Pityriasis rosea (PR) is a very common, self-limited (meaning it will often resolve without treatment within a few weeks) usually affecting young adults. We hypothesize that PR occurs after a mild, asymptomatic viral infection. The rash usually begins as a large circular or oval spot on the chest, back or abdomen. This patch is often called a herald patch. Following appearance of the herald patch, multiple oval, scaling patches will often occur over the trunk and sometimes extremities.
Before the herald patch appears, some individuals may experience sore throat, fever, fatigue or headache. A few days (or weeks) after your herald patch appears, you may experience small, scaly spots across the chest, back or abdomen resembling a pine-tree pattern. This rash may be itchy.
Pityriasis rosea typically goes away on its own in four to 10 weeks. If it doesn’t, discuss with your doctor what options are right for you. Your doctor may suggest an antihistamine, topical corticosteroid or an antiviral drug, like Zovirax.