Complementary Medicine - Cam
Skin Ulcers (Holistic)
About This Condition
Soothe and heal the sores on your skin for more comfort and fewer infections. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Skin ulcers are open sores that are often accompanied by the sloughing-off of inflamed tissue.
Skin ulcers can be caused by a variety of events, such as trauma, exposure to heat or cold, problems with blood circulation, or irritation from exposure to corrosive material. Pressure ulcers, also known as decubitus ulcers or bedsores, are skin ulcers that develop on areas of the body where the blood supply has been reduced because of prolonged pressure; these may occur in people confined to bed or a chair, or in those who must wear a hard brace or plaster cast. Skin ulcers may become infected, with serious health consequences. Other health conditions that can cause skin ulcers include mouth ulcers ( canker sores ), chronic venous insufficiency , diabetes , infection , and peripheral vascular disease .
People with a skin ulcer may have an area of reddened skin. In advanced cases, people may have areas where the skin is open and oozing fluid.
A double-blind trial found systemic hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatments, in which the patient is placed in a chamber with highly concentrated oxygen, five days per week for six weeks significantly improved healing of nondiabetic chronic leg ulcers.1 This trial confirms the results from several preliminary studies of systemic HBO therapy.2 , 3 While topical application of HBO (the affected body part is encased in a balloon-like chamber and exposed to concentrated oxygen) for skin ulcers has been reported effective in preliminary trials,4 controlled trials have produced conflicting results.5 , 6 In controlled studies of diabetic patients with skin ulcers or gangrene, systemic HBO has been shown to prevent amputation of affected limbs.7 , 8
Electrical stimulation applied to the skin is thought to have several biological effects that might accelerate skin ulcer healing.9 A variety of techniques have been investigated, and controlled or double-blind trials have shown positive results for the use of low-voltage galvanic current, high-voltage pulsed current, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic therapy.10
The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
What Are Star Ratings?
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
1. Hammarlund C, Sundberg T. Hyperbaric oxygen reduced size of chronic leg ulcers: a randomized double-blind study. Plast Reconstr Surg 1994;93:829–34.
2. Wattel F, Mathieu D, Coget JM, Billard V. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in chronic vascular wound management. Angiology 1990;41:59–65.
3. Lee HC, Niu KC, Chen SH, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in clinical application. A report of a 12-year experience. Chung Hua I Hsueh Tsa Chih (Taipei) 1989;43:307–16.
4. Landau Z. Topical hyperbaric oxygen and low energy laser for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 1998;117:156–8.
5. Heng MC, Pilgrim JP, Beck FW. A simplified hyperbaric oxygen technique for leg ulcers. Arch Dermatol 1984;120:640–5.
6. Leslie CA, Sapico FL, Ginunas VJ, Adkins RH. Randomized controlled trial of topical hyperbaric oxygen for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetes Care 1988;11:111–5.
7. Faglia E, Favales F, Aldeghi A, et al. Adjunctive systemic hyperbaric oxygen therapy in treatment of severe prevalently ischemic diabetic foot ulcer. A randomized study. Diabetes Care 1996;19:1338–43.
8. Baroni G, Porro T, Faglia E, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen in diabetic gangrene treatment. Diabetes Care 1987;10:81–6.
9. Frantz RA. Adjuvant therapy for ulcer care. Clin Geriatr Med 1997;13:553–64 [review].
10. Frantz RA. Adjuvant therapy for ulcer care. Clin Geriatr Med 1997;13:553–64 [review].
11. Breslow RA, Hallfrisch J, Guy DG, et al. The importance of dietary protein in healing pressure ulcers. J Am Geratr Soc 1993;41:357–62.
12. Bourdel-Marchasson I, Barateau M, Rondeau V, et al. A multi-center trial of oral nutritional supplementation in critically ill older inpatients. Nutrition 2000;16:1–5.
13. Zawahry ME, Hegazy MR, Helal M. Use of aloe in treating leg ulcers and dermatoses. Int J Dermatol 1973;12:68–73.
14. Thomas DR, Goode PS, LaMaster K, Tennyson T. Acemannan hydrogel dressing versus saline dressing for pressure ulcers. A randomized, controlled trial. Adv Wound Care 1998;11:273–6.
15. Guilhou JJ, Fevrier F, Debure C, et al. Benefit of a 2-month treatment with a micronized, purified flavinoidic fraction on venous ulcer healing. A randomized, double-blind, controlled versus placebo trial. Int J Micro Clin Exp 1997;17:21–6.
