Rash on Abdomen (Stomach) Causes of Abdominal Skin Rashes

The skin over the abdomen can be just as prone to various skin rashes as skin anywhere else on the body. Some rashes may be acute where it arises suddenly, may be intense but lasts only for a short period of time. Other skin rashes may be chronic where it recurs or persists for long periods of time, from weeks to months and even years. Usually when a rash is restricted to only one part of the body then the causative factor or trigger is specific to this region. However, an abdominal rash may occur as part of a more widespread rash affecting other parts of the body.

Skin Rash and Other Symptoms

A skin rash may refer to dry, red, swollen, cracked or peeling skin. There may also be other lesions like vesicles or pustules, ulcers and discharges such as pus or blood. Often it is accompanied by other symptoms such as itching and there may also be pain or tenderness at the site. A skin rash is only a sign of some underlying disorder. Depending on the cause there may also be other symptoms like fever.

Causes of Abdominal Rash

Most of the common causes of an abdominal skin rash have been discussed in detail below. These rashes occur for a wide range of reasons, including injury, irritation, allergies, infections and with autoimmune diseases. A skin rash should be examined by a medical professional in order for the cause to be correctly identified.

Injury to the Skin

An injury to the abdominal skin or abdominal wall may also result in a rash. This injury can be mechanical, chemical or even electromagnetic in nature. Vigorous scratching, hair removal, chlorine in pool water and sunburn are some of the different types of injuries that may affect the skin of the abdomen. Sometimes the injury can be less obvious, like wearing tight and rough clothing that cause chaffing over time.

Natural and Artificial Substances

A number of substances from various sources can cause a rash on the abdomen when it comes into contact with the skin. It can range from body lotions, creams, textiles, elastic, metals, cosmetics, soaps, detergents, animal hair/fur, plant material and even sweat and water. These substances may cause contact dermatitis. It is a common inflammatory skin disease and usually eases with removal of the causative substance.

There are two types of contact dermatitis. – irritant and allergic. In irritant contact dermatitis these substances causes irritation and minor injury of the skin. It depends on the type of the substance, duration of exposure and individual sensitivity. In allergic contact dermatitis these substances trigger an allergic reaction and only affects hypersensitive individuals.

Read more on contact dermatitis.

Skin Infections

Viruses, bacteria and fungi are some of the infectious agents that can cause a skin infection. Sometimes the skin rash is a result of a systemic infection, as may be seen with chickenpox and measles. At other times the rash may be localized to the skin as is more common with bacteria and fungi.

Bacterial infections often tend to be the more serious as it can spread and lead to even life-threatening conditions. These bacterial infections may affect only the superficial layers (impetigo) or extend to underlying tissue (cellulitis). Most of the time there is a break in the skin that allows the bacteria to infect the area.

Fungi tend to cause superficial skin infections and are usually do not progress to any serious complications. These infections are often referred to a ringworm because the specific fungi that are responsible tend to cause a ring-like rash. Sometimes yeasts may also be responsible for abdominal skin infections.


Shingles is not an infection although it is caused by a virus. The condition is a result of the chickenpox virus reactivating after decades of remaining dormant following a chickenpox infection, usually in childhood. This causes inflammation of the nerves and skin. Typically the skin rash occurs in segments which is supplied by affected nerves. It mainly occurs on the chest and abdomen but may involve other parts of the torso and even the head at times.

Read more on shingles.


Eczema is a broad term to refer to various inflammatory skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition that usually starts in childhood. There is often a history of allergic conditions like asthma and allergic rhinitis. The skin does not have the same tolerance to various substances and environmental factor. It is typically dry, red, cracked and itchy. The exact cause is unclear but it is closely linked to allergies and often inherited.

Insect Bites and Stings

Various insects may injury the skin with bites and stings. Some of these insects may be venomous. However, even non-venomous bites/stings can cause a skin rash. Apart from the break in the skin, there may also be a localized allergic reaction. If there is no proper wound care then the bite/sting site may become infected with bacteria which can cause a more severe rash. Insect bites may also cause conditions like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever which may also present with a skin rash.


Allergies are a result of the immune system overreacting to otherwise harmless substances. Apart from allergic contact dermatitis where the allergic reaction is limited to the site of contact, there can also be other allergic reaction. This is usually due systemic factors and may affect skin anywhere on the body.

The allergens may be from food (ingested) or in the air (inhaled). Although children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) are more likely to react to food (like wheat, dairy and egg yolk), adults may experience a severe food reaction in anaphylaxis. This can be life threatening.


Certain autoimmune conditions can arise where the skin is affected. In these types of conditions, the immune system attacks the skin due to a disorder with identifying a threat from the body’s own tissue. Psoriasis is one such condition. In this condition the skin becomes thick and dry. There is also extensive itching. Psoriasis is not limited to the skin of the abdomen as is the case with most autoimmune skin diseases.

Other Causes

  • Cold or heat exposure
  • Poor hygiene
  • Pregnancy
  • Drug hypersensitivity
  • Stretch marks may sometimes be mistaken for a skin rash.

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