Are you living with unsightly and itchy patches of pink or red skin on your body? You’re not alone. Pityriasis rosea is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. While the exact cause is unknown, certain supplements can help soothe troublesome symptoms associated with this rash, providing relief and aiding in the healing process. Read on to discover which natural remedies may offer relief from itchiness and discoloration caused by pityriasis rosea, leading to healthier looking skin.
What is Pityriasis Rosea?
Skin rashes are common and can be caused by any number of things like a reaction, allergies or infections. Pityriasis rosea, also called the “Christmas tree rash”, is a skin eruption that takes the form of an oval or tree-shaped scaly rash that can pop up on various parts of the body. This condition is prevalent and can affect just about anyone regardless of gender, age, and background. It is, however, more likely to occur among pregnant women and people between the ages of 10 and 35.
Pityriasis rosea is usually not something to worry about. It may cause some discomfort like itching or unsightly redness on the face, but the good news is that it tends to go away on its own within a few months and rarely ever comes back.
The underlying cause of pityriasis rosea still remains unclear, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that a common virus plays a role. As a result, supplements that keep the skin and immune system healthy can provide protective benefits. If a bout of pityriasis rosea is unavoidable, home remedies and over-the-counter solutions can soothe the skin and speed healing time.
Symptoms of Pityriasis Rosea
Medical professionals such as dermatologists can usually diagnose pityriasis rosea easily but occasionally the rash can be confused with other skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Sometimes a biopsy is needed to confirm the type of rash. Generally, though, a detailed medical history and visual examination is enough to accurately identify it (x). Signs that indicate pityriasis rosea include:
“Herald” or “Mother” Patch
The first symptom of pityriasis rosea is the formation of a single red and scaly patch on the skin that appears on the trunk, upper arms, or thighs. This is known as the “herald patch” or “mother patch” and may measure between 2 to 10cm in size. The patch may be itchy, and in some cases, it may burn.
The “Daughter” Patches
After several days or weeks, smaller red patches may spring up on the body, and they’ll often appear in a Christmas tree-like pattern. They’re called the “daughter” patches. These smaller patches may be accompanied by more itchiness, and scratching them may lead to more discomfort. The patches may appear on the trunk, upper arms, thighs, and neck, and they typically align themselves in a pattern that’s similar to the branches of a Christmas tree. The appearance and size of the patches may vary, but they’ll often be itchy and scaly. Importantly, the patches may continue to spread for several weeks before they start to clear up.
In 80 percent of cases pityriasis rosea rashes usually last anywhere from 1-3 months. They can linger up to 5 months in some people, though. Eventually, the condition goes away without treatment and it usually does not leave any scars or permanent marks. However, some people may see residual dark spots at the inflammation sites which could last for months before resolution.
About two weeks before the herald patch appears, some people may experience flu-like symptoms that include fever, fatigue, and sore throat. These symptoms are usually mild, and some people don’t even get them. However, if you do experience these symptoms alongside the skin patches, it’s best to see a doctor for diagnosis.
Pityriasis rosea can be uncomfortable, especially if the patches are widespread. You may feel a burning or itchy sensation, and scratching the area may lead to more discomfort. Additionally, if the skin is inflamed and cracked, it may feel sore and painful. In some cases, the patches may cause psychological discomfort since they may be unsightly.
Causes of Pityriasis Rosea
Despite the fact that pityriasis rosea has been a recognized condition since 1860, researchers still aren’t quite sure what causes it.
The most common cause of pityriasis rosea is thought to be a viral infection. Recent research points to 2 herpes viruses, HHV-6 and HHV-7, as potential causes of the condition. This is because some people with pityriasis rosea have antibodies against this virus. Additionally, symptoms of Pityriasis Rosea, like fatigue accompanied by a sore throat can indicate the presence of viral infections. While most cases of pityriasis rosea resolve on their own without treatment, antiviral medication may be prescribed in severe cases.
Evidence increasingly backs up this theory. First, most people feel like they’ve come down with something before or during the development of the rashes. Second, it’s rare for someone to get pityriasis rosea more than once, suggesting the body has built up immunity to the infection. Finally, while the rashes themselves aren’t contagious, people in the same family or who spend time together may experience it around the same time.
