Kaufmak v. The Epidermis

In the last few years, I’ve really dreaded the onset of winter.  Sure, the weather as I get older is a little more to bear each year, but all things considered I still like a good snowfall.  I still love how bright the sun is on a clear winter’s day.  No, I dread winter for what it does to my body.  You see, I have psoriasis and the great medical catchall, dermatitis.


Having a skin condition is a year round thing.  Both conditions are auto-immune diseases so they never truly go away.  The summer time, however offers a decidedly long period of respite.  The extra sun, moisture in the air and sweat all make things much more tolerable from the end of May until sometime in October.  Once the cold weather starts up in earnest, the furnaces come on and all moisture is gone, my scalp explodes.  Sometimes, I don’t even get a buildup to the great shedding event.  I will just wake up one morning, look in the mirror and see my face is just a flaky mess, which is the worst.  I can put some moisturizer on, but it doesn’t really cover up much.  Also, there really isn’t a good way to moisturize one’s scalp, lest you want to look like a 1930s movie star.  Even then, the amount of fall out is hard to contain.  The other area that is adversely affected is my legs, but at least I can cover those up.  No, the trail of dead skin that I leave around all winter is just demoralizing.  It is very hard finding winter clothing that doesn’t show all the dandruff (which is a misnomer, but you get the point) and I don’t look particularly good in light colors anyway.  I’m also very self-conscious and don’t like to be touched when I’m experiencing a particularly bad episode.  I know it isn’t contagious, but it just seems icky.  It’s my head and I don’t like it, can’t imagine a stranger would like it.  Also I am a bit obsessive in cleaning up after myself.  I hate, HATE that I leave a pile of my DNA everywhere I sit or lay my head down so I am constantly trying to dust it away before anyone notices.  I also check my collar and back in every mirror I can to see just how bad of a day it truly is.

Also being auto-immune conditions medications are effective for a time, but eventually they won’t be, or not at all.  I’ve run through quite a few ointments, shampoos, suspensions and creams and some have been good, some have been ok and sadly some have just made things worse.  There was one medication that did a great job unfortunately it made me short of breath.  While having a flake-free scalp was awesome, breathing was deemed more important by my dermatologist.  Most of the time, I’ll stick with a medication if it takes away the itch.  It really is a bonus if it cuts down on the debris.  I have tried different hair styles too, but to no avail.  Short hair (practically shaved) long hair, regular haircuts all have gone for naught.

So each winter I try in vain to keep my face and scalp in presentable order, hide my legs that are covered in scabs.  By April, I literally am sick of my own skin and I’m ready for the humid days that for the most part, oddly enough, are much more comfortable for me.   I never thought I’d say it, but it’s not so much the heat as the humidity that really makes the summer good around here.


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