Skin Sensitivities and RA

Rheumatoid arthritis is definitely not just a joint disease. Its inflammatory status gives it the ability to affect any part of the body it likes. Even though I am armed with this knowledge I somehow am always surprised when I come down with a new symptom.

My history with oily skin

I have always had oily skin. By “oily”, I mean seriously gross, greasy, grimy skin. I never used moisturizer (I now know better) because I had it built right into my dermis. I had to wash my hair daily (also, know better now) especially during the summer. I was consistently shiny everywhere and people could see the sun glisten on me from a mile away.

Benefits to having oily skin

That being said, having oily skin was a good thing. This extra layer of grease made my skin stronger. It could withstand most products and it was naturally protected from external aggressors like weather, temperature, and pollution.

Skin symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

But, since experiencing rheumatoid disease symptoms, I’ve noticed skin sensitivities. On the most basic level, my skin has changed. It’s not as slick and now sits comfortably in the combination region. This means parts of my face are dry while some are oily. Not only did my type change, but I noticed things like rashes, bumps, bruises, and pain.

Skin sensitivities or allergies?

We don’t know if these symptoms are allergy-related (highly possible since I am allergic to all four of my pets) or just flares due to my RA. It stands to reason that if the inflammation can affect any organ, it can affect the skin the same way.

Skin issues: rashes, bruises, and scarring

The rashes come and go, the bruises come out of nowhere. I can gently touch my skin and voila! Nice blue-black marks form. Forget about bumping into anything because that is a one-way ticket to bruise central. A new thing that has happened this year is all my mosquito bites turned into bruises!

Usually, I experience scarring from them because of my beautiful extra melanin but they generally don’t bruise. Speaking of mosquito bites, my body freaks out now. I never used to be so sensitive to them but now I see giant welts whenever I get bitten (which is at least seven times in one short dog walk – I live in a swamp so this is not too surprising).

Stinging sensation when I shave

Another new symptom is a stinging sensation when I shave. I don’t know if this is due to my drier skin (possibly) but I get some pretty nasty micro-cuts and razor bumps, even with shaving gel!

Dry-brushing for skin sensitivities

There seems to be one thing that helps and that’s dry-brushing. I use a paddle bristle brush and gently brush my skin in circular motions. It not only perks me up but also makes my skin less sensitive.

Dry-brushing has a boatload of benefits but it is pretty labor-intensive, which I cannot always expend. I bought a saddle brush so I can tape the band to my hand  so I don’t have to hold it. Theoretically, I’m supposed to practice dry-brushing every few days but I aim for at least once a week.

Noticing improvements in my skin

Have you tried dry-brushing? How do you combat skin sensitivity? Let me know in the comments.

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