“You’re just going to have to learn to live with those rashes. It’s a lifelong battle and you have to accept it.”

This seems to be the typical response you’ve probably heard from at least one dermatologist after asking anything from:

… “why did this happen to me?” to…

… “is there anything that I can do or try that could help?”

I get it… they don’t want to give patients false hope.

But the response doesn’t come across as supportive.

If anything, it feels cold and hope-sucking.

It’s a sign of defeat.

And you know who suffers the worst from this attitude?

YOU.

Sad woman frustrated about skin rashes

I have to commend people in our community because, like you, I was motivated to try and do nearly anything to get relief. Being unable to sleep from non-stop itching or even doing some very basic daily activities (like washing your hands, wearing clothing or walking) without pain are pretty darn good motivators.

But the reality is that the entire system is set up for you to fail (or end up taking a lifelong biologic drug).

Boxes full of products and medications (that don’t work) echo the increasing frustration you feel that maybe the dermatologist is right… “maybe I’ve just got to suffer.”

Reactions to medications creep in and begin limiting your options. And sometimes medicines can trigger the skin issues for those with psoriasis too!

Stares and unsupportive (ahem… rude) comments make you want to withdraw from anything remotely social.

And eventually, you start to feel like the doctor might be right.

That to get through the day, you’ve just got to accept it all as one big ball of suffering that backs you into a corner.

Ray of sunlight and hope

#RealTalk About Hope & Your Skin Rashes

Losing hope is one of the worst things that can happen to you.

I know this not just from working with clients in my clinic, but from personal experience.

As my rashes worsened, people whom I’d just met would give a second thought to shaking my inflamed, rashed hand.

They’d try to tactfully point out that I must be washing my hands too much or using the wrong type of lotion.

People didn’t want to eat food I’d made.

Or they’d just stare endlessly at my rashes unsure of what to say.

To be fair, I don’t even think that my personal experiences were that bad compared to others whom I’ve worked with or read their stories in online group forums.

Skin rashes can inflict so much trauma that it becomes difficult after a certain point to feel safe and settled. At any moment, your skin could flare OR an insensitive comment can leave you feeling like the world is not your friend.

Skin rashess are too much for this woman to bear

And after a certain point, it can all feel like too much to bear.

Take the study published in JAMA Dermatology in December 2018 — demonstrating a 36% increased risk of suicide attempts in those with eczema. (1) Even more alarming — 1 in 8 had seen their doctor because of their eczema rashes in the month before death. (2)

Psoriasis carries a similar increased risk of suicide (20%) especially more pronounced the younger you are. (3,4) One study looking at vitiligo patients “reported in 57% of patients, social phobia in 68%, and suicidal ideation in 28%.” (5)

Yet, none of these stats surprised me and here’s why…

It’s pretty common to see at least one post every week in online groups for people with skin rashes sharing that they’re on the brink of ending it all.

Across the board, skin conditions that we focus on here at Skinterrupt and the Healthy Skin Show are all associated with a significant decrease in quality of life.

If this isn’t a clear signal that something has to change, then I don’t know what is.

We can and must do better.

8 Reasons Why Conventional Dermatology Has Failed You

Over the past year, I've heard horror story after horror story from people in our community who feel like their dermatologist just doesn't care.

Portrait of a sad teenage girl with leaves in her hands.

Here are some of the most common complaints and reasons why so many dermatologists are failing…

  1. There's a general lack of empathy for patients suffering from chronic skin rashes.
  2. An over-reliance on topical steroid creams to address almost any sort of rash issues.
  3. There is a significant failure in teaching patients how to safely use topical steroids to avoid Red Skin Syndrome.
  4. Refusal to connect what's going on on your skin to any other system in your body.
  5. No interest in looking at labs (and often refusing to run them) nor offering to do a biopsy (the number of misdiagnosed clients I've worked with is pretty shocking).
  6. When steroid creams don't work, the next thing offered is a biologic medication that comes with its own serious potential side effects and hefty price tag.
  7. High percentage of patients who end up suffering from skin rashes so much that they lose hope and consider and/or commit suicide.
  8. There's a lot of money passing hands from Big Pharma to Dermatologists. In 2014, it was to the tune of over $34 Million. (6)

Let’s Be Clear…

I do not think that all dermatologists are doing a bad job.

(There are more forward-thinking and progressive dermatologists out there as evidenced by their many interviews on the Healthy Skin Show.)

And while we could probably all agree that the medical system as we know it is broken, but the level of suffering that many are experiencing is unacceptable.

Because living with skin rashes can be pure hell.

Woman shouting using loudspeaker on mountain

I’m here to loudly say that something needs to change.

Not in ten years (thanks to the advent of some miracle drug).

Now.

The attitude and approach that’s taken is just as much a part of the problem.

I get that it would be easy for me to say some very inflammatory remarks and throw conventional dermatology under the bus.

It’s failed me as it has to so many of YOU.

At the end of the day, the quality of life and care for people in this skin rash boat isn’t getting better.

My words aren’t an indictment… but instead, an invitation to the doctors out there (hopefully reading this).

Your patients need you.

If you’re not sure exactly HOW you can do better, let’s figure that out together.

There’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The schooling and clinical experience you have is invaluable.

And so many are suffering.

I realize that your enthusiasm has possibly waned as you simply don’t know what else to do beyond steroid creams (and information shared with you by drug companies).

Unless you’ve got lots of free time (which I know isn’t often the case), you may not even be aware of the many studies out there that could help your patients.

But there are other things that your patients can do and try beyond the run-of-the-mill suggestions that could be a game changer for them.

Because there’s so much more to skin rashes than just what’s going on at the surface.

And For The Record…

This isn’t about instilling false hope.

Complicated road

Addressing (and even working to reverse) chronic skin rashes can be a complicated road.

When you feel like you’ve run out of options (from a conventional standpoint), I’d argue that it’s not a dead end that you face.

But in fact an opportunity to look at the problem in front of you from a different perspective.

To dig deeper into the patient’s health history.

To connect dots by taking other “random” non-skin rash symptoms into account.

Because otherwise, all that’s being done is managing inflammation and symptoms which leaves the patients suffering.

There’s so much we still don’t know about how to address rashed skin, but we’ve got to try. Every adult, child, and baby living with these conditions dreams of never having to worry about their skin again so they can live a more normal life. Free of shame, pain, itchiness and all the other symptoms that come with it.

Will you join us to find a better way forward?

REFERENCES

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2717582
  2. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/11/e023776
  3. https://www.healio.com/dermatology/psoriasis/news/online/%7B86b302ac-984e-4986-99c2-917f6c48b9c8%7D/suicide-20-more-likely-among-patients-with-psoriasis
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dth.12771
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352647517300965
  6. http://time.com/4519504/dermatologists-skin-pharmaceutical-companies/

How conventional dermatology has failed you


Jennifer Fugo

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.


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