Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why do random rashes appear all over my body?"


I am 18 and recently my skin has dried in circles all over my body, espicially the arms and legs. I have no allergies and I swim and run track. I am going to see a dermatologist soon and I am taking medications for a cold.


One possibility is that you have eczema. This is condition in which the skin lacks the proper molecules to keep it well moisturized. As a result it dries out, and there can be redness, itching, and flaking.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Dermatologists near you

It may be made worse by swimming (chlorine in the water) and it is worse in the dry winter months. Your doctor (dermatologist or primary care doctor) will be able to tell what is going on. If it is eczema, they will recommend daily moisturizing with a thick ointment (not just a regular lotion) and they may also prescribe some steroid ointments to get the inflammation and itching down under control. The doctor will also be able to tell if there is something other than eczema going on. For example, dried circular areas of the skin sounds also like tinea capitis, which is a fungal infection of the skin. This is obviously treated quite a bit differently than eczema, in fact the steroid creams used to treat eczema may make it worse. Another thing that can give round areas is psoriasis, which usually is characterized by reddened patches of skin covered with a white or silvery scale. After figuring out exactly what is going on, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.