What is this rash that is appearing on my chest?
A rash appeared on my chest one summer. It is red and blotchy and left the area very dry. It wasn't bright red like most rashes, but was moderately itchy. It also spread under my arms and on the inside of my elbows. Over the counter medicine didn't work, and it isn't a heat rash as it has lasted through the winter. It responds to using moisturizing and non-abrasive soap, but never completely goes away. It has been diagnosed as eczema-like by a dermatologist, but the prescriptions did nothing but agitate the rash. Do you know of anything like this?
This is eczema. It is a very classic presentation of eczema, especially the permanence of the rash and the areas of the body where you have it. Eczema is a chronic condition caused by a lack of certain moisturizing elements in the skin, which leaves the skin red, dry, and itchy. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to get the right prescriptions in place for the eczema, as each person is different. Therefore, you need to go back to your dermatologist and explain what you experienced with the last round of medicines so that they can help you adjust your regimen. Also, as you have noticed, the rash responds to using soft soaps and moisturizing. This is the mainstay of what you can do at home for the eczema. You should avoid prolonged or frequent showers, especially with hot water, as this just dries out the skin. At least once a day, but preferably multiple times a day, you should apply a good moisturizer. The best moisturizers are the thick, greasy ones like hydrolated petrolatum. Other standard lotions and creams are too thin to be of much value. Daily moisturizing is supplemented by applying steroid creams as prescribed by your dermatologist.
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