Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris

More and more individuals are being diligent in having all skin rashes, growths or other infractions checked out by doctors or dermatologists due to the increased awareness of skin cancer over the last couple of years. As a result more skin ailments are caught early on so that treatments can be made available.

A rare skin disorder sometimes confused with the common skin ailment psoriasis is pityriasis rubra pilaris. It is a group of red, scaly patches that are dry and flaky. The rash starts with an orange-red color and then spreads down throughout the body. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet eventually become thick and yellow. The skin begins to crack once this happens. This makes it painful for individuals to use their hands or walk on their feet. Within the rash you can feel rough, dry plugs. This is because the hair follicles on the hands and feet have been plugged by the rash. Parts of the body can be completely unaffected by the rashes. Even nails can be affected since they can become discolored and hard.

Who Can Get Them?

It can be developed by anyone. All races and both men and women are inflicted equally. Adults over the age of forty are the most affected, but children have developed it in the past.

What Can Cause Them?

It is unknown exactly what causes the condition. Although some cases of it can be inherited. Many times the individual will have continuous flare ups of the condition throughout their lifetime if it is inherited.

How Does It Happen?

It typically starts as a single patch but more patches will appear within a couple of weeks and join together to form larger patches. The patches begin to spread over the next couple of weeks and begin to spread downward until it covers most of the body. The soles of the feet and palms of the hands then become yellow and hard. Minor burn rashes or an infection can trigger these in some cases.

Where Do They Appear?

It typically starts on the head, neck and upper chest area. It then spreads until it covers almost the entire body. In some cases it may only appear on the elbows and the knees.

What Are The Symptoms?

It starts as a single patch until multiple patches appear and start to join together. The patches can be itchy and flaky as they move down the individual’s body. It will then begin to affect the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. They become yellowish in color and hard, then they start to crack and become painful. The individual may experience some hair loss in some cases. After some time this rare skin ailment can clear up however for a time the individual inflicted with it will be uncomfortable. It can take as long as one to three years for an individual to fully recover from the skin disorder.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

A skin biopsy of the inflicted area can be done to make a diagnosis of pityriasis rubra pilaris. This process involves a scrapping off of a piece of the skin and examining it under the microscope.

What Treatments Are Available?

At times treatment of this skin ailment can be difficult since doctors are dealing with multiple symptoms. To treat the rashes topical corticosteroids can be prescribed to help reduce the itching and redness. To reduce the dryness on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands emollients can be used. This also helps the areas become less stiff and cumbersome.

Doctors can prescribe retinoid type medications or methotrexate tables in some cases. Although there can be side effects since they are strong medications. To the individual inflicted with this condition it can look very serious. You should always visit your doctor to have it looked at. You are more likely to prevent long term serous damage if you get treatment earlier.

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