ZocdocAnswersWhy do I get a big red spotty rash when I scratch things such as my arms & legs in the shower?

Question

Why do I get a big red spotty rash when I scratch things such as my arms & legs in the shower?

I'm an 18 year old student and lately I have been getting a spotty rash on my arms and legs when I scratch them in the shower. At first I thought it may have been my eczema but I highly doubt it because it goes away about 2-3 days later. I'm not extremely worried but I am a tad bit concerned.

Answer

The fact that you have a history of eczema and that you experience the rash primarily around shower time suggest that it is in fact related to this history and that it is irritation of the skin from the shower. Hot water is one of the biggest causes of dry, itching skin and rash in people with eczema, because it removes the skin's natural oils and moisture. The fact that the rash is worse with scratching in the shower is also consistent with this, because the scratching produces more local irritation in the skin. The way to avoid this is, first, to shower less frequently. Most people with dry skin and eczema should not shower every day. You should also limit the length of the shower and avoid using very hot water. Make certain to use a soft soap and avoid exfoliation, scratching, and similar maneuvers. Immediately upon exiting the shower, you should towel dry by dabbing the skin (avoid vigorous rubbing) and then apply a thick layer of a good skin moisturizer. The best moisturizers are the "greasy" ones like vaseline, because these trap in the skin's moisture best. If these methods do not work, talk to your primary care doctor for further advice.

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

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