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Pityriasis Rosea Symptoms & Diagnosis


If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to pityriasis rosea. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. If you experience any one of the symptoms below, see your physician.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling ill—You may feel like you are getting a cold just before the rash appears.
  • Having a “herald patch”—Typically this is the first lesion to appear.
    • It is a large, oval, scaly lesion that typically occurs on the back, stomach, armpit, or chest.
    • After several days, more lesions then appear on the body.
    • Lesions found on the back tend to form a “Christmas tree” pattern.
    • The scale of pityriasis rosea is often described as “trailing scale." It forms inside of the leading pink edge of the the lesions.
  • Mild to severe itching of the lesions—The rash of pityriasis rosea is typically not itchy, but itching may occur in some patients.
    • Itching worsens when the body overheats (eg, during physical activities or after taking a hot shower).
  • Having skin redness or inflammation
  • Feeling tired and achy

If symptoms last for more than three months, contact your doctor.


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam, including an examination of your skin. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (a dermatologist). A dermatologist can usually diagnose pityriasis rosea by examining your skin.

Since the condition can look like other skin disorders, including eczema , ringworm , syphilis , and psoriasis , other tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.


© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Tests may include the following:

  • Blood tests
  • Skin scrape
  • Skin biopsy —removal of a sample of skin tissue from the lesion to test for pityriasis rosea

Skin Biopsy

Skin proceedure
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2021 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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