How to Get Rid of a Rash

Three Methods:Using Natural RemediesUsing Over-the-Counter RemediesGetting Medical Treatment

You may develop a rash due to an allergy, contact with an irritant, or exposure to certain chemicals or solutions. If you believe the rash is from an allergy or an irritant and appears mild, you can try a home remedy. However, if the rash looks red, is itchy or uncomfortable, and seems to be spreading all over your body, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about prescription medications to treat the rash.

Method 1
Using Natural Remedies

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    Use a cold compress. Applying an ice pack or a cool cloth is an easy way to help to soothe a rash.[1] Try wrapping an ice pack in a paper towel an holding it on the rash for up to 20 minutes. Then, give your skin a break for about an hour or so before applying another ice pack.
    • You can also hold a clean washcloth under cold running water for a few minutes and wring out the excess water. Then apply the cool cloth to your rash.
    • Use a new paper towel or cloth every time to avoid spreading the rash.
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    Rinse the rash with water and let it air dry. If you think the rash is the result of contact with poison ivy or poison oak, you should rinse the area right away with warm, soapy water and let it air dry so you do not irritate it by scrubbing it with a towel or cloth. This will prevent the spread of the rash, as once the urushiol is washed off your skin, you cannot give anyone else the poison ivy or the poison oak.[2]
    • If the rash develops due to an allergic reaction, you can take a bath or shower in cold water with non-drying soap and let your skin air dry. This can help to soothe any redness or discomfort.
    • Change into some loose clothing when you are dry. Tight clothing may irritate a rash further, so it is important to switch to loose fitting clothing if you are dealing with a rash. Opt for lightweight, natural fiber materials, such as a 100% cotton t-shirt or a pair of loose fitting linen pants.
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    Take an oatmeal bath. Colloidal oatmeal baths have been used to soothe rashes and itchy skin for centuries. The gluten in the oatmeal has moisturizing properties and it coats your skin when you bathe in it. This protective coating may help to soothe the rash and reduce itchiness.[3]
    • You can find colloidal oatmeal bath packets in drug stores.
    • Mix a packet of oatmeal with warm water in your bathtub and soak in the solution for about 20 minutes.
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    Add some baking soda to bath water. Adding baking soda to bath water may also help to soothe a rash. If you don't have colloidal oatmeal or if you are sensitive to oatmeal, then you can try taking a bath in a baking soda solution.[4]
    • Try adding one cup of baking soda to a bathtub of warm water and soak in the solution for about 20 minutes.
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    Make a chamomile tea compress. Chamomile tea is known for its soothing properties. You can drink chamomile tea or apply it to your skin. Chamomile tea has also been shown to help reduce skin irritation, so it may help with a rash.[5]
    • To make a chamomile compress, steep two to three teaspoons of chamomile flowers in one cup of boiling water for about five minutes.
    • Then, strain the flowers out of the water and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
    • When the tea has cooled, soak a clean cotton cloth in the tea and wring out some of the excess tea from the cloth.
    • Apply the cloth to your rash. Leave the cloth in place for about 10 minutes.
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    Try some arnica ointment. An arnica ointment can also help to soothe a rash when applied to your skin. This natural remedy has been used for centuries to treat irritation from bug bites, acne, and blisters.[6] Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
    • Make sure that the ointment contains no more than 15% arnica oil or it may irritate your skin.
    • You can find arnica ointment in health food stores or in the natural section of some large grocery stores.
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    Consider tea tree extract. Tea tree extract has been shown to be effective against a wide range of microorganisms, such as candida and staphylococcus aureus. This treatment option might work best for a rash from a mild fungal infection.[7] If you have a rash caused by a fungal infection, such as jock itch, athlete's foot, or ring worm, then using a tea tree oil ointment might help.
    • Try using a 10% tea tree oil cream on your rash to see if it helps. If it does not seem to be helping after a few days, then see your doctor.
    • Keep in mind that tea tree oil has not been shown to be as effective as some other prescription and over-the-counter topical treatments.
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    Cool off if you have a heat rash. If you have been exposed to extreme heat and have developed an inflamed, hot rash on your body, as well as lightheadedness and fatigue, you may have heat rash. If you suspect you have heat rash, get out of the sun right away and sit in a cool, air conditioned area. You should then remove any sweaty or damp clothing and take a cool shower to lower your body temperature.
    • You should also drink plenty of cool water to stay hydrated and to help your body recover from heat exposure.
    • Avoid touching or squeezing any blisters or bumps due to heat rash.
    • Seek medical care if your heat rash does not improve after two to three days, or if you experience severe symptoms like vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Method 2
Using Over-the-Counter Remedies

