Common Skin Rashes on the Face

Rashes that involve the skin of the face can be caused by infections, irritations or inflammatory reactions. Local reactions cause a variety of facial skin rashes; however, some facial rashes can be caused by systemic medical conditions as well. If not treated promptly, some of these facial rashes can lead to long-term facial skin problems.


Rosacea is a facial rash that causes redness, bumps and pimples. The cause of the skin condition is not well understood. The changes in appearance can cause significant psychological and social problems if not treated, according to the National Rosacea Society 1. This condition cannot be cured but can be managed with antibiotic ointments or oral antibiotic medications for many patients.


Several different types of dermatitis may occur on the face, according to 234. Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is an itchy rash that can be treated with steroid creams. Seborrheic dermatitis is an oily facial and scalp condition that causes scaling or flaking. Contact dermatitis appears after contact with irritants or allergens such as poison ivy or nickel.


Another rash that can appear on the face as well as the body is psoriasis, an autoimmune condition in which the growth cycle of skin cells increases. It looks like raised red patches or blotches that are covered with dead skin cells, as noted by the National Psoriasis Foundation. This condition can be treated with topical ointments, light therapy or oral medications. Psoriasis is sometimes associated with arthritis as well.


As noted on, folliculitis is a rash that may occur on the skin of the face; an inflammation or infection of the hair follicle causes this condition 234. One type of folliculitis is called pseudofolliculitis barbae, also known as shaving bumps, and is caused by an inflammatory reaction to ingrown hairs in the beard area 3. Another facial rash is tinea barbae, which is folliculitis caused by a fungus 3. Staphylococcal folliculitis is white bumps in the beard area; the cause is an infection of the hair follicles by staphylococcus bacteria 3.


The rash impetigo is a contagious infection that appears on the face of toddlers and children, according to 234. This infection causes crusting and oozing sores; bacteria entering the skin typically causes this infection. Impetigo usually resolves in a few weeks on its own, but some physicians prescribe an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics to treat the infection.


Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is the most common skin disorder in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The cause of this condition has been traced to excess oil, clogged pores, inflammation and bacteria. Acne is very common on the face, especially during the adolescent years. Skin cleansing, topical acne treatments and antibiotics all may play a role in the management of acne.


The condition shingles is caused by a reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox, the varicella zoster virus. This rash can occur on the face or any part of the body. Shingles consists of a red rash with fluid-filled bumps that erupt and is very painful. When the shingles rash involves the face, there is a risk of eye involvement, which can be very serious and sight-threatening. The treatment of shingles includes anti-viral medications and medications for the pain.