What Is Causing My Rash?

Learn the possible causes for your rash from your Wellesley dermatologist.

Rashes tend to sneak up on you. All of a sudden, you get an irresistible urge to scratch and notice ugly red bumps or patches spreading across your skin. Although there's no denying that you have a rash, the cause isn't always clear. Dr. Michael Goldaber, Dr. Elaine Kay, Dr. David Ahgassi and Dr. Vaneeta Sheth, your Wellesley, MA dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates, share Rashinformation about common rash causes.


Chemicals in the products you use, including detergents, clothing, soaps and other products can produce a rash. Called contact dermatitis, this common rash occurs when an irritant or an allergen touches your skin. The reaction can also occur if you are sensitive to the ingredients in nail polish, are allergic to latex or are sensitive to metal alloys used to make costume jewelry. If you develop contact dermatitis, you'll develop a burning, itchy rash that may blister.

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

When red, itchy blisters form on your skin after a walk in the woods or a day outdoors, suspect poison ivy, oak or sumac. This form of contact dermatitis occurs when you come in contact with the oil from these plants. If you develop a rash, wash your clothing and clean shoes and tools immediately. Plant oils can linger on these items and cause another reaction the next time you use them if you don't clean them. If you experience severe itching, or if the rash occurs on your genitals, face or lips, call your dermatologist.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, causes dry, red, itchy skin and fluid-filled bumps. It's more common in people who have allergies or asthma. Changes in the weather and stress can worsen atopic dermatitis.


These blotchy red bumps appear on your skin if you're allergic to certain foods, medications, pollen, dander or other substances, or have a viral or bacterial infection, such as a urinary tract infection. Hives can also develop in response to stress or cold or hot weather. Although they're usually harmless and often go away in less than 24 hours, they can be life-threatening if they develop in your throat.

Not sure what's causing your rash? Your dermatologist can diagnose your problem and offer a treatment that will clear your rash and relieve itching and other unpleasant symptoms. Call Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates at (781) 237-3500 to schedule an appointment with your Wellesley, MA dermatologists.