Forehead Rashes: Causes and Treatment

Forehead Rashes: Causes and Treatment


Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body? If we took just our skin alone, it would weigh anywhere between six to nine pounds and can spread over an area of around two to three yards. That’s pretty crazy, given that we only see the surface of our skin and tend to forget that it covers our entire body. Our skin is one of the most important parts of our body because it provides the first line of defense against harm. The skin is like a protective layer and it has many functions from fighting against harmful free radicals in the sun’s UV rays to shielding us from the environmental elements. Hence it is super important not just for aesthetic or beauty that we take care of our skin, but also for the overall functioning and general health of our body. The sheer exposure of our skin to the environment is also what makes it particularly vulnerable to conditions and abnormalities caused by external forces. One of the common ways our skin gets affected is in the form of rashes.

What are rashes?

Rashes are super common and chances are you have almost definitely encountered it at some point in your life. A rash is the skin’s natural response to an allergen or irritant. One of the most common areas to get a rash is on your forehead. If you have ever had an itchy, red forehead, that was probably a forehead rash. Rashes often have the following sensations or symptoms: swelling, redness, burning or itching sensation, sores, dryness, and flaking. You might experience just a few of the above or all if it is a serious rash.

What causes a forehead rash?

There are three main categories for the causes of a forehead rash — allergic, infectious, and autoimmune reasons. 

Allergic Rashes

Rashes caused by allergies are one of the big reasons why rashes are appearing on your forehead. Allergies cause irritation to the skin. Some of the symptoms one might feel are itchiness and redness. There are different forms of allergic reactions, one of the most common being allergic contact dermatitis in which a skin comes into contact with an allergen. Allergens can be anything from animal fur, soap, chemicals, and ingredients in food. One of the most common allergens is nickel. Should someone with a nickel allergy come into contact with anything with metal in it, they will have an allergic reaction in the form of swollen, bumpy, red, and itchy skin. This is why many jewelry manufacturers state that their pieces are nickel-free, as it is a common metal that people are allergic to. Other common things that cause allergic reactions are ingredients in skincare and body care products. The skin will get irritated by certain ingredients and result in an allergic rash from contact with the product.

Infectious Rashes

Infectious rashes are those caused by infections or diseases. Some of the common rashes that accompany infections of diseases include chickenpox, measles, mumps, shingles, and ringworms. The rashes of chickenpox and measles are classic symptoms of small, flat red rashes. In the case of chickenpox, they will eventually turn into fluid-filled blisters that itch and scab. The rash usually appears first on the back, chest, and facial area and will later spread to the rest of the body parts like the eyelids and inside of the mouth. Mumps is a painful swelling of the salivary glands that also causes a flat, red rash on the face. Shingles are a viral infection that develops into a very painful rash. The rash occurs as a single strip of blisters which twin around the torso. It is caused by the same virus behind chickenpox, varicella-zoster. Ringworms are a round rash that forms a ring-like look and is itchy, red, and elevated. It is also sometimes scaly. Ringworm comes about due to a fungal infection. The rings start out small and eventually begin to expand and widen. 

Autoimmune Rashes 

Autoimmune rashes are a result of an underlying autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system attacks the body by mistake. The immune system typically fights off bacteria or infections by sending proteins called antibodies to fight the bacteria off. However, an autoimmune disease would result in the immune system releasing autoantibodies which attack healthy cells instead. The two most common autoimmune diseases are lupus and dermatomyositis. Lupus causes a rash over the cheeks and nose, and this rash can be triggered by sunlight. Lupus also results in other types of rashes such as a circular rash called subacute lupus, and a scarring rash on the scalp known as discoid lupus. Doctors often prescribe topical creams and steroid creams for lupus rashes. Dermatomyositis is a systemic autoimmune disease that causes rashes on the hands (Gottron’s rash), around the eyes (heliotrope), and across the back and chest like a shawl (hence its name shawl rash). Similarly to lupus, steroids are often taken to counteract the rashes.

Treating Forehead Rashes

The treatment of forehead rashes will depend on what was the cause of the rash. The doctor will then prescribe a treatment that is best suited for your type of rash. Some of the common treatments include steroid creams, antihistamines, and oral medication. The doctor will also give you some advice on how to care for your rashes with lifestyle changes. For example, if the rash is due to psoriasis, you will be advised to double up the moisturizer, stay away from hot water and sunlight, as to quit smoking if you are a smoker or avoid how much exposure to cigarette smoke you come into. You will also be advised to stop using harsh soaps and products with fragrance or chemicals. Dietary changes might be advised as well, such as increased intake of fruits and decrease in sugar and oil. Most of all, if it is an allergic reaction you will be told to stay away from the irritant and similar substances to avoid recurrence of a reaction.


Forehead rashes are annoying since they are right at the centre of our faces. Seeking medical advice is the best thing you can do to prevent it from occurring again.

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