Pityriasis rosea is a common skin rash. It occurs most often in children and young adults. The rash is scaly and reddish-pink. It may first appear on the back, stomach, or chest. The rash can then spread to the neck, arms, and legs.
The rash may last for several months. It will usually go away on its own. Talk to your doctor if you have a widespread rash.
The cause of pityriasis rosea is unknown. It may be caused by viruses or a certain medicine, such as antibiotics or heart medications.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to pityriasis rosea. They may be caused by other health conditions. Symptoms associated with pityriasis rosea include:
If symptoms last for more than three months, contact your doctor.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Pityriasis rosea can usually diagnosed by looking at your rash.You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders if the rash is difficult to identify.
There is no cure for pityriasis rosea. The rash will usually go away on its own. Treatment may be able to relieve some of the symptoms, such as itching. Treatment options include the following:
Medications to relieve itching and inflammation caused by pityriasis rosea include:
American Academy of Dermatology
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
American Academy of Dermatology. Pityriasis rosea. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/pityriasis-rosea. Accessed August 6, 2012.
American Family Physician. Pityriasis rosea. American Family Physician website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/pityriasis-rosea.printerview.all.html. Accessed August 6, 2012.
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Pityriasis rosea. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/pityriasis_rosea.html. Accessed August 6, 2012.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Pityriasis rosea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated January 2011. Accessed August 6, 2012.
Last reviewed December 2013 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.