When I developed a red itchy skin rash, I wasn’t sure what it was. Almost 2 years later, I’m writing about it. This is my story of being diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis, and accepting my adult onset allergy to fragrance, formaldehyde and imidazolidinyl urea.
DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended as medical advice, or as a way to help someone else diagnose an allergy. This is a story of my experience, and my discoveries. If you are questioning whether or not you have an allergy, you should contact a health-care professional for help.
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for so long. Eight weeks to be exact. That was the day my body sent me a big warning sign. The day I needed to make a big change.
As a dietitian and healthy living blogger, most of my posts are about food, nutrition and fitness. I also share some of my travel experiences and write about food culture, too. But, this post is different. This is a personal post about being diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis as an adult.
I’m sharing my story for a few reasons. One is because I look different, and I don’t want people to wonder why. Sharing also helps with my acceptance. The other reason, though, is to bring more attention to this, and to help others. I was shocked when I learned how many people develop allergic contact dermatitis as an adult, and reading personal stories helped. My plan was to write one post, sharing the story from the beginning to today. But, six pages in, I decided it would be better to split the post into two parts. This part, part one, is the story of how I was diagnosis and my journey accepting that I need to make changes. Part two is about removing the allergens, and making my biggest change of all. This post is long, but it’s my story.
The Beginning – 2 Years Ago
It was October, 2018 when I first noticed a skin rash. I developed a small, circular mark on the back of my neck. I honestly didn’t think much of it at the time. It was bumpy, and became itchy at times, and sort of resembled ringworm. I had ringworm on my leg when I was a kid, so I knew I was prone to getting it. I bought an over the counter anti-fungal cream and applied it twice a day, per the directions. A week later, it was still there.
I finally decided it was time to see the dermatologist. The first available appointment wasn’t until the 3rd week of December. I scheduled it, and didn’t think too much of it. The rash wasn’t getting better, but it wasn’t spreading, either.
When December came, I realized I had to change my health insurance. My premium was going to increase by over $100.00 a month, so it was time to shop around for different coverage. I found an affordable plan with a different insurance provider, but switching insurance, meant finding all new doctors. I cancelled my dermatology appointment, and decided to wait until the new year to find a new doctor.
My rash was still present, but it wasn’t getting worse. Brian and I went on vacation to Belize the week before Christmas, and I remember thinking that maybe the hot weather would make it disappear. It seems silly to think that now, but at the time I was totally serious. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
I spend the first week of January, 2019 finding new doctors, including a new dermatologist. The first available appointment was February 4, 2019. I was anxious to get rid of the rash, but it had been so long, a month didn’t seem too long.
About a week later, I noticed another skin rash. This time it was on the left side of my neck. It had the same raised, red bumps as the one on the left, but it wasn’t circular in shape. The big difference was the unbearable itch. I tried not to touch it, but I could not stop scratching it. Over the next few weeks, the rash progressed. It began moving down my neck, and wrapped around toward the front. My ear lobes developed bumps, and the area around my hairline was red and itchy. I also started noticing small raised bumps on other parts of my skin. My lower back, forearms, chest and lower stomach. These bumps would come and go and did not appear to be the same as the rash on my neck. Still, I couldn’t help but think they were related.
It was around that time I started to realize, my skin had been itchy for a very long time. I was thinking back to the summer of 2018, when I started finding small, random bumps on my lower back. That was also the time I started taking my bra off as soon as I finished work, because it was so uncomfortable. I also dreaded wearing something I had worn daily since I was a teenager – a sports bra. Wearing one made my back itch. It finally hit me that this had been going on for months, maybe even a year. I was so thankful that my dermatologist appointment was only a week away.
First Dermatologist Appointment – February 4, 2019
I remember this appointment so clearly. I couldn’t wait to show the dermatologist my rash, tell him about my itchy back and get some answers. I should have known it wouldn’t be that simple.
