Skin - Circular Red Patches?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 11/1/2007 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
I've scoured all the skin-related posts and couldn't find an answer for this one.  I'm having my second bout this year with red, circular rash-like skin irritations that two Johns Hopkins dermotologists can't seem to diagnose.  They're thinking of bringing me in front of a committee of docs to try and figure it out!
These patches are not painful at all and do not really itch - and don't appear to be seasonal.  They show up at the joints (elbows mostly, but a little at the knees) and only on the underside, but they also run appear on my abdomen (where they are the worst), chest, and even an eyelid!  They generally start on an elbow and spread over weeks and months - they start as small circles and grow to 2"-3" in diameter, sometimes merging with others.  The skin itself eventually looks like a blister broke a long time ago (only there was never a blister) and the skin inside the circle is scale-y and flaky.
I've tried two different topical creams and the first time this happened the second cream, Pandel, worked right away.  A biopsy showed it was some kind of eczema and I was told not to worry.  But the condition came back within months and now the dermotologist is stumped.  I'm waiting on results from a second, more extensive biopsy. 
I have to think this is Crohn's related - and the doctor is beginning to think it is somehow related to inflammatory disease - but does this sound familiar to anyone?  It's definitely not the worst Crohn's related thing in the world, but I'm really anxious to know what it is and how it might be treated.  My best guess is that it will be recurring and I'll always have to try different creams or may an oral med (steroids?)...
Any insight would be appreciated! 
Dx w/Crohn's November 2005 - still active as of November 2007 Hospitalized once, no surgeries
Colonoscopy, 2 ultrasounds, MRI, upper GI x-ray, abdominal x-ray, 2 camera endoscopies
First, Flagyl/Cipro, Prednisone, and Pentasa
10 Remicade treatments
Currently just Pentasa (4000 mg) b/c trying to get pregnant
Symptom-free (mostly) since March 2006

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 11/1/2007 1:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Almost sounds like psoriasis. I get it occasionally in various spots but just small quarter size circles once in a while. Either on my thigh, side or head or back. I have seen people with it really bad tho, so can't complain about such a mild case too much. Hope you find an answer. Just sucks when you can't figure out a cause and get something that works to treat it.

Dx CD 2003 but probably had it 10 years prior

Dx Primary Sclerossing Cholangitis 2006

GB out '95, Appendix out '96, Kidney stent '02/stone removal '02, Resection '04, fistulectomy '06 2x, tubal '05

Currently on 100mg 6mp-50 mg,  and Remicade every 8 weeks, Ambien, predsnisone, humira 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3042
   Posted 11/1/2007 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi you could be having a reachsion to remicade. I would call your doctor asap. to see if its.
Hi, I am teddybearweiser, I am a male.
I was diagnosed with crohns disease when i was admitted to the hospital
in 1992, in Jan of 1993 I was back in the hospital for surgery for my crohns. I had part of my right colon resectioned with ilecolonstomy.
 My GI doctor has me on Asacol, Dicyclomine,Imuran,Celebrex and Remicade. B-12 injection once a month.
My Internest doctor has me on Lisnopril-HTCZ and Folic Acid. Diagnosed
with Osteoarthritis July 2007

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 11/1/2007 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks so much for the suggestions...

Regarding Remicade - the strange thing is that this skin condition only began just after I stopped my Remicade treatments.  I should have mentioned that...

Dx w/Crohn's November 2005 - still active as of November 2007 Hospitalized once, no surgeries
Colonoscopy, 2 ultrasounds, MRI, upper GI x-ray, abdominal x-ray, 2 camera endoscopies
First, Flagyl/Cipro, Prednisone, and Pentasa
10 Remicade treatments
Currently just Pentasa (4000 mg) b/c trying to get pregnant
Symptom-free (mostly) since March 2006

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1642
   Posted 11/1/2007 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   

My son was just diagnosed with some warts on his arm. They are reddish (most of them) and hurt some. I forget the name of the wart.

I hope you find answers soon!



