Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis Rosea

What is pityriasis rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is a mild, but common, skin condition. Characterized by scaly, pink, inflamed skin, the condition can last from four to eight weeks and usually leaves no lasting marks.

What causes pityriasis rosea?

The cause of pityriasis rosea is not known, but it is commonly believed to be caused by a virus. It is usually seen in children, adolescents, and young adults. Most people with the rash are 10 to 35 years of age.

The condition is more prevalent in spring and fall.

What are the symptoms of pityriasis rosea?

Pityriasis rosea usually starts with a pink or tan oval area (sometimes called a herald or mother patch) on the chest or back. The main patch is usually followed (after a couple of weeks) by smaller pink or tan patches elsewhere on the body--usually the back, neck, arms, and legs.

The following are other common symptoms of pityriasis rosea. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of pityriasis rosea may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is pityriasis rosea diagnosed?

Pityriasis rosea is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. The rash of pityriasis rosea is unique, and the diagnosis is usually made on the basis of a physical examination. In addition, your physician may order the following tests to help aid in the diagnosis:

Treatment for pityriasis rosea

Specific treatment for pityriasis rosea will be determined by your physician based on:

The goal of treatment for pityriasis rosea is to relieve symptoms associated with the condition, such as itching. Treatment may include:

There is no cure for pityriasis rosea. The condition will usually resolve on its own in about six to 12 weeks. Normally, it does not return.

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