Forehead Rash? Here's What You Should Know
Forehead Rash? Here's What You Should Know
The skin is the largest organ of the human body. According to the National Institutes of Health and the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, the skin weighs between six and nine pounds, and it has a surface area of approximately two square yards.
In addition to being the largest organ, the skin also plays a very important role: It serves as the barrier between the inside of your body and the exterior elements. Your skin helps to keep the inside of your body protected from viruses and bacteria, and helps to regulate your internal temperature. Being that it is exposed to so many toxins, allergens and other elements on a constant basis, it’s no wonder that the skin is highly susceptible to conditions that irritate it, including rashes.
Rashes are one of the most common skin afflictions. In fact, nearly 100 percent of us, from infants to the elderly, will suffer from a rash at some point in our lives.
What is a Rash?
A rash is the skin’s reaction to the exposure of an allergen. The forehead is a common site for skin rashes. A forehead rash presents with various symptoms, including one or more of the following:
- Open sores
- Dry and/or flaking skin
Rashes on the forehead develop due to exposure to allergens and irritants, though they are also the result of certain diseases and genetics.
If you developed a rash on or on top of your forehead, you have come to the right place. This guide aims to be a comprehensive skin rash resource, particularly for rashes of the forehead. You’ll learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, complications and frequently asked questions associated with forehead rashes.
Forehead Rash Causes
Rashes on the forehead are common on infants (infant acne, for example). However, numerous factors can cause a forehead rash in adults. These factors can vary, from an allergy to a serious illness. If you are wondering, “What is causing the rash on my forehead?” here is a look at some of the most common causes of a forehead rash in men and women:
Forehead Rash Causes (Infectious)
Forehead rashes are often the result of infectious diseases, which can include the following:
- Bacterial infections; for example, an infection that is caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria
- Impetigo, a bacterial skin infection
- Folliculitis, an infection or inflammation of a hair follicle on the forehead
- Ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin
- Shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus
Forehead Rash Causes (Allergic)
Allergies or reactions to allergens are also notorious causes of forehead rash. Allergies often cause a forehead rash that comes and goes, or forehead rash bumps.
The most common causes of a forehead rash caused by a reaction to an allergen include:
- An allergic form of contact dermatitis, such as an allergy to a facial cream
- Atopic dermatitis, a type of inflammation of the skin
- An allergic reaction to a medication
- Eczema, a chronic skin condition, which is usually hereditary
- Allergies to food
- Irritant contact dermatitis, such as a sensitivity to a lotion or a body spray
- Run-off pattern, which is an allergic reaction to certain products used on the scalp, including shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, detangler and other products that are applied to the scalp and run down the face, causing a forehead rash to spread
Forehead Rash Causes (Autoimmune)
Forehead rashes are also often caused by an autoimmune deficiency or an inflammatory disorder that causes forehead rash bumps, which can be itchy, irritating and even painful.
Common autoimmune deficiencies and inflammatory disorders that cause forehead rashes to develop include:
- Acne, both teenage and adult-onset acne
- Baby acne, an inflammation of the skin that is caused by maternal hormones
- Dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, which can affect the forehead, the scalp, the face and the neck
- Rosacea, which is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder
- Forehead rash lupus, a disorder that causes the body to attack healthy cells and tissues within the body
Forehead Rashes (Other Causes)
A number of other factors and conditions can also cause forehead rashes. These factors can cause a rash that comes and goes, or a forehead rash that flares up outside.
Some of the most common forehead rashes that stem from other conditions include:
- Forehead heat rash
- Forehead rash after sweating
- Forehead rash by stress
- Methamphetamine abuse
- Milia, which are small white bumps that are caused by a collection of dead skin cells and other debris that collects on the skin
- Erythema toxicum, a benign, noncancerous condition of the skin that typically occurs in newborn babies
A forehead rash can also indicate or result from a life-threatening illness, such as:
- Allergic purpura, an autoimmune bleeding disorder
- Anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening reaction to an allergen
- Erythema multiforme, a serious type of allergic reaction
- Meningitis, or an infection or inflammation of the sac that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis, which is related to a severe reaction to medication, and can cause skin and mucosal loss
No matter what is causing a forehead rash, it is imperative to have it assessed by a dermatologist as soon as possible to rule out any underlying health problems and to receive treatment.
Forehead Rash Symptoms
There are several signs and symptoms that present when a forehead rash develops, including the following:
- Bleeding or weeping from the broken skin
- Blistering on the forehead
- The feeling of a burning sensation
- Cracked skin
- Dry and/or flaking skin
- Itching on the forehead
- The appearance of pimples or pustules
- Swelling or puffiness on the forehead
Other symptoms may present themselves, which include:
- Symptoms that are similar to the flu, such as fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough and a general feeling of malaise
- Pain in the joints
- Nerve pain
- A feeling of numbness or burning in the lower legs and feet
- Red and/or dry eyes
- A runny nose and sneezing
- Feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
- Upset stomach
Diagnosing a Forehead Rash
Diagnosing any rash, including a forehead rash, requires a careful evaluation of its symptoms and characteristics, including shape, pattern, duration and spread.
