Is turmeric good for rosacea

Don’t fall for these psoriatic treatments

Fad diets

“Fad diets are one of the things I hate hearing about,” Ryan said. Not only are they typically expensive and difficult to adhere to, she said, but for the most part, they don’t work.

Although many patients swear by elimination diets, such as going gluten-free, studies haven’t shown a widespread improvement in psoriasis among people who eliminate gluten.

“Everybody tries different diets for psoriasis,” said Dr. Alan Menter, chair of dermatology, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, and winner of an NPF Lifetime Achievement Award. “The vast majority make no difference, except for a tiny portion of patients who are gluten-sensitive. Probably less than 5 percent benefit from a gluten-free diet.” Instead, the perceived benefit of eliminating gluten in many cases may simply be a result of losing weight, Ryan said.

Urine therapy

In some cultures, drinking or applying one’s own urine to the skin is purported to improve or cure chronic conditions including cancer, paralysis and psoriasis. Prior to entering her care, one of Ryan’s patients, a man from India, tried drinking his urine to help his psoriasis.

“He did it for three months,” Ryan said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

It didn’t work for the man, and the broader medical community does not recommend it.

Tanning beds

Some psoriasis patients mistakenly believe that sessions at a tanning salon can serve as a replacement for light therapy administered by their dermatologist.

But tanning beds are not only far less effective at treating psoriasis, they’re also dangerous.

That’s because tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays, which are known to cause skin cancer; studies show tanning bed use before the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing deadly melanoma by 59 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

In contrast, dermatologists use narrow band UVB rays, a small segment of the ultraviolet spectrum that is safer and provides more therapeutic benefit. “Tanning beds are not nearly as effective as narrow band UVB or even home light units,” Menter said.

‘Kitchen sink’ creams

Before trying a “natural” psoriasis cream, check the ingredient list. You’ll find that many products on the market contain dozens of botanical ingredients — and more isn’t necessarily better.

“A lot of the ‘magic’ creams have the kitchen sink in them,” said Dr. Richard Fried, M.D., Ph.D., dermatologist, licensed clinical psychologist and clinical director, Yardley Dermatology and Yardley Clinical Research Associates in Pennsylvania. “Sometimes they can confuse the picture a little bit.”

Instead, he advises his patients to look for products that are purer, both to help pinpoint which ingredients are actually beneficial and to reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

“Sometimes putting strange things on angry skin can make skin angrier,” he said.

Fumaric acid

An oral prescription drug called Fumaderm, which contains fumaric acid esters, has been used for decades in Europe to treat severe plaque psoriasis.

In the United States, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Fumaderm or any other fumaric acid ester drugs, but that hasn’t stopped some psoriasis patients from obtaining them with potentially serious consequences.

The drug works by inhibiting the immune system’s T cells. Taking it without a doctor’s supervision can lead to dangerously low T cell counts, as well as side effects including gastrointestinal problems, Ryan said.

Vics VapoRub

Some patients believe that this over-the-counter topical containing camphor, eucalyptus oil, menthol and other oils in a petroleum jelly base can be helpful when applied to their psoriasis. But while it may be just what the doctor ordered for relieving cold symptoms, Ryan doesn’t recommend applying Vicks VapoRub to psoriasis plaques.

“It won’t help,” she said.


When considering an alternative treatment, first research if it’s been endorsed by dermatologists; if it hasn’t, there’s a good chance it’s not worth your time or money, Ryan said. “If a treatment works, we have done research on it,” she said.

Also beware of any product that claims it will “cure” your psoriasis.

Certain treatments might alleviate the itch and reduce the appearance of plaques, but psoriasis is a disease for which there is no cure — yet.

“Be cautious about listening to somebody who says this is the most amazing thing that’s ever happened in the world of psoriasis,” Menter advised. “Be moderate, be sensible and discuss it with your dermatologist.”

Worth a shot

Not all dermatologists agree on the effectiveness of psoriasis treatments that fall outside of the traditional pharmaceutical realm. But there are some complementary and alternative therapies that many doctors believe may be beneficial, and when used correctly, don’t have the potential to cause any harm.

“Embracing some adjunctive , statistically speaking, will make patients flare less often, make their flares less severe and extensive, and make them feel better in general,” said Fried.

Here are a few treatments that are widely accepted as potentially helpful for psoriasis. But, as always, consult with a dermatologist you trust before trying them out yourself.

Ceramide creams

“Psoriasis is much more prone to happen in dry skin,” said Ryan.

