Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Skin Forum

Symmetrical Rash (Page 1)

I am perplexed by a rash I have. I have a history of excema (as a child) but I had no symptoms of it after childhood, through my teens, and into my early 20s. Now I am 24, and for about 2 years I have had a slowly spreading rash that looks very different from the excema I remember as a child. No open sores or weeping, it is just a very itchy, dry, scaly and a puffy/inflamed patch. This first appeared as a circular, slightly dryer, itchy patch on my right ankle, maybe the size of a quarter. It is now the size of a baseball, still mostly circular in shape. Then it spread to my left ankle after about a year, starting in the exact same manner, a non-serious dry patch of skin that has now spread to about the size of a tennis ball.

Additionally, the pinky fingers on each of my hands have a similar scaly, dry, puffy condition. They flake, they look swolle, and itch.

So now I have a strange symmetry going on, and doctors just keep telling me its genetic, its excema, there is nothing I can do about it. I have used steroid creams, which clears it up, and the rash immediately starts to pop up in other normally unaffected areas (like my arms). Discontinuation of the steroid creams allows the rash to return in its "usual" places (ankles and little fingers) and then all else is fine.

Any ideas???
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First Helper allhailster
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Users who thank laurabelle24 for this post: shaggydrew 

replied February 25th, 2009
Hi there,

I too have very very similar condition as you. I also have a history of excema as a child only.

I have had this problem for about a year. It starts for me as a very red single spot, which itches even more than I remember excema itching. It's symmetrical in it's progress around the the body. Always being slightly worse on one side. I have it on both ankles, inner forearms, inner biceps, underarms, hips and outer calfs - basically in all the places where i DIDN'T get excema. It doesn't look or feel like excema and itches a lot more.

Doctors also gave me steroid cream, which help with the itching, clears up a bit, then comes back even worse.

I am also 24, it started when I was 23.

So sorry I can't give you an yideas what it is, but given the history and what you have described, it sounds like we may have something very similar, if not the same.

Paul
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replied February 26th, 2009
Paul- wow, I have never heard of anyone having anything similar, but it is good to hear that at least someone has experienced this and is also looking for answers. Just put some more steroid cream on the other day because I kind of lost it and gave in. I wonder if it is dietary? Do you have any problems with certain foods you know of? What does the sun do for your rashes? I know in the summer, mine nearly cleared up entirely with sun exposure. But I live in the midwest and that's just impossible for 6 months out of the year.
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replied February 26th, 2009
Hello again,

How does yours start and progress, does it start as a spot/lump or more like a rash? Are you taking any current medications? I take mirtazapine but the problems started before then.

I actually have to be careful in the sun as my chest and back suffer from solar dermatitis, but I think that's a seperate issue as I live in the uk so not a great deal ammount of sun here ha!
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replied March 8th, 2009
Hey guys, what ya'll are describing i have been going through for about 9 years now. Started around 17 for me. During the winter time it flares like crazy and summer it goes away almost. My arms still give me trouble. My legs, thighs, hands, arms, hips have them. My face, back, and torso don't. Ive been to the doctor numerous times. Have had biopsies done and they cant tell me anything. They just give me stroid creams. After researching years all i can come up with is nummular eczema. The symptoms sound really close. Hopefully this will help.
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replied March 16th, 2009
symmetrical rash
I have been experiencing something similar. My rash is itchy but not inflamed. It is located in front of both ears, on both sides of my head and a patch about the size of a quarter on both sides by my rib cage. I have been using Hydrocortisone OTC cream which gives temproary relief.....next comes a DR's appointment.
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replied April 3rd, 2009
So Crazy...
I have read everything here and it's the same as everyone else. I've also got steroid ointment or cream which sorta helps but comes back in another random places. Either in one place or symmetrical. I too have one side worse than the other. Mine usually comes during cold days or when winter comes. I'm glad I'm not the only one and this definitely makes me feel better. For me it started in 2007, I was 21. I find it odd that most of us have it around the same age.
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replied May 21st, 2009
omg
i am 22. my rash started when i was 20. i just found out this week that i have celiac disease! which is what was causing the symmetrical rash. try not eating gluten for a week, i bet your rash will clear up Smile yayayay
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Users who thank kimzyyay for this post: Adam1326 

