Avoid foods that contain polyamines – toxic amino-acid derivatives associated with skin-cell proliferation (Arch Dermatol, 1979; 115: 945-9). These include alcohol, all sugars, animal fats (including dairy), meats and foods containing gluten (wheat, barley, rye)
* Take quercetin, found in rooibosch tea and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis; as an infusion, made with 1 g of dried root, three times a day). It inhibits the formation of polyamines, as does vitamin A
* Consume oily fish and fish-oil supplements in high (10 g) daily doses, which can bring improvement (Lancet, 1988; i: 378-80). In severe cases, intravenous EPA and DHA can reduce symptoms by half (J Am Acad Dermatol, 1998; 38: 539-47)
* Brief daily doses of natural sunlight can increase vitamin D levels and significantly relieve symptoms. But beware: sunburn has the opposite effect
* Try topical avocado oil, says WDDTY panellist Harald Gaier. Ointments containing capsaicin (0.025-0.075 per cent), aloe, burdock root, yellow dock, red clover or cleavers may prove successful. Most effective, however, are ointments containing 10 per cent Oregon grape root and/or barberry
* Consider meditation and hypnosis to reduce levels of stress.