announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Chest Rash

One of the most common skin conditions that is observed among infants and adults is a rash, which can occur on any part of the body. A rash on the chest can appear due to various causes, ranging from prickly heat to measles and chickenpox.
Scholasticus K
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018
A skin rash is often defined as an abnormal change in skin color and texture. The rash may be characterized by a variety of symptoms such as dryness, blisters, swelling, pain, and itchiness. A rash on the chest can be caused due to a wide range of reasons, some of which are mentioned below.

Heat Rash
Heat rash is a skin condition that commonly occurs in hot and humid climatic regions. This is an itchy rash and is also known by many other names such as miliaria, sweat rash or prickly heat. Though it can occur at any age, infants are quite susceptible to this condition.

Causes
Itchy rash on the chest is seen as a result of bacterial infection by Staphylococcus epidermidis. In some cases, the sweat which remains trapped in the sweat glands, due to dust or pore-clogging cosmetics like deodorants or makeup products etc., can lead to the development of heat rash.

Appearance
They are red in color, and look like a cluster of small-sized boils spread over the chest.

Treatment
The best remedy for such a rash is using creams that are available over the counter. Antifungal and antibacterial powders available over the counter help subside the rash by keeping the infected area dry of sweat. Another counteraction to chest rash caused by heat is taking a bath at least two times a day. If it is inconvenient for you to have a shower more than once a day, then you should keep yourself dry by wiping your face, neck, chest, and the back of your neck with a napkin or a small towel, at least every two hours. This helps in keeping the skin clean.

Medicated soaps for the same are also available which dry the skin, thus lowering the incidence of these painful outbursts. Aloe vera gel is also very helpful at keeping down the irritating sensation of these rashes. It has been said that drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water during the day, helps to keep the heat level in the body down, preventing outbursts on the skin.
Contact Dermatitis
This is another very common type of rash, that can also appear on the neck or chest.

Causes
Contact dermatitis is caused when the skin comes into contact with allergens. There are several allergens that can affect the human skin, or in some cases, cause adverse reactions to the skin. Rashes caused due to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are prominent examples of contact dermatitis. Such a rash is also caused when the skin is irritated by substances like soaps, detergents, shampoos, hair dyes, pesticides, antibiotic creams, perfumes, cosmetics, rough fabrics, etc.

Appearance
The skin looks inflamed, red, and sore. The affected area may be itchy or tender to touch.

Treatment
One must consult a doctor for a diagnosis, as there are a large number of causes of contact dermatitis, requiring different treatment. One should wear full-sleeved clothes while trekking in the wild, to avoid contact with poisonous or allergenic plants. While gardening or farming, suitable protective gear should be worn, to avoid the insecticide or pesticide from coming into contact with skin.

Seborrheic Dermatitis
It is a skin condition that not only affects the scalp, but also the face, neck, back, chest, and groin region.

Causes
It is believed to be caused by the combined effect of a yeast called Malassezia and overactive sebaceous glands. AIDS patients also frequently break out in seborrhoeic dermatitis. Parkinson's disease and emotional stress may also lead to this type of skin inflammation. Alcoholics, people with eating disorders, patients who are just recovering from a heart stroke, epilepsy patients, those suffering from depression and acne can also contract this condition.

Appearance
The skin rash may have red patches with white or yellow flakes. The patches usually begin to crust after a period.

Treatment
There is no known cure for this condition, but some medicines and products help reduce the discomfort caused due to seborrhoeic dermatitis. The most common treatments given to patients by dermatologists are antifungal and anti-dandruff shampoos or soaps, creams that soothe the itching, and barrier repair creams that reduce the flaking.

Products containing betadine, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, selenium disulfide, Ketoconazole, Ciclopirox or Terbinafine (Lamisil) are very helpful. In some severe cases, dermatologists may prescribe oral antifungal medication, tetracycline antibiotics, ointments containing corticosteroids or even ultraviolet radiation. Since this condition commonly occurs in people with oily skin, it has been advised that they should take a shower regularly with an antifungal soap to keep their skin clean and dry.

