(December, 1998)

My Allergy to Detergents Wasn't
by Debbie H.

Dear Ed: Having just recently been diagnosed with P, it's been a comfort and great source of information reading FLAKE HQ. Many of the topics discussed by you and other readers have hit home with me. It's great comparing notes and discovering possible new treatments.

Specifically, I identified with the allergy/psoriasis theory. Just five months ago, my derm determined I had developed an allergy to clothing detergent and/or fabric softener. I've never had allergies, per se, but have been prone to mild, short-lived rashy things from time to time. The treatment called for switching to the dye-free, perfume-free detergents on the market and applying a cortisone type cream to the affected areas. The rash promptly cleared up. Then came a terrible
case of P of the scalp with the guttae variety polka-dotting my torso here and there.

A trip back to the derm for the new diagnosis resulted in treatment of Dovonex solution (not cream) to be applied with clobetasol, which I believe is a steroid, to enhance the properties of the Dovonex. The scalp P is much improved, but the spots wax and wane. Shortly after I started using the Dovo, I vacationed in Bermuda. I definitely believe the sun and salt water improved my condition! Too bad though, living in Ohio, no beach access.

I also am trying some mega doses of Fish Oil capsules. The theory here is the Essential Fatty Acids, usually found in fish, aid in the skin's functions. There may be some truth to this, as I recently ran out of the capsules. I couldn't be sure if they were helping so I did not purchase more and the spots seemed to become worse. So I'll get back on those and see if they helped or if it was just wishful thinking.

I have a mild to moderate affliction, which is not noticeable to anyone, except my husband. For this I'm thankful and can empathize with those, such as yourself, with severe symptoms. Thanks for providing a platform for flakers to air their thoughts. Who knows, with more participation,
we may come up with a winning treatment. -Debbie H.

*****

Ed's Response: Wouldn't that be great, Debbie ... If we came up with a winning treatment? (Read my short story, mentioned in this month's BRIEFING.) But, I forgot to say Hello. Hello, Debbie!

You're the first to report, here, a treatment combining Dovonex solution with clobetasol. I'd be interested to hear how that works for you. If you read my report on my Dovonex trial (ARCHIVES) you heard me say my first brush with Dovonex may not have worked because I began it fresh off a potent steroid regimen (which included clobetasol propionate). Now you have me wondering how the Dovonex might have performed had I ‘spiked it' along the way? I've noted that for the next time I'm feeling adventurous.

I hope you find the fish oil business less unpleasant than I did. I was taking mega-doses for cardiovascular reasons back in the middle eighties, when sperts (my irreverent term for "experts") were suggesting it would lower cholesterol levels. I remember the horrible flavor every time I belched, and the odor of fish in my skin. I remember feeling "regrettable relief" when my cardiologist finally said, "Well, Ed. Stop taking fish oil, your cholesterol isn't dropping." (I believe I celebrated my discharge with a 16 oz slab of well-marbled sirloin and, of course, a baked potato smothered in butter and sour cream.)

Your etiology, compounded by the typical initial misdiagnosis, didn't surprise me. Since I'm on such intimate terms with my own P, occasionally my girls (for reasons even I can't justify, I call my P lesions "my girls") ... occasionally my girls will tell me what's really going on. I explained your weird progression to them: "Rash assumed to be allergy to detergents ... changed to safe detergents, used a mild cortisone cream ... rash disappeared for awhile ... then BOOM! ... P!" My girls responded: "She's got kinky skin. It likes to cut loose and erupt and have a wild time, like us. It was doin' cool—never no mind about detergents and such—until along came the cortisone. Oh sweet mama! Made her wee skin cells stand up and boogie! They say, ‘gimme more, gimme more!' Them little goo-tie pimples she be seein'? They's US, partyin' down! Singin' GIMME MORE!" ... Well, you must take everything my girls say with a grain of salt. They're drug addicts. All of them.

Now that you've joined the ranks of we epidermally daffy flakers, Debbie, don't be a stranger! -Ed

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