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Signs and Symptoms

The following are the common signs and symptoms of pityriasis rosea:

  • Development of a mother patch: At the onset of the rash, a single patch appears first. This is called a mother patch, or a herald patch. No other patch appears for 3 weeks on the skin, in which time the mother patch can grow and becomes scaly. In people of lighter skin, the patch is often pink or rose-coloured.  In darker-skinned persons, the patch could be any colour from violet to dark grey.
  • The appearance of smaller patches within two weeks of the mother patch: The new patches are called daughter patches, and appear on the chest, abdomen, back, arms, and legs. Daughter patches also could develop on the neck, face, and elsewhere on the skin, including inside the mouth. Daughter patches usually are oval-shaped and may form a pattern like a Christmas tree when the rashes appear on the skin covering your back.
  • The appearance of patch-free zones: It is usually on the faces and scalp, and the surface of palms and soles of the feet.
  • Itch in the affected skin occurs in nearly half of the people that have pityriasis rosea. As you work up a sweat or take a hot shower, the skin grows warm, and the itch worsens.

Do patches always appear?

A patch is one of the most prominent signs of pityriasis rosea, and so appears in all cases of the disease. There are rare cases where mother patches do not develop on the skin. In some people, only a daughter patch is absent, although this is even less common than the former.

Who is at risk of getting pityriasis rosea?

Pityriasis rosea occurs in people of all ages and races, and both genders. The disease though is more common in people between the ages of 10 and 35 and women in the course of a pregnancy.