I'm 52 years old and started breaking out in my early 20's, and I'm still breaking out. Have seen dozens of dermatologists and tried every medicine available (including 2 regimens of Accutane) but nothing ever worked. Had to take Prednisone (a corticosteroid) for a non-skin related problem and noticed that it cleared up my zits. Told the doc this and he just shrugged. This past year, my fingernails started changing. They got white spots, bubbles, and looked corroded. Went to a new dermatologist, and he said it was psoriasis. I'd never read about psoriasis, but when I did, I discovered that there are several varieties, and one of them is pustular (having puss, like acne). Desoximetasone Gel (a corticosteroid) was prescribed for my fingernails, and I also started putting it on my zits. It has healed every single one of them and stopped them from turning into monstrous blemishes and scars! So I believe that I never did have acne, it was always psoriasis and not one doctor in 30 years properly diagnosed it! My face is littered with icepick scars and craters, all because I couldn't find a doctor who was smart enough to recognize what I really had.
LOL, see what I mean...doctors are so full of "knowledge" ;-)
However, I noticed that you improved while taking internal Prednisone and external Dexamethosone. I know some people's acne does improve through these drugs, for when I was much younger (11) hydrocortisone cream cleared my body acne too (while I used it). However I'm curious as to whether you've heard of NCCAH? It's otherwise known as Non-Classical Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia or Late-Onset Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (LOCCAH)? Also, are you a male or female?
Anyway, the reason I ask is that this is something that can be misdiagnosed in females as PCOS and sometimes never diagnosed in some men. I went through testing for this twice and both times I came out normal, so I'm just a PCOS gal. ;-) However I learned a lot about it and Prednisone and Dex are the drugs used internally to control the lack of cortisol in one's system. As a result, the hormonal imbalance that was caused by the lack of cortisol, balances and the acne and other symptoms disappear.
The fact that you cleared your acne (did it look and act like acne?) from this drug may prove that taking it on a permanent basis is what you need. In fact, I know of one acne sufferer who's dermatologist automatically prescribes low dose Dexamethosone BEFORE even thinking about giving them Spironolactone. Too bad I didn't have him as my derm, although mine was nice ;-) Anyway, it's just a thought...
I've never heard of NCCAH or LOCCAH, but I'll look them up and read about them. I'm female. What does PCOS stand for?
I don't know if I've had the cortisol tested in my blood, but when I had to do a 24-hour urine collection for a reason other than acne, the report showed an enormous amount of cortisol in my urine. The doctor said I must have been under a lot of stress the day that I collected the urine, and that was true -- I had spent most of that day arguing with my boyfriend. When you say that the lack of cortisol in one's system causes a hormonal imbalance, I'm wondering if you're just talking about adrenal hormones or all hormones?? I experienced complete ovarian failure (premature menopause) at the age of 32!! Do you think there's a relationship? And could my urine have been full of cortisol because my body couldn't retain it? I assumed my adrenals had manufactured excess cortisol because I was angry (since it's the fight or flight hormone).
My acne did/does not look or act like acne. I always noticed that nobody else's acne looked like mine. My zits were like skin ulcers with nodules and pus in them. But many of them just oozed clear liquid (which I assumed was oil). However, the oil seemed to eat away the edges, so the ulcers got bigger and bigger. Each one usually lasted months to years, with no sign of healing, and topical acne medicine just inflamed them and made them worse. Some of them itched, some of them had no pain, and some were painful.
My sister has taken oral Prednisone for almost 30 years due to a neuromuscular disease, and her hip broke when she was in her early 30's. Since then, she's broken many more bones due to the Prednisone ruining her bones. Even her spine has collapsed, and although she is only 50, she is now so bent over that she is facing the ground. So I would not take Prednisone on a long-term basis no matter what was the matter with me. Also, one of the side effects of Prednisone is acne, so I was surprised that it helped mine.
You mention Spironolactone. Isn't that a diuretic? I was prescribed that because I complained to the doc about having dark facial hair that grows out of my cheeks, chin, and upper lip. I thought I might have hirsuitism, but when tested for it, I was told I didn't have it. The Spironolactone seemed to help the hair disappear on my cheeks but made it multiply on my chin. It also dried out my forehead terribly. I quit taking it because I was getting cracks in my forehead and didn't like the extra hair on my chin. However, this also sounds like an adrenal problem, huh?
