scalp making me insane - picking!

** Originally posted by erikaq **

hi. i just joined this site and thought i would post about my situation. i'm sure i have psoriasis though i don't have a formal diagnosis. i also do not have health insurance and can't afford to pay out of pocket to see a dr or for prescription medications. i have had psoriasis on my scalp since i was a child and have only sought treatment once, as a teenager, where the dr injected something into the area over several visits. it did nothing. since then i have had small patches on my scalp (and body) that move around, never creating a situtation serious enough to really freak me out. until now. NOW my whole freaking scalp is one big scab. it's stiff feeling and horrible and i'm picking at it constantly. i've developed this compulsive picking habit and it's driving me NUTS! i know i shouldn't be poking at it but the poking is somehow satisfying. i feel bad about it and i know i should cut it out. it just seems to relieve some of the stress i feel which i'm sure is largely to blame for this extreme flare up. i've been wearing my hair in ponytails to keep me from poking at it and that helps, but what i really need is to make it GO AWAY! then i'll really be able to stop poking it. i know there are no easy answers. mainly i wanted to make this post because i feel really bad about this situation and i don't know anyone who would understand. i read in one of the other posts that psoriasin worked well for a few folks so maybe i'll try that. i just HAVE to get this back to a tolerable level before i pick myself bald.

o, i also read something about someone redecorting and choosing floor cover that would hide flakes? boy, i can dig it. i have to watch the poking at my scalp because i will soon cover myself with a blanket of flakes. unless i'm home alone i do not do it.

another thing, it's not really helping my self esteem. you can see it around the edges of my hair line and my boyfriend comments on it. one time, and i'll never forget this, i had some flakes in the front of my forehead and he noticed it. he looked at me with such disgust and told me that maybe i should consider always wearing hats. another smooth thing he said was when he notice the dime sized patch on my upper arm he exclaimed, 'GOD! what is that!'. i told him is was eczema because somehow that sounded less bad? i know that's stupid. i just felt bad. and i felt worse after his response. he shouted, 'are you *sure*! *i* think it's *cancer*!! so i feel pretty crappy about it. other people have pointed it out, too, and i always feel so bad. even though they try to react neutrally i can see they are weirded out, or grossed out, or bothered in some way. it makes me feel just awful.

anyway, sorry for the ridiculously long post. and thanks for listening.

erika

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34 replies. Join the discussion

** Originally posted by SouthpawGrammer **

Sorry to hear about the hard time you are having at the moment...

i wish i could say what may help - but with scalp P i have very little experience and expertise.

so i wont pretend i do :D

However - welcome to the board!

great supportive place here.

xxx

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** Originally posted by pmarizon **

get the coal tar shampoo, any drug store wal mart. lather up good and leave on about 30 min. with a plastic cap, then rinse, this is what dr. had told me, will help with the itch, and since u do not want to do a dr. then after rinse,, put some peanut oil in a hair color bottle and squeeze in some oil all over the scalp, cover with a plastic cap and sleep in it... the peanut oil is close to a pres. drug and that oil is the base. in the morn., shampoo with head and shoulders, and use head and shoulders all time,,, try and leave on head just a bit while u shower,,, if u do for several days in a row, then go to 3 times a week,, it might improve,,, lower your sugar, no alochol. no tomatoes, sure wish u good luck,, and to all want to rebuke this, remember i said it might help.. and also should not hurt u, unless alergic to peanuts.

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** Originally posted by Buck5150 **

Let me tell you, Ive got P over 60% including my brain bucket. I use Neutragena T-Gel. Theres a whole line of Coal tar products that alieviate the pain or itching. Its a bit harsh as far as drying you out. I also use Neutrogena Body Oil "Original Formula" to moisturize. Its 9 bucks a bottle but a little goes a long way. If you can somehow get a script for OLUX Foam, that works great on the scalp. Im the experiment king cuz Im like the Borg on Star Trek, soemthing works for a while then i adapt. Good luck.

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** Originally posted by Radbert **

Hi Erika,

The T-Gel a couple of times per week is really good to keep the itching at bay. However, I find the most effective treatment is 2-3 days of applying Elocon lotion to the scalp. For me, this gets rid of any patches for up to several weeks before I need to use it again. I've done this successfully for several years.

http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Profs/Datasheet/e/Eloconcrointlot.htm

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** Originally posted by MikeK **

H Erika,

Welcome to the Board! :cool: I'm sorry to hear that you are going through such a rough time. :( The good news is that you've come to the right place. As you can see a lot of very nice and helpful people post here. It's great to FINALLY be able to ask questions, exchange information, or even share a couple of laughs with people who truly understand. :)

Everyone and their p is different and what works for one person may not work for another. You've already been give some great suggestions. Here's my two cents: MG217 makes a shampoo, a lotion and an ointment that all come in two formulas -- one with coal tar and one with Salicylic acid. Coal tar has been used to treat prosiasis for many, many years and salicylic acid is one of the few things that can safely be used to remove scales. Here's a link for some additional information: http://www.mg217.com

Dermarest (http://www.dermarest.com) also makes shampoos and lotions with salicylic acid in them.

