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Will Vinegar Solve Ugly Skin Problem?

Q. My 53-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with a skin condition called granuloma annulare. It looks like red circular patches on her arms or legs. She was told there is nothing that can be done to treat it.

This is quite embarrassing, since she works in sales and must interact with the public. People shy away. Is there any way to get rid of this red scourge?

A. Doctors have no idea what causes granuloma annulare. It can be unsightly because the red bumps occur on hands, feet, legs and arms. It is not dangerous or catching and may disappear on its own.

Dermatologists may treat this skin condition with topical or injected steroids. Years ago we heard from a woman about a home remedy:

“I have been struggling with a skin condition called granuloma annulare. After three years, two dermatologists and a lot of frustration, I found an article that said viruses do not like acid and granuloma annulare was considered viral.

“I put two and two together and decided to try white vinegar. I soaked my hands in the vinegar fifteen minutes every day for a month. The results were amazing. After one month, 85 percent of the lesions are gone from my hands.”

A listener to our radio show reported that Vagisil also worked on granuloma annulare. This over-the-counter treatment for vaginal infections contains resorcinol, an antimicrobial ingredient with antifungal activity. We don’t know if either approach would help your daughter, but the risks are low.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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