Karen (Karendee)

Diagnosed w/ Crohn’s Disease  March 2007 On Azathioprine (generic Imuran), Pentasa, & ENTOCORT

Diagnosed w/  Fibromyalgia May 2007 also on Soma

Also have Arthritis, and feel like I am falling apart sometimes...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 565
   Posted 11/1/2007 6:20 PM (GMT -7)   
i have 3 spots on me right now that i am trying to figure out what the heck they are! i have 2 on my back and one on my belly. all different in size, pretty red, not itchy just ...there! i asked my gi about it today, he said it's likely crohn's related, it's rare and they usually show up on limbs. i guess i am just going to keep an eye on them :/
.: stephanie :.
32 y/o female diagnosed 8/8/7 with crohn's of the terminal ileum w/ stricture/scarring
currently taking 20mg prednisone, 4000mg pentasa daily & vicodin for pain

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3141
   Posted 11/2/2007 5:05 AM (GMT -7)   
So I am not the only one with mystery skin things going on.....if the blotches continue, I would suspect psoriasis too. I have had several bouts of odd blotches, multiple rounds of fifth disease (a childhood disease you are only supposed to be able to get once), pityasis, and one really whacked out time when my skin blew up to twice my size and burned like it was on fire. That last one started with a blotch on my back, that disappearred and a blotch then appeared on my stomach, then it went to the full blown inflammation and burning sensation. I was told that it was a virus--can't rem the name at the moment, but it had initials with a "C" in it somewhere
I sincerely believe these odd skin issues, that no doc believes I have and think I am exaggerating, are a result of our messed up immune system.
Please keep me up to date on what you find...both you Crohnsy and dustspeck! I will share anything I find stinks not knowing and we have to stick to gether
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa [until I surrender to the bigger meds]
I'm riding on the escalator of life....

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 11/2/2007 6:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I get something similar, not sure if it's the same you have...I get them on my arms and legs mostly, sometimes on my chest....they look very scaley, they're round and itchy, but don't hurt. They're very annoying.They're a little red, but mostly white and scaley. I never knew what they were, they come and go, usually in the winter.
Asthma (diagnosed at 12)
Fibromyalgia (diagnosed 9/01)
Crohn's Disease/Colitis (diagnosed 12/02)
Diverticulitis (diagnosed 6/07)
Chronic pelvic pain/endometriosis, leading to hysterectomy (9/07)
Torn rotator cuff/labrum (repair 11/20/07)
Bladder sling (8/06), cholystectomy (2/06), tubal ligation (2/06), failed ablation (3/07)
Taking Asacol, Prednisone, Entocort, Remicade, Levbid, NuLev, HCTZ, Lisinopril, Cymbalta, Effexor, Ultracet, Protonix, Lomotil, Frova, Questran powder/Carafate suspension, and pain meds.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1488
   Posted 11/2/2007 5:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with mojo...sounds like psorasis to me too. I have it on my belly, back, shoulders & extremities. Patches sound pretty much like you explained. Mine appearred on my resect scar area first after surgery. I use 2 different types of steriod creams from the dermatologist, no perfumes, only castile soap (made from olive oil), natural bristle bath brush (exfoliater) and dead sea salt/ mineral oil baths 2x a week. It keeps it somewhat under control. However, this week I have a new patch on my neck!
Dx'd Jan'06, 1st Resection 7/06, Predinsone, Humira, Imuran, B12 injections, Nexium. Secondary conditions: Psorasis, Acne, Fatigue, Joint Pain, Lactose Intolerant, gallstones, fibroid cysts, peri-menopausal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 11/3/2007 7:05 AM (GMT -7)   
There are studies that show Remicade can actually cause psoriasis as a side effect.
49 years old, Crohn's Disease   
Six resection surgeries, permanent ostomy, adverse reactions to Remicadeback on 6MP for maintenance, hoping for a long remission from this last surgery. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1944
   Posted 11/3/2007 3:20 PM (GMT -7)   
This past summer I've had 3 very circular red size patches on my belly, they started out as a little red mark and grew almost to the size of a quarter. Pinch of white in the center but not open as a sore would be..
Unlike the ones you describe mine were terribly itchy. Two occurred on my belly area and one just under the breast. At first I thought they were boils but they had more of a flat surface and weren't oozing so I am in the dark as to what they were.. They took about 2 weeks to go away although I still have the pink marks to show where they occured.


