Vicks VapoRub may help heel cracks heal

People's Pharmacy

May 25, 2003|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun

You have often mentioned unusual uses for Vicks VapoRub. I decided to try it on my cracked heels. For the past three years I have applied every possible cream, but nothing worked until I used Vicks. Amazingly, in a couple of applications, deep and painful cracks healed. The only drawback: The cracks return if I stop.

Vicks VapoRub contains many essential oils in a base of petroleum jelly. If plain petrolatum (such as Vaseline) doesn't help your cracked heels, the essential oils might be playing a role.

Another reader wrote: "I cured the fungus on my nails with Vicks VapoRub. Two nails had been affected since I was a teen-ager.

"I also put it on my calluses and easily removed them. After a shower I apply the Vicks to the spots that need it and put on thick white socks."

Others have reported using Vicks to remove ticks, heal saddle sores on horses and discourage kittens from scratching.

Two years ago a dermatologist diagnosed my skin condition as rosacea and prescribed topical tetracycline and MetroLotion to be applied twice daily.

My condition did not improve with this treatment, and I was desperate. The redness and rash were chronic and seemed to be getting worse. Before going to the dermatologist, I had already tried all kinds of products, including makeup and over-the-counter lotions and cortisone creams.

At last I put Argo cornstarch on the rosacea. One place on my cheek near my nose looked especially bad. To my surprise, in a week it was healed. Now all I do is wash my face morning and night, then put a light coat of cornstarch on my face.

I have not had a recurrence of rosacea. My skin is smooth and clear over my entire face. Am I an isolated case, or is there something to this treatment?

Rosacea (ro-ZAY-sha) is a chronic skin condition that affects the chin, cheeks, nose or central forehead. Redness, bumps and pimples and visible blood vessels are common.

The cause is somewhat mysterious, but dermatologists frequently treat it with oral antibiotics or topic anti-infectives like MetroGel or MetroLotion (metronidazole). Cortisone creams can make rosacea worse.

Gentle face-washing twice a day is recommended, but as far as we can tell, your cornstarch approach is unorthodox. We do not know if it would help anyone else or if you are an isolated case. The condition can wax and wane, but if this low-tech treatment works, count yourself fortunate.

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