Circular Rash possible onditions: Should I worry?

Figure out the possible causes of the circular rash and learn how to deal with.

Rashes are often diagnosed visually depending on their appearance and pattern, some rashes may get misdiagnosed. A number of different conditions can cause circular rashes. However, most people think of  that the circular rash is caused due to the infection known commonly as ringworm.


Possible conditions that may cause Circular Rash



Ringworm is a superficial infection that affects the top layer. The most common form of ringworm is tinea corporis which affects the body. There is a mistaken belief that ringworm is caused by a practice or worm. No, that is not the reason; however, the condition is actually a  result of a fungus or dermatophyte which consumes dead skin and other dead cells on the surface of the body.

Once the fungus affects the skin, it produces the round spots of classic ringworm. The ringworm rash has specific characteristics when found on most of the body including:

  • Reddish, inflamed, scaly or crusty, raised rings.
  • First, lesions appear like spots or dots, later they take a circular shape. The circle is formed when the central parts of the lesions begin to heal.
  • Rings will have an active outer border.
  • The lesions may have a dry or moist texture. Commonly, dry lesions are associated with inflammation and scaling of the skin. But moist lesions are usually associated with small blisters along the edges of the rings and the formation of a crust.
  • Lesions can be itchy and tender.


The best treatment for ringworm is an antifungal cream that applied directly to the skin. When you see your doctor, he will prescribe anti-fungal medications to stop the proliferation of the fungi within the first few days of treatment. Then, they completely clear up the infection within two or three weeks. After this period, If they left untreated, the infection might go away after about a month.


Nummular Eczema

Eczema is a non-contagious, itchy, recurring rash. It is one of the most stressful and common of all chronic  disorders. There is a particular kind of eczema which called nummular eczema or discoid eczema that causes a circular rash. Unlike ringworm, it does not have the central clearing. Therefore, the lesions of the rash seems like coins than rings.


Pityriasis Rosea

It is considered to be a benign skin condition. The exact cause of  pityriasis rosea is unknown; however, it is believed that the onset of pityriasis rosea may be associated with a viral infection. This condition is characterized by the development of a large, circular patch with raised borders.

You may experience flu-like symptoms before the rash appears. The patches’ size is ranged between 2-10 cm. Small patches can later appear on the chest, stomach, arms, legs, or the back.

Despite all this, pityriasis rosea resolves within six weeks without any treatments. You can use emollients or medicated creams to provide the relief.
Granuloma Annulare

Like ringworm, granuloma annulare develops a ring-shaped lesion, however it usually is not itchy and feels firm to the touch.  Your doctor need to do a biopsy of the rash.


Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection that caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, which is a spirochete bacterium that is carried by deer ticks. Any infected tick can transmit the spirochete to the humans and animals it bites. If this infection is not treated,  the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, establishes itself in body tissues, and may cause many symptoms.

The first symptom is commonly a circular rash that called erythema migrans (EM rash). This rash has the following characteristics:

  • It often appears as a central spot, which surrounded by a ring of clear skin surrounded in turn by an expanding red rash. The rash is a solid red blotch that has a lighter center. These red patches vary in how light or dark they are.
  • Rash is not usually painful or itchy.
  • The rash usually radiates from the site of the tick bite.
  • The rash appears for 1-2 weeks, but it may be seen at any time between 2-30 days after the disease transmission.
  • The rash will not react to any fungal or hydrocortisone creams.
  • There are other symptoms that can appear elsewhere in the body including joint and muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, and cognitive difficulty.

If you suspect that you may have Lyme disease, do not hesitate to contact  your doctor. If misdiagnosed, Lyme disease ,may go on for months and years.

  • Diabetic Dermopathy

It is a medical condition that is characterized by high blood glucose levels in the blood. It may lead to skin problems.  About 30% of the people who affected by diabetes mellitus develop diabetic dermopathy. This condition is characterized by the appearance of round lesions on the shin that appear due to changes in the blood vessels that supply the skin. These skin lesions don’t hurt; however, they may sometimes be accompanied by itching.

You should keep the blood sugar levels under control to prevent these lesions.


Other conditions:

Besides the mentioned skin conditions, rashes can appear due to the exposure to allergens or irritants present in cosmetic products. Generally, rashes could be a symptom of a certain medical condition, so it would be best to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Contact your Doctor

Any circular rash, especially in children, should be examined by a doctor to make a proper diagnosis. Even after the diagnosis, you should also tell your doctor whether the rash get better with the treatment or not because the correct diagnosis may not have been made.

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