Maculopapular rash. What, why and how?


A part of writing about skincare is writing about not very exciting things too. Like a maculopapular rash! But our job is also to inform our audience about the different things that could affect their skin. So here we are! Today we will cover what, why, how and everything else about maculopapular rashes!

So, what is a maculopapular rash?

It is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? While it sounds pretty gory and scary, it actually isn’t. The term ‘Maculopapular’ refers to how the rash looks, its texture and colour. ‘Macule’ refers to a flat surface with possible red patches, while ‘papular’ refers to small bump like eruptions. Together, this kind of rash refers to flat and bumpy surfaces causing inflammation.

Why do you get a maculopapular rash?

Many different reasons cause rashes. Their cause can vary from the medicines you have taken to the food you have eaten. Let’s have a look at the different reasons for those nasty rashes to come up!

Bacterial or viral infections

Maculopapular rashes can be caused by certain bacterial and viral infections. This is the most common cause for them to occur. The medical conditions that cause these kinds of rashes include dengue fever, scarlet fever, measles, ebola, syphilis and many other diseases.

Allergic reactions that cause rashes

We know that it is possible to be allergic to anything. Your allergy can materialise due to food items, environmental pollutants or dust, medication and sometimes even very unfortunate things like cats and dogs.

Chemotherapy and drug reactions

Maculopapular rashes can be a side effect of chemotherapy as well. Certain medications can cause reactions, one of which is rashes such as these. Medications that can cause these rashes include sulphonamides, anticonvulsants, beta-lactam antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and many others. It can take anywhere from 7 days to a month to heal.

Heat rashes

It is the time of year where the heat penetrates anything and everything. It is also the time for heat rashes to occur. Tight, less ventilated, and sweaty clothing can cause heat rashes that can be pretty itchy and red. To avoid this, wear loose clothing and keep your body clean and dry with heat rash powders.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis can cause rashes. This does not occur due to food, medication or any irritant. However, it should definitely be shown to a doctor.

Contact dermatitis

This happens when your skin comes in contact with an irritant that eventually causes a rash. The cause of the rash can be anything from a chemical you are using to certain poisonous plants.

Insect Bites

We all hate the evening outdoor activities that leave us with mosquito and other insect bites. While most of us just have to deal with a bumpy, itchy patch sometimes, bug bites can turn into rashes.

Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to a maculopapular rash.


  • Do not scratch your rashes as they can get ruptured and cause infection.
  • Do not use soap on the rash area, and this can further cause irritation.
  • Don’t rub the rash when wiping the water off.
  • If the rash gets worse, don’t attempt to treat it at home.


  • Try a cold compress to ease the itchiness or burning.
  • Wash the rash with only water.
  • When wiping the rash, dab it softly to dry it.
  • Soaking in a cool bath is a great way to ease itching.
  • Always consult a doctor for a rash that isn’t going away.

The silver lining

Now rashes can be itchy, gross and quite inconvenient, but thankfully all you need to do is get them treated. So don’t fret if the summer has got you down. We have all been there and done that!


1. How long does a maculopapular rash last?

The amount of time a rash lasts depends on the cause for it and how it is treated. Usually, they last from 2 to 21 days. If you have a chronic rash, it can go on for more than eight weeks.

2. What does a maculopapular rash look like?

These rashes look like reddened skin with small red bumps on them. Like the name, it includes flat surfaces and a bumpy texture.

3. What virus causes a maculopapular rash?

Various systemic viral infections can cause a maculopapular rash. One such example in children is Rubella. Around two weeks after the virus infects the child, they usually get these rashes on their face.

4. What stops a rash from itching?

There are some things you can do to reduce the itching of a rash. Some remedies include an oatmeal bath, moisturising your skin well and cooling agents. You will get the best recommendations from a doctor.



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Namya Naresh

An obsessive dreamer, vegetarian foodie and shy singer, Namya spends her time immersed in the world of Literature and Music. She is currently writing her first novel, advocating for mental health, self-love and bringing you your daily dose of skincare with CureSkin!