16. Guilhou JJ, Dereure O, Marzin L, et al. Efficacy of Daflon 500 mg in venous leg ulcer healing: a double-blind, randomized, controlled versus placebo trial in 107 patients. Angiology 1997;48:77–85.
17. Stegmann W, Hubner K, Deichmann B, Muller B. Efficacy of O-(s-hydroxyethyl)-rutosides in the treatment of venous leg ulcers. Phlebologie 1987;40:149–56 [in French].
18. Mann RJ. A double blind trial of oral O. B-hydroxyethyl rutosides for stasis leg ulcers. Br J Clin Pract 1981;35:79–81.
19. Wright DD, Franks PJ, Blair SD, et al. Oxerutins in the prevention of recurrence in chronic venous ulceration: randomized controlled trial. Br J Surg 1991;78:1269–70.
20. Declair V. Usefulness of topical application of essential fatty acids to prevent pressure ulcers. Ostomy Wound Management 1997;43:48–52.
21. Simpson LO, Hand BI, Olds RJ. Large leg ulcers, Efamol and hyperbaric oxygen. N Z Med J 1986;99:552 [abstract].
22. Kopjas TL. Effect of folic acid on collateral circulation in diffuse chronic arteriosclerosis. J Am Geriatr Soc 1966;14:1187–92.
23. Marquart FX, Bellon G, Gillery P, et al. Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by a triterpene extracted from Centella asiatica. Connective Tissue Res 1990;24:107–20.
24. Tenni R, Zanaboni G, De Agostini MP, et al. Effect of the triterpenoid fraction of Centella asiatica on macromolecules of the connective matrix in human skin fibroblast cultures. Ital J Biochem 1988;37:69–77.
25. Shukla A, Rasik AM, Jain GK, et al. In vitro and in vivo wound healing of asiaticoside isolated from Centella asiatica. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;65:1–11.
26. Brinkhaus B, Linder M, Schuppan D, Hahn EG. Chemical, pharmacological and clinical profile of the East Asian medicinal plant Centella asiatica. Phytomedicine 2000;7:427–48.
27. Taddeucci P, Pianigiani E, Colletta V, et al. An evaluation of Hyalofill-F plus compression bandaging in the treatment of chronic venous ulcers. J Wound Care 2004;13:202-4.
28. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Errichi BM, et al. Diabetic ulcers: microcirculatory improvement and faster healing with pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost 2006;12:318-23.
29. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Errichi BM, et al. Venous ulcers: microcirculatory improvement and faster healing with local use of Pycnogenol. Angiology 2005;56:699-705.
30. Houwing R, Overgoor M, Kon M, et al. Pressure-induced skin lesions in pigs: reperfusion injury and the effects of vitamin E. J Wound Care 2000; 9:36–40.
31. Lucero MJ, Vigo J, Rabasco AM, et al. Protection by alpha-tocopherol against skin necrosis induced by doxorubicin hydrochloride. Pharmazie 1993;48:772–5.
32. Shukla A, Rasik AM, Patnaik GK. Depletion of reduced glutathione, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and antioxidant defence enzymes in a healing cutaneous wound. Free Radic Res 1997;26:93–101.
33. Ramasastry, SS, Angel MF, Narayanan K, et al. Biochemical evidence of lipoperoxidation in venous stasis ulcer: Beneficial role of vitamin E as antioxidant. Ann NY Acad Sci 1989; 506–8.
34. Hajarizadeh H, Lebredo L, Barrie R, Woltering EA. Protective effect of doxorubicin in vitamin C or dimethyl sulfoxide against skin ulceration in the pig. Ann Surg Oncol 1994;1:411–4.
35. Goode HF, Burns E, Walker BE. Vitamin C depletion and pressure sores in elderly patients with femoral neck fracture. BMJ 1992;305:935–7.
36. Afifi AM, Ellis L, Huntsman RG, Said MI. High dose ascorbic acid in the management of thalassaemia leg ulcers—a pilot study. Br J Dermatol 1975;92:339–41.
37. Taylor TV, Rimmer S, Day B, et al. Ascorbic acid supplementation in the treatment of pressure cores. Lancet 1974;ii:544–6.
38. ter Riet G, Kessels AG, Knipschild PG. Randomized clinical trial of ascorbic acid in the treatment of pressure ulcers. J Clin Epidemiol 1995;48:1453–60.
