How I am dealing with pityriasis rosea – symptoms, experience, and remedy/solution

Update: 5/10/15 if you’re here to see what ended up working for me, see my latest post on how I finally got rid of this via my doctor my doctor prescribing me Prednisone after all of which the things I tried mentioned in this old post failed. 

Old post:

 I am on a roll here, I haven’t post this much since I first started this blog more than 5 years ago. I first discovered that I had pityriasis rosea about 2 weeks ago.  I started getting these random red itchy bumps all over my pelvic area. I was itching like a mofo and my boyfriend thought it must have been mosquito or flea bites from my dogs. But I had just gotten my fur kids groomed and they were regular on their flea medication, and also they were indoor dogs as they rarely spent more than a couple of hours outdoors so it couldn’t have been them.  I even changed my sheets a couple of times because I thought it was bed bugs, but it didn’t make any sense because my boyfriend had no symptoms of bug bites.  After a week and half of suffering, I finally made a doctor’s appointment and within 24 hours, I was able to see my general doctor for some answers.
The Diagnosis

As soon as I lifted my shirt up, my doctor cracked a smiled and immediately diagnosed me.  Apparently, this is very common, especially amongst women between 10-36yrs of age.  My appointment was so quick, I was dismissed by my doctor within 5 mins of her walking into the exam room, and she practically told me to suck it up for the next 2-8 weeks because it will go away on it’s own.

Needless to say, I was a little pissed about the diagnosis and the lack of treatment.

What is Pityriasis Rosea

Here are a few common things I found out about this disease:

  1. Pityriasis rosea is not contagious – those around you won’t get it, so yes you can go to work and pretend everything is normal.
  2. It is a type of skin condition that no one knows the cause, and you might or might not itch – but if you do, in the words of another anonymous sufferer that shared on another forum, you’ll itch so bad that you’re not sure whether if you “want to slice your skin off or drive into a bus”.  As I am typing this, I am itching.
  3. PR is stress related.  The more stressed you are, the worse the flare up.
  4. Not a lot of research has been conducted on the origin of this skin condition – meaning no one really cared enough to find out what causes it, and how to get rid of it.
  5. An experience that will last on average 6-8 weeks, sometimes longer (rarely shorter), and you might or might not get it again, but most people have immunity towards it after they get it.
  6. Most of the suffers I read online were females – even though statistics say it was split pretty much down the middle between the genders with a little bit more female sufferers.
  7. It’s related to a type of herpes (not the genital kind, don’t worry).
  8. It isn’t caused by the flu shot.

The Experience

Right after my diagnosis, I immediately followed my doctor’s advice and got some hydrocortisone cream, Cetaphil body wash + lotion, and allergy medication like Zyrtec and Benedryl.  A week into using these things, none of them worked.  So I went back to the internet and did some more research.  After a couple hours of reading, I have come to the conclusion that every person’s experience with PR is different, and their remedy/solutions are just as different as their experience.  Nevertheless, I found that most of the people that put forth the effort to share their experiences with PR are those who are suffering the most (i.e. the people that are suffering from some serious itchiness but can’t stop it), and I am one of those.  Here is a photo of the right side of my body around the torso area.  As you can see, these are pretty fresh still (as I am writing this, I am about 3 weeks into PR).

The Remedy/Solution

As with most people who are suffering PR, they want to find out what really helps with the itching, and how to expedite this experience and minimize the suffering.  I for one, have started doing a couple of things base on my research online.  I’ve started TANNING, and it’s funny because I never thought I would go into a tanning bed, EVER.  I am so pale, I have an intense fear of tanning due to the fact that it can 1) cause cancer, 2) expedite the aging process, and most importantly 3) give you wrinkles.  I had to set my fear of tanning aside because apparently, tanning helps a lot with expediting the process of recovery.  I am not sure if its the UVA or UVB rays that would help it, but I am not the first to use tanning as a solution.   To make it easier, I found a place really close to my work, and got their one-month unlimited tanning package. Today was my second session – the first day I did 5 mins on the bed, and today I did 7 mins.  I plan on going back in about 2 days and keep the dosage low at about 5-8mins depending how I am feeling.  So far, I haven’t felt the difference in how I am itching, but I do notice my patches are healing faster – so I think it is doing something for the speed of this experience.

Another thing I read on the internet that had helped a lot of people with PR is the usage of Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo as a body wash.  I had originally followed my doctor’s orders with the usage of Dove soap bar and Cetaphil body wash after my diagnosis, but they didn’t work.  So tonight, I decided to try Head & Shoulders.  I pretty much lathered myself from head to toe with this stuff.  Since most people recommended NOT to take hot showers (and I love a hot shower), I couldn’t do cold showers, so I pretty much used the temperature I am use to, but the only difference is crank down the temp as I am about to get out to cool down my body. Right after the shower – I felt very good.  No itching, and I felt very refreshed (it also helped that the shampoo smelled fantastic in comparison to the Cetaphil body wash I was using).  But a couple of hours later, I had a little bit of itch returning.  I also applied the Cortizone lotion all over my body immediately after the shower.  Luckily, my boyfriend had some acetonide cream around (prescription only) and they seem to have some effect on reducing the level of the itchiness.


The Remedy: Acetonide Cream, Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength, and Cortizone-10 Intense Healing Lotion


One of the solutionsI had read on the internet for pityriasis rosea was tanning beds. I went about 5-8mins 4 times a week.


