Pityriasis Rosada: What is it? Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is a mild but common skin condition characterized by a pink, oval, and scaly rash.

Although it can occur at any age, it is seen most often in people between 10 and 35 years.

Pityriasis rosea is usually harmless and has a natural course for some weeks.

There are no medications or treatments available to shorten your course.

This disease appears most frequently in the months of spring and autumn.

Causes of pityriasis rosea

It is a skin rash probably caused by some viruses of the human herpes virus family 6 and 7, which cause rubella in children.

It commonly occurs in adults and young people ages 10 to 35, but it can occur at any age.


It is not considered contagious since the rash does not seem to spread from person to person.


The eruption usually begins with a prominent spot on the trunk called the “herald” patch because it announces the appearance of an explosion spread several days later.

The spots spread over the body to cover the trunk and the upper part of the arms (a “t-shirt” type distribution), and the upper part of the legs.

Rarely, the rash may cover the neck and face.

The spots turn into oval areas (about the size of a coin) of salmon-colored or copper-colored skin with scaly margins.

The size of the patch varies from 2 to 10 cm.

The patches on the back are usually vertical and angled to form an appearance of a “Christmas tree” or “fir tree.”

About 50% of patients may have some minor discomfort from itching.

These rashes can usually last 6 to 8 weeks and extend several months.

Sometimes rounded (papular) protrusions are seen in small infants, pregnant women, and people with dark skin.

Blisters (vesicles) can be seen in infants and young children.

The herald patch may not appear in some people, or two herald patches may seem too close together. Before the Heraldo patch is visible, it is common for the patient to feel tired and with symptoms similar to the cold.

Patients may experience headaches, nausea, sore throat, and loss of appetite.

The eruption of pityriasis rosea can be confused with similar outbreaks such as:

Ringworm, eczema, psoriasis, syphilis, and those caused by some medications such as antibiotics.

Recurrence of the disease is rare once the rash and itching subside.

Diagnosis of pityriasis rosea

The diagnosis can be difficult when only the herald patch is seen since the condition is often confused with ringworm or eczema at this time.

After the rash appears, the diagnosis is usually straightforward.

To clarify the diagnosis, the doctor will order:

A mycological potassium hydroxide test ruled that a fungal infection did not cause the rash.

A sample of skin from the infected area to perform a biopsy.

In the case of a sexually active person, differential diagnoses should often be performed, such as serological screening for syphilis.

Also, the fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption test for syphilis, and HIV serology, respectively.


Pityriasis Rosada disappears without any treatment.

To alleviate the symptoms associated with pink spiritists, it is recommended to treat mainly itching throughout the body.

Doctors recommend treating itching using ointments or creams with corticosteroids such as mometasonehydrocortisone, or triamcinolone.

Other topical options can also be requested with moisturizers, menthol, or calamine, which cause fewer side effects than corticosteroids.

If the patient has difficulty sleeping due to pruritus, first-generation antihistamines can be recommended, which cause sleepiness, as in the case of hydroxyzine.

The patient should keep calm since excessive heat and sweating can worsen the rash and itching.

Hot showers should be avoided; when bathing, the water should be kept as cold as possible.

You should limit the amount of soap and use mild soaps, such as Basis, Cetaphil, or Dove.