Rash on the face

Rash on the face

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Rash on the face not only disturbs those affected for aesthetic reasons - sometimes it also indicates serious illnesses. Rash appears as scales, as blisters, or as red areas, as wheals or pus. As unpleasant as a rash on the face in general, its specific causes are different.

How does rash develop?

Our skin is not a shell, but the largest organ in our body and plays a special role in warding off pathogens.

The skin shows what is happening in our body and our psyche: in anger the blood flows through our veins and the blush rises in our cheeks; our faces turn pale with fear. The skin is more robust than most internal organs: it is exposed to the environment and repels harmful influences. At the same time, however, the "struggles" of the immune system in the body are reflected on the skin - for example as a rash.

Stains are typical, as are blisters with fluid, pustules (pus bumps), knots or wheals, stipples and garlands. The rash "effloresced", it blooms like flowers after a spring rain.

Doctors speak of rashes. Most of these skin changes do not form on the face, but on the hands and fingers, feet and toes, on the elbows and on the inside of the forearms. Redness turns into blisters, and this creates crusts, wounds and skin cracks.

A severe rash, itching, or severe overheating is typical for a rash. Fever, nausea, sweating, swelling and breathing difficulties indicate basic illnesses.

Red spots and a strong fever are typical for rubella, measles and chickenpox. Dry skin, however, combined with inflamed skin is a symptom of eczema.

Do I have to see a doctor?

Sometimes the trigger for a rash on the face is harmless: I can't take a certain face cream, I sweat under a woolen scarf in winter, or an insect stung me. Then it is usually enough to apply an ointment and the rash disappears on its own.

However, a doctor should be consulted if:

- the rash blooms suddenly and badly
- it hurts a lot and swells
- symptoms like dizziness, chills or shortness of breath develop
- the rash returns
- the skin changes mutate, i.e. redness becomes pus pustules or blisters
- an infant is affected
- the reason is not known

The first point of contact is the family doctor. For most rashes, his remedies are sufficient, for special skin diseases he refers those affected to a dermatologist, for internal basic diseases to other specialists.


Rashes are usually caused by infections, either in the body or directly on the skin. This includes viruses and bacteria as well as the side effects of medication and allergies.

Less common are non-infectious skin inflammations, which we call eczema. This can be vascular inflammation, autoimmune diseases or systemic diseases.

If the rash affects only a limited area on the face, for example on the lips, the pathogen is likely to come from outside, contact eczema and fungal infections are typical.

Psychosomatic rashes are also common: the skin then reacts to psychological problems and negative stress.

Plant poison

If poisons trigger the rash, we call it a toxic facial rash. Giant hogweed is one of the plants that you shouldn't even touch with kid gloves. If you touch the white blooming beauty, the skin itches, it turns red and forms wheals; the suffering sometimes lasts for weeks. The wounds wet like burns and the symptoms are like third degree burns. The perennial contains phototoxic substances that react to sunlight. The wounds heal hard and scars and pigmentation disorders are the result.

The poison of the bear's claus also gets into the air. That's why you should never stand next to the giant hogweed on hot summer days if you don't want to catch bronchitis. Two related species, wild hogweed and angelica also have the same effect.


Allergies also trigger a rash on the face. Excess skin care is particularly responsible today. Perioral dermatitis is shown by blisters around the mouth. If you damage your skin with too many creams and lotions, you will lose the ability to produce the body's own fats. The skin dries out; As an antidote, many people use creams and thus aggravate the symptoms.

Frequent rashes

The herpes zoster viruses appear as a rash on the back, chest, ear and face, as well as cold sores in the mouth or as blisters in the genital area.

Dell warts are inflammatory skin growths. The cause is a virus that lives mainly in the tropics. They mainly grow on the eyelids, face, neck, armpits and genital area.

Bacterial infections such as scarlet fever and syphilis are associated with a rash.

Many drugs irritate the skin. These include antibiotics such as penicillin, cortisone, antiepileptics, gout agents and glinides.

The skin repels harmful substances and this leads to contact eczema. For example, anyone who comes into constant contact with aggressive cleaning agents and wipes their hands on their faces triggers such irritations. Latex also leads to an itchy rash in the long run.