replied December 28th, 2018
Do you find you can cheat a little bit without breaking out? I never have digestion problems with gluten but I do feel my skin is better when I avoid it. But sometimes I have some bread or crackers and no new spots flare up.
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replied August 2nd, 2009
I can't believe how im also going through something so similar.. had eczema as a child but has caused me no real problems as i gre up. Now at 24 this summer i have come out with this symmetrical itchy rash which is different to eczema i remember. My pinky fingers also are inflammed puffy and itchy. Doc's keep giving me antihistamines and steroid creams.. reaching the end of my tether! if anyone finds cause/cure please post.
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replied August 5th, 2009
I have something similar... dry itchy inflamed patches that move symmetrically around my body. they start small and then get really big and settle in each new location for about a year at a time. when i was 20 - 24 i had symmetrical red spots on my arms, that i thought were from an incident with film developing chemicals (i 'fixed' myself by accident) then at 27 my hands flared up on the palms and fingers - i thought it was poison ivy at first... the doctors say it looks like psoriasis but that it shouldn't be itchy (?)i'm now 31 and its on my ankles pretty bad. it's worked it's way down. I don't know what it is but it must be an indicator of something else i think at this point.
Neem oil helps it, but it stinks so bad!! theres a cream called Dermasone that really helps if you can get it. and ALSO those latex free fast heraling bandages - they seal water out and they look like a fat flap of skin that you stick on... cover the area completely with those for about a week a a time. These are the things that have helped me, but they haven't cured a thing Sad good luck and let me know if there's anything else i can try Smile
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replied August 5th, 2009
*that's supposed to say; fast healing bandages - not heraling.
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replied September 9th, 2009
could be Gluten-related
I had an inflamed rash flare up this weekend that is symmetrical on both hands. I have been following a gluten free diet for a few weeks suspecting that I have a gluten sensitivity. I ended up eating meals that friends cooked with lots of wheat/gluten products . It might help others out there.

Good luck!
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replied February 12th, 2010
Symmetrical Itchy Rash On The Back Of My Hands
In November of 2009, I also developed an itchy symmetrical rash, but only on the back of my hands, wrists and fingers. I'm 44 and this is the first time I've had any irritating skin conditions. I know one thing that gives temporary relief...just run cold water over the itch as often as you need...for some reason the cold water is a nice relief. When my hands get warm from being under a pillow or something the itching becomes worse. Keeping my hands clean with bar soap seems to help as well. I haven't gone to the Dr. yet...I'm stubborn like that and just keep hoping it goes away...I'm losing hope. I live in Las Vegas where the summer is very hot and dry...I'm going to wait it out until then and see how the hot, dry air effects it...good luck to everyone.
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replied June 18th, 2010
I am 44 years old and 10 years ago I got severe itching on my inner right ankle.. it grew over time and then started on inner left ankle. Left ankle always smaller than right. The itch is cause by excessive skin growth in the area.. because when I itch so much skin is removed..looks like dust. I itch until I bleed sometimes. I cannot help myself. I was told it was psoriasis by a few doctors I'm but not 100% sure. Looks like psoriasis but the itching is intense. I think it is something else. I did get an attack on my right and left fingers near the nails but it stopped after 6 months thank God. But the ankles has been 10 years with no end in sight. One last point - my toenails have gone brown, and brittle. Looks like fungus attack but I think it is tied to the skin rash on the ankles.
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replied April 18th, 2015
I have the same thing. It seems to flare up when I get out of the shower. It's flakey on the ankles but not flaky on my wrists. I put eczema creams and psoriasis creams on it; doesn't seem to really do much. It's such a small case of it that I don't really get paranoid about it. I'm 34 and this just started within the past year!
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replied August 20th, 2010
I have had the symmetrical itch for about 6-7 yrs now and I am 35. Now I get it on my triceps, my thighs, my elbows, a little bit in the centre right under my rib cage on my belly and i also get it on my love handles (sides). Until this season i have got it on my calves also, and quite bad. When i showed the lady in the pharmacy (my calves) she was almost horrified and couldn't believe i hadn't been to see a doc yet. Have done that now, got the same response as most of you, steroid creams... bla bla. I notice in the winter as it is affected by the hot showers I have. I usually get it bad after a hot spa too. Having cool showers helped a little, but i hate cold showers. If it were heat related i don't get why i don't get it over the summer. I still have hot showers, the spa is still set to 38 degrees Celsius and we have some hot 38 to 40+ deg days in Perth, Western Australia and don't seem to suffer during these summer periods. I hop my input helps with another piece of the puzzle. I might read up on this gluten stuff though.
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replied January 17th, 2011
Lesion on opposite sides.
Have same problem, I am 73 and it started five years ago. Have many food allergies and now on a celiac diet. Tried steroid creams, anti-fungal creams, Lamsil and nothing helps. Temporary relief from itching with, witch hazel, alcohol, or plain water. Doctors haven't a clue. If there is a lesion on one side there is usually a matching one on the opposite side. Also have my hands to suddenly trun very red and itch. It last for a few minuets.
In searching the internet it seems like a lot of folks have this problem but no one has a cure. Where are the doctors?
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replied January 17th, 2011
Community Volunteer
Hi Eldred: The doctors help all they can...However, nobody can answer your question unless they are seen by a Dermatologist and in many cases need a biopsy...This, IMO, is a gift from our environment and the unknown fumes in the air....It is raising havoc with our health and will probably continue to do so...Take care...

