February, '00 | Briefing | Mail | Don't Say This | Articles | Other Places | Archives | Send Mail | Ed Dewke | Legal Stuff
Do-It-Yourself-Scalp Formulation and One-Man Lab
from Warren in Waco

Hi, Ed. I just found your site while looking for info on PUVA. I've had P for about 8 long years and have tried about everything with little results. I went through the usual stuff: tars, topicals, then on to orals. Methotrexate relieved my PA totally but was somewhat less effective on skin. I was having trouble accepting my P and my attitude about it wasn't too good. I hope MTX

works better for you. The main reason I quit taking it was not its lack of effectiveness, but what I felt to be a lack of proper monitoring from my doctor of my blood and liver function. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! I went from MTX to sulfasalazine, which I was allergic to, and made my P even worse. I broke out in a rash all over my body and my skin took on a purple/blue bruised look. When I showed my derm my feet her reaction was, "Oh, my God! Get a camera."

From there I went to Soriatain for about a year and a half and then quit that because the side effects (joint pain, peeling of fingertips and feet, night blindness, etc.) were worse then the P. That brings us up to now.

When I went cold turkey on orals I decided that I would go on a topical bombardment. This took a lot of thought and planning on my part. First I had to stockpile a lot of topicals because a 15 gram tube can't last a month using it twice a day on 20% of my body. So, what I did was horde up 4 or 5 different types of topicals to be used during this "experiment." Then I sectioned my body into 8 different areas and used a particular medicine only in one area two to three times a day. On one area I used only use a moisturizer. On another, a 100 year old salve for livestock udders (found at Walgreens in the P section!). On other sections I used four or five different topicals in varying strengths. Finally, for my scalp I came up with a treatment that works very well. I take 8 oz. of baby oil (to penetrate plaques), 5 oz. of witch hazel (soothes and helps the itching), 3 oz. of rubbing alcohol (invigorates the scalp and kills germs), and about 15 grams of Elocon (first roll the tube between your hands to warm up the medicine and make it easier to breakdown). I put all of this in a bottle with a spout to ease in the application and shake this up until all the Elocon is broken down. I apply this liberally to my scalp and cover overnight with shower cap. I sleep on a towel and in the morning comb out and shampoo. I do this nightly to gain control of my scalp P and then maybe twice a week for maintenance. It works great for me. Note: This will burn like HELL if you have picked at your scalp—so don't.

Anyway didn't mean to ramble on all day .Thanks for your website and advice/sympathy. I'll stay in touch. -Warren in Waco


Ed’s Response: Don’t apologize for rambling, Warren! I found your story fascinating and your scalp preparation awe-inspiring. (Garnering those reactions means you weren’t rambling at all!)

I’m neither a chemist nor a pharmacist, so I can’t assess your recipe for an anti-flaking scalp formulation and say anything intelligent. So I’ll say what I can, which is, if it works for you that’s saying something! What I was doing while reading the recipe was trying to roughly estimate the cost. Quite obviously, it’s a helluva lot more affordable than the "scalp cocktail" compounded by my pharmacist. His version is a coal tar derivative and salicylic acid bound unharmoniously into a goo, and costs about $60 for 8 to 10 oz.

Others have written to me about occluding tar-based shampoos under a shower cap overnight. My reaction to that has been uncertainty about the irritation the cleaning agents (if there are any) in the shampoo might have when left on the scalp for that long a period. I don’t know whether any of the products in your compound might pose the same threats.

My PDR Family Guide to Prescription Drugs said sulfasalazine (brand name Azulfidine) is an anti-inflammatory used primarily for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (see Archives). In one form, however, it is also used by people with rheumatoid arthritis who fail to get relief from other pain relievers (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen). Nothing was referenced specifically about P or skin diseases, but that isn’t necessarily surprising. Since there seems to be a familial relationship between ulcerative colitis and P, why be surprised at a drug treatment overlap? In any case, I’m sorry you were allergic to it.

I look forward to future updates from you, Warren—especially the results of testing all those different topicals on yourself. Publish your research here! -Ed

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