Winter Rash on Arms and Legs

by Keith

I am a male and I am presently 61 years old. I live in the United States in Maryland. It seems that for the past ten years I get a skin rash on both sides of my body. This rash appears in late November and goes away in early March, all the time - each and every year. So, basically it is with me during the winter months when the climate is cold and dry. When I break out in this rash, I get it on both sides of my arms (left and right at the same time), then I get it on both front upper legs in the same area for a while. Then maybe it will come just under the arms, once again on both sides.

The rash seems to copy the same area on both sides of my body for some strange reason. It is sort of like a mirror image of one side. I use a lot of Lubriderm as much as possible during the day and after taking showers which tends to slow down the skin itching. I have also tried Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream, which does not help much on the itch.

The interesting thing about this rash it that it has never appeared on the back part of my arms or legs. (I don't want to say that too loud, or else it might actually happen).

I was told it was the cold weather and because of taking hot showers. However, I am not really sure what causes it. I just know it happens every year around the same time, effects both sides of my body in the same locations, like in stereo. When this itchy rash goes away in one area, it comes back in a different area. The only thing I can think of is that it is due to the weather. It started when I was around 50 years old, and I am 61 now.

If anyone reading this post can share their thoughts about this rash or is experiencing something similar, I would appreciate a comment to this post.

Comments for Winter Rash on Arms and Legs

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Jan 13, 2022
Winter Itch
by: Anonymous

I am glad to hear people describing what I have been experiencing for about 10 years now.

Yes, it starts in the winter and ends in the spring as the weather warms. And yes, I have it every year, starting when I was around 48 years old. It shows up on my thighs and the backs of my upper arms, where there is more noticeable fat tissue. I have never had it on my lower legs or lower parts of my arms.

The dermatologist told me it was eczema and advised I use lotion that included lanolin.
After reading your comments, it seems that I need to stock up on lanolin since it appears it will continue to be with me in the future winters!
Thank you for sharing.

Aug 31, 2017
Agreeing with Keith
by: Charlie

You have pretty well covered it, Keith. I live in Maine so the winters are cold, and I started noticing an itchy rash on my lower legs about four years ago as fall approached. I am 83 now and it has occurred each year. I can reduce the rash and itching with Fluocinonide cream 5%, moisturizing lotion a.m. and p.m., humidifiers, lots of water, and luke warm showers less frequently than in summer. Just one more price to be paid for growing older.

Dec 05, 2016
I live in Florida and I get it too!
by: Judy

About four or five years ago, I got a case of shingles in the middle of January. It lasted for about three weeks just on my chest and neck. Ever since then, in mid-January of every year, I get a rash that starts on my inner arms, first one side and then a few days later the other. Then it continues to my inner thighs, then gradually within a few weeks moves to my stomach. It gets worse and worse and itches like crazy until it finally goes away sometime around mid- March. This year, instead of getting it in mid-January I got it on December 1st, which doesn't thrill me. In talking to my neighbors, two of them tell me that they get a rash down here in Florida in the winter as well, so I thought it might be something that blooms in the winter around here or even Red Tide.

I have had dermatologists give me cream for it but nothing works. Benadryl makes it itch a little less, but that's it. I have been told to drink more water as I don't really drink any water at all and that it may just be caused by dry skin and getting older. Who knows! All I know is I am now looking at another winter full of itching like crazy and scratching constantly! And now, having gotten it on December 1st instead of mid-January, I am going to have it all through the Holidays!

Apr 14, 2015
Great, Another Symptom of Aging
by: Barb

I have been a bit stressed out with my similar symptoms, but seeing your posts, I'm happily relieved. I'll keep pouring on the lotion and cut down on the daily, hot showers! Thank you for sharing, misery loves company.

Jul 05, 2014
You are Lucky if Rash only Occurs in Winter
by: Mike

If you only have this problem during the winter when the air is very dry, I have to say you are lucky and I hope you continue to be.

I'm 66 years old and live in New Jersey and have what I believe is the same problem.

My skin has been progressively drying out for a number of years and I would get small rashy dry spots on the back or undersides of my arms. Then it would appear on my ribs and maybe anywhere around an armpit. I would put lotion on my arms, shoulders or ribs and everything would calm down nicely.

As time went on caring for dry skin became more frequent until it was an every day deal and twice a day. The warmer weather put a temporary end to the problem until the fall weather returned.

During this time I stopped using deodorants with aluminum zirconium compounds, turned the temperature down on my shower water and started using what was thought to be mild soaps.

All was under control until earlier this year when the rashes became more frequent and started to spread. A week or so before a regular checkup with the dermatologist, the rash had spread from under my arms and across my stomach and lower chest in addition to my shoulders and arms. The rash appeared with jagged vertical red striations and little red dots. I thought the timing was perfect and, although it had subsided somewhat, the doctor got to see it for the first time.

He declared it eczema, gave me a prescription for the same cream you got and several samples of skin lotions.

It has been three months now and I am using an all natural deodorant, putting Curel cream on twice a day (sometimes more) and the fluocinonide .05 three times a week as prescribed. The rash is now on the tops and inside of my thighs and I should expect that it will spread further.

What used to be a slight cold weather issue now is a problem that has much of my attention daily. I'm going to see a different doctor and if it is eczema hopefully identify the trigger(s).

Good luck.

Jan 11, 2014
Update from my last post
by: Keith in Maryland

I went to the skin doctor for the problem. He told me each winter his office is swamped with people having the same problem. He said it was eczema. A lot of people from the age of 45 up get this alot.

It can last all winter, and when you get it at that age, it's pretty much there the rest of your life. At a younger age, you can grow out of it, but no promises. He prescribed me: Fluocinonide Cream 0.05%, to be rubbed in two times a day.
Also, I use Dove sensitive skin, moisturizing cream soap, without a wash rag as it will kick start the itching later if I use one. I also use a non-scented daily moisturizing lotion which I have been using over the years often: Lubriderm Sensitive lotion.

Hot showers can kick start a flair up, so either take fewer hot showers, or not as hot, but each time you get out of the shower/bath, put the moisturizer on. Use it often throughout the day.
It's here to stay for the rest of your life during the winter months. It's nothing to worry about, it's a part of "growing old".

Ask your doctor for Fluocinonide Cream 0.05% as it helps stop the itching.

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