Andrea had always had perfect skin until a new type of shampoo gave her psoriasis. Her scalp deteriorated quickly and nothing her doctor gave her helped.
BY Andrea Leach 3 July, 2007
Andrea Leach, 26, is a receptionist for a catering company from Finchely in London.
“I have always had quite sensitive skin but I am not allergic to anything. If I use a really strong perfume or a heavily perfumed soap my skin can sometimes feel a bit itchy or go very slightly pink where I’ve used the perfume but nothing that doesn’t go away in about half an hour. ”
“But six months ago I used a new brand of shampoo which claimed to have a highlighting effect for blond hair. It was winter and my hair always goes a bit dull when there is no sun so I thought I’d try the new shampoo. Until that point I had never had any problem with shampoos I had used and I had used several different popular brands and was often changing brands and other than a bit of flaking on my scalp sometimes, I had never had any problems.”
“I used the blonde highlight activating shampoo and didn’t think anything of it. But a few hours later when I was out with friends my scalp began to itch. It got worse and worse as the evening went on and in the end I had to go home early as I felt I wanted to tear my hair out.”
“By the time I got home my scalp felt like it was on fire. It was burning and felt like acid had been put on my scalp. I jumped into the shower and ran freezing water over my head to try and cool down the burning sensation. I was in complete agony. Even by this stage I didn’t make the link between the shampoo I had used and what was happening to my scalp. I just couldn’t believe that a simple shampoo from Boots could cause me so much pain.”
“I wrapped my head in a cold wet towel, took several painkillers and tried to go to sleep. The next morning I looked in the mirror and was horrified to see that I had a bright red alice band of skin around my hair line, it looked like a really bad burn. It was only then that I thought about the shampoo I had used the day before and realised that it must have been that which caused the reaction. I read the instructions and the label on the shampoo and it didn’t say anything about being not suitable for sensitive skin or even that I should patch test it.”
“During the day my bright red scalp began itching like mad. I didn’t feel as though I could go to work I was in so much discomfort so I took the day off sick. All day my scalp throbbed and felt very sore and itchy.”
“The next day the redness had not gone down but the burning sensation had subsided so I felt I had to go into work. I felt very self conscious and I could feel people looking at me. Luckily I have a fringe and so I was able to cover the worst of the redness, but my face was generally quite puffy as it was still in shock from the reaction. I told my friend at work about it and showed her my hairline and she was horrified and said I should sue the company. She made me take a picture of it in case I decided to take any action. But all I wanted was the redness to go away.”
“But then there was the flaking and scaling of the skin that came after the burning had stopped. As the redness began to heal, the skin started cracking into large plaques and then coming off in huge flakes, like the worst dandruff you have ever seen. The flakes covered my clothes and it went on for weeks. After a week I couldn’t bare it any longer and made an appointment to see a dermatologist as I wanted to know what had happened and how to avoid it happening again. I was told that I had got psoriasis of the scalp, probably triggered by the allergic reaction I’d had to the shampoo. I was told that the condition had no cure and that there was very little available in terms of treatments for use on the scalp as most treatments were gooey tar-based products only meant for use on the skin.”
“I went home feeling very depressed, I had not been expecting to hear I now had a permanent skin condition as the result of using a simple shampoo. But instead of getting down in the dumps I decided to find out as much as I could about psoriasis on the internet and it was then that I came across the Oregon Grape Root hair care range, which is a natural shampoo, conditioner and scalp spray all containing a plant extract which has been shown in studies treat psoriasis. I was delighted as the dermatologist had told me that were was nothing for scalp psoriasis and that the best I could do was just try and avoid heavily perfumed shampoos. Not only were the Oregon product medicated specifically for psoriasis, none of them contained any chemicals and were completely natural because as the website said in their information magazine on psoriasis, harsh foaming chemicals and heavy scents in most hair care products made psoriasis worse. I entirely believed them after what I had just been through and I felt I didn’t want to put any more chemicals on my scalp ever again.”
“My scalp doesn’t itch at all and I have not had any flakes for almost six months now, where as before I’d get a flaky scalp dry scalp quite often. I’ve even started using an Oregon body wash and moisturising cream too, as I’ve realised from reading information on their website and others that most soaps, shower gels and moisturisers have a lot of chemicals and perfume in too and I’m sure it’s these chemicals that triggered my scalp psoriasis in the first place, so the last thing I need is to start getting it on my body too.”