The doctor examined the rash and told me it appeared to be eczema or some sort of allergic contact dermatitis. He prescribed me a steroid cream, and instructed me to apply it to the rash twice a day. I was to only use a small amount, and to wash my hands thoroughly after I used it. Apparently, it’s very strong and can cause damage, especially if it gets into eyes. The doctor said it should be cleared up in a few days.
I wasn’t satisfied. My neck rash wasn’t the only issue; I wanted to know why my skin was so itchy. I showed him the few random marks on my back and asked him what I should do about the itch. He suggested I try an over-the-counter allergy medication, then he told me to schedule a follow-up if the steroid cream didn’t work. He was highly confident that it would, though.
I left the appointment feeling disappointed. I should have been glad it was just an allergic contact dermatitis, but I wasn’t. I wanted a better name for my rash, and I wanted to know exactly what caused it. I drove straight to the pharmacy to pick up my steroid cream. I did not buy the allergy medication.
The dermatologist was right. Two days after my appointment, my rash was practically gone. I was in shock over how well the steroid cream worked. It was like magic. I applied a small amount to the bumps on my back, too. My skin cleared, and I was itch free for the first time in a long time. It’s funny how you get used to feeling a certain way, and that becomes your normal. Itchy skin is a sign, though, and shouldn’t be ignored.
After this incident, I started to pay more attention to my skin. I realized I was having more issues that I realized. I was scratching my skin constantly, especially my back and forearms.
On February 14, I went back to the dermatologist for a follow-up. The rash on my neck was completely gone, but I wanted to know what was causing my skin to react. The dermatologist suggested I have a patch test to try to identify specific substances that could be causing an allergic reaction. I was on-board, and scheduled the test for March 11, 2019.
The next month was more of the same – random red bumps and itchy skin. By that point, I was very in tune to it. I realized what I was feeling wasn’t new. My skin had been reacting to something for close to a year. I tried to figure out if it was getting worse, or if I was just more aware. I think it was a combination of the two.
March 11, 2019 – Patch Test
The day finally came to have my patch test, and I was not looking forward to it at all. Once the patches are placed, you have to keep them in place for at least 48 hours, and you can’t get them wet. I sweat a lot when I exercise, so no sweating meant no workout until they were removed. As silly as it sounds, that was my only issue with getting the test. My morning workout is my me-time, and something I really look forward to. It was three mornings that were disrupted. Looking back, it seems like nothing, but at the time, I was not happy about it.
I won’t get into the details of the patch test, but if you’re interested, you can read about it here. I had the patches applied Monday afternoon, then returned on Thursday morning to have them removed. Finally, I had some answers!
March 14, 2019 – The Diagnosis & Cause Of My Allergic Contact Dermatitis
The dermatologist seemed surprised by the findings. The testing showed that I was allergic to three of the substances tested – fragrance mix, formaldehyde and imidazolidinyl urea. The reaction to imidazolidinyl urea was milder than the other two. I had a severe reaction to fragrance and formaldehyde. The doctor told me that I am so sensitive to those substances, if my skin comes in contact with any one of them, just one time, I could develop a rash. He further explained that the itching and small bumps can appear within 4 hours of exposure, but they typically don’t appear until 1-3 days after. That means if I get a rash today, it could be from something I came in contact with days ago. Even worse, he told me that most skin reactions caused from these substances will last for 2-8 weeks, even if I was careful not to come in contact with them again. And, if I have multiple exposures at once, it could take 3-6 months for my skin to completely heal.
As someone who had never had any allergies in her life, this was hard for me to understand. How could I just now develop allergies? Why did I develop them? It’s so hard for me not to have these answers. Every time I asked, the answer was the same – allergies develop from repeated exposure. Basically, I was exposed enough times to these substances that I became sensitive to them. The most difficult statement to hear was this one – “Your body has changed and you will be allergic to these substances for the rest of your life.” Ugh.
The Good News
My dermatologist felt really bad for me. He told me I’d have to avoid all exposure to fragrance and formaldehyde. He gave me the cliff notes on all three allergens. “Fragrance is in just about everything”, he said. He discussed the obvious products that I would need to change – my shampoo, conditioner, perfume, soaps, cleaners, laundry detergent and makeup, then moved to all of the cross-reactions I should avoid – cinnamon, cloves, cassia oil, citronella candles, and the list goes on.
