Jan-Feb '08 | briefing | mail | interviews | articlespsorchat |  don't say this | flaker creativity | flakers' jargon | other places | archives | send mail | ed dewkesearch | acknowledgments | legal stuff | Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic  | 2008 Ed Dewke

Sunshine, Clobetasol, Alpha Keri and Positive Attitude
from Bernie

Hi Ed:  What a great pleasure it was to read your stuff on FlakeHQ. So much to relate to.

What caught my attention was the material I found in your archives on Dermovate. This is a medicine that I have used on and off over the last 15 years (I'm now 31). I travel around a lot. I know that this medicine isn't sold in Australia, for example. However, when I was living there, my Psoriasis was pretty well-behaved. The sun did its job well. I returned to London and the lifestyle there was too damp and dark for my skin, so I flared. Dermovate is sold in the UK, but you need a prescription. I'm not a big fan of dermatologists. Luckily, I was traveling to Cyprus for work. I hopped over to Lebanon for a few days. I have family living there and it's where I'm from originally. In Lebanon, I managed to buy Dermovate over the counter at a pharmacy. It came to about $6 USD for a 25 gram tube. The main ingredient is clobetasol propionate (0.05% w/w). It's the same Dermovate that helped me throughout my teenage years while living there.  There are two variations of it.

  • Ointment : comes in a white and brown tube. The actual stuff in the tube has the texture of vaseline and is very oily. There is no distinct smell.

  • Cream : comes in a white and green tube. The stuff in the tube is toothpaste white and is not oily at all. The cream smells like a very mild detergent.

Upon leaving Lebanon, I bought quite a lot of Dermovate and stashed it in my bag. Customs didn't ask me anything. I am now very well stocked on the stuff!

When I flare up beyond control, it's the only cream that manages to help. In the worst cases, I found a very interesting way of getting it to help. I know the side effects of this procedure are slightly harmful in the long run, but you know how you reach that stage where you simply don't care anymore! I am on the verge of performing this process now. Summer is over and I'm not getting enough sun, so my back is an interesting landscape of psoriatic islands! I apply an emollient liquid first. I found a product called Alpha Keri Oil that is very pleasant. I apply that and leave my skin to absorb it for a few minutes. Then I apply Dermovate in rather generous quantities. After all the lesions are covered, I apply an occlusive dressing. For my back, I use cling film. I go to sleep with this all on me and remove it in the morning. Then I shower and apply more Alpha Keri Oil to keep the lesions moist all day. I do it all over again the following  night. Last year, my hands were heavily affected. I did the above and instead of using cling film, I wore rubber gloves to bed. Yes, very romantic! But it helped to the point where my hands were back to normal in under a week. It's not a perfect solution, but it keeps me from losing my sanity before summer returns and I get to go to the beach and get enough sunlight to keep my skin at bay.

Fingernails are a totally different issue, but I found that cutting the affected part of the nail off and applying Dermovate onto the cut off area of the nail helps. The nail grows back with some sort of normalcy. Bandaids make good occlusive dressings.

That's my experience with Dermovate. All the side effects of using it for long periods of time haven't manifested in me, yet.

I am planning a trip to the Dead Sea this coming summer. Let's see if the reality matches the hype!

Thanks for your time, -Bernie


Ed’s Response:  For those who don’t know, “Dermovate” equates to Temovate and several other products in the U.S., all with clobetasol propionate as the active ingredient. Clobetasol propionate is a class 1 corticosteroid (one of the strongest) and its topical forms are prescribed for a number of skin ailments, including psoriasis. Clobetasol propionate is also available in liquid and foam formulations (often used for scalp P).  I’m guessing from the number of emails in evidence at FlakeHQ, and from my own experience, that Clobetasol propionate is one of the most successful corticosteroids for treating psoriasis — if not the most successful.

Thanks for sharing your international flaking adventures, Bernie.  I’m sure there will be North American readers bookmarking your email for help during our next sunny season.  -Ed

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