Sharing these pictures publicly is a form of liberation for me

No more hiding, no more fear of judgement

I'm learning to LOVE the SKIN I'm IN

I was born with and live with a rare condition called palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK). It is a form of ichthyosis, a family of genetic skin disorders characterized by dry, scaly skin.

PPK is caused by a genetic mutation that results in abnormalities of keratin in the body.

(The outermost layer of your skin is largely made up of keratin, which provides support and a protective barrier. It also helps form other tissues like hair and nails.)

There is more than one type of PPK, and each has its own associated features dependent on the specific gene mutation.

The common feature is thickened skin on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.

Severity can vary widely, even among family members.

There is no cure. Treatment involves various methods to reduce and soften the layers of thickened skin, relieve discomfort and improve the appearance.

The physical, mental and emotional toll of PPK can not be understated.

It has affected every aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. I've been teased, bullied, ostracized, and treated like a leper at times because of my skin.

I deal with constant pain, stiffness, heightened sensitivity to cold, poor circulation, extremely dry, tight skin that is prone to peeling, cracks, deep fissures that resist healing, and infections.

There is slight deformity of joints and lack of mobility with my hands, feet, wrists and ankles. My toenails are thickened and hooked over the toes, another source of pain and discomfort.

Sometimes the pain in my feet gets so bad that walking is excruciating. It even limits the shoes that I am able to wear.

Not to mention the time, effort, money, trial and error, etc involved in maintaining my skin on a daily basis to prevent further complications and deterioration of the condition.


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Neither FIRST, its Board of Directors, Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Medical Editors, nor Foundation staff and officals endorse any treatments listed here.  All issues pertaining to the care of patients with ichthyosis should be discussed with a dermatologist experienced in the treatment of their skin disorder.

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