She recommends keeping skin hydrated with unscented lotions that contain ceramides, the same lipids that belong to the outer layer of the skin. Brands containing ceramides include CeraVe and some types of Cetaphil.


Studies have shown that curcumin, the naturally occurring chemical found in the spice turmeric, can be beneficial in treating a variety of inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis, according to the 2007 study “Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases,” published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.

“Turmeric has definitely been shown to have a positive effect,” said Dr. Menter.

Consult with your doctor about adding the spice to your food, taking it as a supplement or applying a topical turmeric cream.

Vitamin D

In recent years, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a wide range of ailments from diabetes to cancer. Research has also emerged showing vitamin D may be beneficial in treating disorders such as psoriasis, according to a report in the May 2011 Science Translational Medicine Journal.

“Vitamin D-3 seems to have an immune-stabilizing effect,” said Fried. “It’s controversial as to whether or not it works reliably, but in dosages of 2,000 international units (IU) or less, we know it’s safe.”


For many patients, one of the most frustrating aspects of psoriasis can be its unpredictability, never knowing when the next flare is going to strike.

“That unpredictability leaves people constantly feeling at risk,” Fried said.

For some, meditation can help restore a sense of power over their psoriasis.

“There’s a good amount of data that proven techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, can improve psoriasis overall in terms of its clinical severity and also improve the symptoms of psoriasis,” Fried said. “We know it enhances a sense of personal control or mastery.”

Alternative medicines may treat psoriasis, but proceed cautiously

A review of complementary and alternative medicines used by more than 51 percent of patients with psoriasis, shows that indigo naturalis, curcumin, dietary modification, fish oil, meditation, and acupuncture may be effective in some patients, but proceed cautiously investigators say.

“There have been many complimentary and alternative medicine treatments investigated for psoriasis. There is some evidence of the efficacy for these therapies in psoriasis; however, these studies must be interpreted cautiously given their small sample sizes, variability in the quality of the study design, and differences in primary outcomes measured,” wrote researchers who were led by Anna J. Nichols, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the High Risk Skin Cancer Clinic of the University of Miami Health System.

The review, published online September 15 in JAMA Dermatology, examines the results of 57 trials and three meta-analyses. The assessment is important, said co-author Alexandra Price, M.D., a resident with the University of Miami Health System, because this is largely uncharted territory.

“For the most part, it has been uncharted territory for physicians to counsel patients on which of these alternative therapies are safe and effective. Familiarizing ourselves with the evidence behind these therapies allows us to better counsel and advise our patients on potential interactions, adverse reactions and efficacy,” she said.

The review is based on a search of PubMed, Embase and for relevant studies published or conducted between 1950 and 2017. The final analysis included 44 research clinical trials, 10 uncontrolled trials, two controlled non-randomized trials, one prospective non-randomized controlled trial and three meta-analyses.


Indigo naturalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. It, along with its active component indirubin, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-pyretic, and anti-tumor effects.

In this review, researchers concluded there is enough evidence to recommend a trial period for indigo naturalis in psoriasis. The studies cited in the review showed that indigo naturalis may inhibit keratinocyte and repair the epidermal barrier damaged by psoriasis.

However, most of the studies cited in the review were small and the dosages were not consistent across studies. Of note, the plant’s blue tint may dissuade patients from using the product, which is not readily available.


Curcumin is a phytochemical found in turmeric, which has long been lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties. The investigators concluded that there is some preliminary evidence supporting the use of topical curcumin in adults with psoriasis. While evidence does not support the use of non-modified formulations of oral curcumin, oral curcumin in a phospholipid-based delivery system may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment for psoriasis.

“Based on the available literature, there is little evidence to support the use of topical curcumin for adults with plaque psoriasis. Because the evidence is limited regarding the effectiveness of oral nonmodified curcumin supplementation for psoriasis, a recommendation cannot be made at this time.

Still, curcumin is a “promising” treatment for psoriasis, but it has its drawbacks: a low oral bioavailability, poor topical absorption and a bright yellow pigment. Researchers are in the process of experimenting with new formulations and delivery systems.


Researchers found multiple clinical trials and meta-analyses showing that a hypocaloric diet can significantly improve psoriasis severity, dermatologic quality of life and obesity.

The review excluded studies on the Mediterranean diet, gluten-free diet, micronutrient supplementation and orange-peel extract due to a lack of statistical significance.


In a 37-patient randomized study, patients who listened to a meditation recording while undergoing phototherapy experienced four times faster skin clearance than patients who did not undergo the same procedure. Although the evidence for meditation and guided imagery is limited, investigators concluded, early research suggests that mind-body modalities may be a useful adjunctive treatment option.


The clinical trial results for the use of acupuncture for psoriasis were variable across acupuncture types included in the review. A meta-analysis of 13 clinical trials included 590 patients who received acupuncture using different techniques with acupoint stimulation appeared to be the most effective.

“We performed a systematic review, but unfortunately many of the trials are small and limited, and many of the studied formulations are not commercially available. Larger well-designed, controlled studies are needed to assess the efficacy of the therapies with the most compelling initial evidence. Our study also suggests that there are likely many other alternative therapies lacking clinical trials data that patients are using, which may or may not be effective,” Dr. Price said.

A Caresse Gamret BS, Alexandra Price MD, Raymond M Fertig MD, Hadar Lev-Tov MD, Anna J Nichols MD PhD. “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Psoriasis: a Systematic Review,” JAMA Dermatology. September 2018.

Can Turmeric Help Treat Psoriasis and Other Skin Conditions?

Over the past several years, turmeric has gone from being a golden spice commonly found in Indian food to a superfood hailed for its anti-inflammatory qualities. But how much is known about its health benefits, and can it help people with conditions like psoriasis?

People use it as an alternative therapy to fight a range of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.

Medicinal applications for turmeric go back thousands of years, but research is still conflicting about its actual effectiveness.

According to research such as a 2018 study published in the journal BioFactors, the spice’s main ingredient, curcumin, may reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage. A 2015 review of about 700 investigations published in the journal Alternative & Complementary Therapies reports that ethnobotanist James Duke, PhD, concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases.

On the other hand, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that claims that curcumin can reduce inflammation are not supported by strong research.

Balancing Safety and Effectiveness

While more scientific investigation is needed to better determine turmeric’s curative powers, some dermatologists have been recommending curcumin as a treatment for symptoms of psoriasis and rosacea.

“There’s a whole push for natural and safe therapies in general among the U.S. patient population,” says Matthew Lewis, MD, a dermatologist with Stanford Health Care. “Oral curcumin seems to be safe and effective as an anti-inflammatory for psoriasis, so I actually do recommend that to people.”

According to Dr. Lewis, several of his patients attribute their improved skin condition to curcumin supplements. A 2016 study published in the journal Biochimie found that curcumin has demonstrated therapeutic effects on psoriasis in mice. The National Psoriasis Foundation also lists turmeric as a natural remedy that may minimize skin and psoriatic arthritis flare-ups.

Lewis advises that turmeric be mixed with black pepper if taken orally. Some evidence indicates that an ingredient in pepper called piperine helps boost the absorption of curcumin in the blood stream.

Concentrated turmeric is available in pill or supplement form at pharmacies and at vitamin and supplement stores under brand names such Pure Encapsulations and Doctor’s Best.

Oral turmeric and curcumin do not usually produce any side effects, but high doses could cause gastrointestinal problems and possibly not mix well with other medication.

A Topical Solution for Psoriasis and Rosacea?

Some patients apply creams, ointments, and oils containing turmeric directly to the skin to treat psoriasis as well as acne, rosacea, and other skin ailments. These topical solutions may not only reduce inflammation but also help fight bacteria and infection. In addition, the antioxidants in turmeric may preserve healthy cells.

To promote skin healing on the face, some people apply turmeric masks. The masks have been used as a beauty treatment in Indian and Chinese cultures for centuries. They are often do-it-yourself concoctions that individuals keep on their face for about 10 to 15 minutes — longer stretches can discolor the skin and give it a yellow tinge. Then the cream should be washed off with warm water.

The Internet is full of homemade recipes, including one that consists of about a teaspoon each of turmeric, honey, and yogurt. The mixture creates a cream that gently adheres to the face. Users are warned not to get the cream in their eyes because it can cause irritation.

But Lewis questions how effective turmeric may be when applied in this way.

“I wonder how much absorption is really happening when remedies are prepared topically,” he says. “And you have to be careful whenever you try topicals. The vehicle used has the potential to irritate the skin.”

Always talk to your doctor before trying turmeric or any other natural, alternative, or complementary treatment.

Home Remedies for Rosacea

Always talk with your doctor about changes to your skin. While rosacea is typically fairly benign, skin changes may indicate a more serious underlying condition that needs medical treatment.

