NOTE: This article references other products which are available on our corporate site Nature Pure Life.
My husband said I needed to write a blog about Pityriasis Rosea, Lichen Planus, Psoriasis, Eczema, and our company, Nature Pure Life. I will give insights on what we do, how we started, and what we have learned about these diseases over the past 4 years.
We were happily married, house, mortgage, almost grown kids, the works. One day my husband threw up. Not something he was in the habit of doing, we thought food had disagreed with him, maybe a stomach bug.. He had recently gone through two surgeries to replace a hip. The first one was not successful. We already had our hands full of bills and such. When the vomiting continued, we went to the doctor. Maybe an ulcer? When he started being dizzy, an ENT doc was thrown into the mix. . Antibiotics- maybe an ear infection? Nope. Maybe Meniere's disease (inner ear, causes dizziness). Nope. A gastroenterologist about 6 months in, asked whether there had been an MRI of the brain done during all this stuff. Nope. So, we went and did that, and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A month later he had surgery to remove it. Yes, he is doing great, in remission, thanks. For the last 4 months or so before the surgery neither of us worked. Mortgage was way behind. I don’t know what I was thinking, with the brain surgery, but I certainly was not thinking 6 months or so before he could walk more than 5 feet by himself.
We sold the house to a cash buyer 8 days before foreclosure. I was obviously not stressed or anything, because I found a cute little house. Cheap, that just needed a few repairs. With the little bit of equity we had from the sale, we bought this place. ½ acre, in the country, about 4 miles from our last place, so still in the same volunteer fire department coverage area- my husband is a volunteer. Everything was wonderful, until we actually started to move, at which point it dawned on me that the house was up on stilts- flood area, so 9 feet off the ground, and my husband couldn’t get out of bed without help, much less do stairs.
Plan B: An acquaintance had an 80’s travel trailer he was selling for 500.00. That gives you an idea of how luxurious the thing was. However, it was affordable, ceiling did not leak, and he said the AC worked. Summer in the Houston, Texas area is a bit warm. He delivered it. My son, the electrical engineer wired a plug in for it, and plugged it in, immediately blowing the electrical system, so much for AC. We cut a hole in the side of it, stuck a window unit AC in, and plugged that in to the house system. The RV was only 20 feet long, but had everything we needed- the bathroom was right next to the sleeping area, and had a shelf at the back of the tub- long side. Tub is actually a bit overstating. It was about three feet long and a foot deep. The shelf was perfect though, it allowed my husband to sit and shower.
Sometime soon after we moved in, I bought a new kind of antiperspirant. I put it on for the first time, and within minutes, I had a large- about 6 inch round- red itchy area under both arms. Benedryl time. An allergic reaction, obviously. I scrubbed the area with lots of soapy water, and then applied my old antiperspirant. Agony!!! It just made it worse. Scrubbed again. Applied baby powder. Bought a hypoallergenic, non fragranced all natural antiperspirant. Can’t be out in summer Texas without something, right? OUCH!!!! Scrubbed again. More baby powder. Figured it would clear up in a few days, and I would just have to live with myself till then.
It did not go away. It did turn less red. A few days later it was a bit better, and I was able to put antiperspirant on. Then a few days after that, I noticed a rash on my inner arms, both sides. It looked like ringworm, we have always had animals, so we have experienced it before. I bought some antifungal cream. The rash spread. It had enveloped my trunk and was working its was down when I finally- month 5 or so- went to the doctor. It itched, but not furiously, just a dull itch, enough to bother me, but not enough to tear my skin off. I told him I was treating for ringworm, and that it had been about 5 months. He agreed, and gave me some oral antifungal. Month 9 I decided to go to a dermatologist. I was rash covered from neck to ankles, ears, scalp, inside my mouth, but not on my face, hands or feet.
