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Dermatology Online Journal

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Bloodroot associated eschar


We present a case of a 60-year-old woman who, after using a blemish cream purchased at a health store, presented to our clinic with a large eschar on the right neck.  The active ingredient in this cream was found to be Sanguinaria canadensis, a known escharotic.  This substance is popularly marketed as a natural remedy for a host of skin diseases such as blemishes, moles, warts, skin tags, basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, actinic keratoses, and even melanoma.  The patient was treated with topical corticosteroids but is still left with a scar from the healed eschar.  Dermatologists must be aware of the increasing popularity of “natural” medicinal skin cancer therapies, such as bloodroot-containing “cancer salves” and “herbal cures,” and emphasize to their patients that conventional excision, micrographic surgery, electrodessication, and/or curettage are highly successful treatments for most skin cancers with little morbidity.

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