Cornstarch relieves seborrheic dermatitis, though the reason mystifies the experts

People's Pharmacy

August 10, 2003|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

I have been suffering with an intractable combination of seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. I've been using coal tar Tegrin and Cortaid cream with poor results. My face, ears and scalp have lots of itching, burning, scaling and redness. So when I read in your column that someone used cornstarch successfully for rosacea, I tried it.

I wish I had taken pictures before and after. After four days, my skin is almost clear. I know these conditions tend to come and go, but this is the first "go" in a couple of years.

We were intrigued by the original report that cornstarch helped a severe case of rosacea. This chronic skin condition is characterized by redness, bumps and pimples on the nose, cheeks, chin or forehead. A reader wrote: "I finally put cornstarch on the rosacea, and in a week it was much better. Now all I do is wash my face morning and night, then put a light coat of cornstarch on my face."

We can't explain why cornstarch might help rosacea, and we are at a loss why psoriasis might respond to this remedy.

Seborrheic dermatitis is associated with a yeast that lives on the skin. Conceivably, cornstarch might make the skin less hospitable for this organism.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org. King Features Syndicate

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