Acne has become a major problem for patients with colon cancer since the introduction of Erbitux and Vectibix. These drugs target EGFR not only in the tumor but the basal layers of the skin and cause a skin acne rash which can cover significant part of the head, chest, and back.
Most physician prescribe topical or oral antibiotics particular when there are a lot of pus-filled pustules. Bristol Myers Squibb which distributes Erbitux® (cetuximab) has developed a skin care kit, including liquid bandages and lotion to treat the skin. Most of my patients love it.
Patients always ask what else they can do, so I searched for remedies against acne and found interesting, promising ways to treat acne.
In a recent Los Angeles Times article by Joe and Teresa Graedon from the People’s Pharmacy, milk of magnesia (MOM) was shown to possibly help with acne. One reader wrote that applying MOM to the acne at night before bed had the best effect compared to all his previous treatment efforts. The news about MOM was interesting. Milk of magnesia is a solution of magnesium hydroxide and is best known for its laxative effect. We don’t know why it might combat acne, however there is some evidence that it can clear up seborrheic dermatitis, in which yeast on skin causes redness and flakes, rather like dandruff, but on the forehead, chin, scalp and eyebrows.
When I tried to find out more about MOM and skin I was surprised to see that some make up web sites are recommending MOM as a primer (don’t ask me what this is) and it seems a secret remedy for models. There are many testimonials on the web stating that it worked for many patients. It seems that one effective way to use is by applying a thin layer with a cotton ball 3 to 4 times a week, let it dry and then remove with a warm cloth before applying normal cosmetics in the morning. There is even some scientific data published more than 30 years ago showing that topically MOM reduces redness and inflammation associated with acne. This is a cheap and possible effective way of skin care. Try it.