Family doctor


Skin Problems

PITYRIASIS ROSEA - a patient's guide


This condition is characterised by a rash which can last for several weeks. This article looks at the problem.

What is it?

A harmless rash which occurs mostly in youngish adults and can last for 4 to 10 weeks. It is upsetting mostly due to its appearance as it does no harm to the body. It is not infectious to other family members or partners.

It usually starts on the trunk (sometimes as a single patch) and spreads on the chest and abdomen.

The cause is probably due to a virus but this is not known for sure.

It very seldom comes back a second time.

It is no risk in pregnancy.

Sometimes one larger spot comes before the others and is called the "herald patch" and this is commonly on the abdomen or back.

The main problem with Pityriasis Rosea is the worry and embarrassment caused by its dramatic appearance and sometimes the itching associated with it. The only treatment is aimed at the itch if it gets severe which is uncommon.


Is usually by its classical appearance. Occasionally other tests may be needed to exclude similar problems (e.g. fungal infections).

See also:

Did this article meet your requirements/expectations?