Harmful home remedies

It is amazing what patients will put on their skin on the advice of a next-door neighbour or somebody they spoke to in the pub. Black salve is a case in point. It contains bloodroot and zinc chloride, which essentially coagulate the skin, causing full-thickness necrosis, leaving a dark eschar which slowly separates and heals with significant scarring. Unfortunately, people apply it to skin cancers such as infiltrating BCCs and even undiagnosed melanomas, resulting in incomplete removal of the lesion and subsequent major problems. The labelling ‘For Cats, Dogs & Horses’ does not appear to be a disincentive. Herbal-type remedies for the treatment of skin cancer should only be used if the lesion has been diagnosed by a doctor and deemed suitable for this approach.