Rash on Arms and Legs

When a rash appears on any part of the body, the skin can become red, swollen and blotchy. It can also appear in the form of spots, which could be pus filled or simply be scaly, flaky or bumpy. A rash can appear anywhere, in any pattern and different extent. Rash on arms and legs could be due to a variety of reasons: be localized or due to a systemic condition. To treat this condition accordingly, this article will figure out all the possible causes along with helpful home care tips.

What Can Cause Rash on Arms and Legs?

1. Drug Rash

Medications can cause drug rash due to allergic reactions, side effects or skin's sensitivity to sunlight after taking certain medicals. Common drugs that can cause rashes on arms and legs include anti-seizure medications, antibiotics, or diuretics. Usually, this kind of rash will fade away within one week when taking a new medication, or after several days of stopping take such medications.

2. Bug Bites

Usually, people are bitten by ticks or fleas. If you have rashes after bug bites, you should be concerned about the possibility of transmitting diseases.

3. Causes of Rash on Children

Rash on arms and legs of children can be seen due to various factors like:

  • Chicken pox caused by a virus leading to very itchy blisters
  • Measles, which is a respiratory infection
  • ŸScarlet fever caused by streptococcal infection and requires antibiotics
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease, which causes red lesions
  • Fifth disease, which causes a red and flat rash on the face, legs and upper arms
  • Kawasaki disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects blood vessels, while giving out a rash
  • ŸImpetigo causes red and wet sores and is caused by bacteria

4. Allergic Reactions

Allergic reaction of medicines, topical lotions, detergents and foods can cause rash on arms and legs. The rash can range from mild and minor symptoms to life-threatening cases that an anaphylactic shock is presented, which can be started with swelling and constriction of the nasal passage, making breathing difficult and thus is life threatening.

5. Hives

Urticaria or hives shows a pale or pink swelling like rash which appears suddenly, along with burning, itchy or stingy sensation. Lasting from a few days to weeks, it can affect any part of the body, and as many as 20% of people experience hives at least once in their life. Mostly, it is caused due to certain allergens, therefore, it is best to avoid the allergen and take anti-histamines.

6. Swimmer's Itch

This particular condition is caused by allergic reaction to waterborne parasites which burrow themselves in the upper layer of the skin. It leads to itchy or burning rash with bumps or blisters. It is not usually serious and improves within a week without medical intervention. Repeated exposure to infected water can increase sensitivity, yet cause worse symptoms.

7. Contact Dermatitis

Eczema is commonly seen in people with allergies or asthma. It is characterized by reddish or itchy rash and has a scaly texture.

Contact Dermatitis, as one type of eczema, is caused when the skin comes in contact with various products like soaps, detergent, cosmetics, etc. It could also be caused by cloth dyes or chemicals present in elastic, latex and rubber. Poison oak, ivy or sumac is poisonous plants which can cause contact dermatitis.

8. Other Skin Conditions

Besides contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis may cause rash on arms and legs. It can be seen on the mouth, nose, ears or any part other than the scalp. Naturally, you will experience rashes on the arms and legs.

Psoriasis: It is seen usually on the scalp and on joints and is characterized by an itchy, scaly red rash.

8. When to Worry

You need to get immediate medical attention when the following symptoms are seen along with rash on arms and legs: Joint pain or stiffness, purple rash, fever accompanied with chills, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, choking, sudden onset of swelling in the face, mouth, lips and tongue, throat constriction, change in level of alertness, passing out or being unresponsive.

Home Remedies to Relieve Rash on Arms and Legs


1. Oatmeal

Helping with reducing inflammation, oatmeal is effective on chicken pox blisters, eczema and poison ivy rash. To make an oat poultice, add water to a cup of oatmeal and leave till it forms a paste. Use it to apply on the rash and itchy area. You can add oatmeal directly to your bath as well, which can be soothing for the itching caused by eczema, psoriasis and shingles.

2. Fruit Peels

Fruit peels help in soothing an itchy rash or bug bites. You can use the inner side of banana peels or even a watermelon rind. These are kitchen scraps which would otherwise be thrown away. However, since the fruity smell can attract bugs, it is best used indoors.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a quite popular remedy for any kind of skin ailment. Aside from being one of the best remedies for sunburn, it is quite effective in soothing the skin, relieving swelling and irritation. You can cut off a leaf from the plant, slice it lengthwise and scoop out the gel. Apply this gel on the affected area and store extra gel, if any, in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

4. Fresh Basil Leaves

Basil has medicinal properties and contains camphor and thymol which have anti-itch properties. It is quite easy and quick to use, just crush the leaves and rub on the skin, which also satisfies your urge to scratch the rash as well.

5. Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint leaves give a cooling effect when applied and is good for bug bites and itching. You can either crush the leaves and apply on the skin directly or freeze them with water and use those ice cubes, which give double effect. Cooling from the ice and peppermint gives a feeling of numbness, helping to reduces swelling and inflammation. Ensure that you use only clean and filtered water for making ice cubes.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an effective anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. It helps to relieve itching on dry skin, like dandruff and sunburns. Damp a cotton ball with it and apply on the rash or affected area.

7. Clay

Bentonite or Montmorillonite clay can be applied on the rash directly or in the form of a pack. It relieves itching and helps with acne as well. Stings heal quickly by using clay, since it helps in drawing the venom out. Use water to make a paste from the clay and apply it with a muslin cloth. Hold it till the clay dries.

8. General Caring Tips

Most of the rashes can be treated when the following care can be taken:

  • Avoid scratching on the rash. When washing the rash, use warm water instead of hot water. Do not rub while drying, pat dry the area.
  • Keep the rash open, allow it to breathe. Do not keep it covered, if possible.
  • Use OTC hydrocortisone cream (1% ) to relieve itching. When there is pain associated with rashes, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken.
  • Calamine lotion can also be used for chicken pox and rash caused by poisonous plants.
  • Gentle cleansers should be used, instead of soap. A medicated dandruff shampooshould be used to treat dandruff.
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