ZocdocAnswersWhat causes patches to form on one's lower back?

Question

What causes patches to form on one's lower back?

My boyfriend gets rough, patchy areas on his lower back. What could these be? He says they don't bother him, but I would worry they're connected to a more serious skin condition he hasn't addressed yet.

Answer

Skin rashes are one of the most common reasons for people to seek medical advice. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor and your dermatologist. There are several possible causes of these rough patches. The moist likely cause is simply dry skin, which will respond to exfoliation treatments and consistent application of a moisturizing lotion. Another possibility is a fungal infection of the skin, such as tinea versicolor. This can cause areas of the skin that are lighter colored than surrounding skin and occasionally scaly or itchy. These respond well to treatment with antifungal creams. Another possibility is simply eczema or an allergic reaction to some environmental contact. The most common sources of these reactions include a new personal care product, soap, or laundry detergent. Finally, some general medical conditions can present as skin patches. Psoriasis for example causes patchy areas of reddened skin that have a very characteristic peeling silvery scale. As always the diagnosis and the management of your boyfriend's specific skin concern will require a physical examination by his personal physician. Setting up an office visit with a primary care doctor might be recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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