Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

skin rashI don’t know about you, but when I read the list of side effects of treatment, I was blown away. I literally logged off my computer and didn’t read again for several days. That was just reading about Interferon and Ribavirin! When I began to read about the protease inhibitor side effects, more of a settled feeling had come over me. For one, I was initially denied treatment because of liver failure, or decompensation. Once I stood in front of a  transplant doctor and was told treatment was an option, the side effects no longer mattered. I lay on that examination table and one thought was dominant: “I want to live.” I chose to take Incivik which is the brand name for Telaprevir.

The new direct acting antivirals don’t irritate skin near as much as the treatment did.

You and I need to talk about these side effects dear friend. There is no way around some of them, especially the skin rash from Hepatitis C treatment. You’re gonna just have to face it. you can get relief from some of the itchy side effects. Get yourself a cup of coffee or a coke, and lets just go through them one at a time. I know. I hate it just as much as you do. It cannot be avoided, though. Let’s just start and you can take a break if you want.

I’m going to start with the side effects that bugged me the most. Like, the ones that drove me crazy with protease inhibitor. Yikes!

Itchy crazy skin rash: Your skin care problems start with the Protease Inhibitors (PI), but that can last more than the initial 12 weeks. There are work arounds and I’m going to list them all. You’ll have to try and see what works for you. It’s like shooting in the dark and you’ll have to try different bullets. Some products worked for a while, and then stopped. I switched off and on occasionally during the 43 weeks. Believe me, it was bad but I endured.

Here’s my list of what worked: Cool showers or baths – No matter how itchy your skin, or how sore your muscles, do NOT relax in a hot tub or shower. Get in there for a quick cool bath and you’ll have less dry skin. I used mild detergent to wash the bath tub. Dr. Bonner’s liquid soap was my only body cleanser and I even used it to clean my tub toward the end of treatment. Some friends got a lot of relief by using oatmeal bath products like Aveeno. I did not have any success with it, but it’s worth a try.

After bathing, I applied straight up olive oil for the most part. I ended up using a Eucerin type thick lotion on some nights. It’s sticky, but it works. Gold Bond Cream was a favorite for some of my friends. Coconut oil is another clean product that can provide relief. HINT: The fewer chemicals, the better. Even petroleum jelly bothered me more at times.

When it got really bad, like within a few weeks, a steroid cream worked for me. My doctor prescribed Triamcinolone Acetonide 0.1%. I used it very very sparingly and rubbed it at what I came to call my “hot spots” many times. However, when the rash spread all over my back, neck, chest area – I have to admit to slathering it on.

olive oil for skin hepatitis c

Making it through the night is rough. When I was all gooped up, I would go lay down on sheets only and turn the fan on. I took the ice bags that my meds were shipped in and lay them on the itchiest part. Rotating them through the freezer, I could make it through the night. If you decide to give it a shot, be sure and use a zipper type bag. You may want to double bag and even wrap it in a towel. This sounds insane. I’m laughing now. It was like the fleas of 1,000 camels had infested my body. Stinging, biting, nerves on edge. I remember the anxious urge to scratch. DON’T do it. Maybe rub gently, if nothing else just to sooth your mind. Some nights I lay there packed in ice and rolled back and forth to a cooler part of the bed, or I’d move to the couch and then back to bed. I saved a lot of money on heating bills, because body warmth made it worse! In July when I started, it was a mess. Check out my blog just for SUMMER skin rash here. Most of my treatment was in winter and I’d literally go outside and brace myself in a cold breeze.

S.O.S. Here’s where Benedryl can help because it can also numb your brain. Eventually my doctor prescribed Atarax and Vistaril. They come in pill form and are supposed to make you drowsy, but it did not work that way for me. A warning for ESLD and cirrhosis patients: Talk with your doctor. I took ½ Xanax at times just to stay calm and get rest so that I could work the next day. It was a mentally crazy time for me. Take heart though! It only lasts for a few weeks during the PI stage. Keep telling yourself that this is just temporary. There WILL be an end to it. Summon every ounce of mental strength and get through it one day at a time. I ended up having skin problems throughout the rest of treatment, but they were not  severe like they were during the protease inhibitor phase.

