The skin is the largest organ of the body and works as a shield between the interior of the body and the external environment. As such, the skin is exposed to a wide range of environmental factors and irritants every day. The result of this exposure often results in irritation or a rash. By definition, a rash is a change in the skin in some form ? color, appearance, or texture.
Rashes can appear anywhere on the skin and affect just one part of the body or the entire surface of the skin. Depending on the severity of a rash, the condition manifests in different forms. A rash may be a slight discoloration or small bumps if minor. More severe rashes are accompanied by extreme dryness of the skin, cracking, blistering, and pain. Some rashes may even cause fever and general ill feeling throughout the body.
Just as diverse as the presentation of rashes, the causes of rashes are quite varied. Typically considered to be contact dermatitis, rashes are usually the result of a foreign substance contacting and irritating the skin. Common irritants include poisonous plants, soaps shampoos, detergents, makeup, lotion, jewelry, fabrics, and latex. Rashes may also result from viral infections, exposure to a parasite, or a chronic skin condition such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis.