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Dermatology Practice Today

Third World Derm Creams

Published October 25, 2013 10:47 AM by Amy Gouley
I just returned from a Culinary Tour in Morocco and one afternoon we ventured to the spice market in Marrakech.

After several days of cooking lessons, I had formulated my list of spices I would be purchasing and bringing back home to create decadent meals for my family and friends. To my surprise, I discovered their version of "dermatologic compounding," and I was immediately intrigued.

I also was humored to see the man behind the counter, wearing a white lab coat identical to medical providers in the states. I asked him if he was a pharmacist or attended any medical training. He replied, "No, my family is in the spices." Okay. So, a long standing family business of spices and no medical science background, (my translation assumption).

I was drilling him with questions, quickly jotting down ingredients and attempting to avoid looking like a lunatic tourist or compounding spy!

The herpes compound included saffron, almond oil and jasmine. The spice "expert" claimed he formulated this for canker sores, cold sores and cracked lips. Saffron? Hilarious. Can you imagine telling your patient to rub a little saffron cream on their lips BID? Maybe? Someone should try it. Might I suggest one thing: change the name! What would your date think if he/she used the restroom and your Herpe jar was accidently left on the counter?

Next up was my personal favorite because we all know I LOVE teenage acne: acne compound. This consisted of tea tree, Palm Oil, Argan Oil and Rosemary Oil. Clearly, I'm not versed in Arabic spice concoctions, especially for dermatologic application; however, this seems like a very OILY mixture.

I can't imagine the Tea Tree properties to be drying enough to overcompensate for all the oils. Maybe? Again, who's trying this? Argan Oil is simply delicious! Processed from grinding argan nuts, Moroccans serve this at every meal as a finishing oil. I quite possibly consumed several cups of this oil during my two weeks of indulgence.

Argan Oil was also found in his Exzema compound. I love the spelling of this! Rosemary nut oil and Clove oil are the other two components that "smooth the skin," he said. I don't know about you but if I rubbed Rosemary on my atopic skin, I‘d have urticarial wheals before I could count to one hundred. I do have several patients that swear by Rosemary drops to help their xerosis. Maybe?

Lastly, the Psoriasis cream compounded of Black Tar, Sulfur and yes, you're seeing the trend; ARGAN OIL. We all love the Black tar & Sulfa combo for psoriasis, minus the smelly mess. Does the Argan Oil take this compound to the next level? Maybe? Could Argan Oil be the next magical dermatology trend?

Traveling through third world countries is always fascinating, particularly when seeking out pieces of culture that relate to your profession. Stumbling upon these dermatology compounds was definitely unexpected and incredibly enjoyable.


I have a little tub of the psoriasis creme but don't remember how does it apply or for how many days. Can someone help me, please?

andrea perez, industrial - engineer February 6, 2017 6:36 PM

I bought the HERPES when I was there years ago because i occasionally get a cold sore.  The stuff is amazing!   Ive been looking all over to see if there is a website so I can order more because after all these years Im almost out.

Kelly shannon January 31, 2017 6:27 PM
toledo OH

I found this post whilst looking for the moroccan cold sore ointment I purchased in Marrakech last October, from a very similar, if not the same place as photographed. I can honestly say this cream was well worth every inexpensive penny... It has worked faster than any of the Blistex, Zovirax and similar creams available in the UK.....I'm hoping I can find it online when I run out, or I might just have to plan another trip.  I have however peeled the herpe label off so it looks like a regular plain little white pot. I don't know if it is the qualities of Saffron or what, but I'm swearing by it as the best remedy so far that works for me.

Amy November 5, 2014 3:05 PM

As a former Derm PA, & one who has personally dealt with acne since preadolesence until "mature adulthood",  I would never believe that Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) would be the answer to clear, healthy skin for me. It has been. Not sure why I was so worked for Cleopatra!  Not all oils are comedogenic (petroleum jelly is NOT comedogenic), whereas many benign appearing additives in some cosmetics & topicals...Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, D&C red # 30, Isocetyl alcohol to name a few (detergent, pigment & alcohol).

This is not to say that I still don't use a tretinoin a few times/wk or believe that OCM is for everybody, but it has done wonders for me & a few select friends & family members.

I mix my own...& always include the essential oils: Rosemary oil & Frankinsence oil...Gayle's Glow 💫

Home » Beauty » Skin » Oils Specifically For Acne Prone Skin

Gayle Adams, , PA-C, RN University of MI June 22, 2014 1:31 PM
Farmington Hills MI

I have a little tub of the psoriasis creme that a friend brought for me. I am using it sparingly as it works so well. I am trying to find where to purchase it from. Online. Can you help?

Michelle Sboro June 21, 2014 8:51 PM

This article reinforces what the rest of the world has known for millenia, God has provided in nature many of the things needed to bring healing to the human body.

Here in America, if something is not manipulated or manufactured (synthesized) by human hands--we are suspicious of it.  

Many of the products synthesized or manufactured by human hands often do not bring healing to the human body.

Hippocrates said something that is worth considering today:  Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.  

Barbara Peters, Pediatrics - Nurse Practitioner November 2, 2013 1:22 PM
Orlando FL

Tea tree oil works well on acne for many teens. Tar Sulfa many years for psoriasis,best for many folks I have seen  Sunlight. deep dark tan every spring summer and fall, 2 weeks in Florida or similar location in January for more sun. Most psoriasis goes away..

Jesse Belville, Primary Care - PA-C, Sidney Health Center October 31, 2013 12:10 PM
Sidney MT

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Physician assistant and nurse practitioners
    Setting: Various dermatology settings
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