Round, itchy skin patches can be more than bothersome -- they may symptomatic of a variety of health conditions. If you have round, itchy skin patches, contact your doctor for a definitive diagnosis to be sure you don't have a contagious condition.
Round, itchy skin patches may signify folliculitis, ring worm or psoriasis. Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles and is sometimes called "hot tub follicullitis" or "barber's itch," according to the MayoClinic website, as the infection is caused by the passage of bacteria. Psoriasis also causes red, patchy skin, typically at your joints. While psoriasis doesn't typically appear as round, it can appear as teardrop-shaped in patches all over the body. Ringworm is typified by round, scaly patches that itch. The patches can be raised or flat, according to the MayoClinic website. The interiors the circles, or rings, appear as normal skin. Patches most often appear on the neck, face or torso, states MayoClinic.
Ringworm passes from person to person. You can treat the condition with over-the-counter medications. Prescription treatments are also available as either topical creams or oral medications. Psoriasis is not contagious, but can be uncomfortable. It can be treated with topical creams. Folliculitis typically resolves on its own, though you can ask your doctor for medication if the itching is intense.
Most doctors assess folliculitis by simply seeing the affected area. Psoriasis and ringworm, however, require further examination. A diagnosis of psoriasis requires a careful medical history and may require a sample, though "Medical News Today" states that no tests are designed to specifically pinpoint a diagnosis of psoriasis. If your doctor thinks you have ringworm, she will most likely take a sample to examine it for the fungus that causes ringworm infection. Typically this involves a test typically referred to as a potassium hydroxide test.
If your rash doesn't clear up within a week or two, the MayoClinic website suggests consulting with your doctor. In this case, you may either have a persistent infection that requires strong medication to clear up, or you may not be treating the correct condition.
Psoriasis is caused by an immune system response where the body attacks healthy skin, instead of working to cure a wound or infection. Lifestyle changes may help resolve the patches. "Medical News Today" states that psoriasis can be triggered by stress, smoking or alcohol consumption. In addition, if you have a compromised immune system, such as AIDS or diabetes, psoriasis may be difficult to resolve.