Home remedies for skin problems

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In this day and age of record-breaking healthcare costs, some people are getting back to the basics with cheap home remedies.  But do these convenient "pantry products" really work?  In part one of this special Healthcast report, we take a closer look into these homemade cures.

Growing up in the 1940s, Carolyn Doolittle remembers a time when many health problems were simply combated at home.  "We didn't have a drugstore on every corner," says Carolyn, "so we had to use what we had around the house."

These natural preparations are making a comeback as the price of drugs has risen by nine percent this year alone.  Dr. Maureen Olivier, a dermatologist on staff with the Lake Charles Medical and Surgical Clinic says, "The issue of home remedies is more and more in the forefront as the cost of medication increases."

Dr. Olivier is a dermatologist who says some of the home remedies for skin problems actually can be effective. For mild acne, toothpaste or lemon juice can be used on the skin surface.  "They cause the same kind of mild drying of the skin and an absorption of the surface oil," says Dr. Olivier.

When Carolyn had an allergic reaction causing her to break out in hives, her own doctor recommended something out of her pantry.  "He said make an oatmeal paste and just put it everywhere on your body where you have these hives," says Carolyn, "and so that's what I did."

Dr. Olivier says oatmeal has "gone mainstream" in many skin care products because of its calming effects.  "It is soothing, calms a lot of the redness," says Dr. Olivier, "it's been used in eczema patients in bath products that they use."

So how about those puffy eyes?  Dr. Olivier says just open your produce drawer.  "Cucumbers have somewhat of an astringent effect," she says, "and also help those constricted blood vessels."

Another benefit of using home remedies is the minimal chance for side effects. By using basic ingredients, you know exactly what you're putting into or on your body.  If you're feeling achy, Carolyn says a salt bath could cure the pain.  "We used just plain table salt and put it in warm water," says Carolyn.

Some other popular skin care remedies submitted from KPLC viewers were vaginal cream on warts, vinegar on sun burns and chewing tobacco on insect stings.

Whether these home remedies are a cheaper, effective alternative to traditional medicine or they just take a person down memory lane - Carolyn says they bring her back to a time when medicine was more simple.  "The memory factor," she says, "my grandpa used to do this or this is what my mom used to do...I think that plays a part in it as well."

*Dr. Olivier says that while many of the designer skin care products on the market carry a hefty price tag, there are several good items that cost between $5 and $10.

**Be sure to catch part two this series on home remedies tonight at 10PM and tomorrow morning on Sunrise. I'll show you recipes for internal problems like heart burn, urinary tract infections and congestion.

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