It was all in my head.
I was 16 when I started having what I thought was severe dandruff. Now, in the olden days of the late 80’s/early 90’s, we dealt with dandruff by going to the salon and getting hot oil treatments. After numerous trips to our neighborhood salon (or “parlor”, as we call it) it still wasn’t going away. Only then did we decide I needed to see a doctor.
Yep. I have psoriasis. (Pronounced as səˈrīəsəs, just in case you were wondering)
My first reaction to it was: “wats dat?”*
I had never heard of it before. I did not know anyone who had it. I only knew I had to get rid of it, because it was a nuisance, and at times, an embarrassment. I didn’t know then that it was more than just an embarrassment; it was to be a life-long burden.
This quack of a doctor that I went to recommended injections. All around my head, the edges of my scalp! Crazy as it may seem, I succumbed to it, and for a while, it worked. (Don’t ask me what it was, I don’t know either.) The flaking went away for a while, but as expected, it came back.
And with a vengeance.
Not only did the flaking start on my scalp, but it started around the ears, my forehead, and my body. I forgot where I first got them, but at this very moment, I have them all over, so the question is moot, I guess.
At present, I have learned to live with it without it hampering my activities or way of life, though this recent episode, I guess caused by the extreme hot weather we’re having now, has been the worse. The itch causes me to scratch (I can’t help it!) and the scratching makes it itch even more, and causes the skin to break, as well, making it sting like hell!
I find that I had to resort to taking oral anti-itch meds more times than I had in the past, as I had always been able to resist it. Here are some of the crazy things I did to manage it:
- Slather on virgin coconut oil (VCO) to moisturize and prevent dryness and scaling. I am a believer of this, and have been using VCO for years. Natural and no side effects.
- For the itchiness, I put Vicks Vaporub. Funny, but it does help. For reals.
- Take frequent, quick cold showers. Stay away from hot water, makes the itching worse! Helps with the summer heat, too.
- I got a bottle of emu oil, which I use sparingly when I need something else other than VCO. Sparingly, because it costs an arm and a leg! You use a dropper to apply 3-4 drops on the affected area.
- When I needed medicated soothe-ants (yes, that’s a word. Because I said so. Just now), I used Betnovate cream with my VCO.
- My co-worker’s dad-in-law so kindly gave me soap (which is long gone) and lotion of his own formulation, which they call “Psorite”.
It has all natural ingredients (with VCO, too!) and I find it helps dry open wounds I created from my scratching quicker. I think they are getting ready to mass produce it soon, so maybe you’ll get to try it in the future, as well.
- And! Out of desperation, I bathed in guava leaf tea. It’s well-known that guava leaves have medicinal powers, that is said to cure a lot of things, even cancer, they say. I got leaves from a neighbor’s tree, with permission, of course. So far, I can’t tell if it’s helping, with all the stuff I’m piling on. Will let you know if it helps.
I stay away from oral medications, and am successful at doing so all these years, despite the pooh-poohing of some dermatologists I’ve consulted in the past. Hey, my psoriasis, my rules.
Anyway, the best cure that has worked for me so far is to relax and let go! I don’t worry about it too much, and don’t care if people see scales on my hair (which they think is dandruff), and my legs, as these are the most affected areas for me. It can be hard at times, and sometimes I just let out a loud wail and cry for a few seconds, but after that, it’s business as usual.
I am just thankful that I can still manage it, and that it isn’t worse than it is now. I am thankful I don’t have psoriatic arthritis. I am thankful that I can still function normally and have understanding friends who don’t shun me but instead, give support and even possible cure.
If you know someone who does have psoriasis, give them a quick hug of support. Helps a lot.
*Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease that causes red scaly patches on the skin. It is not contagious. I repeat: It is not contagious.