Skin rashes have a large number of causes, many of these causes are preventable by keeping skin dry, clean, and protected. Many rashes are treatable. Common causes of skin rash include moisture, friction, heat, cold, light, and infections.

Skin rashes that are caused by excess moisture on the skin include:

  • Pitted keratolysis.

  • Jock itch.

  • Athlete's foot.

  • Folliculitis.

The reason for these rashes is that moisture on the skin creates an environment that is adequate for the growth of organisms that can infect the skin and cause a rash. Rashes may also be caused by excess friction of the skin. One such frictional rash is known as jogger's nipple, in which a rash forms from persistent irritation of the skin (especially the nipple) by a uniform or jersey. Friction in combination with pressure is the cause of blisters, such as on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.


  • Infectious rashes include herpes, ringworm, and impetigo, all of which are easily spread in contact sports such as wrestling.

  • Dry skin, sunburn, or frostbite.

  • Reddening of skin that may be localized, clumped, or diffuse.

  • Itching, burning, or pain in the areas with rash.

  • Bleeding.


  • Infection.

  • Moisture.

  • Friction.

  • Sun.

  • Wind.

  • Cold.


  • Prolonged moisture in contact with skin (remaining in wet sweaty clothes).

  • Not using absorbent material in socks and other clothing.

  • Rough areas such as sleeve seams, causing irritation.

  • Poorly fitting shoes (increased risk of blisters).

  • Skin-to-skin contact with infected competitors.


  • Change wet clothes immediately.

  • Use materials that wick away moisture.

  • Petroleum jelly may help reduce rashes caused by friction.

  • Tape or adhesives can be used to cover nipples and prevent irritation.

  • Well-fitting shoes can prevent blistering.

  • Disallow participation when active herpes lesions are present.

  • If you get sun-related fever blisters, use sunscreen and sunscreen containing lip balm when exercising in the sun.


If the rash is caused by excess moisture exposure, then benzoyl peroxide may help dry areas of skin. Antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride may be sprayed on sweaty feet to reduce the incidence of rashes cause by sweaty feet. Fungal infections can be treated with antifungal medications. The skin rash known as folliculitis will require antibiotic creams or oral medication.

Friction rashes may be prevented with the use of zinc oxide or petroleum jelly. It is also important to keep these areas clean and dry, in order to prevent an infection.

Rashes cause by a herpes infection may be treated with antiviral medications, but the virus cannot be eliminated from the body, thus recurrent outbreaks are likely to occur. Consult your caregiver for the prescription of antiviral medication.

Skin rashes have many causes and because of this they may be misidentified. It is reasonable to seek medical attention to clarify the possibilities and maximize treatment. Some skin conditions are chronic and need long-term medication, and other skin conditions may point toward specific systemic illnesses.