Flaky bits

Published on | by redblob


Really Really Old Psoriasis Images

Earlier this week I received an interesting email containing illustrations and old photographs of flakers dating back to the 19th century. All of them were taken from medical textbooks, which referred to it as “Psoriasis Diffusa.”

Bearded guy, 1856

Psoriasis illustration from 1856

“How long is this gonna take?”

This colour drawing of a flaky bearded guy comes from the “Atlas of Skin Diseases” by Ferdinand von Hebra. He writes that psoriasis is a case of “white scales piled up on top of each other.” I can’t really tell if he’s a bit depressed or his eyes are drooping from sleepiness. Posing for an artist can take hours!

Dishwasher hands, 1798

Psoriasis illustration from 1798

I’m never doing the dishes again!

This intricate sketch of someone’s forearms is found in a book called “Cutaneous Diseases” by Robert Willan. What’s funny about it is that the caption says this “type” of psoriasis is only found on women who spend their time dishwashing and doing the laundry.

“Washer women, probably from the irritation of soap, are sometimes affected with a scaly disease on the hands and arms,” it says. If that’s the case, slap rubber gloves on me, gimme a skirt and call me Sally. I’m a man and my psoriasis also hates coming into contact with detergent!

Another bearded fellow, 1886

Psoriasis photograph from 1886

Sniff this!

This photograph was taken when colour photography was still in its prime! Appearing in an album on skin diseases taken by George Henry Fox, it shows an unshaved gentleman giving the camera a whiff of his psoriasis. P provokes reactions of shock and horror even today– can you imagine how it was 150 years ago, when people had even less of a clue of what it was?

“Ouch,” 1868

Psoriasis photograph from 1868

This looks incredibly sore

This one looks bloody painful. Taken by Alexander Squire, it’s another very early colour snap of psoriasis, this time of a young girl with atrocious patches on her legs. Let’s move on.

Lentil boy, 1899

Psoriasis illustration from 1899

“It’s definitely not rice sized!”

This right-angle knee can be found in the “Atlas of diseases of the skin” by one Czech doctor by the name of Franz Mracek. A doctor with an obsession for comparing everything to food, including P. This image shows a 17 year-old kid with psoriasis “varying in size from a mere point to a lentil” says the text. To me it looks like a variety of grains. A rice kernel here, some red oats there.

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About the Author

I'm just an average 28 year old living with psoriasis. Over the last decade, I've tried everything, from real snake poison to rubbing banana peels over my body. I've finally found an approach that's working for me, and I'm sharing it with all the flakers out there. But Psoriasis Blob is not about one man, it's a growing community of great, red people.

One Response to Really Really Old Psoriasis Images

  1. Katie mcdanel says:

    These look painful !! Love your blog though, lots of helpful tips!!! Thanks!

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