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Coal Tar Compounded in Rome
I'm based in England and have been dropping by your site for the
past six months or more and it really is an excellent place.
Congratulations to you and all the contributors.
I have pretty
mild P on my elbows, behind my ears, on one knee and around my anus. I've
had it for about seven years and for the past couple have been using
Dovonex, which, although it controlled the stuff behind my ears pretty
well, was never very successful on my elbows. In fact, last summer I
couldn't bring myself to wear a short-sleeved shirt to work, as my elbows
were just too flaky.
I'd agree with
your many visitors who rate sea water and sunshine as a good treatment. In
1999, a holiday to Crete in the Mediterranean pretty much cleared all my P
(I suspect the relaxation helped, too), but it came back very quickly
after returning home, despite the Dovonex.
Christmas my wife was sent a calendar from her mother who lives in Rome,
Italy. It had lots of herbal and natural remedies on it, including
reference to coal tar as a traditional treatment for P. I checked for
references on your site but only really found mention of coal tar
shampoos. Wondering whether an ointment would be possible, my wife asked
her mother to see if her local chemist in Rome could make some up to
order. Well, they did. I didn't even try to get it made up here in
England, so I'm not sure whether it would be possible, but I can't see why
It's a very
thick, dark brown goo with an extremely strong coal tar smell (not
surprisingly). I apply it fairly sparingly at night before bed and cover
my elbows and knee with stretchy tubular bandage to avoid staining the
sheets (hey, the wife's only got so much patience...). Well, it's been
about three weeks now and the difference is astounding. Pretty much all
signs of flaking have disappeared and my skin is soft and supple. I still
get 'flaming' where the skin looks pink, but it seems even that is abating
and more and more often the skin looks almost normal. In fact, it's been
so successful that last week I wore short sleeves again for the first time
in over a year. And although it's strong-smelling stuff, washing the next
morning deals with that, so I don't go to work smelling like a Victorian
I'll find out
more about the ingredients of the ointment and write again, but it does
seem that it contains Norwegian coal tar, although I don't know yet at
what concentration. Neither do I know how much it cost, because my mother
in law, bless her, is refusing to tell me as she wants no repayment.
Hope this news
is helpful and encouraging to some P sufferers out there.
and keep up the great work with the site.
-Mick P., Northamptonshire, England
Response: Thanks for sharing
this, Mick. Coal tar extract
for topical use is probably one of the older palliatives for P.
It is good to be reminded, occasionally, that something not
contrived in a pharmaceutical conglomerate’s lab may actually work well.
If you use it
in California you might get cancer. (Pun
intended, between gritted teeth. Read
description it sounds like you are occluding the goo over night, which
probably increases its potency. Even
though your concoction is not prescribed, it might be a good idea for you
to review what you have and how you are using it with a dermatologist.
While I largely disdain California’s over-zealous concern, the
coal tar derivatives used on the skin are an alien substance and, like
most silver clouds of the medicinal kind, it, too, probably has a gray
lining. (Rather like tobacco
smoke, the inhalation of which was once thought to be ‘good for the
And with regard
to your Dovonex experience, when it’s time to relax off the coal tar you
might want to try a combo therapy. Read
Good Results from Combo Therapy
from Don H.
In the meantime, Mick, show off those elbows! -Ed