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Should I See a Dermatologist for a Rash?

By Patti Kate
Updated Jan 31, 2024
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Seeing a dermatologist for a rash may be recommended if you have experienced red, blotchy skin or hives on a recurring basis and have not been successful in treating the condition. Your primary care physician may recommend an examination by a dermatologist for testing and evaluation. If your skin irritation is mild, however, you should be able to treat it with over-the-counter medication. The first step is to determine the cause of your skin rash.

If your doctor suspects a skin disease or condition, he may refer you to a dermatologist, and if so, you should seek the advice of this specialist. A dermatologist has specialized training in diagnosing and treating all types of skin conditions. In many cases, seeing a dermatologist for a rash is not necessary, especially if a skin irritation responds to initial treatment. If over-the-counter medications and creams do not help, there may be an underlying problem causing the rash that a dermatologist is best able to treat.

Any skin irritation that is chronic or widespread should be diagnosed and treated by a physician. In this case, you might ask your primary care physician for advice. After examining you, he may be able to diagnose what is causing your skin rash.

It is wise to ask your physician some basic questions to ascertain the cause of the rash, how it should be treated, and if it necessary to see a dermatologist for a chronic rash. Your physician may recommend periodic examinations to prevent future flare ups if he suspects a chronic skin condition. He also can determine if you need to see a dermatologist for a rash.

Severe adult acne should be treated by a dermatologist. Seeing a dermatologist for a rash that involves severe skin eruptions is best to prevent infection. A dermatologist can also advise you on how to prevent scarring from acne cysts, as well as prescribe medications.

Certain skin rashes or cysts may be caused by more serious medical conditions. Seeing a dermatologist for a rash that is accompanied by pus or bleeding may be necessary to determine if skin cancer is the cause. If the rash is caused by skin cancer, a cancer specialist may confer with the dermatologist. For a melanoma skin cancer diagnosis, the dermatologist may refer his patient to a melanoma cancer specialist.

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Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Mar 08, 2014

I think whether a dermatologist should be seen depends on the type of rash. If for example, I have a morbiliform (measles like) rash, then I would definitely see a doctor. This type of rash is caused by a bacterial or viral infection or a drug sensitivity.

There are other very mild rashes that may not need a doctor's care and may go away on their own. So it it completely depends on the type of rash.

By fBoyle — On Mar 07, 2014

@ysmina-- The same thing happened to me once.

You might want to make a trip to the pharmacy and pick up a corticosteroid cream and an antihistamine allergy medication. I was able to treat my rash with these and it worked.

If however the rash is getting worse and if at any point you have a rash on your face and/or swelling, you need to go to the hospital. There is a risk of anaphylaxis with all allergic reactions. This is usually common with food allergies but cannot be ruled out with other types. This is a reaction when the throat becomes swollen preventing the person from breathing.

If you don't develop these complications however, over-the-counter medicines will probably be enough. You should also see a dermatology physician if the rash occurs again later, despite going away with allergy medication. This means that you are regularly being exposed to an allergen and that needs to be identified.

By ysmina — On Mar 07, 2014

I developed a red, bumpy and itchy type of skin rash on my legs about an hour ago. It's itching a lot and covers both legs. But it is not spreading. Should I see a doctor or should I wait for a while to see if it will go away?

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