Next, we discussed formaldehyde. He shared what it is and where it is found – fabric, building materials, carpet, paint, paper products, etc. Then, he reviewed all of the alternative names for formaldehyde that I would need to be aware of – formalin, methanol, methyl aldehyde, methylene oxide, and the list goes on.
The third reaction I had was to imidazolidinyl urea. This substance is a formaldehyde- releasing preservative used in many cosmetics and pharmaceutical preparations. It’ burn creams, sunscreen, prescription topical medications, and just about all makeup. The crazy thing about this one is that it’s not a common cause of contact allergy, so it is the preservative often used in products labelled, “hypoallergenic.”
Through all of that education, I couldn’t help but feel relieved. One of my biggest fears was reacting to PPD, or p-Phenylenediamine – the active ingredient in hair dye. I was born with black hair, and I’d had it my entire life. It was part of my identity. I was only ~32 years old when I started to notice some stray grays. I let them go for a while, but when I was ~35, I started to cover my roots. In recent years, I started to dye it more frequently.
I had been noticing burning and itching after I dye it. Nothing extreme, but my skin definitely didn’t like what I was exposing it to. Still, knowing I didn’t have a severe reaction to PDD made me feel better. I could live on with black hair, which was the one thing I cared about most. At least I thought I could.
Change Takes Time – Apparently A Long Time For Me
When my appointment ended, I took my list of “safe for me to use” products and went home. I didn’t review it right away. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t dive into the list. I’ve always been a person who researches things to the fullest. And, I’m definitely not one to turn away from change. It wasn’t like me to put the stack of papers down on my desk and walk away. But, I did. And, it got buried.
Over the next few weeks, I made some changes. The first change was my laundry detergent. I found a new fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner and ordered new dish soap, too. It wasn’t all of the changes that I would need to make, but it was something. I was back and forth on whether I noticed a huge difference. Some days I didn’t itch, but other days I did.
Skin Rash – Take Two
I should have known it wasn’t over. Looking back, it was really only the beginning.
A few weeks after my appointment, I developed a skin rash on my right forearm. This time, I knew it was an allergic reaction. The itch was unbearable. Scratching it felt great, but then it would just itch more. Within a few days, my entire forearm was covered. I called the dermatologist to see if I could use the steroid cream on my forearm. He told me to use it, but reminded me to use it sparingly, and wash my hands well after applying it.
The steroid cream made it feel better, but it don’t work as well as it did on my neck. I realized that the cream worked by drying out the rash. As the bumps dried, they would develop a scab over them. The bumps, however, were still itchy, and scratching them would cause them to break open. Then, the healing process would have to start all over again. It was horrible.
My First Wake Up Call
Over the next week, I had something new happen. As the bumps on my forearm were healing, new bumps were occurring. They were the same red bumps I had developed on my neck, but this time, things were different. There were more of them, they were spread out, and they were more pronounced. My entire arm was itchy – even areas that didn’t have any bumps. Next, I noticed clusters of them forming on my left forearm and single bumps started to appear on my stomach.
My back became covered in small red bumps and the itch was intense and constant. I was irritated and uncomfortable all the time. The fact that I wasn’t getting a good night’s sleep wasn’t helping.
By the end of the week, my upper body was covered in red, itchy bumps – some scabbed from me scratching them open, and others were new. The rash stretched from ~2 inches below my belly button up to my neck line, and covered the sides of my face. It was as if my body had had enough of something and couldn’t stop reacting. I just didn’t know what it was. Could exposure to fragrance and formaldehyde really be the cause of my allergic contact dermatitis?
I took pictures of my skin so that I could uploaded them to my health portal. Looking back, I wish I had taken more photos. Sharing images of my skin wasn’t even a thought back then. I would have taken better pictures if I had known I was going to be sharing them with the public.