Right now, I am only about three weeks into pityriasis rosea, I have a feeling I still have another week or two to go before my body will start to kick it for good – but I will try to post my progress in a couple of days after using the Head and Shoulders and Cortizone-10 stuff + tanning.

I hope my insight and experience with PR will help others who are also suffering from this same condition.  I would also love for others who are currently experiencing (or experienced) PR to share their experiences here with me and fellow sufferers, especially providing insight and solutions that helped with alleviating their symptoms.

13 thoughts on “How I am dealing with pityriasis rosea – symptoms, experience, and remedy/solution

  1. I am suffering from PR and I have been in week 7. It’s getting worst. They die down and then they rise up again. It’s 5am right now and I can’t sleep because of itchiness. 😔
    I have tried everything except for tanning and nothing seems to work.
    I am a brown person, and let me know what tanning helps without me looking ugly?

  2. I can’t believe how many people actually get this yet there’s still no known cause and little information. I’m basically diagnosing myself bc I can tell it’s not ringworm as I’ve only had one of those patches show up on my skin in a week since it appeared. Thanks for posting your itch relief story bc I’m about to lose my mind. I’m also brown so won’t be tanning anytime soon, but will try the other resources, thanks!

  3. Never ignore a person who cares for you Because someday you’ll realize You’ve lost a diamond, While you were busy collecting stones.

  4. I developed this skin condition. I took online advice and used Head and Shoulders shampoo as my body wash. In 3-4 weeks it was gone. when I started my regular Dove body wash it came back again. Don’t know if Dove is causing my problem.

  5. I have PR and its driving me crazy most specially at night. I cant sleep and i cant help but to scratch. I am afraid that Head n Shoulder would cause burning. Do you feel any experience like that before?

  6. I have been using 100% aloe Vera gel and it works great. I put it on my rash in the morning and at night, and I have very little itching.

  7. I know a lot of people arent into it, but smoking weed DEF helps with the itching. It takes your mind off of your body and allows you to have some fun which has been helping me a lot. Im about to go try tanning and I pray it works. Diaper rash cream at night also seems to help but it will kind of mess up your bed sheets lol the most important factor ive found is just not worrying so much about it. Just know it primarily only sucks to look at but other than that this conditions seems to be harmless. Keep living your life and it will help!

  8. I SERIOUSLY don’t believe it is caused by stress …. I am NOT ever stressed I have such a stress free life and have nothing to stress about and I broke out 3 weeks ago with this infection.

    I have no stress in my work like , personal life, family life … so I think that’s a bogus conclusion that doctors come to

  9. My pityriasis rosea has been with me for 7 weeks. After a nightmare of scaly red itchiness (diagnosed by a dermalogist) it was finally clearing up beautifully, and was almost gone. I tried everything: sun seemed to work best, aloe gel really good too, head and shoulders… so-so, coconut oil felt good but not convinced it worked, eating raw garlic – not convinced, L-lysine – not convinced.

    However, after a bout of chronic stress (demanding work issues, pet injured, family member being in an accident) it’s really, really flaring up again. Horrors. Those raised itchy red patches are cropping up everywhere where I had the rash before. I can only hope it’s the last dramatic gasp (I live in hope). Yet, I do think stress is a trigger factor in my PR.

  10. Hi, I am a little late to the party here.
    This is the only site where real peaple talk about PR. I can’t find any other blog or site about this ridiculous Skin rash. Why nobody talk about it, Why the Drs says is a very common skin condition, really ?
    I’m 50 year old Woman, I developed Pityriasis Rosea 3 weeks ago, My dermatologist said ” Oh don’t worry this is very common” I can’t sleep because the itchiness is horrible, Aloe Vera didn’t work, neither Cortizone. Caladryl is the only thing that calm my itchy skin.
    The Herald is in my leg, but the real rash is in my upper body and neck, a few rashes in my shin ( not happy about it because my friends believe is contagious.
    A stress related , maybe. But overall I am Healthy.

    I wish you all the best, Smile you wiil be Ok !

  11. I, like everyone here, was just diagnosed 1 week ago. My first outbreak of the Harold Patch was on my neck and I (like so many here) thought it was a bug bite…then about 2 weeks later I woke with what looked like measles. This itches worse than poison ivy! My doctor gave me a steroid/benadryl shot and it helped but did not take care of it. I have continued to break out and my stomach, back, underarms and neck are covered, it seems to be traveling down to my thighs. I have been to a tanning bed and I am taking L Lysine, an oral antihistamine and covering myself in calamine lotion. I am miserable!! If anyone has any advice I would love to here it!

  12. I started with the herald patch & had that for a few weeks then another came on my body which was followed by a wide spread rash. These were raised red bumps with scaling/dryness around the edges. It was not pleasant to look at & got me down quite abit! I rang the drs who prescribed me a body shampoo to use for 5 days which did nothing, i then bought hydrocortizone cream however this was only sold in a tiny tube & so only got a couple uses out of it & also did nothing maybe stopped the itching slightly. I have been taking antihistamines at the same time. I asked my pharmacist friend what he recommended, he said E45 cream which i put on morning & night. However after reading this blog & seeing UVB/light therapy as an option i thought i would try sunbeds, i know they are UVA but was worth a try. Oh my god, UVA/light therapy is the ticket! After 3 sessions so far the red spots have gone Down in redness & seem to slowly be disappearing!!! I would recommend this but only to get rid of the rash aswell as using E45 cream to moisturise & stop the itching.

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