A "mouth rose" arises when the facial skin is overwhelmed by excessive care. Then red spots and blisters form around the mouth, cheeks, chin and nose.

A sun allergy shows up on the face as heat pimples, redness and blisters. Classic sunburn is also an exanthem from a medical point of view.

Rashes as a result of allergies appear as wheals that are itchy and filled with fluid, and as angioedema, which are swelling of the face, hands, feet, and genital area. Such allergic rashes must be treated by a doctor, because if they expand into the mouth and throat area, they can cause shortness of breath and thus death.

Lichen diseases appear in batches, namely as inflamed plates (not bumps) from white-silvery scales; this is why they call it “fish skin”. Imetigo is particularly painful, and it is also contagious.

Yeast fungi (candida) belong to the household of our body. However, when our immune system fails, they multiply excessively and trigger inflammation on the skin and mucous membranes. Since they are also in the mouth, a rash in and around the mouth is the result.

Parasites affect the whole body, including the face. Head lice in particular spread out in the hair, and the itchy spots also extend to the face. Mites, fleas and ticks bite and suck into the skin, the infected areas also become an itchy rash.

A common mite infestation is scabies. The mites trigger itching and an uneven rash. They burrow under the skin and lay their eggs there.

Scabies is contagious, the mites migrate from skin to skin. Ointments help effectively against the pests.

The so-called gneiss is medically called seborrheic eczema: greasy scales and red spots on the face are typical. Men and infants are affected. First the rash spreads to the face and head, then it spreads over the body. The cause is unknown.

Sweet syndrome appears as nodes that are filled with fluid on the extremities, neck, neck and face. There is also a fever and pain in the joints. Women are primarily affected. The cause is unknown.

Young children sometimes suffer from Kawasaki syndrome: it starts with conjunctivitis, fever and inflammation around the mouth. Then the skin flakes on the fingers and the lymph nodes swell. People who suffer from this disease show a strong sensitivity to light, so they prefer to only move outdoors when it is dark. The rotten teeth fluoresce, the body hair even grows on the face. By dissolving the gums, the teeth appear larger than they actually are. The bones bend as the disease progresses.

Porphyria is known as a “vampire disease” because of these symptoms, because some doctors suspect that ideas about vampires and werewolves can also be traced back to meeting people who suffered from this disease. However, this hypothesis could not be upheld.

Porphyria causes red spots, blisters and ulcers to form on the skin exposed to the light.


Acne is the most common condition that shows up as a rash and often leads to mental health problems. "Normal" pimples, as they generally appear in puberty, are joined to pus-filled pustules and nodules. The face in particular looks like a "crumble cake", but the bumps also cover the back, chest and other parts of the body.

It mostly affects young people, especially those who have reached puberty. This is another reason why acne often leads to psychological problems: of all times, when the hormones of those affected are running at full speed and sexual desire is awakening, in which they want to look attractive to sexual partners, they suffer from skin changes that are not generally considered to be "sexy". be valid.


Three-day fever
Babies in the first year of life often suffer from this disease. It manifests itself in a high fever that sinks quickly. This is followed by a reddish rash on the head and trunk. The fever is spread by touching and coughing. The incubation period is one to two weeks.

Measles are transmitted by a virus, are highly contagious and are transmitted by droplets. You start with a cold, cough and high fever. In addition, the person affected is very sensitive to light. After a few days, red spots sprout on the skin that itch strongly. The rash begins on the face and behind the ears and then extends to the trunk and legs. The rash and fever disappear after four days.

Ringed rubella
Ringed rubella is characterized by a facial rash that spreads across the cheeks like butterflies. Children between 5 and 15 years old are the main victims. Ringed rubella is caused by the parvovirus. It multiplies in the bone marrow and is transmitted via saliva and nasal mucus. The incubation period is four days to three weeks. Ringed rubella is characterized by itching, facial flushing, fever and joint pain. The rash is flat but slightly raised, starting on both cheeks and then moving to the arms, trunk, thighs and buttocks.

