Rashes can be painful, itchy, and embarrassing. We have all experienced this skin condition which causes red, itchy skin sometimes in our lives.
There are many reasons why one develops a rash, including an allergic reaction to particular food or medication, exposure to certain plants like poison ivy, and allergies.
In some cases, an underlying fungal, bacterial, or viral infection can also trigger rashes.
Several home remedies can help with the treatment of rashes. But before you learn about these home remedies, you must learn about the various kinds of rashes and their symptoms.
What is a rash?
The term rash does not have any precise definition but refers to a wide variety of skin eruptions.
A rash is an inflammatory condition of the skin that changes the color, appearance, or texture of the skin.
Different types of rashes have various symptoms. Here’s a list of some common non-infectious rashes –
1. Atopic dermatitis
Commonly known as eczema, this type of rash produces red, itchy skin on the inner parts of elbows, back of knees, cheeks, neck, wrists, and ankles.
Eczema is common in people with asthma or hay fever.
2. Seborrheic dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common rash that causes a red itchy eruption that can affect the scalp, forehead, brows, cheeks, and outer part of the ears.
In infants, it can affect the diaper area and lead to cradle cap.
3. Contact dermatitis
This type of rash occurs when you come in contact with a substance or chemical that irritates the skin.
Contact dermatitis causes weepy and oozy skin, and it affects the part of the skin that may have come in contact with the rash-causing substance.
Poison ivy, poison oak and even costume jewelry that contain nickel can cause this rash.
4. Diaper rash
Diaper rash is a type of contact dermatitis that occurs in infants or adults that wear diapers. It happens when feces or urine are in contact with the skin for an extended period.
5. Stasis dermatitis
This rash occurs on the lower legs of people who have chronic swelling caused by poor circulation in veins.
This kind of rash does not ooze; it produces silvery flakes of skin that scale and fall off. It usually occurs on scalp, elbows, and knees.
This rash causes red and itchy bumps. Hives can occur suddenly and usually go away in eight hours.
8. Nummular eczema
This rash occurs during winter and is associated with very dry skin. It causes coin-shaped plaques, which are weepy and oozy.
Also known as heat rash, it occurs due to occlusion of sweat ducts during hot, humid weather.
It looks like a small cluster of acne and usually occurs on the neck, upper chest, groin, breast, and elbow creases.
Fungus, bacteria, viruses, and parasites can also cause rashes.
Conventional treatment for rashes
Most rashes are not dangerous and usually go away on their own after a few days. People generally use over-the-counter remedies to treat rashes. These include –
- Moisturizing lotions
- Anti-itch creams containing 1% hydrocortisone cream
- Oral antihistamines like diphenhydramine and hydroxyzine
Home remedies for skin rashes
Here a list of some effective home remedies that can provide relief from rashes:
1. Cold compress
A cold compress is useful in treating rashes caused by heat, poison ivy, insect bites, and shingles.
When you apply a cold compress to the outbreak, it limits the blood flow to that area, which helps to stop swelling and itching immediately.
If the rash area is too large to be treated with a cold compress or cold cloth, you can take a cool bath or shower.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda is a popular home remedy for itchy skin. It helps treat rashes caused by poison ivy and bug bites.
It soothes the skin by keeping the skin in stable acid-alkali balance.
Make a thick paste by mixing one part of baking soda in three parts of water and apply on the skin. You can also add two cups of baking soda in a tub of water and soak in it.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is highly beneficial in soothing the skin. It reduces inflammation and redness and also decreases itchiness thanks to its antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aloe contains vitamin B12, A, C, E calcium, magnesium, zinc, and fatty acids. It also contains enzymes, carbohydrates, and sterols, which contribute to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Cut open the leaf of the aloe vera plant and scrape out the gel. Apply this gel directly on to the inflamed skin.
4. Coconut oil
In tropical countries, coconut oil is used as a skin moisturizer. It is high in saturated fats and has natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It can reduce skin inflammation, itching, and redness associated with diaper rash. It provides a skin barrier, which helps to recover from diaper rash.
It also helps in treating redness, itching, and scaly patches formed due to eczema.
Choose a cold-pressed, organic coconut oil to apply on to your skin.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil is a rich source of vitamin E and antioxidants, which help to sooth the skin and reduce itching. It also helps to clear away bacteria from the skin surface.
Mix some honey and olive oil in a bowl apply it on the rash twice a day until it heals. You can add a bit of turmeric powder to olive oil.