A good photo detailing the beginning of the rash is helpful for medical professionals in making an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, a history of foods recently eaten, medications taken or personal products applied, such as a new shampoo or hair conditioner, might be necessary to determine the cause of the rash.
Forehead Rash Symptoms that Indicate You Need Immediate Medical Care
In some situations, other symptoms will develop throughout the body, and these symptoms may indicate a serious illness. If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms of a forehead rash, coupled with the following symptoms, it could be a sign of a serious, or even a potentially life-threatening condition.
You should seek prompt medical care if you experience any of the following, in addition to a forehead rash:
- An altered state of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or an inability to respond
- Pain, tightness or pressure in the chest
- The appearance of hives on the face or the neck
- An increased heart rate, or heart palpitations
- Difficulty with breathing, including shortness of breath, difficulty getting enough air, labored breathing, wheezing, choking or feeling like you are unable to breathe
- A severe and/or debilitating headache
- Stiffness in the neck
- Sudden swelling of the face, lips, mouth or tongue
Whether your forehead rash is severe and presents with other signs and symptoms throughout the body, or it is minor and the symptoms are only present on the forehead itself, you should seek medical treatment.
Potential complications could arise if you don’t seek medical treatment, which can include:
- Worsening of the rash
- A bacterial or fungal infection, which can affect the rest of the skin
- Embarrassment because of the unsightliness of the rash
- The development of open sores and lesions
- Chances in the texture of the skin, which can be permanent
- A permanent discoloration of the skin
- Scarring, which can be unsightly
- Stress, anxiety and/or depression
- Worsening of the underlying medical condition that is causing the forehead rash, including a decline in your health, which could cause a serious hazard to your overall health and well-being
Forehead Rash Treatment
There are several options available to treat a forehead rash. Your medical health professional will prescribe a treatment based on a thorough review of your rash and a thorough assessment of other symptoms and your overall health.
Your specific treatment depends on the severity of and the underlying causes of your forehead rash. For instance, treatment for a spreading forehead rash may be different for a forehead rash that is associated with diseases.
Various natural remedies to treat forehead rashes also exist. Natural remedies often are used to treat less serious forehead rashes, such as forehead acne, include applying:
- Baking soda, olive oil, baking soda and/or Aloe Vera to the rash to relieve any itching
- A combination of Vitamin E and cod liver oil, which can cure the rash
- Cooked oatmeal to the rash, which can relieve itching
- A mixture of calcium gluconate and water, which can relieve the effects of the rash
- Ice packs, which can be applied to the rash and relieve any swelling, redness and itching
For some skin rashes, certain changes to skin care treatment can help to treat and prevent the development of a future rash:
- Treating forehead rashes caused by psoriasis requires keeping the skin moist, avoiding exposure to hot water, sunlight and the cessation of smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke. Petroleum jellies and other topical applications can also be effective treatment and preventative measures.
- Avoiding a rash caused by dry skin is as simple as getting rid of harsh soaps and other inferior products. Changes in the diet, including reducing the intake of unhealthy foods, and eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet can be effective treatments and preventative measures as well.
- Topical creams and oral medication help treat rashes that are the result of an allergic reaction. Additionally, future rashes can be prevented by avoiding exposure to the allergen that caused the forehead rash to develop.
More serious forehead rashes will usually require the use of over-the-counter medications or prescription medications, including:
- Topical steroids
- Topical creams
- Anti-allergy medications
If a forehead rash is the cause of an underlying health condition, treatment of the condition can cure the rash and prevent the future development of a rash on the forehead.
In the case of children affected by forehead rashes, milder treatment options may be prescribed, including milder topical applications. Elocon (mometasone furoate) and Cutivate (fluticasone propionate) are deemed to be safer topical solutions for kids, and Cultivate is the only topical solution approved by the FDA for use with infants three months of age or older.
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to properly diagnose and treat your forehead rash, the answers to some basic questions are helpful. The following questions can give your doctor a better understanding of your condition, what is causing it and how to treat it:
Q: When did your forehead rash first appear?
A: Sudden rashes usually have different causes than long-term rashes.
Q: Is your forehead rash spreading to other areas of your body?
A: If the rash is spreading, it could be an indication of a run-off pattern, or an allergic reaction that is spreading from the scalp to the forehead.
Q: Has this forehead rash happened before?
A: If you have experienced the same, or a similar rash before, this could indicate that you are having an allergic reaction, or it could be a sign of an underlying and more serious illness.
Q: Do you have any other symptoms?
A: If other symptoms are present, your forehead rash could be a sign of a more serious condition. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness and/or confusion
Q: Have you been exposed to, or in contact with, a new or unusual substance?
A: If the rash appeared after you were exposed to a new or unusual substance, it could indicate an allergic reaction, or it could be the result of contracting a disease like chickenpox, or measles
Prognosis/ Outlook for Forehead Rash
Forehead rashes can be the result of a number of factors. If you have developed a forehead rash, whether it is mild and only on the forehead or severe, has spread to other parts of the body or presents with other symptoms, seeking medical treatment is paramount to treating the condition.
The sooner you seek medical treatment for your forehead rash, the better the outlook will be. With a proper diagnosis, and the right treatments, you can overcome your forehead rash, and prevent it from developing again in the future.