The disease does not necessarily need medical attention. Parents can relieve the symptoms with home remedies. Above all, the child should drink a lot and have rest. Calf wraps and antipyretic help if the fever is too high. The infection is more risky if the child has anemia. Here the rubella can trigger an aplastic crisis. Patients may need hospital treatment. The rubella can also be dangerous for the unborn child if the mother has no antibodies and is infected.

This childhood disease is transmitted by a virus, such as sneezing or coughing. It runs very differently. A few weeks after the infection, a fever breaks out, and itchy blisters spread from the face to the body. Permanent damage is scarring that occurs because the child scratches the vesicles. The itching is severe, but can be alleviated if the parents dab the bubbles with chamomile tea or apply a zinc cream. Today babies are regularly vaccinated against chickenpox.

Mouth-hand-foot disease
The mouth-foot disease is shown by red spots in the mouth, on the hand and on the soles of the feet. The spots on the skin don't hurt, the blisters in the mouth even more. Fever, stomach ache and nausea are added. The sick child should especially enjoy food cold and liquid; Quark, yogurt and porridge are suitable. It should not eat or drink anything that contains acid, as this attacks the weakened oral mucosa, i.e. no fruit juices, no acidic fruit or vinegar. Cool and liquid foods such as yogurt and porridge are good for your child. You should avoid acidic foods because they irritate the affected oral mucosa.

Fever, abdominal pain and vomiting can accompany this disease. The virus infection is transmitted by droplets. The place of infection is usually the kindergarten.

Diagnosis and therapy of facial rash

The doctor first asked those affected about the disease. When and where did the rash develop? Has it changed? Did it spread? Does it emerge in batches and with certain triggers, for example sun? Does he itch?

Do relatives, classmates or colleagues have a similar rash? Did the affected person have skin problems beforehand? Does he deal with chemicals or poisonous plants in his job, for example as an urban gardener? What medication does the person take? Did he try changing clothes? Did the problems arise after trying a new cream or shampoo? Has he just cleaned the apartment with harsh substances? Has he been vaccinated against measles, chickenpox and rubella? Is there a problem with skin parasites in his street, his environment? Has he just come from countries where such parasites are common?

Is there a basic illness? Does the person additionally have a fever, nausea or chills, cough or runny nose?

Then the doctor examines the rash. Does it form wheals, vesicles or areas? Is it flat or uneven? Does he wet? Is it limited or are different parts of the body affected? Are there blisters on the mouth or redness on the cheeks? He uses a spatula to check how the skin reacts to pressure.

Blood tests reveal whether there is an autoimmune disease or which bacteria and viruses are in the body. Laboratory examinations of the affected skin can identify fungal infections.

With a reflected light microscope, the doctor recognizes whether a skin tumor is developing.

Therapy combats the causes. Allergies and skin reactions to poisons disappear when the trigger disappears.

In the case of infectious diseases, the rash disappears with the disease. Antibiotics help against bacterial infections. Antiparasitics are used for parasites and antifungals for fungi.

Chronic skin diseases such as neurodermatitis are more problematic. They require long-term treatment, for example with cortisone and evening primrose oil. But this can only alleviate the symptoms.

Antivirals help against herpes viruses because they limit the multiplication of pathogens. Medicines for viruses can be applied directly to the diseased areas.

Ointments, creams, tinctures, bath salts and bandages with urea, sulfur or iodine should be applied regularly until the rash is overcome.

Atopic dermatitis, scleroderma and psoriasis can be treated well with light therapies in which those affected are exposed to UV light. Cures by the sea or in the mountains are also recommended here.


Many forms of facial rash can be prevented by prevention. This includes careful skin care first. The skin should not dry out, not be in the sun for too long, but "breathe" fresh air. Breathable clothing and shoes prevent fungal attack; if necessary, changing your clothes and putting on other shoes is enough.

In the cold we can dress warmly and make sure to take off the thick wool scarves when we come into the warm room.

We can wear protective gloves when working in the garden as well as when handling aggressive substances.

We can try new creams and perfumes sparingly to see how they work.

The skin benefits from lots of fresh air, healthy nutrition and periods of rest.

For example, we strengthen the skin with masks that contain milk and honey; Almond oil is also suitable. Face masks with olive oil, oat bran and curd also prevent rashes. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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Video: Lupus and Skin Rash (October 2022).