What *should* Eczema/Dermatitis generally look like?

Posted , 3 users are following.

This discussion has been locked due to a period of inactivity. Start a new discussion

(Warning: Long read, but have to explain my situation)

Back in June of this year, I had this crazy rash-like itch develop on my thighs, behind my knees, on my upper arms near the armpits, and finally in the waist area up to my stomach. There were some few isolated spots like on on of my forearms but those were rare.

When I first googled in the area's of suspicion--the immediate response I got was scabies or some form of mites. I thought it was strange, because I've lived in the same house for over ten years now, and the last time I did any major travel was in 2010. I'm a freelance programmer/developer, so I spend most of my days indoors and I rarely have contact with anyone outside of family (haven't been in a relationship in a few years, so no possible contact there either).

I looked the pictures of the symptoms and honestly they didn't look like what I had. My bumps were generally skin-tone up to a light-pink, it definitely was not a swollen red color like shown on symptoms of people with scabies/mites, and definitely did not have this "cluster" of bumps--mine were fairly spread apart within the region. For example, if I had bumps on my thighs, there might be one or two close to each other (we'll see, half an inch, I can't remember clearly and most were spread much further apart).

My final suspicion on why it couldn't be scabies, other than my rather, uneventful lifestyle was they noted that your condition worsens extremely in high heat or night. I felt in some cases, hot water made me feel better (though my dermatologist ultimately told me not to take hot showers) and I actually felt worse during the day on some days than nights. Some nights I'd sleep like a baby and other nights--not so much.


Anyhow, after about 2-3 weeks of dealing with that issue, I ended up going to my dermatologist. The condition was not getting any better, and I've spent so much money on over-the-counter/Amazon ointments, creams, and anti-histamines that I felt it was time. 

I had two dermatologist examine me. The first one admitted he was new, and he didn't know what it could be--so he asked for a senior member to come help. She examined my entire body, and scraped some samples off two or three of the regions that were affected to see if there was in fact any mite infestation. The area's came back with nothing, so she prescribed me Hydroxyzine (Atarax) and Triamcinolone ointment/cream.

We did blood tests and lab work to determine it wasn't an issue and those came back with no abnormalities. Finally, during my follow-up visit she determined that the issue was likely some form of Eczema or Dermatitis. It is strange though, because I'm in my 30's and I didn't think it was possible to suddenly develop something like this.

I continued to use these products for about 2-3 weeks, applying ointment to area's twice a day, taking a 10mg Zyrtec during the day and going to bed with the Atarax. The condition went away at some point in July--I was so wrapped in work I couldn't remember when, but the itch went away and I was left with just scars.

I was itch free for the duration of the Summer, and all of the Fall. Now suddenly--about 2-3 weeks ago, the itch has come back, and in the same general area's. Now my parents tell me it's just a winter rash and it'll go away (they're kind of old fashioned like that). The paranoid person in me however, think that's it is some form of mites or bugs. Now, I know the fact that a mite infestation would go into remission for several months sounds absolutely absurd, which is what my post is about.

I've looked at probably hundreds of Eczema/Dermatitis pictures on Google, and on the wall hanging at the Dermatologist's office. In my view, Eczema/Dermatitis looks more like these giant red patches of skin that are irritated or bleeding. 

My condition is: affected area will itch. some times they'll have a bump or two before the itch, other times that occur after I scratch the area. The bumps ranges from skin-tone to light red/pinkish. Some area's will only have one bump, while other area's might have a couple--but never exceeds more than 4 or 5 to my knowledge. After bleeding (from scratching), they'll leave a scab on the top and the area will darken slightly. The bump will shrink in size over the course of a couple days. I think the area's generally go complete "flat" with a scar within a week or two tops.

As I mentioned before, I've lived in this house for many years, and the other two people residing here have zero issues that I do. I rarely come into contact with anyone, and I haven't traveled out of state since 2011. When I do travel, it's generally to a client's workplace or to purchase something. The last relationship I had was a few years ago. 

Bottom line is--is it really Eczema/Dermatitis, or am I being overly paranoid that it might be some form of bugs or mites? Mind you, I definitely don't want to have a case of Scabies or anything, but I want to know I'm being treated for the right thing and so far, the pictures don't seem to match up.

Sorry for the long read everyone, appreciate any light on this issue and if you need more information I'll be checking this post regularly.

0 likes, 4 replies


4 Replies

  • Posted

    To make my case a it shorter for those whom don't want to bother reading the entire thing:

    Is there a discernable difference between eczema/dermatitis and what might be perceived as some sort of bug/mite(scabies) infestation? Is there some sure fire way to know whether I have one or the other?

  • Posted

    Hi Henry,

    What you have described certainly sounds like the early stages of eczema and your dermatologists have confirmed it, so I don't believe you should be concerned it may be anything else. I also developed eczema around the same age for no apparent reason, and the symptoms would also fade away during months of sun exposure (or tropical vacations). Many people who have eczema do react favorably to sunbathing and salt water, which is why some dermatologists will prescribe UV therapy for the winter months, when the disease typically comes back with a vengeance. However, I don't believe this will yield a permanent cure in most cases; expect only temporary relief.

    If you want to search for a potential cure, I invite you to click on my name and read the information in my different posts, and then follow-up with further reading on the internet, since I have managed to cure myself after 20 years of combat with the disease. I can't promise you anything because everyone reacts differently to various treatments, however, I hope the info will help to put you in the right track to recovery. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them as best as I can.

    Best of luck,


  • Posted

    Scabies is usually diagnosed by examining the affected area. Your dermatologist will be looking for burrows dug by the female mites. Your doctor might also examine skin scrapings under the microscope in order to detect mites, faeces and mite eggs. Only in the very early stages of a scabies infection, it might be mistaken for a rash or other type of dermatitis. 

    For more info have a look at https://patient.info/health/scabies-leaflet

    Since your dermatologist specifically looked for signs of a scabies infestation and could not find any that should give you peace of mind. A subsequent scabies infection is also highly unlikely as it would require prolonged close contact with an infected person.  

    As a further investigation, your dermatologist might offer an allergy test to see if the periodic flare-ups of your dermatitis could be caused by an allergen. 1

    Good luck and if you should find what caused your skin condition or what has helped you then pls consider posting an update (for the benefit of others with similar skin problems). 

  • Posted

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    What Greg said about early stages of Eczema might be coming to true...starting to get cracked, red area's of skin and the itch spots look more like reddened patches of hives or something.

    The only solace is that I'm itching less and it's more...concentrated in one spot? I spoke with my dermatologist and they suggested I continue my meds for 2 weeks if I don't see any results to book an appointment. I suspect part of this might be due to the holidays coming up and them not being in the office.

    I'll keep everyone posted!


Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up