Measles/Chickenpox
Measles and chickenpox are two diseases that are characterized by rashes. In case of measles, the rash starts on the back of ears and moves down to the torso and rest of the body. One must note that the rashes that occur because of measles, are sometimes present inside the oral cavity, which can be very painful. On the other hand, the rashes that occur as a result of chickenpox are in the form of blisters or red spots. Both these diseases are painful, but are curable by antibiotics and can be prevented by appropriate immunization.

Causes
Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Skin rashes are a common occurrence during measles.

Chickenpox is also a highly contagious disease, which can spread by touching the pus from the blisters of an infected person. As both these conditions are airborne, they also spread when an infected individual coughs or sneezes near you.

Appearance
Measles has a very patchy reddish-brown appearance, whereas chickenpox is characterized by blisters.

Treatment
Measles and chickenpox can be cured with vaccination and oral antihistamines. Soothing lotions and creams are prescribed by the doctor. There are vaccines that have been developed to prevent these infections.

Ichthyosis
Ichthyosis is a family of skin disorders that causes the skin to become scaly, dry, and itchy. The symptoms of ichthyosis vary from person to person, and are seen commonly on the head and torso.

Causes
It can be genetic, but if it has not been passed down in the genes, then the probable causes are cancer, endocrine diseases, severe nutritional deficiencies, and AIDS.

Appearance
It is characterized by dry, thickened and flaky skin, that chips off.

Treatment
The best way to soothe rashes occurring due to ichthyosis is the application of medications that contain lactic acid or other kinds of alpha hydroxy acids.
Drug Rash
A drug rash is the body's response to a specific medication. It can range from mildly irritating to severe or life-threatening. Usually the adverse reaction abates with time after the discontinuation of the offending drug. However, a drug allergy can also lead to anaphylaxis along with the skin rash. Anaphylaxis is a hypersensitive reaction to a drug and can prove to be fatal. It includes symptoms like difficulty in breathing, nausea, congestion, stomach problems, etc.

Causes
Drug rashes or eruptions can occur due to side effects and/or allergies associated with a medication. Penicillin, cephalosporin, allopurinol, medication containing sulfur, etc. are the main causes of drug-induced rashes.

Appearance
Drug rashes resemble the rash from measles or scarlet fever. These skin inflammations or eruptions usually look like rashes that are caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses.

Treatment
Counteractive treatment should be taken for any drug related rash as it can also prove to be fatal in some cases. When the rash becomes uncomfortable, oral antihistamines or ointments containing corticosteroids are administered to the patient, to provide relief from discomfort. An allergy test should be done to determine the cause.

Pityriasis Rosea
Pityriasis rosea is a common skin condition that can occur at any age. In normal circumstances, it is completely harmless. However, pregnant women, who are suffering from this condition, should take extra care as it might be harmful for them or the fetus.

Causes
It is believed that this rash is caused due to a viral infection. This rash is not considered as contagious.

Appearance
In mild form, this rash looks like a red, blotchy patch. Sometimes, it looks like a cluster of miniscule boils. The level of itchiness of the rash may vary from person to person.

Treatment
Applying an ice pack to the affected area may help soothe the irritation. Lukewarm or cold water showers are also advised. Applying ointments or creams that have been prescribed by the doctor is a must. Use of deodorants should be avoided. The soap used for a bath should be mild and deodorant-free.

In some cases, this rash goes unnoticed for weeks and disappears on its own without any application of medication. It is difficult to prevent this condition as its definite cause has not been discovered yet.

There are several other factors, such as dry skin, HIV infection, fever, excess use of antibiotics, etc., that can cause a rash on the chest. The cause may not be always related to the skin, and could be a result of an underlying medical condition. That's why, it is necessary to identify the cause and then treat it with an appropriate remedy.

Disclaimer: This article is purely for informative purpose, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.