I should mention that the 3 didn't pop up at the same time, one first and the other 2 several months later.

Post Edited (dorri) : 11/3/2007 4:24:27 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 565
   Posted 11/3/2007 7:13 PM (GMT -7)   
very interesting dorri, curious to see what's going to happen with mine.
.: stephanie :.
32 y/o female diagnosed 8/8/7 with crohn's of the terminal ileum w/ stricture/scarring
currently taking 20mg prednisone, 4000mg pentasa daily & vicodin for pain

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 532
   Posted 11/3/2007 11:13 PM (GMT -7)   
It sounds a lot like psoriasis to me, mine is not itchy, but have had it in varying degrees for 40 years. Since moving to Florida 30 yrs ago, it has been under control pretty much. Usually goes away when on steroids. I got an unexpected outbreak on my elbows after starting pred and entocort in Jan. Went away pretty fast. I just heard about lichen planus today on another thread, so I looked it up, and it seems to sound pretty similiar to psoriasis in appearance. Try this site to view some pics.
Diagnosed at age 19 with CD.
3 small bowel resections, 1 for perforation, 2 for strictures 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 11/4/2007 7:09 AM (GMT -7)   

i have been looking for a long time for a post like this.  i have had this awful rash on my face for about two months.  started quite small on the balls of my cheeks and over the past few weeks has spread to my chin and forehead.  mine however is sooooo itchy!  keeps me up at night, burns and is very red.  thought it was an allergy to immuran, went off that three weeks ago but the rash has gotten worse.  saw two docs both perscribed cream but they have not worked.  tapering off pred hoping that will help.

going crazy!

diagnosed in 2006, had crohns for 10 years
area affected illeum, small intestine, 
asacol, prednisone 40mg, Imuran, small bowel resection 2006.  just diagnosed with SLE this year, still waiting to see a rumey.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/10/2008 3:26 PM (GMT -7)   

It's surprising that a team of doctors could not figure out what you have. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you didn't say the rash was itchy, flaky or painful. This rules out psorasis and other common conditions like eczema.

From what you've said, it sounds like you have Petechia and/or Purpura.

Wikipedia says,

Purpura (from the Latin, purpura, meaning "purple") is the appearance of red or purple discolorations on the skin that do not blanch on applying pressure. They are caused by bleeding underneath the skin. Purpura measure 0.3-1cm, while petechiae measure less than 3mm, and ecchymoses greater than 1cm.

A petechia, plural petechiae is a small (1-2mm) red or purple spot on the body, caused by a minor hemorrhage (broken capillary blood vessels). The most common cause of petechiae is through physical trauma such as a hard bout of coughing, vomiting or crying which can result in facial petechiae, especially around the eyes.

This is one of the many skin-related symptoms that result from Crohn's disease. You may be able to reverse your symptoms in a month or two with Vitamin C supplementation. I would recommend 600-1000mg per day, but not to exceed 1000 mg.


Vitamin C deficiency - defect in collagen synthesis due to lack of hydroxylation of procollagen. It results in weakened capillary walls.

Best of luck,


New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/11/2008 3:49 AM (GMT -7)   

Sounds like it could be DISCOID LUPUS.  I was diagnosed with it a few years ago.   I too suffer from this along with Chrons, I also have ulcerations in my mouth. 

You might ask for a biopsy just to make sure.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 63
   Posted 12/11/2008 5:02 AM (GMT -7)   

i too get this exact rash when my crohns is flaring and when i am not taking prednisolone. (The pred always clears it up)

Dermatologist doesnt know what it is and my GI says that is "more than likely related to the crohns".

My rash does itch and weep; its circular and is always worst across my stomach

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