Thanks for your input! I will do some research on what you have mentioned.
I forgot to mention in my original post that the dermatologist who diagnosed my fingernail problem as psoriasis DID NOT diagnose my facial blemishes as psoriasis -- rather, I made the diagnosis (because the psoriasis medicine worked). This dermatologist prescribed acne medication for my face -- oral minocycline and clindamycin phosphate gel, neither of which helped. The gel made the blemishes red and inflamed. The antibiotics gave me a yeast infection within a week after starting them, which did not go away after I used OTC yeast medicine. So I went to my primary care physician about the yeast, and she said I would not be able to take long-term antibiotics because I would have a continual yeast infection. I have not returned to the dermatologist for my two-month follow-up visit (too much other stuff has been going on in my life), but when I do see him again, I will tell him what has transpired, and perhaps he'll say that I don't have psoriasis on my face.
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, Syndrome X, Syndrome O, Insulin Resistant Syndrome, etc Basically if they can't find a reason why you're having excess facial/body hair, acne, wieght problems, irregular - no cycles, cystic ovaries, etc you get thrown in here, like me ;-)
There's a variety of hormonal disorders and since symptoms are similar, some people get misdiagnosed. NCCAH/LOCCAH has similar symptoms to PCOS. When I was first tested 2 years ago, I had high levels of cortisol too in my urine. However they did a retest a few days later and everything was normal. Did you get a second test??? That isn't the only way to determine loccah though, they would actually run an ACTH stimulation test on you to see if you are deficient in one of several enzymes needed for cortisol synthesis. If one was deficient in one of these, then the body will keep trying to produce cortisol and as a result your other steriod hormones (testosterone, androgen,etc) will build up.
That's how one could essentially get acne, etc. You could also research hypercortisolism. Most of these have similar treatments with Spiro being the drug to use against excess hair (and acne). You 100% sure spiro caused the chin hair growth? Wow...that's just so unfortunate, but it is a possible side effect. Hmm...there's other treatments for that like Saw Palmetto, Vitex, Natural Progesterone Cream (NPC), or a Low Carb diet, but results vary.
The fact that you had complete ovarian failure is very interesting. Did they figure out why? One thought in my mind is due to the overproduction of hormones, but of course there could be other reasons. Do you have too much male hormones in your system? Do you make too little estrogen or progesterone? Do you have symptoms of a hormonal imbalance (could be anything)? I know that you said you were tested for hirsutism, but I've never heard of such a thing. I know that some will say that it's simply idiopathic, but if it doesn't "run in the family" and you've got it on places where only a male should it's NEVER normal! (grr...usually male doctors aren't as sensitive) Then again, has the facial hair appeared since you've become menopausal? If so then NPC is reported to still work wonders.
Also, I absolutely understand about not wanting to take prednisone. However that's why Dexamthasone is preferred and if you had loccah, you would do so, because your body NEEDS it. One of the symptoms of that would obviously be lack of energy and inability to handle stressful situations well, poor immune system, along the regular hormonal symptoms. Since it's LOCCAH and not CAH, usually they put you on the lowest possible dose needed to curb any possible problems, like what your sister had. However, I've read that not everyone has to take it forever. Sometimes once they've taken it a few years their bodies' are capable of producing cortisol naturally again.
Since you aren't fond of taking pred internally, I'm guessing you don't want to keep using the Dex gel permantly either. I know hydrocortosines are known to thin the skin and make it more sensitive. Have you done any research on diets for psoriasis? I was just trying to find a picture of the acne form of this (pustular, right?) and bumped into several sites touting diet solutions. Although, I'm sure it's very similar to what people on this board follow for acne and rosacea, you might want to look into that too.
