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Teenager in Indonesia Sheds Skin Like Snake

Update Date: Sep 24, 2014 03:19 PM EDT

An Indonesian teenager suffers from a rare condition which causes his skin to shed frequently like a snake.

According to India Today, 16-year old Ari Wibowo was born with an inflammatory condition called Erythroderma that causes his skin to scale and harden. Every 41 days, the teenager sheds his skin to reveal a new layer. To prevent his skin from drying and hardening, Wibowo has to soak his body in water every hour and apply moisturizing lotion every three hours. Also called Red Man Syndrome, Erythroderma has impaired Wibowo's vision in one eye and the other has to be moistened constantly. Doctors in Indonesia are flummoxed as they have been unable to treat him.

"It's really sad because he was not born normally and has scaly skin all over his body, similar to being severely burnt, from the sole of his feet up to his head. If the boy doesn't moisturize or soak his skin in water, his body would shrivel and harden up like a sculpture and he won't be able to move. If he leaves it unattended for too long, he won't be able to speak because the wrinkles inside his mouth would go hard and it would dry out all his blood in his body," photographer Nurcholis Anhari Lubis, who has been documenting the teenager's illness, told Daily Mail.

Lubis said Wibowo's condition has made it difficult for him to make friends as most people in his village fear his illness could be contagious. Though Wibowo takes lessons, he has to spend most hours alone.

Locals believe the teenager's condition is a curse resulting from a reptile's torture at the hands of Wibowo's mother when she was pregnant with him, Metro reported. Though Lubis does not believe in superstitions, he says the villagers' beliefs makes living difficult for the boy's family.

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