I uploaded the photos and sent them to my dermatologist with a message asking for advice. It was a Friday, and I was nervous he wouldn’t get back to me before the weekend. I sent the photos to my primary care doctor, too, hoping she would help. I even sent them to an autoimmune doctor, asking if he had any insight. I thought maybe my skin issues were related to a rare auto-immune disease?
My dermatologist was the first to get back to me. He sent two prescriptions in to the pharmacy – one for the areas on my face; the other was for the rest of my body. He instructed me to apply the steroid cream to the rash.
That made me so nervous. It was the same steroid cream I was told to use sparingly a few months ago, but now I was supposed to be used over my entire body. I didn’t have a choice. My rash was getting worse by the day, and I was afraid of what would happen next. He told me not to worry, and scheduled me for a skin biopsy the following Tuesday.
I picked up the prescription right away. I showered and washed my hair with my odorless, free-from-everything products, then I applied the steroid cream over my entire rash. I was afraid to touch anything, especially because I hadn’t spent enough time figuring out my formaldehyde allergy. It’s in so many products – like clothes. I had read that clothing made of 100% cotton generally contained less formaldehyde than some other fabrics, so to minimize my chances of exposure, I put on an old white cotton tube top and old white cotton shorts. I wore that same outfit the entire weekend. I applied the steroid cream morning and night throughout the weekend. By Tuesday morning, my rash was significantly improved.
April 30, 2019 – Skin Biopsy
The following Tuesday, I went in for a skin biopsy. My dermatologist was relatively confident it wouldn’t tell us anything new, but he did the procedure, anyway. The biopsy was done right in the doctor’s office and was really uneventful. It was scheduled at 10:00 am, and I was on my way home by 10:30.
That Thursday, we left for Florida. My daughter’s cheer team made it to the ultimate competition in Orlando, so we had a big weekend ahead. I didn’t think about my skin, rashes, allergies or anything related during the entire trip. That is, until Monday morning. It was our last day in Florida, and our flight didn’t leave until 6 pm, so we decided to hang at the pool. Around 11:00, the doctor called me to share the results of my biopsy – allergic contact dermatitis. The exact diagnosis he gave me, at my very first appointment.
That was my wake up call. I learned what happens when you ignore a skin rash related to allergic contact dermatitis. I vowed never to let my skin get that out of control again. It was time to dive into the research and learn how to live a fragrance and formaldehyde free live.
I’ll share the next part of my journey – learning to live fragrance and formaldehyde free, and why I had to stop dying my hair – in my next post. I’ll also share my other big health scare related to allergic contact dermatitis – the one that forced me to stop using hair dye and let my hair go grey.
So good! Great read!
Very helpful sharing. Your symptoms are quite similar to me. I feel stronger as I knew I was not alone dealing with this condition.
Brave of you to share Heather. So helpful to others who may wake up one day with what they think is just a rash. Glad you got your answer and can deal with it. So sorry you had to go through all you did to get answers❤️
I have for a couple of years have gotten something that has appeared in my skin and it itches sometimes on my leg
I got diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis last month and my allergies are also formaldehyde and fragrance. The app ACDS Camp helps a lot with safe products to use!
Wow! This is really intense! It’s awesome you’re such an advocate for your health. Can’t wait to read more-
Thank you so much, Ginger
I’m so glad I read this story. I also had a biopsy and the result is contact dermatitis. However, for me the steroid creams never worked and I’ve tried many 🙁 I’m waiting for patch tests now. It started same way – once there was a small bump, then another and one day a whole body just started developing rash l 🙁
Thank you for sharing Heather; and for helping us all to learn from your personal experience. Wish you the very best as you continue to work through this!
Thanks, Nancy! I appreciate that.
I’m so glad that I chance upon ur blog. It really helps me alot to understand what type of rashes I’m experiencing.
Your rash image is like what my rashes would look like,same bumps.
Actually I’m having this sudden onset of rashes and thinking it was out of nowhere. Untill I read ur post, I realised it could be I dyed my hair,that resulted my onset of rashes.The itch was unbearable. A small rash, now has turned out to be a major one.I couldn’t sleep properly due to the itchiness,keep scratching all the times. Sometimes I would take antihistamine pill and the itch will stop, but only works for a day.
I had dyed my hair on 16 Jan, I actually have this itchy for few days around my neck.
And now it seems like it’s everywhere.
I just want to thank you for sharing ur blog that I realise is Allergic Contact Dermatitis.
All the time I kept wondering if it’s the food I ate, but could not come to a conclusion.
As I do not have any allergies in food but yes to detergents all.
Anyway thank you again 🙂
I have been trying to figure out what’s been effecting my upper body and arms. One of your pictures looks like my skin eruptions. I gone thru Drs saying I have shingles, herpes, dust mites, scabies and allergy to gluten. I am definitely going to get some skin patch tests. I have started to only wear 100% cotton and sheets as well. Interesting about Fragrance remarks. Thank you for sharing your experience.
This is unreal. I appreciated how honest you were about your thoughts, feelings and reactions to what was happening. I’m anxious now for part 2.
I wish that I could take this away from you, my friend! It’s just like you to take your challenges of life to help others. xo
Thank you, Angela. That means a lot. xoxo
The signs resembles with mine ,my whole body has those rashes and getting darker ,I don’t know what to use
Wow those pictures are crazy! You’ve endured a lot with those rashes. Do you know everything they tested you for?
Hi Marie, yes the basic patch test tests for 36 different substances. I shared the link in the post that tells you what they are. It’s a lot of random chemicals. The more comprehensive test tests for closer to 100 chemicals.
U think its detergent allergy?, i have had serious rashes from that
Typical detergents have fragrance in them, so for me, changing to a fragrance-free deterdent was a must. There are other ingredients in deterdents that could be causing contact dermatitis, too. A dermatologist can help you identify exactly what the allergen is.
I’m also allergic to formaldehyde. From age 18-21, I had such horrific dermatitis on my hands from it, my fingernails became extremely mottled, unhealthy and fell off all the way. It took 3 years of appts w docs & dermatologists to find a cream that would work and lifestyle changes that would work.
My #1 “formaldehyde free” lifestyle change? No artificial sweeteners. No more aspartame, sucralose, xylitol, acesulfame, saccharin. These sweeteners are tricky, and are in everything from the obvious like diet soda to the “WHAT?! Really?!” like flavored nicotine vape juice. When your body (nice & hot temp inside) tries to metabolize these sweeteners, formaldehyde is formed and builds up. That build up of formaldehyde is what causes these crazy itchy rashes. If you’re anything like me, artificial sweeteners might cause you to get a major headache, too.
Formaldehyde is also in Melamine, the cheap and fun plastic that we use to make lots of things like plates, plastic stuff & figurines/toys.
It is also, like you said, present in prefab & factory stuff? New cars, new mobile homes, new easy to install Perego wood floors all are teeming with the stuff. Do not ever do an ozone treatment if you have a perego floor because that will legit LIFT formaldehyde out of the floor and into the air.
Idk about you but do the docs you tell your allergy to look at you weird and ask if you’ve been playing in embalming fluid? I get it all the time.
I’ve been also looking up PKU lately. With your specific allergies, it might be worth a read. The disease is a genetic mutation that makes it hard to make the enzyme break down phenylalanine into other substances in the body.
Anyways, when I went through my first bout of this, it was 2008, and there was nothing on the internet. No blogs like yours to make me feel less alone. I felt crazy! And lastly, it’s EXPENSIVE without insurance, but protopic is a non steroidal cream that helped me get through the very worst of my allergic dermatitis and allow me to grow my nails back.
All the best!
I’m so glad I found your blog, I’ve been dealing with something very similar. I’ve also had a horrible rash all over, like yours, for months now, that I can’t seem to get rid of, even after having a patch test myself, and being told I’m also allergic to formaldehyde, “probably fragrance,” and also rubber, which seems to include spandex, even tho that’s not technically rubber… so many things have spandex in them!
And I’m finding I can’t wear any synthetic clothing either, like polyester, nylon, or Rayon! I keep hoping that if I get the rash under control, I can wear them again!