Caroline
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replied February 15th, 2011
I know this thread started a couple of years ago...but, I have this rash also and am on a mission to determine why I have this.

I would like to find out if anyone has encountered any of this: 1) have you had or have: Shingles, hypothyroidism, acid reflux, high chloresteral, prone to hives 2) Are you on any of these meds: Synthroid (brand name), Omeoprazole (generic), Simvastatin (generic) 3) Work on a laptop 4) Drink coffee (caffeinated or decaf?) or Tea. 5) Are you sensitive to spicy foods or do things like vinegar "burn" your tongue?

I found my rash started when I switched from the generic version of Synthroid AND started on my cholestrol and acid reflux meds. I also find that when my acid reflux flares up, seems my rash does too.

I am on a mission to get this cleared up and was hopeful when I saw this thread. However, seems all of you have had the same medical path I have. I am 50, have had it for about 2.5 years, had a biopsy (prognosis: general dermatitis), went to a dermatologist, all that I should. But, still no diagosis yet. My current doctor is going step by step to see what works. Steriods also temporarily clears my rash up, but, not permanently. The good thing with my current Dr. is he is willing to work with me on this.

Let's see if we can find any common denominators here besides our darn RASHES!!!
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replied February 17th, 2011
intense symmetrical finger itch
Same as many of you. Had excema as a child at inner elbows and backs of both knees. That just seemed to disappear. In my twenties it was my eyelids. Mostly my left but the right was affected as well. For the past five years it has been my ring fingers. Again, mostly my left but my right is affected. This morning I woke with intense itching on my right and my left is fairly clear. I haven't been able to wear my wedding rings for years. Same as everybody, steroid creams eventually helps but it comes back. Cold water helps and during the summer I burn them on the steering wheel of the car to make them hurt instead of itch. At least it keeps me from scratching until it bleeds. I can't believe how intense the itch can be. At times I use steroid cream like hand lotion. It just amazes me how symmetrical it is, so it has to be related to something.

I do not take any of the meds listed above. I do drink coffee or tea, mostly caffeinated. I don't mind spicy foods but guess I prefer bland. Have never made a correlation with spicy and itchy, though something in a lime salsa recently got my lips itching and burning and figured I was allergic to something. Not a vinegar fan but never noticed any burning to the tongue. No problem with hypothyroidism, acid reflux, or high cholesterol. I have had a rash on my back, neck and upper chest that was diagnosed as tinea versicolor and then the next doctor said no it wasn't that it was excema. It comes and goes but has permanently discolored my skin and even though there are many times when it isn't itching, it really shows bright red when I get out of the shower.

Just started on Nortriptyline for fibromyalgia pain. Blood tests didn't reveal any problems so this is what he figured it was. I suffer from symmetrical muscle pain, weakness, extreme stiffness especially in the morning or after long time in one position. Ever since I became pregnant 13 years ago I began waking at 3:00 a.m. on a regular basis. This went on for about 8 years. We got a new mattress and I started sleeping better. But then it came back with muscle weakness and pain in my upper arms. My right arm was the worst and it got to the point I could barely raise my arm to shake hands with someone. Excruciating pain down my arm and into my fingers sent me to the doctor. They insisted it was my neck and had MRI. I insisted pain in my shoulder and inability to move my arm. Orthopedist took x-rays and said bone spurs which were removed through surgery and with my arm in a sling for two days, my shoulder froze up and it took 8 months of tortursome PT to get back to where I was before surgery. I finally have better range of motion but am still bothered by upper arm pain and weak muscles. The only reason I mention this is the whole symmetry thing. Sometimes my knees bother me (both knees). Sometimes my hips are stiff (both hips). It's weird that right now my fingers are itching and it is mostly my right because typically my left is affected worse. When the itching is really bad the pinky on the worse affected side is affected as well but it always starts in my ring fingers. By the way, I don't and haven't for many years worn rings.

