In most cases, your health care provider can identify pityriasis rosea by looking at the rash. You might need a scraping or possibly a skin biopsy, which involves taking a small piece of the rash for testing. This test can help tell a pityriasis rosea rash from other, similar rashes.
Pityriasis rosea usually goes away on its own without treatment in 4 to 10 weeks. If the rash doesn't disappear by then or the itching bothers you, talk with your health care provider about treatments. The condition clears up without scarring and usually doesn't come back.
If home remedies don't ease symptoms or shorten the duration of pityriasis rosea, your health care provider might prescribe medicine. Examples include corticosteroids and antihistamines.
Your health care provider might also suggest light therapy. In light therapy, you're exposed to natural or artificial light that may ease your symptoms. Light therapy may cause lasting spots of skin that are darker than usual (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), even after the rash clears.
The following self-care tips may help relieve the discomfort of pityriasis rosea:
- Take nonprescription allergy medicine (antihistamines), such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others).
- Bathe or shower in lukewarm water. Sprinkle bath water with an oatmeal-based bath product (Aveeno).
- Apply a moisturizer, calamine lotion or a nonprescription corticosteroid cream.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often in you're swimming or perspiring.
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by seeing your health care provider. You might then be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- List key personal information, including whether you're pregnant or have any major illnesses, stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking, including the dosage information.
- List questions to ask your health care provider.
Questions to ask your health care provider about pityriasis rosea include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- I have another health condition. Could it be related to the rash?
- Is this rash temporary or long lasting?
- Will this rash leave permanent scars?
- Will the rash cause permanent changes in skin color?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Will treatment for the rash interact with other treatments I'm receiving?
- What are possible side effects of this treatment?
- Will the treatment help ease the itching? If not, how can I treat the itching?
What to expect from your doctor
Your health care provider may ask:
- When did you first begin to notice the rash?
- Have you had this type of rash in the past?
- Are you experiencing symptoms? If so, what are they?
- Have your symptoms changed over time?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Oct 11, 2022
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