Be sure and watch for any signs of scabbing, infection, extreme amounts of large blisters, etc. TELL YOUR DOCTOR! I was warned that the medication would be discontinued if my rash got too bad or it became systemic. I did have multiple blisters and ezcema. For months there were even blisters on my face. Whoa! More on that later. But it never got to the point where I had to stop treatment. You do not want infection to set in.

Once the Protease Inhibitor itchies are calmed down a little, you begin to settle into a calming skin care regime that may become a lifetime habit. My itching, dry skin continued until the end of all treatment – 43 weeks. I’m still cautious and use only Dr. Bonner to bath with. I’ve used Gold Bond, which helped a lot of my friends on treatment. I also tired Vaseline Intensive Care. The olive oil and coconut oil seems to work best for me even though I’ve been off treatment for almost 7 months. If you have cirrhosis, dry skin may continue to be a problem. This is especially true if you use diuretics. Some may think this advice is just for the ladies, but scaly skin is not any fun, no matter what your gender. That is, unless you are into the alligator look!

Another skin care issue concerns the hands. Hepatitis treatment can be like chemotherapy. It attacks every cell in your body. My finger tips and cuticles cracked to the point of bleeding. At one point, many of my friends also noticed they had fissures, like a deep cavernous ridge that would not heal. I tried everything I’ve mentioned before. I quit getting them wet whenever possible. I also used a topical antibiotic and kept a bandaid over the cracked places during the day to help them heal. They did not really go away until treatment was over.

Facial skin is a lot more delicate and thin. I developed eczema around my eyes and nose. I used slight amounts of the steroid cream my doctor prescribed. They were not happy with me when they found out I used it on my face. I’m not promoting any product for sales purposes, but Clarins was the only thing that calmed it down. The Multi Regenerist Oil was used daily and kept in my drawer at work. I also used their sunscreen. Unfortunately, the sun creates a lot of heat and that exacerbated the little boils and blisters. See my blog on sun skin care. Then the skin became thick in those areas and peeled quite a bit. My facial skin had become sensitive for a few years before diagnosis and I began using this product after trying several others. For me, it’s a way of life. I use it sparingly and get bonus product from my department store representative. She saw me through the treatment when I did not have any extra cash to waste on extravagant skin care. I only share this experience in case someone else is having the same problems. If you find something else that works, by all means let this girl friend know!

As for scalp, I began using the mildest shampoo that I could to protect the dry skin there. I lost about 70% of my hair and the flakes flew around just like the dark strands. This is sounding bleak, I know. It’s just part of the experience, and there IS an end to it. My hair began growing back fairly quickly. I colored at home every 6 to 8 weeks. Gentle, infrequent washing is helpful, as is a satin pillowcase. But it still fell out. The wig portion was short lived, but allowed me to go to work during the rough months. Click here to read the blog on hair.  Lol. Whattamess!

I’m off to do some Black Friday shopping with the grandkids. Honestly, it’s been a year and my life is so different now. I’ll finish posting more on this when I get home. Karen 🙂

To be continued……………..

Does the itching seem to make you feel like your nerves are on edge? How do you get relief from THAT?

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S. Be assured that you can get through skin rash hepatitis c treatment with the skin crazy itching. I promise. Follow my twitter too!

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S. pic via

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

Bravo for getting rid of the Hep C Virus. Now, help heal your liver with a Liver Loving Diet. This $4.99 ebook is a great investment in your future health! Click here to learn more.  




