I am a 33 year old anglo male in good general health, not over weight (bmi around 23), with mild hypertension. Living in Hawaii.
I've had this rash on my shin for about a year now. Had it once previously about 3 years ago which lasted about 3-6 months and subsided. They started almost in a perfect straight line down the just off center of my shin, but have spread a little more randomly lately.
It starts with a small very itchy blister, when scratched, it turns into a very slow healing sore. They don't hurt or itch. They scar heavily leaving a raised bump. Its on the front of my shin seemingly starting to spread towards the outside. It flares up with 1 to 4 or so little itchy blisters (2-4mm?) which stop bothering me in a matter of hours. A month or 2 later, I'll get a few more spots. Leaving me almost constantly with a healing or fresh scab.
I've seen the doctor twice for it. They believed it was either eczema or contact dermatitis and prescribed a topical steroid creme. It is impossible to say as it had any effect, as the symptoms are so acute. My request to be referred was met with mild resistance and I didn't push the issue. "if it gets worse come back". Its looking more presentable today. Some days, due to heat or something, the scars are very pronounced and purple.
The picture is of my left shin, the only effected part of my body. It proceeds down to just above my ankle up to about half way up my shin
This would be one of the two that you have been diagnosed with, both the conditions are known for their recurrence and also leaving one totally symptom-free in between.
Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritating or allergy-causing substance (irritant or allergen). Reactions may vary in the same individual over time. A history of any type of allergies increases the risk for this condition.
Skin lesion or rash at the site of exposure may involve lesions of any type: redness, rash, papules (pimple-like), vesicles, and bullae (blisters).
Topical corticosteroid medications may reduce inflammation.
The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes which are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering.
Dermatitis is often treated by glucocorticoid (a corticosteroid steroid) ointments, creams or lotions. They do not cure eczema, but are highly effective in controlling or suppressing symptoms in most cases.
ITCHY SHINS IN WINTER
The only total respite from the shin rash occurred last summer when I was able to wear knee length shorts all the time. If you think about it carefully, over the years shins are exposed to more aggravators than any other part of our anatomy. CAR RADIATORS turned onto LEGS in winter, plus all other forms of radiant heat from cookers, fires and radiators have to be a major aggravator here, so I turn my car heater onto the windscreen only and keep my shins as far away as possible from all forms of radiant heat. Judging from my own lifestyle plus all the comments on this subject, I believe the main causes of itchy shins is a combination of CHEMICALS, hair removal, tanning, soap etc. and RADIANT HEAT plus CHAFING - this causes damage to the skin which is then irritated by any further contact with more radiant heat; all forms of chemicals and further chafing; (by any coarse or pilled and poorly rinsed fabrics chafing against the skin including trousers and skirts, tights, socks, etc. bed sheets, particularly flanellette sheets). I have stopped using fabric conditioners of any sort, (particularly Ecover which is plant based as I have hayfever so am allergic to some naturals and perfumes) because they are not rinsed out; I wash leg clothing and bedlinen with special soap powder for sensitive skin from Boots the Chemist. I wear knee length shorts in the summer so that nothing chafes against my shins and loose trousers in winter with very short ankle socks. I lift my legs when moving in bed to lessen the effect of chafing against bed linen. I also keep the heating down as low as is comfortable, including in the bedroom at night. I use the minimum of soap powder and rinse thoroughly. I also use ordinary soap, not gels, and my own personal sponge when bathing, rinse the sponge thoroughly and dry it against a radiator before storing. All this helps. Prevention is probably the only answer here. If I am correct then I believe this info should be made well known because there must be many people causing themselves damage from car radiators and wash powders in particular. More heat and/or more chemicals plus chafing are the aggravators. I am 62 years old and began suffering from this last January. I suspect washing products more than anything. I have no rash on any other part of my anatomy. So some scientists need to figure out which chemical in common use acts as an aggravator on sensitive skin when subjected to heat and chafing. PLEEEEASE. When I recently used old bedding that had not been washed in recent years, the itching eased immediately. Need I say more?
I have the same problem with my right shin. It starts as one tiny, almost invisible itchy spot and when itched spreads to form a line down the front of my shin. I have has this off and on for 10 years. First I was told Eczema, drug hypersensitivity, dermatitis, and vasculitis. I don't believe any of them are the answer. Sometimes I think it starts when I am stressed out. Mostly in the winter. Whe I first got the rash it started around my belly button then the small of my back. Then it went to my shins, head, bra line and creases in my belly. I only weigh 125 and am 5 foot 6 inches tall. The only thing that took it away was Prednisone but it came back much worse as most things do when after stopping Prednisone. I used Cortisteriods for years and topical Benadryl with little relief. I started using cold packs to stop the itch and elevation.
My daughter has had same issue for a little over a year. We have determined that dairy products are a main cause of this rash flaring up. There may be something else causing it, but for sure dairy. Since determining that and eliminating as much dairy as possible, her overall feeling of wellness has improved greatly.. . most markedly is her gastro-intestinal system. Anyone else have similar story? Just wondering if an allergist would help. She is currently taking herbs to try and "clean up" her system to be able to process toxins better. . . as we have been told that toxins release the body in any number of ways. . . one being through the skin.
Yea, that's a bunch of craziness to put it as politely as I can. "de toxing" etc is just a way for mean idiots to get money out of dumb idiots; but I'm thinking it could be brought on by sensitivity to this or that.
