Celebrity Skin Adventure:

"Standing Up to Scabies"

Starring Jackie Hollywood

Here is a plot destined for the silver screen.  Based on a true story:  A young woman with a successful career in radio and on Youtube (we’ll call her “Jackie”), crashes out on a friend’s couch.  Within days, a mysterious itchy rash develops on her chest and stomach. Two weeks pass, the strange condition persists and spreads. 
Showing initiative, our heroine journeys to a Jedi-like shaman (a dermatologist) who notes the red welts and concludes that she is suffering from hives, usually caused by allergies. Yet anti-histamines, usually effective in clearing itch and redness, aren’t working.  Acting as her own advocate, Jackie seeks out an allergist, who performs a series of allergy skin tests in hopes of identifying the source of the rash. Montage of shots of skin tests accompanied by Justin Beiber’s tune “Boyfriend.” Uncredited internet stunt double seen to the right.

The allergist then initiates treatment with the superhero of anti-inflammatories: Prednisone.  Yet even this uber-pill only serves to make Jackie nauseous, feel depressed and gain weight.  Not a lot of weight, but this is the entertainment industry.  The itch is as bad as ever.  Will she ever be cured?
Further stunt double noted above.

When her situation appears darkest, Jackie turns to the source of all knowledge.  Okay, maybe not all knowledge, but a lot of info, some of which needs to be taken with many grains of salt.  That’s right, the internet.  CGI images of text streaming over Jackie as she valiantly searches online.  Suddenly, an epiphany!  Could this be the nefarious skin parasite scabies, scourge to active people of all ages?
Final montage of flashy sports car navigating city streets to arrive at the University Dermatology Clinic.  A skin scraping reveals that the villain tormenting our star was indeed the scabies parasite.  An anti-scabetic cream, a decent laundering of sheets, clothes and towels and Jackie is ready again for primetime. 

As the music swells, Jackie uses her troubled tale for the good of the community.  Rather than conceal her experience in shame, she reveals her saga on her radio show, tapes a song parody to the tune of “Call Me Maybe” and journeys to LA for further fame and fortune. Blooper reel, credits and lights up.

The essential details are true and it all happened to Jackie Hollywood, a radio, Youtube and Twitter celebrity currently based in San Francisco.  She is not Dr. Reese’s patient.  Her story reflects the reality of many who become infected with scabies.  Tricky to diagnose, the scabies mite is microscopic and is picked up person-to-person, or from sleeping on a surface such as a couch or unwashed sheets that can harbor the parasite for up to 2 days.  Gradually, these pesky insects spread, causing an itchy welty rash.  While it travels over most of the skin, the mite typically spares the face and scalp. It is unfortunately very common that months and many doctor visits may go by before the correct diagnosis is made.  Treatment, though labor intensive, is quite effective. 

Kudos to Jackie for revealing her star quality by coming forward with her story.  She did indeed reveal her tale on the radio and produced a parody tune: “Give You Scabies.” We look forward to seeing the sequel:  “A Parasite-Free Star is Born.”

Runner up, Celebrity Skin Adventure: :

“Confessions of a Cutter”

Demi Lovato’s True Story

Cutting, like anorexia, is a manifestation of teen angst, especially in young women.  These adolescents express severe emotional stress by superficially slashing their skin, usually on the wrists, as a cry for help.  Unfortunately, after becoming mature, grounded adults, they are left with permanent scars.  Teen TV actress and singer Demi Lovato went through periods of having an eating disorder and cutting while coping with the pressures of being a child star.

Rather than hiding her scars in shame, she owned them, adding tattoos that read “Stay Strong.” She has spoken out, an inspiring role model for her teen fans.  Her music career remains on track plus she successfully derides her X-Factor boss, the muscle shirt wearing Simon Cowell as a “Grumpy old man.”  Now that’s an ending worthy of the movies!


© 1996-2013 Vail Reese M.D.

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