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Fast Break-Outs and Hair Loss Undermine Sex Appeal
from Liddy

I have been suffering with psoriasis for 18 years.  The first time I broke out I was only 15 and I was exposed to chicken pox.  For three months I was covered from head to toe.  I can't remember everything the doctor did.  I know I had a great tan that summer.

The next time I broke out I was 28 and expecting my first baby.  That was a very scary time for me because there’s not much they can give you when you are pregnant.  I was covered from head to toe again. An older doctor sent me to the beach and had me put Argo Starch in my bath. Two weeks later, after I started this routine, it was all gone. I was amazed. I would get it on my elbow and knees and I could deal with that. 

Then in August 1998 my husband was facing a major heart problem — he had strep that had attacked his heart — and the stress of the news that he might not make it sent my skin into overdrive.  I watched my skin break out, in a single day, from head to toe again.

A miracle happened and my husband overcame his trial, but I am still suffering from my problem.  I can't be my self, I hate being covered up all the time. Trying to make a romantic evening is very hard. My husband is very supportive.  I used methotrexate and for some reason my hair all fell out. I feel hopeless that I will ever get back to myself.  I would just like to feel sexy and be able to put on those little nighties — lol!

Anyhow … thank you for letting me share a little of my feelings.  -Liddy


Ed’s Response:   I have read about and received correspondence from a few flakers who literally break out over night.  As if this weren’t hideous enough, some of them break out in erythrodermic (full body) P, which may be your case.  Some literature says patients with erythrodermic P may experience “extreme discomfort.” (That’s a euphemism for it hurts like hell.)

I hadn’t heard about bathing in Argo Starch until you brought it up.  Then I looked it up in the National Psoriasis Foundation book, The Best of It Works for Me (1991-1999), and there on page 53 was another reference.  This correspondent wrote that s/he put 1 cup in the bath and soaked for 15 minutes twice a day.

Losing hair while taking methotrexate isn’t unheard of.  See Who’s Lost His hair Using Methotrexate? and Hair Loss on Methotrexate in the FlakeHQ archives.  I haven’t heard a satisfactory explanation for why some people react to MTX this way.  As the one male surviving on either side of my family that has retained a full head of hair past the age of 35, I’m loathe to join my cousins via any medicinal routine.  That is to say, if MTX made my hair fall out, I’d be looking aggressively for an alternative.

Has your derm said anything to you about Soriatane (a.k.a. Acitretin) ?  It is another systemic drug that many flakers use as an alternative to methotrexate.  Go here to read what WebMD has to say about Acitretin.  I’ve not tried it myself, but was gearing up to make the switch this Spring.  I’ll probably make the switch to Soriatane unless I can get on the list for Enbrel, a new biologic compound taken weekly through subcutaneous injections.  (Actually, two hurdles: getting on the list to receive the drug and getting my insurance carrier to cover it.)

The long of it, Liddy:  Don’t feel hopeless.  There are things yet to try and new things on the horizon.  In the meantime, if romantic evenings with skimpy nighties seem out of reach for you, do some brainstorming with your lucky husband.  I’ll bet you can come up with alternatives that will make you feel sexy. 

Good luck and stay in touch.  -Ed

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