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Like Mother Like Daughter
from Christina A.

Dear Ed:  I have read through a lot of you website and found it very interesting.  I have had psoriasis since I was 12.  My Mom has had it since she was 20 years old. 

She has it on her legs, ankles, knees, elbows, torso, scalp and ears.  But I would say she has mild to moderate plaques.

I think I have had it rather mild myself as well.  I had it on my scalp in small spots on and off until I was in college.  I am not sure what stopped it unless sleeping a lot and stressing about classes is supposed to help. 

When I left college the spots reappeared on my head then disappeared.  Now I only have it on my right ear.  However due to having it in my ear, and having allergies, I have gotten a lot of outer ear infections.  Something about the psoriasis made the skin in my ear left less able to repel water.  When water gets in, I already have a lot of fluid in my head from allergies, hence the infection.

Now when I wash my hair in the shower I wear huge silicon ear plugs.  I use Dovonex ointment in my one ear, but I have noticed that ear psoriasis is very, very itchy.  It seem every day at work I make a new pile of scales from my ear.  My scalp psoriasis was itchy, but not so insistently!

I wanted to let you know about a product I bought for my Mom, especially for her knees and elbows.  However I do not think it is made anymore! I checked the Dr. Scholls Website and it was not there.  It was not expensive, it was an exfoliating cream that Dr. Scholl's had, which contained Dead Sea salts.  My Mom uses it on her elbows and knees.  Then she puts Dovonex ointment on, which is more effective after the scale buildup gets removed [by the Dr. Scholls exfoliating lotion].  She also alternates with a coal tar ointment, which she wears at night.

I was amazed at the stories that were told on your site.  People being asked by complete strangers what is wrong with them, a child being told she could not use the pool.  (Man if I was there, I would have gone to every person around the pool and asked if they minded someone with psoriasis using the pool.  That would maybe force them to say NO, then the kid could have used the pool.)

Here’s something that happened to my Mom when she was a young woman (around 1962 I think).  A male hairdresser threw her out of a salon saying a scalp should not look like that and that it was not healthy.  She did not go to another hairdresser until 1987!  The reason she went was because my brother was getting married, so she decided to get her hair done professionally.  She found a great hairdresser who had cut my brother's hair.  Ever since 1987 my Mom has been going to this wonderful woman who is quite understanding of my Mom's condition.  If only there were more people like her!

I just wanted to let you know that I really like you site and look at it when I should be working at work!  -Christina A.

*****

Ed’s Response:  Glad you found us, Christina, but I hope you won’t lose your job as a result! 

You know, it would be interesting to discover how many of us first heard the word “psoriasis” from our hairdressers or barbers.  I thought I had a bad case of dandruff until, in 1989, a barber said I might have P.  It took another year for me to get a derm’s diagnosis — and then only after a few miscues and lousy subsequent experiences.

I didn’t get P in my ears — at least not that I noticed — until the early 90s.  By that time what started on my scalp had began its rapid spread to most other body parts. I finally had a derm check out my ears because one of them, on the outer parts, was itching and flaking.  Once he got to probing he found lesions in both inner ears, too.  To this day I think these may be my only lesions that have not itched.  The outer ear itches mightily, but not the inner ear, at least not in my case.

Fortunately I found the ear lesions responded quite well to fluocinonide solution (.05% prescription required).

An interesting anecdote:  For decades my father complained about his ears clogging with what he thought was excessive wax build-up.  In his late seventies they finally diagnosed him with P in his ears.  They determined the “masses” that grew quickly to clog his ear canal were, in fact, lots of flakes bound together by an average amount of ear wax.  When I heard this, memories of my father digging relentlessly in his ears with one of Mom’s bobby pins came to mind.  He used to stick those things so far into his ears I thought he’d extract some brain tissue.  Now, in retrospect, I can’t help but wonder if his ear P problem was exacerbated by Koebnerization following his rough extraction technique.  (The so-called Koebner phenomenon is the tendency of P plaques to occur or worsen on areas that are traumatized by wounds.)

Stay in touch, Christina, and let us know if Dr. Scholl’s exfoliating cream turns up anywhere.  (My wife reports a great product for the same purpose, removing scale and excess skin from one's feet, is Sole to Soul, by Melaleuca.)  –Ed

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