My Atypical(?) Pityriasis Rosea Timeline?

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My apologies for this being so long.

  • (Late July 2019): Noticed patch on my inner right thigh. Assumed it was ringworm (b/c I've dealt with that in the past). It was relatively small, red and itchy.
  • (Mid-August 2019): Started using ringworm ointment to try and treat it.
  • (Late September 2019): Stopped using ringworm ointment since it wasn't working. Began using hydrocortizone ointment to treat it, thinking it could have been eczema (another thing I've dealt with in the past).
  • (Mid-October 2019): Notice a few red bump-like rashes on the top of my right thigh. Then they increased in number and spread all over my stomach. And back. Then my right arm, then left arm, and lastly my left thigh. There was only one spot on my neck. Became increasingly confused and worried that perhaps they were bed bug bites (thanks, Google) but eventually ruled that out.
  • (Late October 2019): Discovered pityriasis rosea. God bless. Started using tips that others suggested (Cocoa butter, Head&Shoulders)
  • (Mid-November 2019): Went to the doctor, finally. Was formally diagnosed with PR. Was suggested by doctor to use the following: Calamine lotion, hydrocortizone cream, and take antihistamine pills (cetirizine, specifically). By the time I saw the doctor, some of my original patches were already fading.
  • (Late November 2019): Went through a phase where my skin was VERY itchy, VERY flaky, but healing. The beginning of the end.
  • (Mid-December 2019): For the most part, no more itching. My skin was returning to its normal texture.

So, as for 2020 so far:

  • The rashes are now either completely gone without a trace, or left behind spots of hyperpigmentation (as I have darker skin, apparently hyperpigmentation is more common because of it). It's worst on my stomach and inner thighs, and a little bit on my arms too.
  • My skin gets kind of itchy sometimes. I'm rash-free but I have noticed some tiny (like, really tiny) red bumps around my body that could just be stress bumps or something. I'm still using cocoa butter to try and help my hyperpigmentation. Sometimes I still use the calamine lotion. I stopped taking the cetirizine as they made me quite drowsy and I'm far too busy to be drowsy all the time.
  • I currently have two kind of darker, raised rashes that almost resemble my PR but aren't very itchy, but they're in exact locations where I had former rashes. Maybe they're two stubborn little rashes that are taking longer to fade? I've gone back to taking hot-ish showers, I should mention.

However, my main concern is this:

  • Over time, my herald patch transformed from a smaller red rash to a much bigger circular ring with central clearing. It isn't as noticeable as it was originally, but after a short period of thinking it had gone away, I realized that it's STILL THERE. Sometimes it's ever so slightly itchy too. Like, I sometimes feel its existence on my leg, if that makes sense.

    Has anyone else had a similar herald patch experience? Mine showed up on my skin MONTHS (as opposed to days or weeks before like most people experience) before the rest of the patches, and it's still here and not showing signs of disappearing fully.

Since PR seems to have a higher recurrence rate than previously reported, I'm afraid that it will surely come back someday.

If you read this, thank you. This is such a hardly talked-about condition and kudos to all of you fellow sufferers.

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1 Reply

  • Edited

    Did you have a biopsy done? YOU pay your doctor. (Sorry, pet peeve). I say this because you sound almost exactly like me. I was treated for ringworm for months before being sent to a dermatologist for a biopsy. They diagnosed PR (also atypical). I spent the next 6 months trying everything anyone said might help... bio oil, black soap, dandruff shampoo, tanning, etc.

    All that being said, I had lots of time to read all the medical studies, haunt the forums here, etc. They THINK about 1 million people a year worldwide get PR. There are 5 rashes that look very similar, and the only way to be sure is a biopsy. Out of that million people a year, there are, perhaps 100 cases a year worldwide of PR that lasts more than the "normal" 8 to 12 weeks. (This does not include the hyperpigmentation).

    Odds are that if your rash lasts for more than 12 weeks, or "keeps coming back" (weeks, months or years later) you do not have PR, but a close cousin like lichen planus or guttate psoriasis or granuloma annulare or even contact dermatitis...

    None of what I have said helps you in any way with your rash. I am simply suggesting you might want to get a biopsy so you KNOW what you are dealing with, instead of being frustrated because "your PR is NOT acting right"...

    Hope yours heals and leaves for good!!!

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