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Skin Care and Diseases

Intensely Itchy Spots

03/07/2000

Question:

I`m a 52 year old female and for the past few months have been suffering from small red spots appearing on my skin. They start off being intensely itchy and after a couple days develop into slightly larger flaky patches. I`ve had a skin biopsy done with no conclusive results. Even this patch has now become flaky and itchy. What can these spots be?

Answer:

I am sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble with itchy red spots. I cannot be certain what your problem is from your description. However I suspect that you have a condition called nummular dermatitis. Nummular dermatitis usually affects adults. It is very itchy and appears as round, red, scaly patches. The word "nummular" comes from the Greek word for coin. These are coin shaped spots. Usually the biopsy confirms dermatitis.

The treatment involves applicatons of potent steroids, some times systemic steroids, antibiotics and other modalities.

Your dermatologist should be able to recognize this problem and treat it effectively. It might be that your family doctor is not acquainted with the problem.

But remember I am guessing since a picture is worth 1000 words and I am telling you only about the most common problem with round, red, scaly spots. So do see your dermatologist.

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Response by:

James J Nordlund, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati