Pityriasis: I pity the fool

In Encouragement, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Uncategorized on February 20, 2013 at 4:04 am

I had pityriasis rosea over the summer. If you don’t know about pityriasis, think chicken pox meets psoriasis meets poison ivy covering me from ankles to scalp. It itches. It burns. It swells. It’s red. It’s raised. It’s lacy. It’s dry. At first, I thought I had shingles. Then, I thought maybe an allergic reaction to some medicine.

If you have it right now, I am VERY sorry. Sometimes, doctors aren’t familiar with it–so it might take a while to diagnose. It takes even longer to get rid pityriasis. Chances are that your doctor will prescribe you an anti-inflammatory that comes in cream or oral form. It can last for months, BUT I got rid of mine in about a month. If, however, you have yet to be diagnosed or can’t afford to go through that whole process–here are some tips.

1. Get some sun. I tried many things, but my cure did not kick into high gear until my wonderful parents evacuated me from the city to the beach. I spent nearly an hour in the sun every day. Of course, I slathered on sunscreen. But, my rash began to fade QUICKLY. Literally, an hour in the sun will make a difference. Take a day off of work (because, let’s face it, if you have pityriasis–you are not going to be getting any work done), and find a spot with plenty of sun.

2. Shea butter. For me, my itching calmed down if I kept my skin moisturized. The important thing is to choose a moisturizer that will not irritate the rash. Pure shea butter did not irritate my skin.

3. Coconut oil. Another great and non-irritating moisturizer.

4. Lukewarm showers. I read on the internet that I should take cold showers. I hate cold showers. But, hot showers will NOT make the rash feel better–trust me.

5. Stay cool. I’m sorry, but pityriasis is a show stopper. I couldn’t get sweaty. I couldn’t get overheated. I couldn’t get too stressed out. If I did, my rash would sprout hives and get tingly. Sexy, huh?

6. DON’T scratch. Rub. Rub. Rub. But, please don’t scratch. You DO NOT want to get an infection from broken skin.

7. Benadryl cream. For those moments when rubbing just….won’t quite work (like a job interview). This is a great item to take with you everywhere.

8. Chamomile tea. Plain, pure chamomile tea has both a calming and an anti-inflammatory property. I had pityriasis in hot Georgia, so I would brew LOTS of strong chamomile tea, sweeten it with a little honey, and chill it. I would sip it ALL day. Delicious? Eh. Not really. But, I would feel cooler, calmer, and be a little less hive-y.

If you have questions, please leave me a comment!


  1. Love all your suggestions for alleviating the dreaded pityriasis. I’m in week 4. But what to do if it’s March in freezing Nova Scotia and you can’t get out in the sun??

    • Oh, my! I am so sorry that you are going through pityriasis. I have read that going to a tanning bed salon also provides some relief. Of course, choose a clean one! Also, do you get any sunlight in your house? If so, I say stretch out in the buff in front of a window.

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