Pityriasis Rosea

Day 29: Almost gone!

I’ve waffled about writing about this, as it seems like an overshare; thus my new category. What changed my mind was my husband’s pointing out how much other people’s accounts helped me out when I ended up with bout of Pityriasis Rosea.

It all really started mid-November when I noticed a splotch of dry skin (later I learned this is called a, “herald patch”) on the side of my torso. I thought little of it, as I tend to have dry skin in winter.  During our York trip, two weeks or so later, I found my torso covered in smaller red welt-like splotches. At first I thought it might be a reaction to laundry detergent, but the spots were isolated to my torso only.

I did what any reasonable person does in this age: I asked Google. (She seemingly knows everything. )

My quick search for red spots on torso quickly pointed me to a number of sites on Pityriasis Rosea. Among the best were these:

The first three offer helpful reference, but it was the fourth I really found helpful, as it was a personal account. It also led me to write this because this condition generally lasts eight weeks, and I seem to have mostly beaten it in four. The frustrating part about this condition is that there’s no conclusive evidence as to what actually causes it, and there’s no immediate cure; you just have to let it run its course for the most part.

My own experience after figuring out that I had Pityriasis Rosea focused on trying to get rid of it as soon as I possibly could. As the many references indicated that sweating and hot showers would prolong the condition, I abandoned the gym, and took lukewarm showers, only as needed. (See, oversharing!!)

I found this Aveeno Beth and Shower Oil worked very well as a cleanser, and I frequently applied E45 Lotion to manage the itching.

What I really think progressed this along, though, was use of a sunbed, which is something I would NEVER have done, had I not been desperate and had I not read of Jim’s successes with it. I’m quite pale, you see. The closest I come to a tan is when freckles merge. My makeup color is usually the lightest one in the palate.

What I did was spend two minutes (the bed itself recommended no more than three for a fair-skinned person) under the lamps at a time.

Timingwise, if I consider the date of the first spot Day 1, and the day I broke out in lots of spots Day 14, then I went for my few minutes of UV sun time on the 17th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, and 25th days. I learned quickly that two days in a row was too much that first time I tried it, so after that, I spread out the sessions more. Each time I sunned, the spots would initially worsen, feeling itchy and sunburned, even though my normal skin was not burned. This discomfort would last about 12 hours, after which, the spots would significantly improve.  In Jim’s account, he spent much more time under the lamps and makes no mention of feeling like the spots were burned, but his account also gave me the the impression that he wasn’t the sort of person who gets sunburned, period.

On day 22nd, the rash did worsen, spreading down my legs and arms, but this cleared up completely on day 24. I read that often, sufferers will have a brief case where the spots spread and mysteriously recede a few days later. I was relieved to see them go.

By day 28, the spots had mostly cleared, and while I was still a bit spotted, my skin felt mostly normal. I went to the doctor due to the cold I picked up, and he confirmed my diagnosis. The picture above was taken day 29, and the first (herald) spot from Day 1 is still visible but very faded. I realize it doesn’t show much, but I guess I’m not that good at oversharing. Google images can dazzle you with plenty of awful pictures, if you really want.


2 thoughts on “Pityriasis Rosea

  1. Please, help me. I did the Head and Shoulders thing and it did assuage the itching a bit so I figured it was a good idea. I did that for a week but now I’m peeling all over. I haven’t showered in 3 days now and my skin is very dry; the spots are peeling. Is that a good sign?

    • I’m so sorry to hear you have this! My guess is that you’re itching because the top layer of your skin is dried out and peeling. Depending on how sore the spots are, you might want to try gently scrubbing your skin and applying nivea creme (http://shop.nivea.co.uk/nivea-creme.html) – it’s inexpensive and a very deep moisturizer. That said, I’m not a doctor, I work for a bank, so maybe test this out in a small spot first to see if it might work for you. 🙂

      I don’t recall ever having a lot of peeling, but I had this over four years ago. I didn’t do the head and shoulders, but I was really good about using gentle soap and lotion. I have dry skin normally, so I did’t want to be more itchy, and I recall avoiding daily showering, just to give my skin a break. I didn’t use Nivea (the stuff i suggested earlier) at the time because it is quite thick and rubbing it in might be itchy, but i did use stuff that was for dry, sensitive skin because I didn’t want to risk further irritation. It might work for you because you’re peeling, though.

      I know it sounds mad, but the sunbed did seemingly help. I used it minimally because I am pale, and I would advise doing just a tiny bit the first time because you do NOT want a sunburn. I think I did 3 minutes at a time.

      I hope you feel better!

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