These patches may be an allergic reaction to something in the environment. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a link between air pollution and rashes. If your spots are clustered mostly on the backs of your arms, they could be keratosis pilaris (KP), which is eczema that occurs when follicles get plugged up with dry skin.
Calm the culprits
Relieve itchiness with an oral antihistamine, like Claritin. To treat KP, slather on lotion with urea, such as Eucerin Everyday Protection Body Lotion SPF 15 ($9, drugstores), to help exfoliate. Use Bio-Oil PurCellin Oil ($20, drugstores) for spot treatment.
Fight future flare-ups
Ditch scented laundry detergents; many people are allergic to them, says Suzanne Kilmer, MD, a dermatologist in Sacramento, California. Control KP by taking short showers and applying a rich cream while your skin is damp. We like J.R. Watkins Naturals Apothecary Coconut Milk & Honey Hand & Body Lotion ($10, jrwatkins.com).
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