Causes of a circular rash

There are many different things that can cause a circular rash, so it’s important to examine all of your symptoms in order to determine what the problem is. 

There are thousands of skin disorders, most of which are not serious and can be taken care of easily.  However, some rashes can be a sign of more serious problems, so they should be checked out by a doctor.


The most common cause of a circular rash is ringworm.  Contrary to the name of the skin problem, it’s actually not caused by worms at all.  

Ringworm is actually caused by a fungus, and it can form in many parts of the body.  Ringworm that forms on the feet is commonly called athlete’s foot, while ringworm in the groin area is also known as jock itch.  Ringworm of the scalp is also common, as is ringworm in other parts of the body. 

The most telltale sign of ringworm is an obvious circular rash.  You can tell for sure if it’s ringworm because the rash will be formed in a circle with a healthy-looking patch of skin in the middle. 

Treatment For Ringworm

Ringworm is easily treatable, although you may need a stronger medication if the outbreak is severe or doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medication.  However, you should ask your pharmacist which over-the-counter medication to start with if you do get ringworm. 

Ringworm is very contagious, so be careful not to touch your rash or let others touch it.  You should also keep the area clean and avoid scratching it.

Lyme Disease

Another very common cause of a circular rash is Lyme disease.  Lyme disease is actually a tick-borne illness that is quite common in small children or anyone who spends a lot of time in woodsy areas.  

Lyme disease is not a serious problem if it’s caught early, but it can affect all parts of the body if it is not treated immediately.  The circular rash that’s associated with Lyme disease actually looks a lot like a bullseye. 

It differs widely from the circular rash you get from ringworm because it has a central red dot that looks quite large.  There are usually red circles around the dot, with patches of healthy-looking skin between the rings that encircle the red dot.  Usually, the circular rash from Lyme disease appears within one or two weeks of infection, so you may have to think back a little bit about whether you spent any time in wooded areas.

Prevention And Treatment For Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can easily be prevented by wearing an insect repellent that contains DEET. 

If you do happen to get Lyme disease, it’s usually treated with a two to four week course of antibiotics. 

There are so many different causes of a circular rash that it’s very important to get it checked out.  Even if you think you know what’s causing the rash, it’s always a good idea to have a doctor check it out.  Your doctor may be able to prescribe a medication that targets exactly the thing that’s causing the rash.