No one knows for sure what causes Christmas tree rash. Like most skin rashes though, it is an indication or a clue to an underlying health issue. Today’s article aims to help you understand more about pityriasis rosea or Christmas tree rash causes, symptoms along with some natural cures and home remedies to use for relief from itching.
Christmas tree rash causes
Pityriasis rosea is a harmless rash that may be attributed to human herpes virus. It typically arises in spring, autumn and winter months. Pityriasis rosea is not contagious and is generally seen in people within the age groups of 10 and 35 years. This skin rash is not hereditary and you will not pass it on through sexual contact. You also need not keep children home from school due to it. Doctors do not know the exact cause of the Christmas tree rash since no known bacterium, fungus or virus is responsible for it. However, as stated above, the human herpes virus could be one of the factors leading to it.
Symptoms of Pityriasis rosea
- Mild headache
- Lethargy or fatigue-more than usual
- Presence of a rash patterned like a ‘Christmas tree’
Many people develop an itching sensation before the rash appears. While the rash is typically concentrated around the arms, legs, face, tummy, neck, back, thighs and upper arms; some people also develop it in the mouth in the form of blisters and ulcers.
Christmas tree rash pictures
Below are some Christmas tree rash images. As can be seen, the starting stage or herald patch consists of a reddish-pink rash which is 2-5 cm in diameter and oval or circular in shape. It starts on the body and does not affect the face in the early stages. As it progresses, it consists of tiny oval shaped spots. These are parallel to the skin creases and quite itchy. The rash does not leave behind any scars or marks. It usually fades away on its own within 2-3 weeks and most people do not develop it again. In rare cases though, the rash may become flaky or itchy which can lead to discomfort.
Image: Patient Help
Natural remedies for Christmas tree rash
Keep the skin well moisturized. Use a dermatologist approved moisturizer without any harsh ingredients or pore-clogging substances. Avoid heavy oils or creams with mineral oil, petroleum products etc. Menthol based skin creams or emollients are cooling and heal and soothe skin to give much needed relief from Christmas tree rash.
2. Take precautions during/after bathing
Avoid using harsh soaps and detergents, hot water and tight synthetic clothing. Instead, bathe in warm water mixed with a cupful of baking soda. You may also soak in a tub bath mixed with colloidal oatmeal to keep the skin itch free and moisturized. Pat the skin dry and apply a mild moisturizer. Use silk or soft cotton clothing and avoid wool and acrylic materials since they could aggravate the rash.
3. Do not scratch
Avoid scratching the skin as it could worsen the rash. Itching-scratching becomes a vicious cycle which could even lead to secondary skin infections. If the itching is severe, use a mild over-the-counter hydrocortisone/steroidal cream (1%) to stop itchiness. Do not use steroidal creams for more than 3 days. If the itching continues, take antihistamine medicines for relief.
4. Bentonite clay
Apply extra virgin untreated bentonite clay on the rash several times a day to get rid of itchiness.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Use organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar that has sediments at its bottom. These contain good enzymes that heal and soothe pityriasis rosea and other skin rashes. Soak a clean cotton wool in the vinegar and dab it gently on the rash 3 times a day.
6. Herbal remedies for pityriasis rosea
- Peppermint leaves– Crush some peppermint leaves and apply the juices to the rash. You can even freeze peppermint leaf juice and apply the ice cubes to inflamed skin.
- Basil leaves-Camphor and thymol are important constituents of basil leaves. Crush the leaves and apply the anti-itch juice on the rash.
- Aloe vera– Cut the leaf of an aloe plant along its length. Extract the gel like material and spread it over the rash. Aloe vera is anti-inflammatory and heals and soothes the skin.
- Comfrey-Mix some clay powder with comfrey tea and apply the paste to the rash. Wash off after 45 minutes using warm water.
- Milk thistle– Build up immunity by drinking milk thistle tincture or tea 2-3 times a day.
- Calendula-Orally take some calendula tincture diluted in water and also apply calendula ointment to the pityriasis rosea rash. You can also use chamomile essential oil on the Christmas tree rash.
If the Christmas tree rash is present inside the mouth, take sarsaparilla and gotu kola (250 mg 3 times a day).
8. Acidophilus culture
Improve and strengthen your immune function by taking acidophilus culture. It is readily available in drugstores and health food stores. Add ¼ tsp of the culture to plain yogurt and eat this 2 times a day. You can also eat probiotic foods like kefir, miso etc.
9. Homeopathic remedy for Christmas tree rash
Take Aconitum Napellus 200 C. This will soothe the skin and speed up healing.
Try these 9 natural cures for Christmas tree rash or pityriasis rosea to get quick relief.