ZocdocAnswersI have red dry patches that recently started showing up on my hads, legs and back. Also I have recently been experiencing large skin flakes on my scalp. What could this be?

Question

I have red dry patches that recently started showing up on my hads, legs and back. Also I have recently been experiencing large skin flakes on my scalp. What could this be?

I am 27 years old and I have never had any kind of skin condition like this before. I recently moved from Hawaii to Denver, Colorado and before this move the worst skin condition I have ever had was some lightly dry patches. I have not recently started using any new products or soaps, and I do not have any skin allergies that I am aware of. Also, I do not take any kind of medication. The red, dry patches seemed to start very suddenly and almost overnight.

Answer

You should go to see your dermatologist or primary care doctor as soon as possible, as these symptoms seem quite severe and need evaluation and treatment. One possibility would be bad eczema, which is an inflammation of the skin that causes redness, itching, and flaking of the skin. The mainstay of treatment of eczema is keeping the skin well moisturized and avoiding irritation to the skin by over-washing, harsh chemicals, and the like. Applying an over the counter steroid cream to the most troublesome areas can be very helpful. Another possibility would be psoriasis, which is an autoimmune condition in which the body causes inflammation of the skin by attacking it with immune cells. This results in red itchy areas of skin that are usually covered with a white or silvery scale. Sometimes there is arthritis or other associated medical problems. Treatment can include topical steroid creams or oral medications, depending on severity. Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammation of oil-producing areas of the skin often in the setting of a fungus living on the skin. It would definitely cause flaking of the scalp, but it is less likely to cause the extensive patches you have. Start by talking to your doctor who can help you arrive at a diagnosis.

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

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