Sorry that Spiro didn't work for you, maybe a lower dose would have helped. Then again, if acne isn't your problem you shouldn't use something more suited for it (yes it's also a diuretic). Yet, you're right though, it doesn't sound like you have "typical" acne, but some people get it more severe than others. Say, since psoriasis is considered an auto-immune disease, have you visited an allergist to see what might be your trigger? OK OK, I'll stop asking questions now ;-)
[This message has been edited by SweetJade1 (edited 05-11-2003).]
I'm absolutely intrigued by the things you bring up! I haven't yet had time to research NCCAH/LOCCAH and PCOS, but I'll try to do that soon so that I can try to catch up with your level of knowledge.
The dark facial hair started when I was 18 years old. My boyfriend back then found a hair growing under my chin (towards my neck), and when I pulled it out with tweezers, it just kept coming and coming and turned out to be about 2 inches long (it had been all folded up under my skin!). From that time on, I kept getting more and more dark coarse hair on my cheeks, chin, and upper lip. That first dark hair appeared in the months after I'd given birth to a baby, and shortly after I'd started taking birth control pills. I continued to take birth control pills until I was 32, at which time I stopped taking the BC pills because I wanted to have another baby. However, when I missed a period and went to the doc thinking I was pregnant, I was told instead that I had complete ovarian failure -- premature menopause. I've always wondered whether the menopause was caused by stopping the BC pills (or because I took them for 14 years straight) and if I had not stopped taking them, would the menopause not have happened? My periods were always regular when on the BC pills.
Then I was prescribed hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and medroxyprogesterone), and I took those hormones from age 32 until age 52. I stopped taking HRT when the news came out about how it's not good for us after all, but rather it causes more heart attacks, strokes, and cancer than was originally thought. Another reason I quit taking it was because it was making my ovaries hurt and causing pelvic congestion. Meantime, the dark hair has multiplied for 20 years and I either pull it or shave it.
As far as I know, I don't have cystic ovaries, but I was told I have a hydrosalpinx. About 10 years after I'd been in menopause, a GYN told me I should have a complete hysterectomy because "Your female organs are probably diseased and that's probably why you had premature menopause," but after reading about the problems that occur after hysterectomies, I decided to switch doctors.
I've never had an overweight problem -- just the opposite, it's hard for me to keep weight on. I've always been skinny -- sometimes to the point of looking anorexic.
The 24-hr urine test was ordered by an endocrinologist I was referred to because I developed osteoporosis (supposedly from the premature menopause, even though I was taking HRT). By the time the osteoporosis was discovered, I'd lost 50% of my bone density and I was in my early 40's. The endocrinologist said, "Your problem is in the gut." Even though I requested bone-rebuilding medication, he said he would not prescribe it until I was in my 50's. He sent me on my way saying there was no need to see me again until I was in my 50's. My primary care doc said I should see another specialist who wasn't so conservative, so she referred me to a rheumatologist who prescribed Fosamax for the osteoporosis. The rheumatologist also discovered that I had Hepatitis C, but she said it wasn't responsible for the bone loss.
Then I was referred to a gastroenterologist to follow up on the Hep C. Had a liver biopsy, etc. When I was 17 and pregnant, I was diagnosed with either hepatitis or mononucleosis (they didn't have a test to distinguish between the two back then, in 1968). After the Hep C was diagnosed 30 years later, the doc said I'd probably had it ever since that hep/mono diagnosis when I was 17. Can't take any Interferon for the Hep C because I have myasthenia gravis (the same autoimmune neuromuscular disease that both of my sisters have). The MG started a year after I had my baby (when I was 19 years old). I take Mestinon for the MG, but both of my sisters were prescribed prednisone, and both have broken bones because of it. Gee...my medical history sure is complicated, huh? I have mild MG and mild Hep C but severe osteoporosis. My sisters have severe MG and severe osteoporosis, but no Hep C. Neither of them has gone into menopause yet and they're both in their 50's. I also have IBS, severe sensoroneural hearing loss (which has been getting progressively worse), mild COPD, and frequent migraines.
Remind me what an ACTH stimulation test is. What does ACTH stand for? Acetylcholine something?
Since the doc said the spiro would help with the excess hair problem, I paid particular attention to how the problem reacted to the spiro and was dismayed by the increased hair on my chin. I've also had extremely dry skin ever since my early 20's, so having even drier skin from the spiro was bothersome and worrisome. I didn't want my skin to age prematurely.
