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Painfully itchy, unpredictable, skin rash - any ideas?

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For Love of Birds

Joined: 08 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:07 am    Post subject: Painfully itchy, unpredictable, skin rash - any ideas? Reply with quote

This might not be the best thread on which to post this, but I'm desperate enough to try just about anything at this point. there's a lot to it, so please bear with me as I lay out the details.

I have been suffering from a skin rash that comes and goes randomly. When it does surface, it is only in the winter, and it typically stays until spring really kicks in (Decemeber - April, roughly). It doesn't bother me every winter. In fact, prior to this winter (08-09), the last time this skin disorder surfaced was the winter of 03-04, and prior to that was roughly 95-96. So as you can see, it shows up randomly.

Quick details to take into consideration: I live in northern Ohio, where the winters can be maliciously cold and dry (-20 degrees, via windchill, somedays). My diet is better now than it was during the other skin rash outbreaks, though not flawless. I'm under stress now, but I wasn't during the last two winters the rash broke out. I don't smoke, drink, do any drugs, nor do I have any food allergies that I'm aware of, nor do I have any sort of disorders that require medication. Also, I'm a 31-year-old male.

Now for the skin rash itself. It seems to only show up during winter, and once the stage is set, so to speak, a number of things can set off this rash. If I suddenly get nervous or angry - as in, sudden changes in mood or in emotion - that will set it off. If I try to exercise or do any sort of physical labor, that will set it off. Moving from extreme cold into somewhere very warm will do it. Having hot air blow on me (from a heating vent, for example), will do it.

The itching itself only lasts for a good 3- 8 minutes, depending on how severe of a flare-up. The itching sensation is EXTREMELY painful, and burns SEVERELY, and if I itch it then the pain and burning increase dramatically. Little red bumps ( the size of a period at the end of a sentence, roughly) begin to appear, mainly on my forearms, legs, and chest. The itching typically starts on either my hands, lower legs, or back, though usually spreads to my chest, forearms, and sometimes forehead. The bumps/rash will typically go away within 5-7 minutes if I don't itch my skin. If I do itch, my sensitive skin becomes very red in the places where I itched it, and the redness lasts roughly 14-17 minutes.

I take a multi-vitamin, vitamin E, D, & C, omega 3, calcium/zinc, and saw palmetto supplents. I take zyrtec (sp?) daily, I drink lots of water, and I use unscented lotion all over my body the moment I step out of the shower. I also found that when I'm experiencing a flare-up, going somewhere cool or cold helps to calm it a bit.

I've come to the conclusions that being exposed to bitter cold weather over a lengthy period of time, stress, and some unkown unbalance in my body (perhaps thyriod-related?) are the culprits. On the other hand, I have gone through many winters where my skin was perfectly fine, and I have been very stressed at other times in my life and my skin didn't break out into this heat rash. There is nothing consistent enough to single it out to a single cause of this crippling rash, which makes identifiying this horrible condition all that much more difficult. I DO have sensitive skin, as I have fair, pale skin overall, but there is something more at work here, and my condition is NOT merely a result of it just being too dry during thr winter.

I hope I've left enough detail for someone to actually be able to give me some solid advice, a diagnosis, or even be able to refer me to another website/thread. Living life is enjoyably and fully is not possible when this skin condition rears its ugly head. I've spent the last 3 months sitting alone in my apartment because of these random, embarrassing, stressful, painful flamre-ups - I don't want to spend another winter holed up like this. I greatly appreciate any feedback that can be given, and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

-For love of birds
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you see a dermatologist? Have you tried eczema treatments like Elidel?
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