityriasis rosea can last for more than two months. But, if a person gets the disease, it will never come back in their lifetime. If pityriasis rosea comes under control, it will either disappear within a month or can last for about three months.

The disease is treated with the help of antihistamine pills, which are popular under the name Benadryl, as well as the use of steroid creams, calamine lotion, and zinc oxide cream, which is highly effective.

6 Prevention

There is no known prevention for pityriasis rosea.

Pityriasis rosea does not spread form one person to another.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Home remedies for pityriasis rosea are highly effective and can greatly reduce the disease in a short span of time. The home remedies for pityriasis rosea include:

  • Take a bath in lukewarm water. Soap or shampoo should be avoided. One can wear cotton or silk clothing while bathing to reduce heat and help combat the itching.
  • Use menthol and calamine to help reduce the itching completely. Lubricating with moisturisers also helps.
  • Use steroid creams made of hydrocortisone, along with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) oral pills or liquid for itching.
  • Natural sunlight exposure to body parts for ten to fifteen minutes per day will help overcome itching.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with pityriasis rosea.

Follow some of these measures to relieve the discomfort you are feeling:

  • use antihistamines to relieve you of the itching;
  • shower or bath in lukewarm water;
  • apply moisturizer, corticosteroid creams and calamine lotion;
  • have an oatmeal bath.

9 Risks and Complications

It is very rare to have a complication in pityriasis rosea, but if it does occur, it may include:

  • lasting brown spots after the rash has healed on dark skins;
  • and severe itching.