I didn't know that Saw Palmetto, Vitex, or a Low Carb diet was recommended for excess hair. I noted that the medroxyprogesterone contributed to my migraines (I took that hormone for 10 days out of each month). I haven't tried the Natural Progesterone Cream.
They never figured out why I had the complete ovarian failure. One doctor looked it up during my office visit and said "Sometimes it can happen because you have an autoimmune disease [myasthenia]." Another doctor who had a Menopause special on PBS many years ago said that premature menopause can be caused by running out of eggs. And a shortage of eggs can be caused if your mother had a virus when she was pregnant with you. I asked my mother if she did, and she said she was very sick during her pregnancy with me.
None of the numerous GYNs I've seen over the years have remarked that I have too much male hormones in my system or too little estrogen or progesterone. The tests have shown that I have low estrogen and high levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), but supposedly that's normal once you go into menopause. I gathered that the ovaries don't produce much (if any) hormones after menopause. Most of the GYNs I've seen were women, including the one who said I should get a hysterectomy.
I asked my primary care physician about the dangers of using the cortisone gel. She said it would not cause the problems that systemic corticosteroids cause.
You said, "One of the symptoms of that would obviously be lack of energy and inability to handle stressful situations well, poor immune system, along with the regular hormonal symptoms." I have a huge lack of energy, which I've always attributed to the myasthenia that I've had for 30 years and (now that I know about it) the Hep C. I also have an increasingly low tolerance for handling stress. Since I have two autoimmune diseases (MG and psoriasis), I guess I've got a poor immune system, or rather an overactive one.
I figured I'd continue using the Dex gel until I see thin-skin problems as a result. I haven't done any research on diets for psoriasis, but I did read that the drier your skin is, the worse the psoriasis is, and my skin has been ultra-dry for 30 years. I'll look into the diet remedies.
I haven't seen an allergist since the psoriasis was diagnosed, but I did see an allergist about a horrid itchy rash that I've been periodically getting on my left ear for about 20 years, and he wasn't able to diagnose it. He referred me to a dermatologist. No dermatologist or allergist or ENT has ever been able to diagnose or prescribe anything to help the rash on my ear. I recently had the ear outbreak, which usually takes two weeks to subside. This time I slapped some Dex gel on it as soon as it started, and lo and behold, it went away instantly! So I reasoned that it, too, is psoriasis!
So sorry about this much-too-lengthy off-topic post!
Oh no, please don't be sorry ;-) My heart feels for you and all I want is for you to get the answers you deserve!
As I was reading through your post, I realized that you have quite a few Auto-Immune Disorders. The MG, the IBS, POF (premature ovarian failure), and possibly psoriasis. While I'm absolutely not trying to push a diet change on you, but for people with auto-immune disorders, sometimes it's the one "cure" they never suspected. Also, sometimes these diseases could be triggered by bacterial, viral (like the hydrosalpinx), environmental, or chemical irritants.
So if you haven't gotten a comprehensive allergy or intolerance test run, you might want to do so. Better yet, you should do a search on Leap Allergy and Alcat Tests. These are the most sensitive tests out there and they will work with you for several months after testing to help you properly eliminate your culprits. I'm assuming you have insurance, so if you take the kits and have them done at your hospital's lab, that will save you some money. Until then, you may want to do some research on Gluten (gliaden) and Lectins. These are known proteins that people with certain auto-immune diseases must avoid in order to control/cure their problems.
In regards to POF, I read that it doesn't mean you are menopausal, although I guess maybe now you probably are. Either way, you're right you don't make enough estrogen and as a result your body keeps producing more FSH in hopes of producing more estrogen. LOL, see it's just like the problem with cortisol or other imbalances...sigh However you also don't produce enough progesterone because your body's ovulation cycle can't seem to start properly (estrogen -FSH problem). So that could explain why the osteoporosis occured and why the facial hair has increased over the years (your normal testosterone levels were more dominant).