It was one of those offices that had several doctors. The one my appointment was with walked in and took a look at my arm. Asked where the rash was, I explained. She asked me to put on a gown so she could look. She looked. Asked me whether she could show her colleagues. I said sure. They all 4 came in. Asked me to take the gown off, so they could see the extent. I did so. 4 doctors, staring at the lumpy rash ridden body of a mid 50’s woman in the middle of a room, arms raised to shoulder level, doing a slow pirouette…. Not a pretty picture. My rash never went away in any area. From the beginning, it was little raised bumps that spread out into rings that just kept on growing larger and larger, with new rash bumps popping up inside the rings, and then other new bumps, so the rings were of various sizes, from dime sized to torso sized by then, overlapping each other haphazardly. They asked how it had started, I told them about the allergic reaction, and they said this was not an allergy. So, basically, dismissed that out of hand. Doctors are mostly strange people. One of them said, “well, I don’t think it is cancer, but we will do a biopsy to be sure”. My husband was sitting on one side of the room. Everyone left. A tech came in, and got a scraping of a couple of the rings. Doctor came back, told me I could get dressed, and they would have results in about a week.
Needless to say, my husband was going stark raving. He had recently finished radiation for his brain cancer, and was still wobbly on his feet, and here was a doctor saying that she didn’t THINK I had cancer. It was a long week. I kept telling him it was not cancer, it didn’t look like it, didn’t feel like it, all I had was a rash. About a week later, we got a phone call- not even a call to make an appointment, just a call to tell me results were in, and I had pityriasis rosea. I said, “GREAT, what do I do to make it go away?”. The doctor said that it was unusual to have it for so long, it usually lasts from 6 to 12 weeks and goes away by itself. She said she would call in a prescription for some steroid cream, and it would probably go away “after a while”.
Google is my friend. I started investigating, reading, joined forums. Tried everything out there that people had said might have helped them. Dandruff shampoo dried up the rash, but didn’t make any part of it go away, just dried my skin, which made it itchier. I worked outdoors, so tanning was an everyday thing, if it helped I wouldn’t have had PR for more than 5 minutes. Tea tree oil, neem, black soap, vitamin C and garlic, diets, cleansing, juicing, I stopped short of bleach baths. Nothing took away even a little bit of the rash. I studied ayurvedic medicine, went to a Chinese herbalist. They both said they had the answer, but not for me, the rash just kept going. I tried oatmeal baths, but other than clogging the plumbing, nothing happened.
I had been using aloe for the itch, it helped a little bit. I added some coconut oil, and the rash was very grateful. It calmed the itch, but did not affect the rash itself. My skin around the rash was not as dry, which I thought was a good thing. In my reading, I understood that doctors do not even KNOW whether PR is viral, bacterial or fungal, but odds are viral, because antibiotics and anti fungals don’t do anything for it. Since the coconut oil helped, I read about the skin benefits of various oils. Essential oils are a big thing, but I didn’t have a lot of money. I did have a bunch of different “cooking oils”. Everybody knows about olive oil, healthy for you, for your hair, for your face, so I started with that. It soothed even more, in a mix with the aloe and coconut. I added corn, then canola- why not? They have great antiseptic and antibacterial properties. The rash was still there, and going strong, but not as itchy and red. I added more stuff. Made magic marker circles on my skin so I would know what formula was where, just hoping that something would get rid of the itch so I could sleep through the night. One day I woke up and saw a bright red area in one of the circles- great, I had obviously given myself some sort of infection. I was too embarrassed to go to the emergency room, so I called our family doctor. He said come in day after tomorrow, if it gets worse go to the emergency room. By day after tomorrow, the circle was rash free! Since I am not at all impulsive, I put the same formula on another part of the rash. This was month 14, by the way. 5 days, rash was gone. Not drying up, not fading away, just plain gone. My skin was smooth. Where the rash circles had been, I had some discoloration, just like people do when it goes away by itself. That is not scarring, BTW, it is just something called hyperpigmentation, and it fades within weeks. If it bothers you, it can be covered with any high pigment foundation, like Derma Blend, which is made to cover varicose veins and vitiligo.
I had my husband help me slather the formula all over, and 5 days later, I was all rash free. I went on the forums and told people I had found something that worked for me. A few people asked me to send them some, so I bought little flip top plastic containers at WalMart, and shipped them out. Everyone said it worked for them too- 5 days. Too cool! The formula was not exactly very nice, it was all oils, so very greasy and when you put it on, the oils would run everywhere.
I sacrificed my kitchen blender, and went back to Google. What could I add to make it creamier? Blending the oils did not help, I thought that adding air would do it- like whipped cream? Nope. We tried agar, that just made lumps. Flour? It was gritty. I didn’t want to put anything in that was not all natural, because that might affect the formula. We found modified food starch, and that kinda gelled it, but it was not a very nice consistency. I like bees, I liked the stuff written about royal jelly and the properties of that, but it was way expensive. At a local farmer’s market, they had honey and beeswax. I thought I could try the beeswax, and, sure enough, that worked very well. I sent out some samples. The formula still worked. We have some hiccups during the summer, if the cream gets too hot, the wax separates out, but we don’t want to go to something that is not natural just to hold the formula together.
