How to beat pityriasis rosea in 5 weeks

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I am a woman aged 31 and was diagnosed with PR in October after I found a few, bite-like bumps on my naval. Within 3-4 days, my torso, neck and back were completely covered in red, scaly bumps. It was very itchy and uncomfortable, and I was very distressed to hear from my doctor that there is no treatment and this will last up to 3 months... 

I turned to the message boards on websites like this and found them really useful and reassuring. So I wanted to share my experience in case I can do the same for someone else. 

While PR is expected to last 3 months, this seems to be the time until the last mark has gone. Thankfully, my skin was visibly much better after 4-5 weeks and while there were still some darker red patches where the skin was healing after, it was not easily visible or in any way uncomfortable.

The first 4 weeks were tough though... in particular the first week. I used calamine lotion (and lots of it!) to cool the skin and reduce the itchiness. And showered with Head & Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo and oatmeal shower gel (Aveeno brand) to provide some relief. I also applied hydrocortisone cream on the itchiest places (but only sparingly). 

After a week, the itchiness was dramatically reduced and much more manageable. It was gone completely after two. Then the skin dries up and peels off. I applied huge amounts of moisturiser during this time (2-3 times a day, again Aveeno with oatmeal) but the skin slowly healed and was very soft and supple after. This lasted another 2-3 weeks. By the end of the 5th week, my skin was much more normal and I didn't have to worry about moisturising all the time or feel self-conscious.  

I know the idea of 5 weeks of PR is not exactly comforting... but it's better than 12 ! and only the first 2 weeks were really bad. There were parts of my body that took longer to completely heal (e.g. under my arms) but the last marks are now all gone and there is zero scarring. The good news is that this is not a recurring conditions either, which means that you'll never have the worry about this again.

Hope this is helpful and that anyone reading this in the early stages of PR hang in there and rest assured that it will pass!

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  • Posted


    Thank you for posting this.  I'm currently suffering through this annoying ailment.  While i'm thankful this is happening during the winter, my biggest concern is that I'm getting married this year.  It's so very vain, but I would love it if my skin returned to normal.  Your post has given me hope.

    A few questions--

    -- You said you showered with Head & Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo.  Did you use it as as a shampoo and just let the soap run down your body? Or directly as a shower gel?  If that's the case, did you use a loofa?  I'm asking because I'm worrying about irritating the dry skin with the loofa.

    -- Same question with the oatmeal shower gel?  How did you apply it?  Did you use the H&S and the oatmeal shower gel back to back?

    I'm lucky in that i'm not too itchy.  My biggest concern is how unsightly it looks.  I'm constanntly wearing cardigans because my arms look crazy.  I've noticed that it's begun to spread to my legs, so I totally want to fight this.

    I'll be sure to start moisturizing.  Any advice would be great.  I found the herald patch on 12/10/16, so I'm almost at one month.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone!!

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    • Posted

      Hi Joyce, 

      Congratulations on your wedding! I'm so sorry this is happening now but as long as the wedding day is not in the next month (I really hope not), you should be fully recovered in time. 

      I used Head & Shoulders as a shower gel. It's supposed to relieve the itching, rather than healing the skin. I used it twice a day during the itchy period. The oatmeal Aveeno shower gel is for healing so I used both, back to back, and eventually switched to Aveeno only. I did not use a loofa as I was also worried about irritating the skin... but when the skin was peeling towards the end, i did use one to help exfoliate.

      Really hope it passes quikly for you and that your skin will be back to normal by the end of January.


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    • Posted

      I'm not too itchy (thankfully).. and I'm getting married in September.  I have postponed trying on wedding dresses (was supposed to be in mid-January) because I don't want the looks from the sales ladies... but more importantly because I want to feel pretty (as vain as that sounds), and that's the opposite I'm feeling right now. 

      I think I may just use the Oatmeal Aveeno shower gel because i want to HEAL! 

      THANK YOU so much for responding so quickly!! I so appreciate it.  I hope you have a great new year. =)


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  • Posted

    I am so very thankful to know that I'm not the only one. Just got diagnosed with it yesterday, and it really sucks.

    Doctor said to take allergy pills in the morning and either another allergy pill or benadryl before I go to sleep - this is to reduce itching, and it really helped!

    Currently 4-5 days in, but damn isn't this unfortunate to have...

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  • Posted

    I first had this 5 years ago at 65. It was so bad that eventually my hair all fell out.. Since then, it has recurred every year in the spring although it has been very mild with very few, very itchy spots. I am in the middle of a flare up which started in October with a herald spot and quite a lot of itchy spots all over including my face.e
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