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P’s Back After 15 Year Remission
from Rebecca C.

Dear Ed: I was diagnosed with P at the tender age of 5. It was mainly on my scalp but I had a few plaque lesions on my body, which my parents were able to clear up with a "brown gel." I wish I knew what that "brown gel" was because after almost 15 years in remission from P (remission everywhere, that is, except my scalp) the P is back on my body! It started with small chicken pox-like spots on my chest and lower back and legs but has spread like wildfire and some spots are now full-fledged lesions! My derm is not well-informed and he really does not care! Currently, I am on Tazorac and Betamethasone. I started the Tazorac last week. The Beta stuff just makes me greasy but the Tazorac is working (crossed fingers). Now my "chicken pox" look more like small ant bites and my lesions are getting a wee bit smaller. I m also trying natural sunlight, but I don't know if that helps or not. Has anyone used the tanning bed with any success? I know that there is no cure. But what are the meds with the most success? Also, is there anything to do for the elbows? Mine look scabby. I think that the Tazorac had a hand in that. Please let me know.

I have little hope that I will go into another 15 year remission but even a month off at this point would be nice! I am 22 and I am trying not to be vain about my skin, but at the times when someone asks, "What happened to your legs (or elbows)?" it gets kind of hard! I also love your web site. It’s had me crying and laughing all at once. I found it better than all the depressing medical mumbo jumbo I had been reading. -Rebecca C.

P.S. I have two beautiful meaningful tattoos and am terrified as I watch the P spread closer to them. Do other P suffers have tats and if so what do they do to keep them from being affected?


Ed’s Response: I’m glad you found some comfort at FlakeHQ, Rebecca. I’m afraid I won’t be so satisfying with answers—but perhaps other readers will have comments to add.

As a Tazorac user you should, if you haven’t already, read NPF’s article titled "Tazorac Needs Attention to Detail." My own experiences with the drug are recounted in my August 1998 Briefing.

With regard to tanning beds, derms are of mixed minds. The traditional response (don’t waste your time) is well expressed here at the NPF web site;  however, a more recent article in one of their print publications suggested tanning beds might help some people. My derm fears the uncontrolled exposure conditions at tanning salons. I have a daughter who (against my advice) uses a salon regularly for cosmetic reasons. She knows from experience that one particular apparatus at the salon she patronizes will burn her in so many minutes whereas an adjacent device, same kind, can be used safely. She’s reported this to the management but they shrug it off.

The only other discussion of tattoos I recall related a case of Koebner Phenomenon (lesion formulation from skin trauma) as the result of getting one. I’ll leave that question here for other readers to consider. Anyone lost a loved tattoo to a P lesion? -Ed

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