The hormonal changes during pregnancy have been linked with pityriasis rosea in some cases, indicating that a hormonal imbalance could be a contributing factor. Studies have shown that women are more likely than men to develop PR and that it most commonly affects the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. While treatment of pityriasis rosea during pregnancy can be challenging, it is typically possible.
Some researchers suggest that there could be a genetic component to pityriasis rosea since it commonly affects members of the same family. However, no specific gene has been identified to cause this disease.
Another potential trigger of pityriasis rosea is stress. Recent studies show that chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making it more vulnerable to a variety of diseases and infections, including pityriasis rosea. Thus, it’s essential to manage your stress levels to prevent the disease from occurring.
Pityriasis rosea is more common in the winter months than in summer, suggesting that dry air could be a possible environmental trigger. Additionally, certain allergic reactions to laundry detergents or body washes may cause pityriasis rosea. Therefore, it’s advised to avoid fragranced body washes or detergents to prevent an allergic reaction.
Risk Factors for Pityriasis Rosea
Pityriasis rosea most commonly affects people between the ages of 10 and 35. It is theorized that this is the age range when people are most likely to become infected with the mystery virus.
Pregnant women are also at a greater risk because pregnancy lowers immune system activity and makes them more susceptible to infections. Unfortunately, it can increase the chances of miscarriage, especially if it develops within the first 15 weeks of gestation.
Initially, pityriasis rosea can be confused with psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that also leaves patches on the skin. Psoriasis can develop at any age but people are more likely to have their first psoriatic flare up between the ages of 15 and 35, similar to pityriasis rosea. The two conditions are very different, however.
While pityriasis rosea most likely occurs in response to infection from an outside pathogen like a virus, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. This means that the immune system mistakenly attacks cells of its own host body, in this case the cells of the skin.
About 30 percent of people who have psoriasis will go on to experience psoriatic arthritis, a related condition that causes joint pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility. In addition, both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are associated with comorbidities (other conditions that occur at the same time) such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, and depression.
Pityriasis goes away on its own, leaving no evidence. Psoriasis, on the other hand, can have management, but never receive a cure.
Treatments for Pityriasis Rosea
Pityriasis rosea usually goes away on its own without treatment. In severe cases, studies show that the use of the antiviral medication acyclovir can be helpful. A doctor might also decide to treat a pregnant woman with acyclovir if the risks of the condition (possible miscarriage) outweigh those of the medication. Usually, though, people just treat the symptoms of itching or skin irritation as needed with any of the following remedies:
Steroid creams are one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for pityriasis rosea. These creams are to relieve itchy rashes and reduce redness, which are the main symptoms of pityriasis rosea. When applied regularly, steroid creams also help to soothe your skin and prevent further irritation. However, it’s important to be cautious with these creams as overuse can lead to thinning of the skin.
Ultraviolet Light Therapy
Ultraviolet light therapy involves exposing the affected skin to a type of ultraviolet radiation known as UVB. This treatment can help reduce inflammation and itching, which can accelerate the healing process. However, it is important to receive this treatment under medical supervision as overexposure to UV radiation can cause skin damage.
Antihistamines are another effective treatment for pityriasis rosea. These tablets work by reducing itchiness and redness caused by the condition. The most commonly prescribed antihistamines for pityriasis rosea are hydroxyzine and diphenhydramine. These medications may cause drowsiness, so it’s important to take them at night or before bed.
Using the right moisturizers can help alleviate the symptoms of pityriasis rosea. Moisturizers help to keep your skin hydrated, which can help reduce redness and itchiness. Using a moisturizer that contains ingredients like aloe vera or oatmeal can also help soothe your skin and prevent further irritation.
Soaking in an oatmeal bath can soothe irritated skin and relieve itch thanks to the avenanthramides found in oats. You can use an oatmeal bath product found in a drugstore or simply do it yourself by placing a cup of oats into a mesh bag and adding it to the bathwater. Hot water can actually make the rash look and feel worse, however, so be sure the water is lukewarm.
