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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Is this ringworm or pityriasis rosea? Or neither?

 skinproblems82 - Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:30 am

It started in the summer of 2007, I had what appeared to be a ringworm spot on my right ankle, I lived in Chicago at the time. I found it after taking a trip to my Grandma's house in Cleveland a few weeks earlier, and also going swimming in the lake a few nights earlier. I tried treating it with antifungal cream, and eventually, there was another spot on my ankle. I tried using lotrimin and other antifungal medications ( I can't remember the names), nail polish remover as a sealant sometimes, tried the bleach method, grapefruit seed oil, but they still won't go away.

For years before this (2005-2006), while living in Chicago, I had a few scaly spots on my head, that seemed to never go away. It felt like some form of psoriasis. At the worst points, they would be large bumps, that I might pick scabs from and bleed. But I eventually started using a Redkin anti dandruff shampoo, and Selsun Blue, and the sores went away, yet I still have one spot that has never went away since initially getting it. This may or may not be related. I've also had some itchy feet or jock itch on and off at various times in my life.

The two spots on my ankles stayed on me through 2008, getting gradually lighter and/or inflamed depending on various things. In 2008, I moved from Chicago to NYC. I also switched my diet from being vegetarian to eating meat. At certain points I thought the spots had went away, but they would come back. Starting in the fall of 2008, I started getting more spots on me. I had what seemed to be a case of mono, right before more spots showed up on me. I tried taking a hot bath with selsun blue, but the next day I had even more spots on me. The spots are pinkish, look like ringworm or some type of funal rash. A few have went away, but still more keep coming. They seem to start as a small spot, resembling a pimple or bug bite. And then the spot kind of turns into 2-4 spots all next to each other. And then it turns into a big spot, sometimes in ring shape, sometimes with a rounded edge, the size of a half dollar, forming sort of a raised plateau on my skin. We also had a bedbug infestation in spring 2009, I got bit numerous times, and we had to move. We haven't had bedbug problems since. I had a check up, and all blood tests came out normal.

I kept getting diagnosed as having ringworm, and prescribed anti fungal lotions, but none of them worked. I recently used one daily called Vanos fluoconide. At this point, I have about 60 or more small spots all over my body. It's on my back, my legs, hips, arms, shoulders, tops of my hands, tops of my feet. I notice that if one spot shows up on a certain part of my body (say my right elbow), it will eventually show up on nearly the exact same spot on the other side of my body (left elbow). The spots seem weirdly mirrored on my body. Sometimes it appears that the spots develop in areas where there might be a fair amount of friction. For instance, I worked at a bar, and used my elbow all the time to push open a metal door, and then a spot developed on my elbow. Or my jeans rub the top of my feet, and a spot developed in the same spot my jeans rub my foot. Or I would sometimes lean on a chair, putting pressure on the inside of my arms, and spots developed at that same place. Now I stictly lean on chairs on my back, and they developed on my back. I worried that maybe it was ringworm, being spread from an old leather wallet, so I threw that away, but it's still spreading.

Recently, I started worrying that it might be due to an STD, so I got tested, negative for HIV/AIDS, syphylis, clamidia, and the doctor said it wasn't herpes zoster, and made a diagnosis that I had pityreaous rosea, though he wasn't a dermatologist (it was a free STD clinic). But he said he was absolutely positive that's what it was. I had a lot of spots that were very vague, and not pronounced, and at this point, everything seemed to be going away. I was using straight teatree oil and flucocinonide cream on a daily basis (1-2 times a day). The doctor told me to stop using any skin treatments, so I stopped.

But 2 weeks later, after discontinuing skin treatment, every spot that seemed to have disappeared, or was about to go away, has come back with a vengeance, and become very pronounced, and numerous additional spots have shown up. Some of the older spots that 'went away' have now turned into a big bumpy spot. I've worried that it might be due to a harsh laundry detergent, or wearing dirty clothes occasionally, so I'm not sure if I should wash my laundry fresh each day, or kind of wear clothes a few times before washing. I've tried changing laundry detergents. The summer seems to be the worst time of year for it. I've switched from bar soap to an all natural body wash, but this doesn't seem to make a difference.

This past week, my foot has started to go numb when I lay on the bed. This might be related to a knee problem I have, or could it be related to this skin problem? This has me worried.

Also, I'm a 28 male. I've lived with my girlfriend for 2 years, but she hasn't had any related skin problems, so it doesn't seem to be contagious. These rashes can itch on occasion, usually when they begin to appear, but don't itch when they recede.

What is my skin problem? Is it pityreaous rosea? Ringworm? Eczema? God forbid, herpes zoster? Could I possibly have multiple skin problems? Or is this all the same thing? After following the doctors orders to stop using skin treatments, the problems have gotten rapidly worse, so I'm doubtful about his diagnosis. I included all of these details, to see if someone might be able to properly diagnose this skin problem, because I've never had enough time with a doctor, to accurately describe the history of this problem in detail. It's driving me crazy, and it's totally embarrassing to wear short sleeve shirts, I'm worried that new coworkers at my job and friends are grossed out about these rashes, or think I have something contagious, which I don't think it is. I really hope there is a solution. I finally get healthcare coverage starting next month, and will be able to go to a proper dermatologist, but in the meantime, if anyone has any insight to what this might be, please let me know. If you need pictures, I can take some pictures of various spots. Thanks!
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:41 am

User avatar Hello,Pityriasis rosea is a self limiting condition and does not go on for a long term nor it is intermittent.Eczemas most often itch bad and surely can be recurrent.Herpes zoster is one sided and would not be considered in your case.Psoriasis does affect the scalp,mildly itchy but occurs in specific locations like elbow,knees and gluteal area where pressure points occur with characteristic silver scales. Para psoriasis is vague,recurrent and mildly scaly.Fungus infections spread with a central clearance.Thus a biopsy will help in coming to conclusions.If you can post photographs it would be ideal in offering a diagnosis.
Best wishes.

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