About Karen Hoyt

Karen Hoyt offers a no nonsense approach to living with Cirrhosis. A Hepatitis C treatment survivor, she created a liver loving diet and lifestyle that allows her to create awareness and advocate for her Best Friends at

48 thoughts on “Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

  1. Hey, thanks for this I am just over 34 weeks into treatment and have 14 weeks to go. The itching and skin has been bad but seems to be getting worse. Now it feels like the veins under my skin are transporting acid or something round my body. Mainly in my hands and legs. I thought I was going mad so and somehow making it all up, but reading your blog I feel I will get through this. You are right the same thing/cream doesn’t always work and I have been given 3 or 4 different ones, so I use what ever’s to hand so my body doesn’t get used to one or the other. I have read that caster oil and coconut oil are good for hair loss but after reading this I realise it might give me much more relief to use it all over. Thanks its goof to know I am not cracking up. Carolx

    1. Carol –
      So glad to find a new BFF in the battle. You’ve done well! 34 weeks. Wow. I remember that point. This is where the mental game kicks in. It’s all about endurance hunnyo.

      It does feel like acid, or little electrical shocks or something. It’s like childbirth now. I remember it… but it’s a distant memory. Please let me know if there is anything else you need help with. Mostly, just know that you are not cracking up. Well, maybe.. but you are NOT alone in this.

      I’ll think of you all day now with xoxoxo,

  2. Im not in treatment yet but I itch like ive got poison ivy. I get burning rashes on my arms and different areas sometimes. If I touch one of these areas (even barely) the itching or should I say “burning” intensifies 10× ! Ive had this for years. Ive tried every thing in the world but ive got to where ive learned to just bear it. I hate telling people about stuff like this but it does help to let it out. Thank you!

    1. Jody,

      My skin was itchy and I even had excema like scaling the 2 years before my diagnosis. I think it goes along with Hep C. Then the treatment makes it worse. I still have some itching due to cirrhosis, but NOTHING like before. Have you tried Triamcinolone? It’s safe. My granddaughter got an rx for it with excema. My dr gave it to me for what is called the “hot spots”.

      I’m sorry you are so miserable with this. It is truly maddening. You know scratching makes it worse, but it is hard not to! Cool baths dear friend. I’m glad you found a place to let it all out. You’re def not alone.

      xo Karen:)

  3. Karen

    I am new to your site. I was going to suggest Triamcinolone to your reader’s. On my 2nd attempt to beat Hep C March 2013 a rash developed on my back from using Incivek. This ointment helped but did not stop it. On my 7th week my viral load got down to 43, sometime during this time I picked up Staph Infection which got into my blood system.
    After a short Hospital stay and a month of Infusion’s the rash started itching again. Doctor’s say it’s eczema. Triamcinolone and Benadryl seems to the eczema.
    Doctor’s stopped treatment. I can’t do Interferon again, so I am waiting for the next
    treatment that will cure Genotype 1a 1st time around, which I heard was end of 2014 or early 2015.
    Thank you Karen for you Website

    1. Hey Joe,

      Welcome to the BFF site. Yeah! For sure the Triamcinolone is a life saver. First of all let me say that I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with treatment. I read a lot about the staph infections that can result from that. I’ll bet you were in a lot of pain from that. It was one of my worst fears when I took Incivik. Thankfully you survived!
      What a bummer to get down that low on your viral load and have to be pulled off treatment. You are right though, the new medications are proving to be much easier to take. Less time and lower side effects. Of course the interferon and riba are still part of it.
      I think the eczema is part is fairly common. My skin was a mess for a few years before diagnosis. My granddaughter has eczema and I tried some of here Triamcinolone. It is really safe to use even in children. It was a life saver! I am happy to say that my skin problems are a thing of the past. I have very few itchy spots and they are rare too. Thanks for reminding readers about the use of Benedryl also.
      Honestly, I hope you will stay in touch. I’ve been working on a blog about the new treatments. I wanted to wait until all the info about paying for it was in before posting. I know that SVR is in your future. xoxo
      All my best, Karen:)

    2. Harvoni is great! I am half way through my treatment with no side effects but have had this horrible rash for months before the treatment. Just want it to go away.

      1. Hello! Congratulations! I am so happy to hear that you are on the treatment. I hope your rash will disappear as the HCV does. I had a terrible rash before I was cured. It was called cryoglobulinemia. It was caused by the HCV, not saying that is what you have but there are extra hepatic problems that people have while they have HCV. I pay you will be cured. Thank you for writing, Dee

  4. I failed the tx with interferon and ribavirin 10 years ago. I will be starting Ribavirin and Sovaldi next week. I’ll try to get back to this site and post how it’s going

    1. Kenna,

      Congratulations! The new drugs have such a high SVR rate. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. I remember when getting ready to treat, I was looking for stuff to read too. I hope your side effects are few with the new meds!