Been rather calm the last while. not like it was when I took that picture. No red spots or scabs at all for the last 6 months or so.
Been exercising more, and wearing long pants more often. Wife switched over to something like "tide free" or something. A super hypo allergenic, sensitive person laundry detergent. Got a job in a different building. Didn't stop right away, but it seems to have lessened.
Got a topical steroid from the doctor.. does NOTHING! What I hear is that eczema is almost always bilateral.
I had eczema on my shins for years and controlled it will a steroid cream but I still couldn't wear shorts because it was really ugly. I cured myself almost overnight by turning my socks inside out and using Borox in my laundry. My theory is that dead skin cells, fungus or maybe dust mites get trapped in the socks and are then rubbed into the skin. If you don't where high socks perhaps the pants should be washed inside out.
Believe it or not, this is a blood flow circulation problem. If you are experiencing cold feet also, that's a clear indicator. I have the rash only on the left shin, sitting for long periods of time at your computer is bad. Walking will help. Drinking more water. Taking supplements to improve your circulation.
Such as Hawthorn berries and Butchers broom. Lowing your cholesterol.
Yes very similar story. It starts with very small blisters, almost unnoticeable, up the front of my shins that are extremely itchy. They itch sporadically throughout the day for no more than an hour at a time. It doesnt take much scratching for the blisters to start bleeding and turn to a red circular sore which seems to take months to heal. Even after healing the scars are a deep purple and more noticeable some days than others. I am 38 and this past November was the first occurrence. I have narowed it down to Dermatitis Herpetiformis which is associated with Celiac Disease or a Gluten intoloerance which I am most certain I have. I have a follow up appt in two weeks to confirm. Hope this helps.
I am so glad I found these postings. I have had the same itchy rash on my right shin for over a year now. I was told that it was Contact dermatitis once then scabies another time which made NO sense at all but at that point I was willing to try anything.
This happened to me right after I left my ex. BOTH shins, from top to bottom. Attributed it to stress. My legs looked AWFUL from the scarring. Dr.'s told me the same as everyone else here and nothing worked - till I started using BIO-OIL to try to minimize the scarring. They say not to use it on open sores but I didn't care I had been driven crazy for over 2 years and was sooooo embarrassed about my legs.
By the time I started using the Bio Oil my shins were ONE great big scar from knee to the top of my foot. It took only a week to notice an improvement - plus the bio oil kept the skin moist so no more scabbing - in about 3 months my shins were completely clear.
The only good thing that came from this is not having to shave that area of my legs anymore - for some reason whatever we have killed the hair follicles. lol But that wasn't the end of it, my shins stayed clear for a good year till it started again a couple months ago on my left shin. Found my bio oil and am at it again - scarring is already clearing.
it could be thyroid related. i had similar mysterious rashes on my shins and i finally realized that it's Pretibial myxoedema. i have a family history of thyroid problems but never realized it could lead to skin problems! it seems, though, that there is no cure for the rashes - just treatment using creams, hydrocortisone, etc.
It could be any and all of the above - and any combination. It is unlikely to be limited to one thing. It could also be just about any medication that you take. I've had before on both shins, my abdomen and the undersides of both arms. I am currently mostly only struggling with the left leg. I am currently alternating between "eczema oil", "Blue-emu" gel and a steroid cream. ANYTHING that touches it aggravates it so I wear shorts or capris all the time. I use only "free" detergents - I have found that the Arm and Hammer brand is best (least irritating). It gets worse whenever I have to stay in a hotel - I'll probably start taking a "sleep sack". Hot water definitely makes it worse. I don't use anything with any scents in it if I can help it. I use sulfate free shampoos and soaps. The Neutragena body wash for eczema seems to help or at least not irritate it. The one thing that for sure clears mine up is - tanning... natural or tanning bed - but that has its own issues. I try to sit in the shade with my shins in the sun and that helps more than anything...
You nailed this and helped me solve a 2 yr old problem! It is not contact dermatitis, it is a circulatory reaction from sitting for long periods of time in a chair that is too high off the ground. My legs would dangle all day when I would sit at my desk and eventually the weight (pressure) on my under-thigh area caused decreased circulation and a 2 yr battle with a terrible and mysterious shin rash with uncontrollable itching! I lowered my chair, now resting my feet firmly on the ground and the condition disappeared in one week! Gone after 2 yrs. And it was reading your comment that tipped me off. Whoever you are - thank you!!
I think you may have helped me here.
I've had the same dang rash on my left shin only off and on for 2 years.
The doc said it was simply chronic eczema, however, no cream worked. I tried every cream on the market, switched my soaps no fragrance free and organic, use all dye and fragrance free detergents, and even used special powders and healing oils. My last resort was Clorox bleach, as it reduced the rash, but it never took it away. Now, I'm scarred. I have always been shorterin the legs, and yes, my legs dangle, so I'm going to try keeping my feet on the floor. I already get exercise (martial arts), so I'm using my legs frequently, but now I will be aware of how I sit. Thanks for this!
Your description is EXACTLY the rash I have on my shins. I would love to hear what has helped you since 2012. Tried hydrocortisone, no help whatsoever, now trying my son's Elidel cream for eczema. Had this for over 3 months. Thank you!
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