I’ve been on oral steroids as well, and trying to taper off of those, and also due for a hair appt, and worried that I won’t be able to color my hair anymore! My scalp has been itchy too. I’m not ready to go gray yet either! I applaud that you’ve accepted it.
I’ve also been trying to change all my products and clothing! Such a pain! And expensive!
Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s very helpful to know someone else is going through this, although I don’t wish it on anyone!
Omg I’m glad I found this post. I’ve been getting these kind of bumps on my stomach. It’s pretty hot in the Bay Area and I kept thinking it’s to do with heat. I will try eliminating fragrance from my detergent and no softener.
Wow, well I am trying to research why I have had this rash for almost a year.Your pictures look exactly like my skin, and I have been on so many steroids.I have changed all my products as well so not sure what to do. I have tried to get a patch test however,I have to have some clear skin to get it. So frustrating… Thank you hopefully I will get straighten out soon.
I hope you were able to get your patch test. I know what you mean about needing clear skin to get it. I was told the same thing. The topical steroid cream worked to clear mine so that I could get it. I also was very careful nt to come in contact with anything until the test was over. It’s very frustrting but you are not alone. Best to you.
I’m hoping that eliminating those products helped you. If you are still struggling, I suggest seeing a dermatologist and getting a patch test. It’s best to find out what is causing your itching and rashes so that you can be sure to avoid contact with those chemicals. It’s different for everyone. Best to you!
Hey Heather, I’ve been suffering from contact dermatitis for over 5 years now. I gotta say you have to go to a different doctor if they are letting you suffer all that itchyness. The clinic I go to gives me steroid shots every 3-4 months and it completely kills the rashes within a week. The rashes start coming back again after about 2-3months but at least I can rest at night and not have to deal with how bad it makes me look( rashes everywhere and I was always scratching, I’ve even been told to go get a shower by some mean dude.)
Seriously tho, you need to find another doctor, I don’t think anyone should be suffering from all that itch during normal day life. The people you paid to see are inresponsible and just don’t care about you at all, trust me they don’t if you’re suffering like that. Sorry for my bad english, it’s my 3rd language.
Thank you for your message. Not to worry, ever since I eliminated fragrance and formaldehyde, I have been 99% itch free and have not had any rashes. No shots needed. It’s amazing how much avoiding those products helped me. Now, if I do get exposed from another person, I wash my hands or take a shower right after exposure and I don’t itch. Finding the problem was very helpful because it told me what to avoid. I’m so glad you found a solution to your itching. It is absolutely miserable to go through that. Best to you.
I have recently in the last 3 weeks found I am allergic to Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, and diazolidinyl urea. It is so hard finding products without any of it and fragrance free as well. I am a Massage Therapist and now have to ask my clients to refrain from having any sort of lotion on prior to their appointments. The struggle is real! Thank you for sharing
Thank you for sharing this. I am going through this now. I’m going crazy. My skin is making me miserable.
Hi Mary Beth, I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this. Did you read part 2 of my post? I share more about the elimination in that post. I have been itch free since I eliminated all fragrance & formaldehyde from my life. I highly recommend getting a patch test. It told me what I was actually allergic too and it helped me eliminate all the products causing me issue. I feel for you. Hang in there. ~ Heather
Hello, you are awesome! keep going!
I have been trying all over the internet to find what is this rash that I have,which is identical to yours.Small,super itchy bumps that would only come and go within 30 minutes or so for years now,started spreading, turning into eczema patches and red bumps.I am about to have a food allergy test,as mine seem to,at least that’s what I think,come after meals.I remember having really quick reaction after drinking White Claw.
I don’t using fragrances,and all my skincare that I have been using is organic too.I use natural detergent and all shampoos, conditioners and soaps are organic,fragrance free.
I do have multiple autoimmune diseases unfortunately,and have been having food allergies and intolerances since young,but never like this.I can’t believe I developed eczema at the age of 43.
What fragrance free shampoo and conditioners are your favorites and why ? Also, do you have a favorite body wash or soap that is also fragrance free ?
