Pityriasis rosea is a mild, common rash. It causes the skin to be scaly, pink and inflamed. The rash can last from one to three months and often leaves no lasting marks. This rash is not thought to be contagious.
Experts don’t know what causes pityriasis rosea. It is believed to be caused by a virus. It is usually seen in children, teens and young adults. Some children may have a cold before the rash. The rash is more common in spring and fall.
The rash often starts with a large pink or tan oval area on the chest, stomach or back. This patch (herald patch) is often followed by smaller pink or tan patches elsewhere on the body. They often show up on the back, neck, arms and legs. The scaly rash often begins to heal on its own in four to six weeks and will go away by 14 weeks.
Below are other common symptoms of pityriasis rosea. But each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of pityriasis rosea may look like other skin conditions or health problems. Always talk with your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The rash is fairly unique. Pityriasis rosea is often diagnosed based on a health history and physical exam of your child. Your child may also need blood tests to rule out other conditions that might look like pityriasis rosea.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment for pityriasis rosea is to ease symptoms such as itching. The rash will go away on its own. Treatment will be decided by your child’s healthcare provider based on how bad the rash is. Treatment may include:
Pityriasis rosea is a mild skin rash that will get better on its own. You should call your child’s healthcare provider if:
The pediatric specialists at Children's National Hospital have the expertise to diagnose, treat and manage conditions of the skin, nails and hair common in infant and younger patients. Discover more about the treatments we offer.
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The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.