Ask A Dermatologist: Scaly Skin Diseases

Scaly Skin Diseases

Dear Doctor

I’ve had this rash for two months and its getting worse and painful throughout the body.

scaly skin disease

Dear Doctor

Hello I was wondering if you could help me determine what these little patches are that I’m getting on my legs and under my breast and on my arm.

Scaly Skin Diseases

Dear Patients

The following are some of the scaly skin diseases that can also be red due to inflammation:


Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include inflamed red -pink patches of skin covered by silvery-white scales. These patches are roundish and they have well-defined borders. The diagnosis of psoriasis is confirmed by a skin biopsy. In this procedure, the affected area is numbed with local anesthesia and a small piece of the skin is removed and taken to be examined under the microscope in the laboratory.

psoriasis skin of color

Pityriasis Rosea

Symptoms of pityriasis rosea include a herald patch which has a pink, wrinkled area that is separated from the red periphery by fine scales. It is followed by smaller daughter lesions which have a circumferential collarette scaling with central clearing. The diagnosis of pityriasis rosea is made clinically after the doctor listen’s to the patient’s history and examines their skin.

pityriasis rosea

Cutaneous T cell lymphoma (mycosis fungoides variant)

Symptoms of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (mycosis fungoides variant) include scaly patches of a nonspecific dermatitis, plaques and tumors. The diagnosis of cutaneous T cell lymphoma is made after a skin biopsy is done.

mycosis fungoides


The term dermatitis which means inflammation of the skin is used here to include nummular eczema, atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. Symptoms of dermatitis include itchy patches of skin which are also usually red and scaly. The diagnosis of dermatitis is made clinically.

irritant contact dermatitis

Lichen simplex chronicus

The symptoms of lichen simplex chronicus, which is also called neurodermatitis, include a localized area which is itchy, dry, scaly, hyperpigmented (darker than the surrounding skin) and lichenified (thickened). The diagnosis is made clinically.


Pityriasis lichenoides chronica

Symptoms of Pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC) include pink papules (small swellings) which turn brownish in color. There is usually a fine scale attached to the center which can be peeled off.

scaly skin diseases

Pityriasis rubra pilaris

Symptoms of pityriasis rubra pilaris include patches of a red, scaly rash that coalesce to from reddish lesions that can cover the most of the body. The palms and soles become thickened and yellowish in color and they may develop painful cracks.

scaly skin diseases


I advise you to go to your nearest dermatologist and have a skin biopsy done so that the exact cause of this condition can be determined.

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