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Skin Care and Diseases

Dark occasional itchy rash on back

05/31/2006

Question:

About 3 years ago, I developed a small dark slightly leathery feeling patch on my back over my spine. I noticed it because it itched intensely, but only for a few seconds. Unfortunately it bothered me so intermittently that I could ignore it.

Over time, the rash has become fairly large (about the size and shape of a Christmas tree cookie), continues to be darker than my normal skin tone and it seems to flair up (1. it develops about 7-10 large flesh colored bumps that seem to dissolve into what feels like a hundred fine, tiny, soft bumps over the course of about 1-2 days if left untreated and 2. it itches intensely, but occasionally during the 2-day course). I CAN pinpoint that the itching seems to be related to new bump formation.

My doctor gave me Taro`s Clotrimazole and Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream because he said it could be ringworm or eczema. I use it about once every 2 weeks if the itching is unbearable to the point I want to scratch. The medicine seems to clear up the bumpy itch, but nothing else. I don`t even like using the medicine because if I don`t scratch, the itchy rash goes away on its own.

It should help to know that I am a black, 30 year old female, with sensitive skin. Sometimes the skin in the middle of my back is dry, but other times it`s oily. I use "ALL Free" laundry detergent and fabric softener and I`ve begun to use Johnson`s baby soap instead of other moisturizing soap. I tried Aveeno lotion, which seemed to de-intensify the itchy flair-ups. I thought Vaseline was bad for dry skin because I thought it clogged pores, but as I`ve been reading, I should be using IT or Eucerine.

What is this rash and how can I get RID of it? It’s only not so bad looking because I’m brown and the bumps that develop are flesh colored and not easy to see. The discoloration just looks like a birthmark, but I know its not, and want it to go away FOREVER! Please help if you can. Thank you very much.

Answer:

It is difficult to make a diagnosis of a condition such as yours without seeing your skin. I would suggest being evaluated by a dermatologist; and make sure that you tell him or her all your symptoms and the history of this skin condition.

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Response by:

Janine D Miller, MD Janine D Miller, MD
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University

Elma D Baron, MD Elma D Baron, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Skin Study Center
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University