      Keep me posted,

  5. It has been 2 years since I have been off Hep C treatment and still have rashes. I recently added 3 drops in the palm of my hand of an essential oil, Peppermint, mixed with Triamcinolone acetonide cream .1% on the affected area (for me, scalp). In a week, it seems to have calmed the itching. The peppermint eases the itching and the prescribed cream helps with the healing. It’s the only help I have found. I plan to continue this. Next, I will try organic extra virgin coconut oil in my buttocks area that is the last area that I continue to have a rash. I hope this is helpful for someone.

    1. Victor,
      I wonder if the rashes are from cirrhosis? I still have some spots that get dry and scaly too. My scalp has been bad this winter. I love the Triamcinolone cream and think my daughter still has some. I keep peppermint just for rubbing on my neck when I feel tension. I never thought to put mix them and use for the rash.
      Thanks a lot for sending some good advice our way. The coconut oil is always good just for general use in dry skin. Take care !
      xo Karen

  6. Karen, I found out that treating my scalp and some spotted rashes area of the body with Flucinonide actually worked . Flucinonide Cream 5% for the lower body area and Flucinonide Topical Solution 5% for the scalp for several weeks. Two weeks later it was gone. I couldn’t believe. Amazing ! I hope That this will work for those in need.
    I honestly could say that I’m truly satisfied from the result .

    1. Hello there! Thank you so very much for writing in and giving us some more suggestions. I know it will help others who read this. People are always looking for help for different problems. One girl I know who was going through HCV tx used an African Oil on her head to help with the dryness. I used it for my ends. Thank you again. D

  7. Hi everybody, here every person is sharing these experience,
    so it’s nice to read this blog, and I used to
    go to see this web site everyday.

  8. I got this site from my pal who informed me concerning this web page
    and at the moment this time I am visiting this website and reading very informative articles.

  9. I tend not to drop a bunch of responses, however i did a few searching and wound
    up here Skin Raash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S. – I Help C.
    And I actuakly do have 2 questions for yyou if it’s allright.

    Could it be simply me orr does it seem like some of the remarks come across lime they are written by brain dead folks?
    😛 And, if you are writing at other places, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to
    post. Would you make a list of every one of aall
    your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?
    herbal drive recently posted…herbal driveMy Profile

    1. Hello, you are reading real posts. We do try to screen the scammers though some times they will get through. There is a lot of ignorance about HCV and we are trying to help people understand it.
      Yes, I also write articles and Hepatitis and there are a few other places. There is a nurse Lucinda Porter
      She has an excellent site for HCV

  10. May I simply just say what a relief to discover someone that really
    understands what they are discussing online. You certainly realize how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. More and more people should look at this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised you are not more popular given that you surely have the gift.
    Wilton recently posted…WiltonMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much for writing, I really appreciate you taking the time to do so. I get a lot of views per day many more than the comments you see here. Thanks again, D

  11. I am on hep c meds week 8 now!! And the gas and stomach problems are the worst. Feel much better tho I will hang in there for 4 more weeks my numbers are already better. Thank god there is a cure.

    1. Hi there, hang in there, you will be glad you did. You won’t have the HCV hanging over your head. I treated 4 years ago and am considered cured. My liver gets better all the time. I hope the same for you my friend. Thank you for writing in, Dee

    2. Any one have any suggestions for the stomach problems gas issues with this hep c meds help!!! Going on 8 weeks now

      1. Hi there, this will sound silly but hot water helps at times. If that doesn’t work you could try calcium. I have read that Tums can’t be taken with the newer drugs. They must be taken hours apart. What about trying Gas X? Or walking to try to expel gas. I hope you can find some relief. A flat coke or ginger ale? My Mom’s cure for everything, that and dry toast. 🙂 Good luck to you, Dee

    1. Hello there! I’m sorry that you misunderstand what this site is for. This site is to lift people up give them information about Karen’s journey through HCV, Treatment, Cancer and Transplant. It is here for people looking for information. Many many people find this helpful, if you don’t there are other places you may go. Karen receives no compensation for sharing her journey. Her only goal is to help others. Have a great day! Dee

  12. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I think that you should publish more on this subject,
    it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t discuss these topics.
    To the next! All the best!!

