ZocdocAnswersWhy is the skin around my ears, nose, elbows and genitals aways so dry and irritated?

Question

Why is the skin around my ears, nose, elbows and genitals aways so dry and irritated?

I am a 22 year old male college student. it is often hot and humid here (not sure if that matters). I know I am STD free because I have been recently tested. Any time of the day skin from the areas listed above is so flaky and peels easily. It can even become irritated at times. I use gold bond lotion but that does not seem to help.

Answer

Eczema is a condition in which the skin lacks certain molecules that keep it moisturized. As a result the skin becomes periodically reddened, dry, itchy, and flaky. This certainly could be what is going on with you. The treatment of eczema includes avoiding excessive drying out of the skin (avoiding long hot showers for example) and regular, daily application of a thick moisturizing product (the best products are the 'greasy' ones like hydrolated petrolatum, because the stay in place for a longer time). Additionally, topical steroid creams are often needed to control the most persistent areas of redness and itch. Some of the areas of the body that you are complaining about are not typical for eczema. Therefore another possibility would be seborrheic dermatitis, which is an inflammatory condition especially of oily regions of the skin. It generally has more flaking than eczema does. The treatment can be similar (steroid creams) but other treatments are also sometimes used. Finally, psoriasis,which is an autoimmune condition of the skin, can cause flaking and dryness of many of the areas of the body that you are describing. You should see your dermatologist or primary care doctor, as they will be able to figure out which condition you have.

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

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