About a year ago I tried the gluten-free thing and made it about 6 weeks. I think my fingers cleared up but it wasn't a clear connection. Sometimes they do clear up for a while but it always comes back and I had a hard time sticking to the diet. Lost 10 pounds though.

Lastly, in regards to question 3 above, No I do not work on a laptop --desktop and phone. Sounds like you have a good Doctor.

Fingers had been clear for a while. Possible that it started back with the Nortriptyline but not for sure. Just recently raised the dose as it is not doing anything yet for my pain. This raise in dose could have sparked my recent right finger flare.
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replied February 17th, 2011
Community Volunteer
Re: intense symmetrical finger itch
itchrelief101 wrote:
Same as many of you. Had excema as a child at inner elbows and backs of both knees. That just seemed to disappear. In my twenties it was my eyelids. Mostly my left but the right was affected as well. For the past five years it has been my ring fingers. Again, mostly my left but my right is affected. This morning I woke with intense itching on my right and my left is fairly clear. I haven't been able to wear my wedding rings for years. Same as everybody, steroid creams eventually helps but it comes back. Cold water helps and during the summer I burn them on the steering wheel of the car to make them hurt instead of itch. At least it keeps me from scratching until it bleeds. I can't believe how intense the itch can be. At times I use steroid cream like hand lotion. It just amazes me how symmetrical it is, so it has to be related to something.

I do not take any of the meds listed above. I do drink coffee or tea, mostly caffeinated. I don't mind spicy foods but guess I prefer bland. Have never made a correlation with spicy and itchy, though something in a lime salsa recently got my lips itching and burning and figured I was allergic to something. Not a vinegar fan but never noticed any burning to the tongue. No problem with hypothyroidism, acid reflux, or high cholesterol. I have had a rash on my back, neck and upper chest that was diagnosed as tinea versicolor and then the next doctor said no it wasn't that it was excema. It comes and goes but has permanently discolored my skin and even though there are many times when it isn't itching, it really shows bright red when I get out of the shower.

Just started on Nortriptyline for fibromyalgia pain. Blood tests didn't reveal any problems so this is what he figured it was. I suffer from symmetrical muscle pain, weakness, extreme stiffness especially in the morning or after long time in one position. Ever since I became pregnant 13 years ago I began waking at 3:00 a.m. on a regular basis. This went on for about 8 years. We got a new mattress and I started sleeping better. But then it came back with muscle weakness and pain in my upper arms. My right arm was the worst and it got to the point I could barely raise my arm to shake hands with someone. Excruciating pain down my arm and into my fingers sent me to the doctor. They insisted it was my neck and had MRI. I insisted pain in my shoulder and inability to move my arm. Orthopedist took x-rays and said bone spurs which were removed through surgery and with my arm in a sling for two days, my shoulder froze up and it took 8 months of tortursome PT to get back to where I was before surgery. I finally have better range of motion but am still bothered by upper arm pain and weak muscles. The only reason I mention this is the whole symmetry thing. Sometimes my knees bother me (both knees). Sometimes my hips are stiff (both hips). It's weird that right now my fingers are itching and it is mostly my right because typically my left is affected worse. When the itching is really bad the pinky on the worse affected side is affected as well but it always starts in my ring fingers. By the way, I don't and haven't for many years worn rings.

About a year ago I tried the gluten-free thing and made it about 6 weeks. I think my fingers cleared up but it wasn't a clear connection. Sometimes they do clear up for a while but it always comes back and I had a hard time sticking to the diet. Lost 10 pounds though.

Lastly, in regards to question 3 above, No I do not work on a laptop --desktop and phone. Sounds like you have a good Doctor.

Fingers had been clear for a while. Possible that it started back with the Nortriptyline but not for sure. Just recently raised the dose as it is not doing anything yet for my pain. This raise in dose could have sparked my recent right finger flare.


Be cautious on the Nortriptyline...That is rough stuff...It is an anti-depressant and can raise your blood pressure...I know, years ago I used it...Take care...

Caroline
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