Uggh, I truly can't believe the idiocy or pure arrogance of a few of your doctors. How could they not put you on something sooner?? How could they not retest? That's why I and other acne sufferers can relate, how many times must we try before we find the answers? Yet, I wonder if when your doctor said your "problem was in the gut", do you think he was referring to the IBS? That may explain why you are still underwieght, and possibly the osteoporosis despite the HRT, since you may not have been absorbing food/nutrients properly. Yet, why didn't he do something about it....
Although, that doesn't explain why the "acne" or facial hair at 17, but who knows maybe it has something to do with some other hormonal imbalance. If you can, you might want to see another endocrinologist, although I suspect that it could be some auto-immune related side effect. Say, do you have normal thyroid levels? Oh but wait...maybe it has to do with the Hepatitis C. Since you've had this since you were 17 and the liver is important in flushing toxins, maybe thats the reason for the fatigue, "acne", and other rashes. Haven't these rashes been getting worse, along with your liver over the years? Since you can't take that form of interferon, did you ever try to take any other drugs or natural treatments to aid in liver detoxification?
Since you had problems with HRT, you might want to try natural HRT instead. There's several phytoestrogen formulas about and include NPC and you're set. You can get NPC from a compounding pharmacy or purchase some at your local health store or online. For more info you can look up Dr. Lee and progesterone, menopause, etc. Some of the problems you listed: dry skin, the facial hair, osteoporosis, lack of energy, can sometimes be cleared up by using this cream. Synthetic progestin isn't the same as natural progesterone (body doesn't produce progestin) and that could be why you had those side effects. There's also various ebooks and books out there on this type of therapy, so now I'm sure you'll have lots of fun researching ;-)
P.S. ACTH stands for Andrenocorticotropin Hormone and if I remember correctly, Ach would be for acetylcholine. I do like the sound of the Mestinon better than the prednisone, I hope that is working well for you.
[This message has been edited by SweetJade1 (edited 05-12-2003).]
After reading about NCCAH/LOCAH and PCOS, I don't think I have either of them. One of the symptoms of the CAH is short stature. Although osteoporosis has caused a decrease in my height, I was 5'9" in the 9th grade (I'm 5'6" now). Another symptom of CAH is obesity, and I've never had that problem. Both of my sisters also have facial hair and shave their faces (so it may be a family trait), but they have both had children and neither is menopausal yet (both in their 50's).
The IBS is caused by the Mestinon. As an experiment, I stopped taking Mestinon for several weeks, and my bowel problems disappeared. However, my myasthenia symptoms caused me to resume taking the Mestinon.
Now that I'm in the process of responding to your message, I've realized that I still have more to research -- diet changes for autoimmune disorders, hydrosalpinx (I had no idea it was viral), Leap Allergy and Alcat tests (I've never had a comprehensive allergy or intolerance test run. What should I say to convince a doctor to do these tests?), Gluten (gliaden) and Lectins. You certainly are keeping me busy!!
Regarding the doctor saying my problem is in the gut...I'm one of those people who gets home from the doctor's office and says "Why didn't I ask what the doctor meant when he/she said that?" Usually it's because I didn't get a chance to ask "Why?" Seems that when a doctor stops talking, they have concluded that the office visit is over and they're on their way out the door...on to the next patient. Doctors are in such a hurry nowadays...makes me wonder if their real motive is not to help patients but to see as many as they can in a given day in order to rack up a lot of money. This particular doctor didn't know that I had IBS (and neither did I). I just thought it was a common side effect of Mestinon, and I had not been diagnosed with Hep C at that time.
I do have normal thyroid levels, but I had abnormal levels many years ago. The endocrinologist who followed up on that said that he thought I was getting Hashimoto's Disease. But I never got it, and I've had two recent normal thyroid tests by two different doctors.
Yes, the rashes have been getting worse, but I don't think my liver has been getting worse. I've seen several gastroenterologists about the Hep C, and the last one was a hepatologist at Mayo Clinic. They all said that my Hep C is mild. My liver enzymes have been normal for 2-3 years now. Another liver biopsy would probably be the only way to tell if my liver is worse. However, I read somewhere that every major organ in the body has a backup organ that tries to take over the duties of a malfunctioning organ. The backup organ for the liver is the skin. When I mentioned this to one of my doctors, they said they'd never heard of it. And that was the end of that. I guess I should be taking Milk Thistle for my liver. That's the only treatment I know of, besides Interferon.
