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Highlighting Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris

Over the last couple of years, with the increase awareness of skin cancer, more and more individuals are diligent in having all skin rashes, growth, or other infractions checked out by their doctors or dermatologist. In doing so, more skin aliments are caught early on and treatments made available.


Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris is a rare skin disorder; sometimes it is confused with another common skin aliment, psoriasis. However, Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris is a group of red, scaly patches that are dry and flaky. The rash has an orange-red color, the ailment then spreads downward throughout the body, as seen in the picture above. Eventually, the palms of your hand or soles of your feet become thicken and yellow. Once this happens the skin begins to crack. Which can make it painful for an individual to use their hands or difficult for them to walk. Rough, dry plugs can also be felt within the rash. This is due to the fact that the hair follicles on your hands and feet have been plugged up by the rash. They are parts of the body that can totally be unaffected by the rashes. A persons nails may also be affected, and they can become discolored and hard also.

Who can get them?

Anyone can develop Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris. All races can be affected, and both men and women can be inflicted equally. It usually affects adults over the age or forty, but some children have developed it in the past.

What can cause them?

The exact cause of Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris is unknown. However, they are some cases of Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris that are inherited. If it is inherited, many times that individual will have continuous flare ups of Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris throughout his or her lifetime.

How does it happen?

Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris starts out as a single patch, but within a couple of weeks, more patches appear and join together to form larger patches. Over the next couple of weeks the patches begin to spread downward and can cover most of the body. The soles of your feet and palms of your hands then become yellowish and hard. Sometimes minor burn rashes or an infection can trigger these.

Where do they appear?

Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris starts out on the head, neck, and upper chest area. It then spreads and can cover the body. They are some cases, in which they only appear on the elbows and the knees.

What are the symptoms?

Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris begins as a single patch and then multiple patches appear and join together. It will then move down the individual’s body, the patches can be itchy and flaky. Ultimately, it will begin to affect the palms of the hands and sole of the feet. They will become hard and yellowish in color, they will begin to crack and become painful. In some cases, the individual may experience some hair loss. This rare skin aliment can clear up after some time; however it could be an uncomfortable time for the individual inflicted. It could take as long as one to three years for an individual to fully recover from this skin disorder.

How can it be diagnosed?

A doctor or dermatologist can diagnosis Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris by doing a skin biopsy of the inflicted area, this involves scrapping off a piece of the skin and examining in it under the microscope.

What treatments are available?

Treatment of this skin aliment can be difficult at times, since you are dealing with multiple symptoms.

Topical corticosteroids are used to treat the rashes, and reduce the itching and redness. Emollients are used to reduce the dryness on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands. This also helps to make those areas less stiff, and cumbersome.

In some cases, doctors can prescribe retinoid type medications or methotrexate tablets. However, these are strong medications, and they could have many side effects.

Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris can look very serious to the individual inflicted with this skin aliment. It is always recommended that you visit a doctor and have it looked at. The earlier the treatment, the more likely you will be able to prevent long term serious damage.

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