Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just like (slow) magic

One aspect of growing older that I find disconcerting is the skin changes.  I have sun damaged skin that tends to mottle in the summer, plus these things crop up periodically.  Their official name is Seborrheic Keratosis.  My dad gets them, has them removed.  I have one on the very top of my head.  I showed it to my doctor, who said, "I could remove that, but we'd have to shave your scalp there."  Um, thank you, no. 

Another one of these things recently appeared on my left shoulder, in back where I ordinarily don't look and can barely reach.  It seemed HUGE because it was so raised.  My SO examined it and pronounced it NOT CANCER, and told me that he had had one on his leg.  He treated it with Mentholatum and now it is gone except for a spot of dark pigmentation. 

Dr. Gott writes a medical column that appears in my local morning newspaper.  He serves up legitimate medical advice, but he is also open to home remedies.  Frequent readers are bombarded with treatments such as putting a bar of soap under the sheets for nocturnal leg cramps, eating cherries to ease the symptoms of gout, and eliminating nail fungus with Vicks VapoRub.  Vicks and Mentholatum seem to be about the same, so it made sense that it might work on SK. 

So I tried it.  Twice a day, I smeared a blob of Mentholatum on the latest SK and covered it with a BandAid during the day, sticking a small piece of toilet paper over it at night (the adhesive on BandAids irritates my skin).  After about a week, I could tell that the SK had shrunk.  After two weeks, I picked off what remained.  I am continuing treatment for another week, just to make sure it does not grow back. 

In just a couple of weeks, I went from OMG WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?  to IT'S GONE! without having to visit my doctor.  That's a win in my book.  I'm now treating another spot of SK on my tummy, and once the weather warms up enough that I don't need to wear a hat, I'm tackling that one on my head. 

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a medical professional of any kind.  I'm just saying that this worked for me.  Your results may vary, especially if what you are trying to treat is not SK but skin cancer.  If in doubt, get thee to your family doctor or a dermatologist.  Better safe than sorry.

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