Your symptoms are suggestive of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation(PIH). It can be a result of trauma to the skin like in shaving,chemical peels and photoxic eruptions.
I feel that an examination by a wood lamp by a dermatologist will help in distinction of epidermal PIH from dermal PIH.You can apply hydroquinone, azelaic acid or tretinoin cream.Corticosteroids and laser treatment are also helpful.It is also advisable to put sunscreens with a minimum spf of 15 atleast 30 min before going out in the sun.
Hope it helps.Take care and pls do keep me posted on how you are doing and if you have any additional queries.
Thank you for your advice. I've been posting all over the internet and this website (you) is the only place (person) that replied to me or at least gave me a place to start with my problem. Where I am is very 3rd world like so seeing a dermatalogist here is very unlikely. Where I stay, they have the very minimum for a health facility. In any case I would probably have to go back to the states but I am hoping to find an answer here. Oh by the way, thanks for your reply again. PIH sounds close but the darkening of my skin is not my real problem. I read a little on PIH but that doesnt seem to be it. I am more concerned with the dryness of the skin and how it got hard when it was dry. I dont mean to question your knowledge. I am just trying to be more specific with my skin problem. Actually when it dries up it looks like there are cracks in the dry area. I have tried exfoliating but it just makes it hurt more due to the scrubbing. Either way I will look more into your suggestion and try some products you've recommended. Thank you very much kindd. I appreciate your help in my matter. If you have any more suggetions please feel free to let me know. Thank you.
The other possibilities are seborrheic dermatitis and eczema.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes flaky,dry, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas esp under the nose or anywhere on face. You can treat flaking and dryness with over-the-counter dandruff or medicated shampoos. Shampoo the hair vigorously and frequently (preferably daily). Active ingredients in these shampoos include salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcin, ketoconazole, or selenium.
Eczema is a form of chronic dermatitis (rash).Allergic reaction is one of the important causes of eczema. Allergic reaction can occur to strong soaps, Solvents, chemicals, certain foods, food additives, plants, metals, cosmetics, even urine and faeces of some animals (dust mites). Wash the areas several times with fresh water. Do not use any cosmetic products at the sites. You can apply some calamine lotion at the rash as it will help in soothing the skin. You can take some OTC oral antihistamine medications like Benadryl or Claritin and see if it helps. Eczema can be exacerbated by dryness of the skin. Use good quality moisturizers to prevent moisture loss from the skin.Use mild steroid cream like dermacort and see if it helps.
If the symptoms persist,then it would be best to get it confirmed from a dermatologist.
Hope it helps.Take care and pls do keep me posted on how you are doing or if you have any additional doubts.