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric also help to relieve itching and soothe the rash.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is derived from Melaleuca alternifolia shrub, which is known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
Tea tree oil can help ease the discomfort caused by psoriasis, a condition that causes itchiness, pain, and irritation.
The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil can soothe itching around rashes and blisters.
Mix ten drops of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of coconut oil and massage it into the affected area.
This mixture will penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and diminish psoriasis scars as well.
7. Indigo naturalis
Indigo Naturalis, extracted from the stems and leaves of Baphicacanthus cusia Bremek, has been used as a traditional Chinese solution for the treatment of rash.
This herb contains tryptanthrin and indirubin, which help deal with inflammation.
You can use it as an ointment on the affected area. This remedy can stain your skin blue, but the color comes off after a wash.
8. Lavender essential oil
Lavender oil works as a natural antihistamine thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Its antifungal properties make it useful for treating conditions like jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. It also helps diminish itchiness caused by bug bites.
Add some lavender oil drops to a tablespoon of carrier oil like olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil and apply this mixture gently on the affected area.
9. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common remedy for skin rashes. It can be used to treat seborrheic dermatitis, which causes crusty, scaly lesions on the scalp.
ACV is also helpful in treating rashes caused by poison ivy.
Dilute equal parts of ACV and water and apply this mixture on the rash caused by poison ivy.
For seborrheic dermatitis apply diluted ACV before shampooing and after conditioning.
An oatmeal bath is a simple solution for soothing diaper rash, eczema, sunburn, and dry skin.
The FDA also approves the use of oatmeal as a skin protectant. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal help relieve itchiness, dryness, and roughness of the skin.
To make an oatmeal bath, fill your bathtub with warm water. Add one cup of colloidal oatmeal to this water. Soak in this water for 30 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
11. Epsom salts
Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is commonly used to relieve achy joints and muscles.
It is also useful in treating skin conditions like eczema, sunburn, and rashes caused by poison ivy and insect bites.
Dissolve two cups of these salts in a bathtub filled with warm water and soak in it.
12. Chamomile oil
Chamomile oil can soothe the skin, relieve itching, reduce inflammation, and improve healing. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties, which help treat rashes.
Dilute a few drops of chamomile oil in coconut oil and apply on the rash. You can also mix a few drops of this oil in your shampoo and wash your hair with it.
13. Cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is a fat that comes from cocoa beans. It contains polyphenols which help heal rashes from conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
Apply only pure cocoa oil to heal your rashes. Some cocoa butter formulations may have alcohol and fragrances in it, which may worsen the inflammation.
14. Bentonite clay
Bentonite clay contains up to 50 trace minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
It helps to soothe burns and relieve itching and inflammation caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and bug bites.
Mix bentonite clay, warm water, and warm olive oil to make a thick paste. Apply this paste on the rash and cover with clean gauze. Let it dry for three to four hours and rinse off.
Foods to eat
Eating anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce skin rashes. These include:
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help in reducing inflammation.
2. Yellow fruits and vegetables
Foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, yellow bell peppers, and apricots contain beta carotene. Beta carotene helps to improve resistance to rashes triggered by the sun.
3. Foods containing quercetin
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine, which helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Foods rich in quercetin include apples, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, and kale.
4. Probiotic foods
Probiotic foods contain live cultures that boost immunity, which helps prevent flare-ups and allergic reactions.
Add yogurt, miso soup, tempeh, kefir, and soft cheeses like gouda to your diet.
5. Flax and chia seeds
Add these seeds to your diet as they help in reducing inflammation.
6. Cold pressed oils
Cold pressed oils are highly beneficial for the skin. Add these oils to your diet for maximum immune system benefits.
Foods to avoid
Foods that can cause allergies and rashes include –
- Dairy products
- Trans fats and hydrogenated oils
- Fried foods
- Processed foods
Precautions and side effects
Most plant-based remedies can have side effects. Since each individual reacts differently to different products, you must do a patch test before you apply the product on your rash.
Check with a medical practitioner before you use any new product on your child’s rash. You must also be cautious before applying anything on the delicate skin of the elderly.
Seek immediate medical help if you notice symptoms like difficulty in breathing, tightening or itchiness in throat, increased pain or itchiness in the rash area, and severe head and neck pain.
Check with your doctor if you notice swelling on your face or extremities, vomiting and diarrhea.
A rash is an inflammatory condition of the skin that changes the color, appearance, or texture of the skin.
Rashes are common, and most of them can be easily treated at home using home remedies.
You must also eat foods that help reduce inflammation and avoid those that can aggravate your rashes.