"For dermatitis Aloe Vera is better than steroids"

About: Islington PCT

(as the patient),

I have had a dermatological complaint for the last 7 years, which first occurred in my mid 20s. Itching scalp on the back of the head, very bad dandruff, and also flaky skin and redness between the buttocks. All very embarrassing. Regular trips to the GP meant he just prescribed steroidal cream, which relieved the symptoms but not much. Was referred to a specialist, who couldn’t think of anything else other than steroidal cream. This was causing me to lose sleep, and itching made concentration hard.

In desperation, I tried acupuncture – which I don’t think helped, but the acupuncturist did suggest some other things which all helped i) avoid red meat ii) aloe vera on the affected areas iii) reduce alcohol intake. Subsequently I heard on Radio 4 a suggestion that cod liver oil, and two portions of oily fish a week (eg salmon) were good for “inflammation” type diseases. Cod liver oil does seem to work.

I would just like to highlight that i) avoiding red meat ii) aloe vera iii) oily fish – the three most effective treatments weren’t recommended by the GP or specialist. I think they should pay more attention to “alternative” medicine. I don’t think this was placebo effect, because steroidal cream was less effective than these three treatments.

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