I did try natural HRT (natural estrogen and natural progesterone). I can't remember what the exact problems were with that, but the symptoms were indicative of too much or too little of one or the other, and the doctor couldn't figure out what strengths to prescribe, so I went back to regular HRT.
I think perhaps the best option for my problems would be diet changes and herbs. I have very little faith in medical doctors. As Andrew Weil said, allopathic physicians don't know how to cure disease. They only know how to get rid of the symptoms with drugs or surgery, and if that doesn't work, then they don't want to see you anymore.
Thanks for all the interesting leads and advice! I really do appreciate it!
I'm really interested in what you had to say about Psoriasis & Acne. About 3 years ago (at age 29)I started breaking out really bad with acne on my face. Started going to the dermatologist and have tried every topical there is. Have also take some pills (monodox & minocyn) but as soon as I'd go off the acne returns.
About a year ago I noticed these spots under my fingernails. Some of them looked brownish and the others clear.Of which I found out that my nail was seperating from the bed. I told my derm. about this and she gave something called "DermaNail" and to cut my fingernails b/c something was causing them stress b/c of the seperation. The dermanail seemed to help so I thought. But I'd say after of month of nails being ok the discoloration & seperation would start all over again. Last week when I went to the derm. I showed her my nails again and she told me to go on the DermaNail again and said that if it didn't get better it could be Psoriasis that is causing it. I kind of blew it off b/c I don't have any of the typical signs (flaking skins, redness, etc) Now that I read your post though I'm wondering if it caused my acne too.
Thanks for your post and I will be giving my derm. a call today to find out if the two could be related for me.
If the antibiotics controlled your acne, then it's probably acne rather than psoriasis because, as far as I know, antibiotics work to control bacteria and do nothing for psoriasis.
I'll have to check out "DermaNail." The Dex gel that I've been using isn't doing a very good job on my fingernails -- new growth is still showing white spots and bubbles. From what I understand, psoriasis is diagnosed only by its appearance, and there's no test for it. So one dermatologist might recognize it and another might not.
One of the things I kept telling the doctors (long before my fingernails deteriorated) was that I keep itching in random areas of my body, and it's like a mosquito bite, but there's no bite or blemish on the skin. They just attributed it to dry skin. Now when I get those itchy places, I put the Dex gel on them, and it stops the itching.
Another thing that frequently happened to me is that I would get a horrible sore on the edge of my lip after I'd been to the dentist. I thought I must be allergic to the latex gloves the dentists wear, so I told them I was allergic to latex. But to my dismay, even when the dentist used non-latex gloves, I still broke out on my lip after a visit to the dentist, and it was always where the dentist's hand had pressed against my lip. Now I've learned that a psoriasis outbreak can be triggered by pressure.
I hope you don't have psoriasis, since there's no cure. And the only thing that I think might cure acne is drinking 8 glasses of water a day, which would cleanse the pores. I don't practice what I preach, though. LOL...Good luck!
Thanks for your reply Snowgoose. I got the DermaNail at my dermatologists office if you are looking to purchase it. It does help to get rid of & stop the current seperation but doesn't help from preventing it from happening again after the nail is clear. But maybe that's b/c I stop using the DermaNail after my nails are clear. It's really odd. I also noticed that layers peel away from underneath the nail. I don't know if the layer is nail or skin though.
A few months ago I started itching non-stop from head to toe. I was miserable. I couldn't figure out what it was. Only Benadryl helped so I thought must be allergic to something. I was also taking minocyn at the same time. To make a long story short I had heard that itching can be a side effect of minocyin but maybe it was Psoriasis? I also itch non-stop sometimes on my legs (normally during winter months)and also get patches of dry red skin on my legs but I just attributed it to dry skin. I hope these itching symptoms are attributed to what I think they are and not psoriasis. I'll talk to my derm. on the next visit to see if any of these are linked.