If you’re diagnosed with rosacea without more serious underlying causes, you have options. Before you seek prescription medication — and if your rosacea isn’t too extreme — you may want to try some of the following.

Aloe vera

Gel from the inner leaf of the aloe vera plant is emollient and moisturizing. It can be successful as a topical remedy for rosacea.

Many moisturizers contain aloe. You can use these and follow package directions. Or, harvest a leaf from a live aloe plant and apply inner gel directly to your skin. It’s possible to be sensitive or allergic to aloe vera, so do a patch test before you apply it to larger areas.


Burdock is available as a supplement, extract, or food.

As an edible remedy, burdock root can purify your liver and clear up skin conditions such as acne. Burdock plant extract can be an effective treatment for rosacea.


Like aloe, chamomile is common in moisturizing skin products. It’s often used topically in herbal treatment for inflamed skin.

Many studies support it as a successful remedy. Purchase a moisturizing product containing natural chamomile and use it by following label directions.

Chamomile essential oil can be diluted and applied, too. You can also make chamomile tea, wait for it to cool, and apply as a skin wash or compress.

Coconut Oil

Moisturizers like coconut oil are popular for all sorts of inflammatory skin conditions, including rosacea.

There aren’t recent studies showing coconut oil to be effective for rosacea. Still, it could help as a known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and moisturizer.

Apply a small amount of high quality coconut oil to your skin. You can also use it as a carrier oil for appropriate essential oils if desired.


Comfrey is a plant that produces a compound called allantoin. This compound has drawn attention for alleviating skin reactions.

A 2017 study on a product containing allantoin found it improved symptoms with virtually no side effects. It also reduced redness and appearance.

Find products such as creams, lotions, or salves that contain natural comfrey or allantoin and follow label directions.


Feverfew is another plant frequently named as a natural rosacea remedy.

Feverfew has antioxidant qualities. It’s also known to protect against UV exposure, somewhat like a mild sunscreen. UV exposure is sometimes known to worsen rosacea.

Be sure to use topical feverfew products that are parthenolide-free. Parthenolides may increase skin sensitivity.

Green tea

Green tea is very rich in antioxidants and is available as a tea and herbal supplement. Research has shown it can be effective in the treatment of rosacea.

Antioxidants are helpful for inflammation, including skin conditions. As such, green tea may be a popular ingredient in skin products and creams for rosacea. Applying topical products with green tea is the best method for treating rosacea.

Cooled green tea may also be used as a compress and you can drink the tea for numerous health benefits, too.

Lavender essential oil

Different essential oils may be used topically to improve rosacea. Of all these, lavender is the best-studied and easiest to obtain.

Dilute lavender essential oil in a carrier oil and apply to your skin. Or, mix some drops in your favorite moisturizer. Use about five drops per ounce of product.


Niacinamide is a B vitamin found in foods. It’s not to be confused with niacin or vitamin B-3.

It’s extracted into creams and lotions for topical skin conditions. Niacinamide is especially good for preventing and relieving skin flushing, which happens with rosacea.

Purchase creams containing niacinamide from reliable companies and follow label directions.


Oatmeal is a long-time home remedy for rosacea. It’s thought to strengthen skin and reduce water loss, which can worsen the condition. Oatmeal may also help itching.

Some skin products, like face masks, include oatmeal as an ingredient — these are great options.

You can also mix a couple tablespoons of oatmeal with water and apply directly to your skin.

Raw honey

Some types of honey, especially raw honey, may be effective and easy relievers for rosacea.

This may be because honey helps skin retain moisture and dryness worsens rosacea. In a 2015 study, a type of honey called kanuka honey was shown to be very effective against rosacea.

Purchase a high quality, raw honey. Kanuka or manuka honey is recommended. Apply a small amount directly to your skin.

Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil is useful for all sorts of skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help itching.

There aren’t many studies on tea tree oil for rosacea specifically. Still, its evidence for helping similar skin conditions makes it a great contender.

Tea tree essential oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and applied directly to your skin.

Turmeric is a famous herbal anti-inflammatory. It may be recommended for painful and inflamed rosacea symptoms. You can also eat the herb or use it in cooking for its numerous health benefits.

Try applying turmeric essential oil diluted in a carrier oil. Some creams and lotions contain turmeric. You can also mix turmeric powder with water and apply it to your skin as a poultice.


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What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic and persistent condition in which the skin on a person’s cheeks, nose, chin, eyelids, or forehead becomes inflamed and red, often producing small pimples and noticeable blood vessels. While there is no cure for rosacea, it can be controlled with lifestyle approaches and, occasionally, medication.

