Causes Of Elbow Rash
Elbow rash, while seldom a serious condition, can nonetheless be extremely irritating. Like most skin disorders, the ultimate effect on an individual is often related to the amount of skin area affected, or the location where the disorder is most prevalent. An elbow rash is usually less of a concern than a rash on the face, palms of the hands, or soles of the feet. Still, it can be very irritating.
Many Possible Causes - There isn't any one cause of elbow rash, in fact there are a number of possible causes. Some, such as the childhood diseases of chicken pox or measles don't really apply here, as the rash usually appears all over the body, and not just the elbows. In cases like these, elbow rash is the least of the patient's concerns. Other causes such as melanoma and syphilis are really quite rare. Of course if melanoma is suspect, treatment should be sought immediately. Heat rash and dry skin are more common causes, which fortunately tend to be either temporary, or moisturizers can be applied effectively as treatment. Dry skin for example often occurs during periods of cold weather or in locations where the humidity is very low for prolonged periods.
Of greater concern are the cases where elbow rash is the result of a skin disorder which may be chronic or simply difficult to treat. The cause of some skin disorders is not completely known, and in many cases treatment is provided to give relief but the underlying condition may not go away, or if so, may return at a later time.
Scabies - Scabies is possibly the most common cause of elbow rash. Scabies is a very contagious skin infection caused by the activity of scabies mites. The mites are so small as to be almost invisible. They burrow into the skin to lay their eggs. That is not the cause of the rash. The rash is caused by an allergic reaction to the mite's wastes. Over time, the itching becomes more severe and can become almost unbearable. Fortunately, scabies can be treated, with the treatment consisting of taking steps to kill the mite and the eggs that they lay. Treatment may be necessary over a period of time, usually several weeks. The symptoms may return however if a close family member also suffers from scabies and is not treated at the same time.
Dermatitis - Another common cause of elbow rash has the fancy title of seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly known as dandruff. As the common name implies, this condition normally appears in the scalp, and is quite common among small infants, though normally temporary. It can however, appear as an elbow rash on adults. The cause of this type of dermatitis is not well known. There are some indications that a genetic factor may be involved, while other studies point to a fungus as the potential cause. The suspected fungus is normally present on our skin to some extent, but seems to be more active in areas where a rash is present. A medicated shampoo is the treatment that is usually prescribed, though steroid lotions or lotions containing zinc compounds may be prescribed for more stubborn cases.
Psoriasis - The other common cause of elbow rash is psoriasis. Psoriasis tends to be a chronic condition. Unlike scabies, it is not contagious. Psoriasis is characterized by a rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of the skin, resulting in inflamed lesions, usually accompanied by the presence of scales. The condition can become more serious if the lesions become infected. The cause or causes of psoriasis are not well understood, but the condition is believed to be triggered by actions within the immune system.
If you have an elbow rash and it appears to be caused by something more than cold weather, humidity, or heat, application of a moisturizer would be a first step. If relief isn't forthcoming, a visit to a dermatologist is in order. Medical advise should certainly be sought if there are lesions which are becoming infected, or in rare instances, if melanoma is suspect. Fortunately, most cases of elbow rash respond well to prescribed treatments.