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Pityriasis Rosea - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Pityriasis rosea is a harmless skin disease marked by patches of pink, oval rash that sometimes itch over the torso, neck, arms and legs. Pityriasis rosea usually avoids the face, although sometimes a few spots spread to the cheeks. The oval patches follow the line of the ribs like a fir tree. They have a dry surface and may have an inner circlet of scaling.

The rash can last from several weeks to several months. Usually there are no permanent marks as a result of this condition, although some darker-skinned persons may develop long-lasting flat brown spots that eventually fade. It may occur at anytime of year, but pityriasis rosea is most common in the spring and fall.Pityriasis rosea generally lasts between 6 to 12 weeks.

Pityriasis rosea can affect members of either sex of any age .Anyone can get it, but it is most common in people ages 10 to 35. However, it is most common in females and those between the ages of 8 and 35. Symptoms only recur in 3% of the affected.


The symptoms of the disease are:

  • A single patch is observed 1 to 20 days before smaller, more numerous patches of rash.Other patches may appear as a cluster of smaller oval spots rather than a single patch.
  • Pink and flaky oval-shaped rash,similar to ringworm.
  • Skin redness or inflammation.
  • The rash can be associated with mild itching.
  • Generally occurs in patches arranged in a triangular pattern, like a "Christmas tree."
  • May be accompanied by headache , fever , nausea and fatigue.
  • Less common symptoms are reduction in sweat gland activity and the clearance of acne.
  • Half the patients will suffer from itching, especially when they become warm.


The possible causes of pityriasis rosea are as:-

  • Exact cause is not known and its occurrence is not linked to food, medicines or stress.
  • It is not an allergic reaction or caused by a fungus or bacteria.
  • Experts suggest that it may be caused by a virus.
  • Pityriasis rosea may occur in more than one person in a household at a time, but it is not contagious that is there is no need to avoid the patient meeting other healthy person.


The effective treatments for pityriasis rosea are as:-

  • There is no cure for pityriasis rosea, in most cases the patient recovers without any treatment.
  • Ultraviolet light treatment or photo therapy generally shorten the duration of the disease and may be prescribed for extensive and persistent cases of pityriasis.
  • Corticosteroid creams may also be prescribed to relieve the itching .
  • For mild itching, an over-the-counter a lotion that cools the skin such as camphor or menthol can be tried.
  • Itching that occurs mainly at night, oral antihistamines may reduce itching.
  • Treatment with a steroid cream or ointment usually brings prompt relief.
  • Moisturizing creams can be used to dry skin.
  • Physical activities such as jogging and running or bathing in hot water may stimulate the condition. So these should be avoided.