A rash is a skin condition that changes your skin’s appearance, such as its color or texture.
Skin that feels hot to the touch is when a portion of the skin is hotter than the rest of the surrounding skin on the body.
Contact dermatitis is a condition that develops when your skin is exposed to something that irritates it. This can result in both a rash and skin that feels hot to the touch. Examples of substances that commonly cause contact dermatitis include:
- dyes from clothing, furs, and/or leathers
- fragrances and perfumes added to skincare products, cosmetics, and paper products, such as toilet paper
- hair dye
- latex products, such as gloves, toys, and balloons
Additional symptoms that may come with contact dermatitis include itching, swelling, redness, and cracking skin.
Other skin conditions can cause a rash and skin that feels hot to the touch, including:
- bug or tick bite
- Lyme disease
If these two symptoms are due to contact dermatitis, they will typically subside if you stop contact with the irritant and cleanse your skin with a gentle soap and cool water.
A rash and skin that is hot to the touch can indicate the beginning of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Seek emergency treatment if you also experience shortness of breath, throat swelling, confusion, or facial swelling. Children that have a purple rash that closely resembles a bruise may also need immediate medical attention.
A rash and skin that is hot to the touch can sometimes indicate a skin infection or a harmful insect bite. Contact a medical professional if you also experience these symptoms:
- joint pain or sore throat
- streaks of redness around the rash
- symptoms that worsen instead of improving
(This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you suspect you need urgent care.)
Treatments for a rash and skin that feels hot to the touch will address the underlying condition. If your rash is the result of a more complicated allergen or biting insect, your physician may refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in skin disorders.
When you experience a rash and skin that is hot to the touch, keeping the affected area clean and dry is important. Refrain from scratching. Pat the area dry after cleaning it to avoid abrading the skin. Do not put any cosmetics or scented lotions on the affected area to avoid worsening the allergic reaction. You can apply a cool compress using a soft washcloth dipped in a few tablespoons of baking soda.
Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help to relieve some itching and heat. You can also take an antihistamine to reduce the effects of an allergic reaction. However, these medications may not be strong enough to reduce your symptoms.
Choosing fragrance-free products is wise if you are prone to allergic reactions. Metals, such as nickel, also can cause contact dermatitis. Avoiding any materials, such as latex and cleaning chemicals, known to cause a rash can also help.
When you go outdoors, protect yourself against ticks by applying repellents that contain anywhere from 20 to 30 percent DEET, especially to exposed skin (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Taking a shower immediately upon coming inside and checking your body thoroughly for ticks can help to protect against Lyme disease. If you’ve been outdoors in an area where ticks are present, tumbling dry your clothes for at least an hour after wearing them can kill remaining ticks on your clothing.