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    Apply calamine lotion. Calamine lotion can help to sooth and calm your rash, especially when the rash is from poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, or insect bites.[8][9] You can buy calamine lotion without a prescription in a drug store.
    • Apply the lotion to your skin twice per day or as directed by the packaging.
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    Take an over-the-counter antihistamine. If you develop the rash due to an allergic reaction, you can treat the rash by taking an oral over-the-counter antihistamine like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and hydroxyzine. These medications can help to reduce itchiness and help your body fight off its reaction to histamines found in common allergy triggers like cat dander, pollen, and grass.[10]
    • Antihistamines also work well on reducing hives on the skin, especially if they are due to an allergic reaction.
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    Apply hydrocortisone cream for an allergic reaction rash. If you are exposed to an allergen like cat dander, pollen, nickel, or another known allergen, you can reduce any discomfort or swelling by applying calamine lotion to the rash. You should also take allergy medication to reduce your other symptoms, such as a runny nose, irritated eyes, or congested airways.
    • Hydrocortisone cream is available with or without a prescription. You can get this cream over-the-counter or from your doctor. Apply the cream on a rash caused by an allergy one to four times a day or per your doctor’s instruction. It can reduce irritation, redness, inflammation, and discomfort caused by a rash.[11]

Method 3
Getting Medical Treatment

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    Seek medical attention for severe symptoms. If the rash continues to spread over your body or does not seem to be improving, despite home treatments, it may be time to see your doctor. Your doctor should examine the rash and prescribe a treatment or medication to help get rid of the rash.[12]
    • As well, if you experience severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or swallowing, fever, or swelling of your skin or limbs, the rash may be a sign of a more serious medical issue and should be checked by your doctor.
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    Allow your doctor to examine the rash. Your doctor, or dermatologist, will start by looking for the primary and more prominent feature of the rash. She may notice if the rash is circular in shape, ring-shaped, linear, or snake-like. She may also make note of the rash’s density, color, size, level of tenderness, and temperature (warm or cold to the touch). Finally, she may look at how the rash is distributed on your body, and if it only appears in certain areas or parts of your body.[13]
    • Your doctor may also run tests on your rash, such as a microscopic analysis of a skin sample and other laboratory tests. She may also run a patch test on you to determine if you are allergic to certain substances.[14]
    • You may also be required to undergo blood tests to determine if the rash may be a symptom of a viral infection or disease.
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    Talk to your doctor about prescription medications. If your doctor diagnoses you with a non-infectious rash due to an allergy or contact with an irritant, she may prescribe a cortisone cream or a medicated ointment to treat the rash.[15]
    • If your doctor diagnoses your rash as a symptom of eczema, she may prescribe topical steroids and medicated creams for eczema.
    • If your rash is diagnosed as a symptom of a fungal infection like tinea or ringworm, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antifungal medication.
    • If your rash is diagnosed as a symptom of a viral infection like herpes, your doctor may prescribe oral or intravenous antiviral medication.
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    Ask your doctor about switching medications. If you think your rash or hives may be due to a reaction from medication you are taking or have taken recently, you should speak to your doctor about switching medications. Never switch or stop taking medications without your doctor’s approval. Common allergy causing drugs include:[16]
    • Anticonvulsants, usually used to treat epileptic seizures.
    • Insulin, usually used to treat diabetes.
    • Iodinated x-ray contrast dyes, used when you get x-rays taken.
    • Penicillin and other antibiotics, usually used to treat infections.
    • If you experience a reaction to medication, you may experience hives, rashes, wheezing, swelling of your tongue, lip or face, and itchy eyes or skin.
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    Schedule a follow up appointment with your doctor. Once you have received a diagnosis and prescribed treatment from your doctor for your rash, you should schedule a follow up appointment with your doctor for the following week. This will allow her to check on your progress and ensure the rash is responding well to the treatment.
    • If properly diagnosed and treated, noninfectious rashes should fade and heal within one to two weeks.

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