I've never used them, but I've read here that some people have used olive oil, mineral oil and a product called P & S Liquid to soften their scales so they can apply medicated treatments to their scalp. (I couldn't find a website for the P & S Liquid, but here's a link to one site's description of it: http://www.dermadoctor.com/product.asp?WID=%7BFAC91F4A%2DA99E%2D11D7%2D9188 %2D0002B330452B%7D&productid=206.)

Good luck. Hope this helps. Keep us posted and please don't be a stranger.

Mike

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** Originally posted by coachG **

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** Originally posted by Kimbercat **

Hey, Mike!

I'm trying to learn from the guru of links. ;) Here's a link to another site for P & S Liquid. It is made by Baker Cummins Dermatologicals. I've ordered it from Walgreen's Pharmacy several times (no scrip needed, but they don't usually stock), and found it to be a big help.

http://www.dermstore.com/product_P&S+Liquid_1014.htm

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** Originally posted by chaimFL **

Hey Erika...welcome to the boards! Sorry to hear about the rough time.....most or all of us here can actually say we know how you feel. It is tough with no insurance to get optimal treatment, but there are things that can do a pretty darn good job. I agree with everything above regarding the coal tar. My scalp used to be every bit as bad as yours and now it may be a tad red, but there is no flaking or itching and I owe that to MG217 coal tar shampoo. The way I use it is I lather first thing after getting in the shower, then rinse right away, then relather again with more MG217 and leave it on while I wash and rinse the rest of my body and then lastly rinse the MG217 out. I have to do this everyday and the shampoo smells pretty bad, but if a way to combat the smell is to get Paul Mitchell Tea Tree conditioner and apply that just before getting out of the shower...the tea tree oil is very good for itching as it is and it smells pretty good (to me at least).

You may want to look into tanning salons....it doesn't help everyone but I know one lady who can clear completely if she goes 3 times a week for a couple of months. The most economical way to do it is to find a tanning salon that has a monthly fee for unlimited tanning (most do).

For good itch relief you should apply lots of moisturizer at least once a day and take long baths perhaps with some of the Aveeno oatmeal soaks or generic equivalent.

http://www.summerslabs.com has some great coal tar and other products. I have have used their Tarsum shampoo with great success. It comes with a scalp aplicator and can be applied at night and washed out in the morning, but be careful because coal tar can stain so if you ever use any coal tar solution for your scalp please use dark sheets or sleep with a towel over your pillow.

Glad you found this site, please don't be a stranger!

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** Originally posted by erikaq **

thanks so much to everyone for your replies and understanding! i rushed right out and purchased psoriasin shampoo as well as the extra strength t gel and i'm going to use the simutaniously. i looked for mg217 but they didn't have it at my local drug store. i looked at their web site and see that they have a higher % of coal tar than the t gel so i will keep looking for it. i also got the psoriasin scalp treatment stuff that you leave on which has coal tar. as i write this i'm lathered up with the two shampoos and have my head wrapped in plastic wrap. i'll leave it on 30 minutes as pmarizon suggested. i will be so happy if i can get rid of this nightmare!

buck, 60% of your body is extreme! that must be so tough. i know how sore and irritated my spots get. you must be suffering terribly with that much coverage.

radbert, i do have some elocon lying around but just a little. i had rubbed it in to my scalp yesterday as much as i could and wrapped my head in plastic. perhaps between that and these two shampoos and the scalp treatment i can get this under control. i only have enough elocon for about one more application though and i have to save it. i have a patch of psoriasis in my belly button and sometimes it cracks open and is SO PAINFUL. the only thing that fixes it is the elocon.

i also got myself so cute hairbands so i can have fun wearing the ponytails. perhaps it will provide incentive not to pick at my head so much! does anyone else have problems not picking?

thanks again to everyone. i really appreciate the help.

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** Originally posted by Kimbercat **

If it's there, I pick it :confused: I think most of us are that way. I drove my hubby crazy when my scalp was bad! I could create a snowstorm anywhere I sat! :rolleyes: ....and it was embarassing to look around where I had been sitting watching TV or in the car....talk about gross! :o

But I think we've all been there, and understand!

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** Originally posted by scabhead **

Ug, why the hair WHYYYYYY! Thanks for all the suggestions. I also have p on my scalp and it is SO itchy. My derm recommended avoiding meat, keeping a humidifier on around me at all times, fish oil capsules and the tar shampoo. THe tar shampoo really helped make the itching stop. My doc also said that picking will make it WORSE, it is all somehow injury related. At least we're not alone in this...

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** Originally posted by erikaq **

yes, this business with the scalp is maddening. since joining this discussion group i have been using the tgel and the psoriasin and it has reduced the thickness of the plaques but my head is actually itchier and flakier than it was before. i think i have definitely caused my condition to worsen by picking at it and i'm *sure* it has spread like it has because of my obsessive picking and peeling, which has also pulled out a lot of hair. the plaques being thinner make picking harder and much less satisfying so hopefully this will help my hair to recover.

one think i do find, these shampoos are drying my hair out BADLY. i use pantene 3 minute treatment each time i shampoo and that helps, but my hair is definitely drier than it was pre tgel/psoriasin.

does anyone think it's nuts to use them both at the same time?

erika

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** Originally posted by chaimFL **

Erika keep it up...sounds like it is working if the plaques are thinning and the picking is getting harder. You can switch from T-gel to MG217 (coal tar) if you want because it is stronger. If you keep it up you will see good results......I had the same problem and now my scalp is clear, but I still have to use the MG217 coal tar shampoo.

