A rash in the crook of the elbow or the crook of the arm initially manifests itself as reddening of the skin. In some cases, the redness may be accompanied by pain, flaking, or itching.

The elbow rash can have various causes. These include allergic reactions as well as neurodermatitis, psoriasis or infections such as Lyme disease.

The reasons

Neurodermatitis is one of the most common causes of a rash in the crook of the elbow. This is a congenital predisposition to the development of scaly skin rashes. The body regions most frequently affected are the elbows, the hollow of the knees and the face and neck area. One speaks of so-called predilection sites.

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A certain form of psoriasis, psoriasis inversa, often appears in the crook of the elbows and in other folds of the body, such as the folds of the abdomen or the buttocks. Typical of this disease is flaking of the skin in the affected areas.

If the reddening of the skin is clearly limited to a round area, the cause is more likely to be infectious. The two most common pathogens for such a circular skin appearance (med. efflorescences) are Borrelia, which can be transmitted via a tick bite, and fungi.

Find out more about the different ones here Causes of a rash.

Increased sweating as the cause

Because of its salt content, sweat is an irritant factor for the skin. This is why many people suffer from a rash caused by increased sweating. This rash is also called Miliaria describes and forms in most cases in the facial area, as the skin is particularly sensitive here.
However, parts of the body where skin rubs against skin, such as the crook of the elbow, are particularly susceptible to the development of a rash as a result of increased sweating due to the mechanical irritation.

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The rash caused by sweating can manifest itself in the form of a simple reddening or pimples. Babies are particularly affected, as they are often dressed very warmly and this can lead to an excessive flow of sweat, which clogs the sweat glands.

If the rash in the crook of the elbow occurs in connection with profuse sweating, for example during exercise, you should first question your clothing. Functional clothing that absorbs sweat is ideal. It also weakens the mechanical irritation caused by rubbing the skin during exercise.

The causes in the baby

In general, all possible causes of a rash in the crook of the elbow in adults also apply to babies.

Such a rash can often be the first manifestation of neurodermatitis. Skin rashes also occur more frequently in babies during teething, which can be in the elbow area, among other things.

Read more about the topic here: Symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

The causes in the child

The causes of a rash in the crook of the elbow in children are usually the same as in adults, and a rash is often the first manifestation of atopic dermatitis.

By playing in the great outdoors, children are also exposed to a higher risk of tick bites, via which Borrelia, the pathogen causing Lyme disease, can be transmitted.

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Find out more about the topic here: Rash in child.

The accompanying symptoms

The rash in the crook of the elbow is often accompanied by itching. Other possible accompanying symptoms are pain and flaking of the skin. If the mucous membranes are also affected by a rash, one speaks of a so-called rash Enanthem.

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If general symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough or lymph node swelling develop as part of the rash, it is more likely that the cause is infectious and that a doctor is consulted.

The rash with itching

The itching in the context of a rash is triggered by so-called mediators. These are messenger substances that are released from the cells of the skin as a result of an inflammatory process or through the ingestion of certain foods or drugs.

The itching is more of a non-specific symptom, which can generally occur with any type of skin rash, but does not have to be. However, it can be stated that the occurrence of itching tends to indicate an infectious disease such as chickenpox or scarlet fever or the presence of psoriasis or neurodermatitis.

What condition is an itchy rash? Find out more here.

The rash without itching

The absence of itching is typical of some causes of a rash. These include measles, for example, which usually manifests itself as a (itch-free) rash on the face and on the oral mucosa, which then spreads over the whole body.

The rash caused by borreliosis is usually not accompanied by itching and shows a characteristic, ring-shaped reddening with central pallor. If the rash is caused by a fungal infection, there is usually no itching. Itching may also be absent from a rash caused by certain medications.

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Rash without itching? - read more on this topic here.

The diagnosis

If a rash does not resolve on its own after a few days or if it is accompanied by excruciating itching or fever and joint pain, a visit to the family doctor or dermatologist is recommended. This can make an astonishingly accurate estimate of the underlying cause from the appearance and distribution pattern of the rash as well as from the patient's reports on the development of the rash over time and accompanying symptoms.

If there are still doubts about the exact diagnosis, a blood test may also be necessary to look for antibodies against a specific pathogen that are circulating in the blood.

The treatment

In general, the use of skin-caring creams is recommended for the initial treatment of a rash. Care should be taken here to use a pH-neutral cream. In addition, further treatment for a rash in the crook of the elbow depends on the underlying cause.

If the rash is a symptom of neurodermatitis, it is usually treated with ointments containing glucocorticoid; In advanced stages, drugs in tablet form are also used.
In psoriasis, the focus is on dissolving the dry skin flakes, for example with the help of salicylic acid or urea-containing creams or oils or through UV radiation.

If the rash in the crook of the elbow results from an infectious disease, treatment for the rash consists in eliminating the pathogen. Borreliosis, for example, is usually treated with antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline.

Find out more about the topic here: Treatment of atopic dermatitis and Treatment of psoariasis.

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