Hi, I use AVEENO Fragrance Free body wash and Beauty Counter shampoo and conditioner. Both brands have a nice scent and make my hair and body fee clean. The beauty counter also leaves my hair super smoothie.
WOW…thank goodness I found your blog. Going thru similar. Narrowed it down to hair dye (3 wks ago). I have read it takes weeks for dermatitis to clear up. I have a follow up with derm next week…so I am curious…
In your situation, once you figured your allergens, how long did it take for your rash to go away? Was it only by your elimination and time? Did you continue to use a cream?
So happy to hear that you got help and narrowed down your allergens. That’s the hardest part. In my case, I allowed my skin rash to get crazy out of control before I really took my allergy seriously. I used steroid cream all over my body for 4 days before the rash was gone. I was extremely careful with everything I came in contact with. For about 3 months, I would use the milder steroid cream on any spots I saw, but I never used the heavy steroid cream again. I mean never! To date, I have not had another skin rash due to contact dermatitis. I have had itchy skin, but when I feel it, I take a shower as soon as I can. If I work outside, then go for a run, then do something else that makes me sweat later in the day, I might take a few showers that day. I’m a hiker, so there are times when I sweat and become itchy, but can’t shower until later that day. In those cases, I itch and know that my skin is irritated, but I’ve never had it get to the point of developing a rash. That’s not to say I won’t ever, but so far I have been able to control it. I’ll also say that I wear a lot of the same clothes to control it – including loose fitting pants and tank tops. Luckily, I am working from home and can get away with that. I have a huge closet full of clothing that I rarely wear because I know they make me itch. When I do go out and wear jeans or dress up, I change as soon as I get home. It’s just become a way of life. I don’t even thnk too much of it anymore. I hope that helps. Best to you in figuring this all out.
I sent my picture in with Bixby… YOUR BACK most closely resembles mine, so I read your post. I literally stopped breathing when you said it started as a single bump on the back of your neck…and slowly began breathing again with a faint, warm glow as the small pin-point scabs appeared on your arms!!
This all began earlier this month(10/21). It spread from L. upper arm, across upper back to R. upper arm. I thought it was cause I scratched the living daylights out of it!
I’d recently returned from 4 months in S. C., so thinking ‘tick’, I dug that bump out of my neck… no sign of pest.
On the 18th, I had full left hip replacement [maybe this is all stress related??] Now it’s the 23rd and my Back is totally covered…my arms are 95% clear and there’s 2 bumps on the back of my neck!
I’m going to do my best to not touch it and, well, we’ll see how that works!!
It IS warming in an odd sense to not be the only one so afflicted with this — this…I wonder what great, Latin name GlobalPharms labeled it when they created it!! Ha! While the Holy scriptures refer to it as the “…tried-to-warn-you Plague of modern man”!
I have had an itch-fest going on and off for a while. Noticed it started mostly getting worse directly underneath my bra, and in the folds of skin. With mine, I’ve attributed it to perimenopause because I also have major gum problems simultaneously. Well tonight, it’s been absolute HELL, first on my back and then all over my getting worse and worse with itching. Showed my mother and even she was shocked. My back looks very similar to yours except that I’m also getting brown “mole-like” spots randomly showing up and I’ve not seen this yet. It’s bizarre. But the one thing that makes sense is so many times when I had the itching bad, those lesions would burn in the shower and the worst ones are under by boobs and the soap (harsh Irish Spring) was like putting acid on them.
I’ve made an appt with a dermatologist for tomorrow but the itching has been going on about 8-9 hours and started after my hot shower. Also I’m just getting over covid so wondering if that’s somehow affected me. Crazy thing is I had completely clear skin a couple years ago, but like you, I’m realizing I’ve had those itchy sons-a-bichiz for a long time. Bought all new Warners bras to avoid underwires and would swear they’re going to tell me something in the bra is too blame. Thankfully it’s only my back and stomach but I’m determined to find out what this is because it’s horrifying and so uncomfortable! Thanks for your helpful article.