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** Originally posted by CarbonForm **

Hello,
I know your pain. My scalp flared up about 13 years ago and I have had a battle with it ever since. The only product that brings me relief is Derma-smooth. It's 30 bucks with a prescription. It has a peanut oil base with a mild steriod in it. You wet your hair, rub the oil in and cover your grape with saran wrap, (it works better than the shower caps they provide, and the saran wrap doesn't leave wrinkles in your forehead.) I then put a bandana on my head and sleep in it overnight. It really works! It helps me live without snowing on everything. The bottle lasts a while too.
Hope you find some relief!

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** Originally posted by Kimbercat **

Carbonform,

DermaSmooth was my favorite when my scalp was flaring. My problem was also that so many of the special shampoos and meds made my scalp feel even drier and itchier than before. An OTC alternative that's less expensive, and available if you can't get access to the DermaSmooth is P&S Solution. Most pharmacies will order it for you. No prescription needed, and about $18 a bottle. The main ingredient is mineral oil, and it seems to work almost as well as DermaSmooth.

I also had to give up on the tar and medicated shampoos because they dried my scalp and made my color-treated hair look awful! I now swear by the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner. This is one that you don't want to go generic on. It's a bit expensive (about $11 for an 8 oz bottle for each), but I find it very soothing and moisturizing.

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** Originally posted by chefess **

I'm a blizzard waiting to happen...I also suffer sitting in snowbanks becausse of the saclp stuff. none of the OTC shampoos has done anything but dry out my scalp and make it worse, I'm going to try the peanut oil thing...anythings worth a try at this point...I live in AZ and there's no snow anywhere but where I've been!
Bonnie

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** Originally posted by star291 **

Erica some advise....I didn't have a scalp problem until I moved from NY to CO....I found that the T-Gel worked great, but I alternated it with a moisture shampoo. Then I moved back to the east coast to VA and found that it flared up again and the T-gel didn't work. I found that Physique worked really well to tame it. I finally went to a dermatologist and he gave me a Rx for a mouse that you use once a day on just the spots that are bothering you...it's called Luxiq, and I like it cause I can use any shampoo I want and tame my scalp with this mouse. I love it too, and there are some days I actually forget that I have it. Hope that helps ya, or anyone else.

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** Originally posted by CarbonForm **

Kim,
Thanks for the input. I have always had a problem with finding a good shampoo that didn't irratate my scalp. I tried white rain once and POW! I had the worst case of the itch and flake ever! I will give your recommendation a try!
I know the peanut oil helps get rid of the scales and allows the medicine to work into the scalp, but I always wondered if Peanut oil alone would do the trick?
Anyway thanks again!
:D

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** Originally posted by scabhead **

Okay, some details -
p on the head - scattered, but together would be size of a quarter

My derm said it is important to comb your hair lightly if you have to - but DO NOT comb your scalp at all, just the hair. She also recommended a dead sea salt/magnesium chloride shampoo line Mavena - I haven't tried it yet but I plan on buying it http://www.mavena.com

I used tarsum shampoo every other day (I have long hair) rubbing in the tarsum with some water and letting sit about a half hour before washing. I avoided putting conditioner in those areas.

I have been taking 4 fish oil capsules a day (my derm's idea).

Used Ammonium Lactate Cream (12%) on p areas all day - sometimes with a shower cap. It seems to soften it up and helped with the itching. The platelets came off on their own and brought some hair with it. totally disturbing but a relief to have soft scalp again. I plan on coming back from this experience to having a hair ritual, being nicer to my hair and in the end - having healthier hair. Thanks for the recommendations!!!! I will try those!

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** Originally posted by Zara **

Originally posted by CarbonForm
Kim,
Thanks for the input. I have always had a problem with finding a good shampoo that didn't irratate my scalp. I tried white rain once and POW! I had the worst case of the itch and flake ever! I will give your recommendation a try!
I know the peanut oil helps get rid of the scales and allows the medicine to work into the scalp, but I always wondered if Peanut oil alone would do the trick?
Anyway thanks again!
:D

Dermasmoothe also includes a steroid, not just peanut oil to loosen the scales, which is why it requires a script. I don't think the impact would be the same if you have a bad case.

Peanut oil alone has an incredibly strong smell. You might find it hard to tolerate. (Some people dont like the smell of Dermesmoothe: straight peanut oil is much stronger.) If you just want to use an oil to help loosen scales, maybe you should try using mineral oil, after wetting your scalp. P&S Solution which is frequently mentioned here appears to be primarily mineral oil. Evrthing else in it is coloring/preservative stuff except for something called 'phenol'. When I looked phenol up on Google, a number of sites popped up which were technical in nature. It is used in a lot of different things. I don't know if it is contributes to the impact of the solution.

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