Pityriasis rosea - Symptoms of pityriasis rosea
NHS Choices Medical Reference
In most cases, the first sign of pityriasis rosea is a red, circular patch of scaly skin about 2-5cm across, which usually appears on the trunk (the body, excluding the head, neck and limbs). This initial plaque is known as the 'herald patch', and is sometimes mistaken for ringworm or psoriasis. It fades to pink after a while, and shows an outer ring of scaling. It is not always noticeable.
Around this time, you may have a mild headache and feel tired.
Several days later, the skin breaks out into a secondary rash made of smaller (1-2cm) oval scaly patches. Like the herald patch, the plaques are pink with an outer ring of scaling. It may look alarming, but it is completely harmless.
The rash can cover the neck, shoulders, trunk, upper arms and upper thighs, but usually avoids the face. In some people, it reaches the legs and forearms.
The plaques form a 'Christmas tree pattern' - they run in lines downwards and outwards from the centre of your body.
In the following two to six weeks, more plaques appear. They then disappear on their own, usually within eight weeks, without leaving a scar. Some people may have marks of skin discolouration for a few months.
The rash is painless, but in about 50% of people it is itchy.