Coal Tar Soap and Shampoo
Coal tar soap and shampoo can help reduce the scaling and itching of pityriasis rosea. It is a natural remedy that is said to have antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoid Anti-fungal Creams
Pityriasis rosea can look a lot like a rash that’s from fungus like ringworm or candida. As a result, people may try to treat their rashes with anti-fungal products which can actually make pityriasis rosea worse. If you’re unsure what’s causing the rash, see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis.
Getting a little bit of sunlight every day can help alleviate the symptoms of pityriasis rosea. Sun exposure is known to have a therapeutic effect on the skin, and this can help reduce the itchiness and redness associated with the condition. Just be sure to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, as this can cause damage to your skin.
Last but not least, it is important to avoid any irritants that could aggravate your skin. This could include perfumes, harsh soaps, and detergents. Try to use mild, fragrance-free products whenever possible to prevent further irritation to your skin.
Supplements for Pityriasis Rosea
A well-functioning immune system and healthy skin provide the best defense against complications from pityriasis rosea. Supplements can help with this. One amino acid in particular — lysine — may have a direct impact on the virus thought to play a role in the infection.
Studies show that the amino acid lysine helps reduce the effects of herpes viruses by stopping them from replicating in the body. Researchers believe that pityriasis rosea is likely by herpes viruses, specifically HHV-6 and HHV-7. In case studies, lysine helped the condition clear up faster. As a dietary supplement, take 680mg of L-lysine HCL once or twice daily, or as directed by physician.
Vitamin C multitasks. Production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep the skin supple and healthy, require vitamin C. In addition, the immune system depends on vitamin C to make the white blood cells that combat infection. As a dietary supplement, take 1,000mg (1/4 tsp) of vitamin C powder up to three times daily or as directed by a physician.
Vitamin E helps keep the skin healthy and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in this fat-soluble vitamin is linked to very dry skin which leaves it susceptible to infections and damage. Some studies show that taking 400 IU of vitamin E daily can help improve the quality of life for people who suffer from skin rashes. As a dietary supplement, take 1 vitamin E 400 IU softgel daily with a meal, or as otherwise directed by a physician.
Zinc, while needed by the body in small amounts, plays a critical role in the function of the immune system. This mineral is especially effective for fighting viruses including those in the herpes family which has suspicions it is what causes pityriasis rosea. What’s more, zinc has heavy concentratrations in the skin and helps heal it when wounded. As important as zinc is, more is not necessarily better. Too much can be toxic. Zinc supplements come in many different forms such as zinc citrate powder, zinc gluconate powder, and zinc glycinate powder so it’s important to carefully read labels and not exceed what’s recommended.
Research has shown that vitamin D can help to reduce the severity of skin rashes associated with pityriasis rosea. The nutrient is essential for healthy skin and bones, and it also supports the immune system. Apart from exposure to sunlight, you can get vitamin D from foods like fish, eggs, and dairy products. You may also purchase vitamin D here online at Bulksupplements.com.
Probiotics help to support gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. In turn, a healthy gut can help to improve the overall immune response of the body, which is crucial for managing pityriasis rosea symptoms. You can get probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are crucial for maintaining optimal health. They’re famous for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the discomfort associated with pityriasis rosea. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fish, nuts, and seeds, but omega 3-6-9 supplements are also available.
The Bottom Line
Pityriasis rosea is relatively harmless and temporary skin condition that likely triggers in response to a virus. Rash patches gradually develop on the skin, usually on the back, trunk, and chest. Once a person experiences this condition, he or she is unlikely to get it again.
Pregnant women, a population at higher risk of developing pityriasis rosea, may want to make an effort to seek medical attention if they suspect they have it. Even though the condition doesn’t leave lasting effects for most people, it can cause problems during pregnancy.
Luckily, not much needs to prepare for treatment of pityriasis rosea. It generally goes away on its own within a few months and leaves no lasting scars. However, these rashes can get uncomfortable. If this occurs, over-the-counter creams, oral antihistamines, and oatmeal baths (but not too hot!) can soothe skin and relieve itchiness. In addition, keeping both the skin and immune system in good shape through proper nutrition and/or supplements helps combat the virus that causes it and helps ensure proper healing.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease