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What are rashes?

A “rash” is a very general term referring to any sort of irritation or outbreak of the skin. The medical term for rash, dermatitis, simply means inflammation of the skin. There are many types of dermatitis including allergic rashes, poison ivy, medication reactions, rare skin conditions, etc. 

Rashes will usually (but not always) have symptoms like itching or burning. They can be localized or spread to other areas and they may be bumpy, dry, blistering, or rough. They can be self-limited and resolve on their own, but more often than not, they will continue on until treated appropriately.

A board-certified dermatologist will be able to examine your rash to give you more specifics about what causes it, how to treat it, and what to expect. Schedule an appointment with Steele Dermatology online or give us a call at (770) 464-6000.

What causes rashes?

There are hundreds of different types of rashes, and they can all be caused by different things. Rashes may come from internal causes, external causes, infections or medical conditions. 

Retracing your steps may be helpful in figuring out the cause of your rash. For example, if you had any unusual exposures (outdoors, travel, etc.), any new products on your skin, or any new medications, supplements, or foods. You may not be able to identify any likely causes, and if it isn’t clear to your dermatologist what the cause may be, additional testing may be required.  

Where do you get rashes?

Dermatologists treat rashes that occur anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, nails, bottom of the feet, or anywhere else.  Sometimes the location of your rash may give a clue to what caused it, for example, rashes that occur in sun-exposed areas that are caused by the sun. Also, some rashes occur characteristically in certain parts of the skin.

How do we treat rashes?

The treatment we prescribe will depend on the type and cause of your rash and the severity of your symptoms. In general, treatments include topical creams, ointments, sprays or lotions to soothe and treat the skin, and sometimes oral pills for more extensive conditions or especially if an infection is involved.  

If your dermatologist is unclear about the rash, a biopsy may be necessary to diagnose it. Usually, we will start some sort of treatment even without the biopsy results to make sure that your symptoms improve while we wait for the final results. We can update your treatment regimen as needed when we receive the biopsy results.  



A sample of skin needs to be removed to make certain diagnoses. The area is first numbed, then a significant sample of the lesion or rash will be removed and sent to the lab for pathologists to diagnose.

Schedule an Appointment

With offices conveniently located in Atlanta and Alpharetta, Steele Dermatology offers expert treatments and skincare regimens for rashes and all types of dermatitis. To learn which treatment may be right for you, schedule an appointment or give us a call at (770) 464-6000.