We started selling on eBay in December of 2016, and Amazon and Etsy followed in March of 2017. My dearly beloved built two websites soon after that. We made some Facebook pages. I was whipping up a 48 ounce blender full once a week in the beginning. We celebrated when we had to go to a gallon a week. Celebrated again at 5 gallons a week. We ship PrrEze to all corners of the world, sometimes I wish I could go with the jars! Each jar you get is actually made by us, labeled by us, packed by us, and shipped by us. Each shipping insert has a personal thank you, and is signed by us.
We are not getting rich, but we know there will be enough money to pay the mortgage and the electric bill, and I get to stay with my husband all day!
We have the world’s largest database of PR sufferers, and we have found out some interesting stuff. Come back and read some of our insights.
With our database of PR sufferers, we decided to do some investigating. We are not scientists by any means. My background is theater, retail and finance, then Internet- both sales and owning an ISP with my dearly beloved. His background is retail, finance and Internet- owning the ISP and building web sites. Fortunately, we do not consider ourselves stupid people, and common sense says that if you have the world’s largest database of something, you ought to try to use it. We sent out a questionnaire to over 1100 people. 56 people were kind enough to take the time to answer over 50 questions. We did not use the answers from people who had not been biopsied and then diagnosed. We have found that about 40 percent of people who self diagnose are wrong. About 30 percent of people diagnosed by a general practitioner or emergency care physician without a biopsy are misdiagnosed. About 15 percent of people diagnosed by a dermatologist without a biopsy are misdiagnosed.
Some people have said that PR may be stress induced. That is still a possibility- at least half of the replies said stuff like moving, relationship problems, final exams, medical issues with self or loved one, recent loss of a loved one, loss of a job, etc. Stuff that certainly causes stress. So that is still on the table.
We are pretty sure that cats are not causative- some people were allergic, and avoided anything/anywhere having to do with cats for years. Dogs, same thing. Probably not pest borne- mosquito or flea or such, because some people had been no place but home in months before, and had no sign of flea infestation, or it was the wrong season for mosquitoes. We found no correlation with seasons- our sales are pretty steady all year long. Only about half of the replies said that they had noticed any cold or flu like symptoms before the herald patch. I never had a herald patch, unless you consider the allergic reaction. Many others also said they did not have/did not notice a herald patch. Not everyone had itching. Some people had mild itching- enough to make you uncomfortable and sleepless, but not enough to tear your skin off. Some people reported intense itching.
Many people- about 2/3 never got large rings or rash like I did. Most people had rash disappear from one area to pop up somewhere else on their body. About one out of 10 reported rash on their face, hands or feet. Only two reported rash inside their mouths like I had.
We are pretty sure that PR is systemic- once you get it, it seems to travel throughout your body, and pop up in areas that are not adjacent to other rash- you could have it on an arm, and all of a sudden it is on a leg, with nothing in between.
We are pretty sure that there is some form of transmission that could be called contagious…. When we send of 10 jars of cream to New York City in a week, it is not an “ah ha!” moment, because of the huge population. However, when we send off 10 jars in a week to Slidell, Louisiana, we are pretty sure there is a way that it transmits. You have never heard or Slidell, LA? Probably because it is a tiny town, with not very many people. The last names were not the same, so not one family. Still, it is something that may be investigated at some point. I know that my husband and children (2) did not get PR. Certainly my husband was stressed, and had a very weak immune system at the time.
Some doctors claim that it may be related to one of the Herpes viruses. They do not know which one, just that it may be. Or perhaps to chicken pox. We found no correlation in our group. Most had been immunized against chicken pox, but some were from countries where that is not done, and had never had it. Many had herpes of one sort or another- cold sores, mostly, but some, like me, had no form that we know about. Some doctors claim that it is related to hepatitis. Again, we found no correlation.
Except for the fact that we believe there is SOME form of transmission between people, we found more “no, it is not” than “ah ha”.
EVERYONE said that heat, hot showers or baths made them more itchy and miserable.
Tune in next time for more of what we found out!
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