ZocdocAnswersThe skin on my arms always hurts/cracks and no lotion is helping. What other treatments can I get?

Question

The skin on my arms always hurts/cracks and no lotion is helping. What other treatments can I get?

I am eighteen and i've had this problem since around 13. I've tried numerous lotions, and none of them seem to have any effect/help me in any way. I put on lotions very often, and sometimes it seems to make things worse. I have no been to a dermatologist about it, but i've been trying to get an appointment lately, as it's been getting worse.

Answer

It sounds like you are suffering from chronic eczema. Eczema is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, which leads to itching, redness, and scaling and cracking of the skin. As you have mentioned, the best initial treatment for eczema is keeping the skin moisturized. However, most people with eczema actually do not properly moisturize their skin. Proper moisturizing involves applying the moisturizer to the skin many times per day (5 or 6 or more times). It is also best to use a 'greasy' moisturizer such as petroleum jelly, as this thick product is best at protecting the skin and trapping in the skin's natural moisture and protective oils. It is also very important to avoid drying out the skin. In other words, you should avoid over showering or over bathing. Most people with eczema should not shower every day and should never use very hot water or shower for very long. Upon exiting the shower, you should dab the skin dry, not rub it dry, and immediately apply a good skin moisturizer. If none of this works, then you should see your primary care doctor, since they will be able to evaluate the condition and prescribe some stronger skin medications.

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

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