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A brief history of my psoriasis.

As the weather warms and I wear short-sleeve tops more often, friends and strangers alike will notice my psoriasis and ask me if it's contagious (it's not, although it does run in my family) and whether it hurts or itches (sometimes).

I like to catalog things, so here is a head-to-toe inventory of my psoriasis:

Most of my patches are plaque psoriasis, which consists of lesions (aka plaques) that look like raised red patches of skin covered by silvery scales.

The plaques on my scalp don't bother me much. I don't know exactly how long I've had them, but they probably showed up during high school. When they flake more than I like, I use a shampoo that contains salicylic acid to reduce the scales.

The plaques behind my ears usually also don't bother me, but when they do it ranges from a constant minor itching behind the ears to constant pain from the slightest pressure, including wearing my glasses. I've had plaques behind and around my ears since I was in elementary school, but it's been most bothersome as an adult. Right now I only have a little scaling where my glasses sit near the junction of the top of my ear and my head.

The plaques around my eyes range from a little scale above my eye and below the eyebrows to solid scaling from the eyebrow down, surrounding my eye and covering my under-eye circles. It's mostly a cosmetic irritation -- I use a lot of heavy moisturizers on it -- but when it gets severe, the skin at inside corners of my eyes cracks and it hurts like mad. This was the second area to be affected by psoriasis, first appearing in my early teens.

On my arms, I have patch of plaque psoriasis in the crease of my left elbow. It first appeared as a nickel-sized lesion in July 2005, grew to about 3" diameter and the margins of the plaque have expanded and receded since. Today it's oval-shaped, about 3" long and 2.5" wide. This is one of the more constantly painful plaques and Vogon frequently reminds me not to scratch at it when it's bothering me. I keep a tube of Cetaphil cream at my desk to apply to it.

I have pustular psoriasis on my left hand. It was worst in early 2000 when I was pregnant with Laurel, covering the entire back of my left hand and between my fingers, making the skin between my fingers cracked and painful. Right now it's only on the top of my ring finger and the side facing the middle finger, with pustules from the base of my finger to about the midpoint of its length. It itches most of the time, hurts occasionally, and wearing a ring makes it itch yet more.

I have guttate psoriasis on my lower legs, triggered by a molar abscess last spring. It covered my feet, legs and elbows for a few weeks, shrunk back to just my legs and feet, and now shows up intermittently on my calves, usually when I'm sick. It itches when it's there, spends about a week fading but not itching, and then I forget about it until the next time it shows up.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
I have it, I never knew what it was until I went to the doctor. It drove me mad when I was in the service, and I think it would have disqualled me if I had been vocal about it. As it is, I have a patch on the back of my neck, and one above my right eyebrow. Don't know what kind they are, and I'm not sure how to treat them.

And recently, I think it's gotten in my ears...

*shrugs* I know that humidity drives me bananas as does heat, or when I get stressed.

Where did you get your information on the types and treatment options?
Jan. 21st, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
Re: Psoriasis...
I have't seen a doctor about my psoriasis in several years because I haven't had health insurance for a couple of years and before that I had Tricare. The last healthcare provider I did talk about it with offered me a referral to a dermatologist.

Most of the information I share with people about psoriasis is from the National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriasis Connections has similar information and lots of lifestyle advice, but the site is a tie-in for the prescription drug Enbrel.
Jan. 21st, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Psoriasis...
I'm sure you know/have tried this, but if not, try using shea butter soap to alleviate it some. Not drug-store shea butter, but the pure, unrefined shea butter soap that you get at a health food store or co-op. Don't use any bath products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
Jan. 21st, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
I get it sometimes too, but mine is really mild.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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