ABC Medical Center > Pityriasis rosea

What is Pityriasis rosea?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a transient and non-contagious skin condition that causes a large circle or oval-shaped spot that usually appears on the chest and abdominal area, as well as on the back, known as heraldic plaque or mother plaque, which can measure up to 12 cm long and cause severe itching.

As the rash spreads, the initial patch merges with the appearance of small dots that spread across the torso. In some cases, they can spread to the arms and legs.

Adolescents and young adults, especially women, are the most vulnerable groups to this condition.

So far, it is unknown what causes pityriasis rosea, but studies indicate that it may be due to a viral infection, mainly due to certain herpetic strains. It usually appears more frequently in the spring or autumn months.

Signs and symptoms Pityriasis rosea

Pityriasis rosea can last between 4 and 8 weeks, its characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Pink or reddish rashes.
  • Circular or oval spots.
  • Itch.

Before the stain appears, there may be:

  • Exhaustion.
  • Headache.
  • High fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Nausea.
  • Lack of appetite.

These symptoms may disappear in three to 10 weeks.

Possible complications

In general, this pathology does not cause any health risk, except for general discomfort due to intense itching. Women who develop pityriasis rosea during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy may give birth to a premature baby.

Diagnosis and treatment Pityriasis rosea

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination and a thorough skin check, which may include a dermoscopy or a skin sample to be analyzed in the laboratory and confirm the diagnosis, since pityriasis rosea can be confused with ringworm, eczema or psoriasis.

Your doctor may also order a blood test to rule out a type of syphilis that can cause a similar rash.

Pityriasis rosea usually goes away on its own between the third and twelfth week of the rash, but to treat severe itching, your doctor may prescribe:

  • Antihistamines.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Antivirals.

To avoid skin irritation, they may also suggest gentle baths and lubricants or hydrocortisone creams.

Also, phototherapy can help the rash to stop, although it can also cause the spots to darken. However, pityriasis rosea does not usually leave scars and is not a recurrent disease.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • rchsd.org/health
  • stanfordchildrens.org
  • cigna.com
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Jiménez-Cornejo MC, González-de la Torre S. Pitiriasis Rosada: aspectos generales, bases para el diagnóstico y tratamiento. Hipoc Rev Med. 2011;6(26):12-14.
  • López-Carrera I, Durán-McKinster C, Sáez-de-Ocariz MM, et al. Pitiriasis rosada: un exantema que debe ser reconocido por el médico de primer contacto. Estudio de 30 casos. Acta Pediatr Mex. 2014;35(4):289-294.
  • Pérez-Elizondo AD, Ortiz-Ortega L, Contreras-Guzmán C. Pitiriasis rosada de Gibert: una breve revisión de un exantema común. Arch Inv Mat Inf. 2015;7(1):27-29.
  • Centeno A, Danielo C, Papa M, et al. Pitiriasis rosada atípica. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2007;35(2):104-107.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.