    1. Hello there! You are so right, no one wants to discuss it. I remember treating 4 years ago and no one talked about it. We felt as if we were pioneers. Take Care, Dee

  13. I have round stabbed places on my head that itch so bad..nothing I have tried has helped. I am 12 weeks into treatment. Any suggestions.?

    1. Hi, congratulations on treating. Have you tried benedryl? If that doesn’t help your doctor can prescribe something, promethazine or atarax. You can also try an oil. A friend of mine used African Oil to stop the itching and dryness back when we were on Interferon. I hope you can find some help with this. Good luck, close to being done 🙂

  14. Fantastic website you have here but I was curious about if
    you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get advice from
    other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Chandra recently posted…ChandraMy Profile

  15. hey guys. I got this rash on my second month of 12 week sofiver/riba treatment. The rash is itchy, drives me crazy. I have been using steroid treatment salves given by doctor. Some work, some don’t. Been 14 months since treatment ended. I still have it. Now I hae something called lichen planus. I developed it two months or so ago. And now they are telling me it may have something to do with hepc. Does anybody out there have any idea what is going on? Has anybody had any experiences like this? Can anybody relate? Tom

    1. Hello there! I am really sorry to hear about the rash. I am so tired of doctors blaming everything on HCV. I felt great before I treated. Afterwards it took years to recover. I don’t know much about lichen planus and wanted to try to help you. Here is a site with information, perhaps you can find help there for this. Not trying to send you away, not for one second. I want you to find some help. This site is very active, you can even ask questions. I can relate to have problems after tx and being told it was the HCV, WHAT?! I felt great right before treating. I had just lost 30 lbs after being diagnosed with diabetes. Felt the best ever! Try this site, good luck! If this is not good please come back. We are here for you. Dee

    2. Hi Tom, I had an itch attack yesterday, made me think of what you are going through. I used benedryl, does that help you at all? Also when it was really bad I place ice packs all over. Some people used oatmeal baths. Perhaps you could be placed on prednisone for a short while to see if that helps. I thought I would go crazy yesterday scratching for hours, skin so red, like fire engine red. I have also heard of people being put on Neurontin when it really got bad. I hope you can get some relief. I almost dialed 911, I could not stand up, was having some type of allergic reaction to something. Good luck

  16. Thank you next Tuesday will be my 2 nd week of treatment and Im now getting burning rash I wasn’t sure if I should go to doc but as I read this is just part of the treatment

    1. Hi a rash can be part of treatment. What are you taking? If itis really bothering you, you could call your doctors office, there is medication they can give you. When I had the rash it was very itchy, my doctor gave me something. I used wet wash cloths to relieve the itching. Some people took oatmeal baths. Good luck to you.

    1. Hello there! There is a very good cream, it is called Working Hands, it comes in a green jar. I bought it for my Dad and it has helped him with the splitting finger tips. I hope this helps a bit, Dee

  17. Bakeing soda and vinager will heal head sores. try it. It works. I’m on hep c treatment just finished it. Now wait for a few month’s

    1. Thanks for sharing! I looked it up and there are a lot of recipes for a mixture of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. I’m glad you have had good success with it!

      If you are trying to grow your hair, it can cause hair to break off if you use it too often. It is best applied sparingly and allow your skin time to get back to a natural PH balance. Sesame oil or coconut oil would be good to use on your skin if you are combating dryness too.

      I’m glad you are finished with treatment! Here’s to a Happy future for you!!! Thanks for sharing. xo Karen

  18. Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for information for a while and yours is the greatest I have found out so far.

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