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The term 'rash' refers to a noticeable change in the appearance, color, or the texture of the skin. Rashes could develop when the skin comes in contact with environmental irritants or allergens. At times, skin rashes occur due to contact with pathogens such as fungi. Pruritus, which is commonly called itching, is often associated with rashes. Another associated symptom is the change in the color of the skin. Redness on and around the affected region is often a sign of inflammation. Sometimes, eruptions on the skin can identified by their shape, size, or location. For instance, red, circular or round-shaped skin eruptions are often associated with a fungal disease called ringworm. The following sections list out conditions that cause round red rashes.

Causes

Eczema
The term 'eczema' refers to a group of inflammatory skin conditions that are characterized by itchy, scaly, thickened skin. It starts with the outbreak of tiny blisters, which turn red (erythema). Thereafter, bumps form and crust over. This is followed by thickening and scaling of the affected skin. Eczema is of several types. Nummular/discoid dermatitis is one of the types of eczema that is characterized by itchy, coin-shaped lesions on the skin. The topical application of an anti-inflammatory cream and emollients can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Ringworm
Ringworm is one of the major causes of a ring-like rash. The outer edge of the rash is red and scaly, while the center is pale. Medically referred to as Tinea, ringworm is classified into several types on the basis of the part of the body that is affected. Tinea corporis causes a rash on the arms, chest, stomach, legs, or back, whereas Tinea capitis causes a rash on the head and scalp. Similarly, Tinea pedis affects the feet. Since ringworm is a fungal infection, it can be treated by applying antifungal creams.

Discoid Lupus
Discoid lupus is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin. It is a subtype of chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus. It is caused by an autoimmune disease. In autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakenly targets the cells of the body, considering them to be foreign invaders. Discoid lupus causes raised, disc-shaped rashes with scaly plaques and prominent follicular plugging. The most common areas of occurrence are scalp, face, chest, and neck. The rash usually worsens on getting exposed to sun, ultraviolet light, and fluorescent light. When discoid lupus occurs on the scalp, it can cause alopecia, i.e., patchy and localized loss of hair. The treatment involves the use of sunscreens, topical corticosteroids, and antimalarial agents. Exposure to sun must be minimized.

Lyme Disease
A tick-borne condition, Lyme disease occurs when one is exposed to ticks infested with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The term erythema migrans, which refers to the development of a small, red rash at the site of tick bite, along with an expanding outer ring, is a characteristic symptom of this condition. Since this condition can affect the joints, heart, or the nervous system, it must be treated at the earliest. However, it must be noted that rash may not develop in every individual who is exposed to the bacterium. Since the causal agent is a bacterium, the treatment involves the use of antibiotics.

Wheals/Welts
Exposure to allergens such as drugs, poison ivy, pollen grains, etc., causes the mast cells to become activated. This is followed by the release of histamines, which in turn causes plasma to leak from the small blood vessels in the skin. This leads to the development of raised welts on the skin. Though welts could be circular, the ones that are close to each other can fuse to form bigger, irregular-shaped wheals. The use of antihistamines is recommended for treating allergic reactions.

Folliculitis
The term 'folliculitis' refers to the inflammation of hair follicles. Usually caused by a bacterial infection, it is characterized by the development of small red bumps around hair follicles. The bumps are often filled with pus, and frequently break and crust over. The affected skin turns red and itchy. The commonly affected areas include the arms, face, armpits, scalp, and the legs. Application of antibiotic creams and emollients can speed up the healing process.

Home Remedies and Preventive Measures

To provide relief from itching, one can apply aloe vera gel. Slit an aloe vera leaf and squeeze to get the pulp. Spread it on the affected skin.
Cool baths with oatmeal will help reduce itching to some extent. Hot showers should be avoided.
It is advisable to use natural skin care products rather than products that contain chemicals.
Identify allergens and irritants. Avoidance of the irritant and the allergen is the best way to prevent allergic rashes.
Keep the affected area clean and dry. Using antiseptic soaps can prove beneficial.

Don't scratch over the affected skin, as that could make you susceptible to a secondary bacterial infection. If the rash persists, it's advisable to consult a dermatologist at the earliest.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.