Yikes. Where has the time gone? Never mind, don’t answer that. I know exactly where all my hours have gone: preparing for work, work, homework, taking care of my daughter, and trying to fix myself, besides all of the usual daily chores.
To explain my situation, let’s rewind to the late spring of 2017. I often have dandruff but when I became a broken snow globe I was concerned. When off-white “scabs,” (for lack of a better word), began growing here and there on my head, with one edge stuck to my scalp like glue I became even more concerned. Then a red rash appeared on the left side of my neck and below my ear on the right side of my face. All of them were sore and itchy. I switched shampoos and moisturizers. I knew it would take time, but I was hoping it would provide some relief. No. Then I tried coconut oil, hemp oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, and honey – giving all of them time to work before trying the next one, but nothing helped. Instead, all of the rashes spread as did those scabs on my scalp.
I thought there might have been environmental causes, but there was still no improvement after my first few weeks off from school during the summer. During this time I was patiently waiting for the appointment I had made with the naturopathic doctor I’ve been going to for the past five years. My insurance won’t cover it, but unlike the participating providers I’ve tried she generally looks at the whole picture and doesn’t push pills. Prior to the appointment I tried coconut oil one more time, but this time I mixed it with a few drops of tea tree before rubbing it on my head. I repeatedly reapplied the mixture throughout the day and again the next morning and after a couple of days I was able to comb the scabs off of my head. The only problem was that chunks of my hair came out with them. I have short hair and it isn’t that thick, so the hair loss was noticeable, but because the scabs were gone I wasn’t that upset. But I was upset after going to the naturopathic doctor, who after learning that I had already tried all of the oils she would have recommended, suggested that I go to a dermatologist. Really? That was it? (But why was I surprised? This was the same sort of treatment that my daughter experienced from whatever kind of doctor I took her to for years and years and years…)
At the earliest dermatologist appointment available – a month later – I was told that the rash was Sebhoric dermatitis and was given a prescription for a steroid cream to clear it up. From my experiences with my daughter’s treatment, steroids would hurt my immune system, which I figured was already in lousy shape because our skin is our largest organ and mine sure wasn’t doing very well. I didn’t fill the script. Plus, the dermatologist was also not looking for a root cause – she just gave me a “band aid.” In addition, the medicated shampoo she recommended didn’t help at all so I stopped using that after a few weeks, which is when I began wearing a hat because new scabs continued to grow and spread and my hair continued to fall out despite all the changes I was making.
By this time it was January and I had an appointment with a new naturopathic doctor who stated on his website that he specialized in skin rashes and that he looked for the root cause. How he planned to do that when he couldn’t be bothered to even get out of his chair to look more closely at my scalp and skin rashes, was questionable. He simply recommended using an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo that has a list of unpronounceable ingredients covering the entire back of the bottle. No thank you, and I was definitely not impressed that a naturopathic doctor would suggest using such a lousy product. The only useful thing he recommended was to use Manuka honey, both internally and externally by rubbing it on the rashes, and to begin taking supplements with mushrooms and Astragalus in order to help strengthen my immune system.
I’d like to say those few suggestions made a difference, but no such luck. I continued wearing my hat to cover the bald spots and was happy when the weather became cold enough to wear turtlenecks to cover up the spreading, and sore, rash on my neck and the new rashes that had appeared on my forearms. I of course was also still taking care of my daughter during this time and she helped me research possible remedies. Because I didn’t have the time, nor patience, to do one change at a time I have no idea what actually helped in the end, but the rashes finally cleared up in the spring. The arms first, then the neck. The scabs on my scalp finally stopped growing too and most of my hair luckily grew back by the end of April, so I was able to stop wearing a hat.
As you can see, I unfortunately do not have any useful advice to offer you if you ever end up with any of the skin conditions I have experienced. Rubbing the Manuka honey on the rashes on my arms seemed to help clear them up, but it made the rash on my neck get worse and it definitely didn’t help my scalp. The rash on my neck eventually went away also, but I have no clue as to what helped.
The lesson I learned from all of this (along with my experiences with my daughter) is not to go to any doctor unless absolutely necessary. I spent a lot of money and time that I didn’t have to waste, yet wasted they were.