39. Houwing R, Overgoor M, Kon M, et al. Pressure-induced skin lesions in pigs: reperfusion injury and the effects of vitamin E. J Wound Care 2000; 9:36–40.
40. Lucero MJ, Vigo J, Rabasco AM, et al. Protection by alpha-tocopherol against skin necrosis induced by doxorubicin hydrochloride. Pharmazie 1993;48:772–5.
41. Shukla A, Rasik AM, Patnaik GK. Depletion of reduced glutathione, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and antioxidant defence enzymes in a healing cutaneous wound. Free Radic Res 1997;26:93–101.
42. Ramasastry, SS, Angel MF, Narayanan K, et al. Biochemical evidence of lipoperoxidation in venous stasis ulcer: Beneficial role of vitamin E as antioxidant. Ann NY Acad Sci 1989; 506–8.
43. Williams CM, Lines CM, McKay EC. Iron and zinc status in multiple sclerosis patients with pressure sores. Eur J Clin Nutr 1988;42:321–8.
44. Greaves MW, Skillen AW. Effects of long-continued ingestion of zinc sulphate in patients with venous leg ulceration. Lancet 1970;2:889–91.
45. Carruthers R. Oral zinc sulphate in leg ulcers. Lancet 1969;1:1264.
46. Haeger K, Lanner E, Magnusson PO. Oral zinc sulfate in the treatment of venous leg ulcers. In: Pories WJ, Strain WH, Hwu JM, et al (eds), Clinical applications of zinc metabolism. Springfield, IL: CC Thomas, 1974, 158–67.
47. Hallbook T, Lanner E. Serum-zinc and healing of venous leg ulcers. Lancet 1972;2:780–2.
48. Greaves MW, Ive FA. Double-blind trial of zinc sulphate in the treatment of chronic venous leg ulceration. Br J Dermatol 1972;87:632–4.
49. Clayton RJ. Double-blind trial of oral zinc sulphate in patients with leg ulcers. Br J Clin Pract 1972;26:368–70.
50. Serjeant GR, Galloway RE, Gueri MC. Oral zinc sulphate in sickle-cell ulcers. Lancet 1970;2:891–3.
51. Mathur NK, Bumb RA. Oral zinc in the trophic ulcers of leprosy. Int J Lepr 1983;51:410–1.
52. Agren MS. Studies on zinc in wound healing. Acta Derm Venerol Suppl 1990;154:1–36.
53. Stromberg HE, Agren MS. Topical zinc oxide treatment improves arterial and venous leg ulcers. Br J Dermatol 1984;111:461–8.
54. Eriksson G. Comparison of two occlusive bandages in the treatment of venous leg ulcers. Br J Dermatol 1986;114:227–30.
55. Agren MS, Stromberg HE. Topical treatment of pressure ulcers. A randomized comparative trial of Varidase and zinc oxide. Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg 1985;19:97–100.
56. Stacey MC, Jopp-Mckay AG, Rashid P, et al. The influence of dressings on venous ulcer healing—a randomised trial. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg 1997;13:174–9.
57. Soderberg T, Hallmans G, Stenstrom S, et al. Treatment of leprosy wounds with adhesive zinc tape. Lepr Rev 1982;53:271–6.
58. Walton RT, Fritschi EP, Umapathy VA. Treatment of plantar ulcers in leprosy patients in the community with adhesive zinc tape. Lepr Rev 1986;57:53–6.
59. Houwing R, Overgoor M, Kon M, et al. Pressure-induced skin lesions in pigs: reperfusion injury and the effects of vitamin E. J Wound Care 2000; 9:36–40.
60. Lucero MJ, Vigo J, Rabasco AM, et al. Protection by alpha-tocopherol against skin necrosis induced by doxorubicin hydrochloride. Pharmazie 1993;48:772–5.
61. Shukla A, Rasik AM, Patnaik GK. Depletion of reduced glutathione, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and antioxidant defence enzymes in a healing cutaneous wound. Free Radic Res 1997;26:93–101.
62. Ramasastry, SS, Angel MF, Narayanan K, et al. Biochemical evidence of lipoperoxidation in venous stasis ulcer: Beneficial role of vitamin E as antioxidant. Ann NY Acad Sci 1989; 506–8.
Last Review: 02-05-2013
Copyright © 2013 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.