P.S. I do drink 8 glasses of water day but sadly it doesn't keep my acne away. I'm actually going to be trying out this new laser procedure next week to see if it can get rid of it.
My legs get dry and very itchy every winter too, but that's just a lack of vit. D and dry, chapped skin--I think. It never sticks around past the winter months, so I wouldn't think that's psoriasis. All my oil goes to places above the waist, and my lower half is always extremely dry. It's like being a balloon with a rubberband in the middle. Up oil slick, below desert.
I do have itchy skin on my legs all year round but it's really bad in the winter. I'm pretty sure it's not psoriasis either but I do have the nail seperation thing going on so who knows. My derm. did rule out that it was a fungus under my nails b/c the fungus wouldn't grow out it would just keep spreading.
LOL on the balloon comment. I'm the same way except my face is the oil slick. I could fry chicken with all of the oil that comes off it. I wish I could re-direct it to my legs.
It sounds to me like you've got what I've got! I've been itching all over my body on and off for years and years! During one winter, I saw that TV commercial for Gold Bond Powder that treats winter itch, and I was itching at that time, so I thought to myself, "Oh, so that's what it is -- winter itch!" But I couldn't recall if it only happened in the winter. I bought the powder, but it didn't help. Then summer came, and I was still itching, so there went that theory. BTW, I live in Arizona, so winters are not very cold, although there's not much humidity. I wondered if I wouldn't itch if I moved to a humid climate.
To try to avoid whatever was causing my itching, for years I've used unscented laundry detergent, fabric softener, and body soap, but I still itch. As I recall, my scalp was the first part of my body that started itching intensely, so I repeatedly switched shampoos and conditioners, but it didn't make a difference. Then I started reading the ingredients of the shampoos and conditioners, trying to find a common chemical in them that I might be allergic to. Sodium laureth sulfate and fragrance were what they had in common, so I changed to a shampoo and conditioner that didn't have those, but my scalp still itched. In fact, if my scalp wasn't itching when I got in the shower, it would start itching while I was washing my hair. So I wondered if I was allergic to the water.
I also noticed that many times my body would not start itching until I took my clothes off. Then it would itch wherever my clothes had been putting pressure on me -- like a waistband, a bra, around the edges of my underwear, at the top of my socks, and especially from the waist down to my legs where pantyhose had been. At first I determined that it was a latex allergy, since there was latex in my clothes at each of those places. But then I noticed when I laid my head down on a pillow, my scalp would start itching where my head was pressing against the pillow. And my jeans started making me itch where the metal studs in the pockets were. However, there was no latex in my jeans or my pillowcase. Same thing happened when I laid on the floor...the side of me that was against the floor started itching. No latex there. The only commonality was pressure against my skin.
In pursuing the source of the itch, thinking it was allergies, I did come across an allergy where one is allergic to pressure. It was suggested that a person with a pressure allergy should always wear loose clothing. I was a legal secretary in a prestigious law firm, and I couldn't go to work with no bra, no underwear and no pantyhose.
Besides all of the above, stress would make me start itching. The more years that went by, the more I itched. Without examining my skin except for what they could see from 5 feet away, all the doctors I went to said it was dry skin, and then they would prescribe acne medication (even though I wasn't there for that) and send me on my way with their only advice being to not scratch and not take hot showers. So I started slapping myself wherever I itched...gotta do something! Taking cool showers made no difference.
Benadryl cream was the only over-the-counter medicine that helped my itching. OTC Hydrocortisone cream didn't help.
Then when I was diagnosed with psoriasis of my fingernails and I read about psoriasis, that's when I learned that a psoriasis outbreak can be triggered by pressure. It can also be triggered by any abrasion or scratch on the skin, and I assume it can be triggered by a blemish like acne.
It used to be that there was nothing on my skin where it was itching, but in the past year or so, I have been getting small, dry, red patches of skin that itch like wildfire, and when I read the description of psoriasis, it said that it was dry, red, scaly patches of skin that itched. I had not noticed the scaliness, but when I looked closer, it was there.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If not, then maybe you don't have what I have. I sincerely hope you don't. I will look forward to hearing what your dermatologist says and the outcome of your laser treatment.