The Symptoms Of Rosacea

The main symptom of rosacea is red skin on the face. Specifically, rosacea can cause:

  • Small red bumps or pustules (but not acne) on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin
  • Small, spider-like blood vessels on the face
  • A red, bulbous nose
  • A tendency to blush or flush easily
  • A burning or stinging feeling in the face

About half of people with rosacea develop ocular rosacea – burning, irritated, or bloodshot eyes – which can lead to conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the inner eyelids.

The Causes Of Rosacea

The exact cause of rosacea is still unknown, but it appears to run in families. The disorder is more commonly seen in descendants of Celtic cultures or Northern Europe, especially in those with fair complexions. A number of factors appear to contribute to blood vessels in the skin dilating, and worsen the symptoms of rosacea, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee and caffeinated beverages
  • Hot foods and beverages
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Chronic stress
  • Sunlight or a history of sunburns
  • Certain drugs, such as corticosteroids and some blood pressure medications

Who Is Likely To Develop Rosacea?

Rosacea is more common in women, people with fair skin, people between the ages of 30 and 50, and people who tend to blush easily.

How Is Rosacea Diagnosed?

There is no one test for rosacea. Physicians usually diagnose it with a physical examination and by asking the patient about his or her symptoms and medical history.

Conventional Treatment Of Rosacea

Conventional physicians typically recommend lifestyle approaches to minimize flares of rosacea. These include:

  • Avoiding triggers that worsen rosacea (see above)
  • Using sunscreen
  • Protecting the face from winter weather with a scarf or ski mask
  • Using only cleansers, moisturizers, cosmetics, and other products that are hypo-allergenic and won’t clog pores or otherwise irritate skin
  • Managing stress

In addition, physicians may prescribe certain medications to control rosacea. These include topical creams and gels that contain antibiotics (such as metronidazole); oral antibiotics (such as tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline), and the acne drug Accutane (Isotretinoin). Laser surgery may also help reduce redness in severe cases.

For Rosacea: Dr. Weil Recommends

In addition to the lifestyle measures mentioned above, Dr. Weil recommends the following therapies.

  • Diet: Follow the anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Stress reduction: Chronic stress often first manifests in the form of various skin conditions. Stress relief techniques such as the Relaxing Breath can be helpful.
  • Supplements: Supplement with gamma-linolenic acid, which improves the health of the skin. Good sources include evening primrose oil and black currant oil. Take 500 mg twice a day of either, and expect to wait at least six to eight weeks to notice results. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger and turmeric may also be effective; these can be added to foods and/or taken as supplements.
  • Consider topical preparations that utilize natural anti-inflammatory constituents, such as medicinal mushrooms.

5 Natural Remedies for Treating Rosacea

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By Chris Barry

Rosacea is a common skin condition that can cause redness, blemishes and swelling around the cheeks and nose. Though mainly a cosmetic concern, it can be a significant source of physical and emotional distress.

Learn more about The Effects of Rosacea.

Identifying your own particular triggers can make treating rosacea easier. Think about the condition as something that affects the entire body, instead of viewing it solely as a skin care issue. By considering the issue holistically, you will stand a greater chance of resolving it.

For instance, you may want to stop your current regimen of lotions, harsh exfoliants and any other potential skin irritants, including foods that contribute to digestive issues or allergies. Eliminating external factors that may exacerbate rosacea will allow you to get the most out of the natural remedies described below.

1. Wear Sunscreen

Sun damage is highly correlated with the severity of rosacea symptoms. Protecting your skin from the sun will help prevent symptoms from worsening, while decreasing inflammation and redness.

Make sure that your sunscreen has an SPF of 30+ and as few chemicals as possible; the more natural it is, the better off your skin will be.

2. Change Your Diet

Trying different foods with specific properties can go a long way toward improving rosacea.

  • Fruits and vegetables: Leafy greens and orange or yellow fruits contain carotenoid phytonutrients, which help fight sun damage naturally. Additionally, produce tends to reduce inflammation.

  • Healthy fats: Coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil, avocado and nuts can help with natural stress management, hormone regulation and digestive inflammation.

  • Lean proteins: Eggs, grass-fed meats and wild fish are wonderful for bolstering the immune system.

  • Anti-Inflammatory squad: Garlic, turmeric, ginger, onions, broccoli, collard greens and green tea are all great for reducing inflammation, particularly in the skin.

You may also want to avoid common allergens like dairy, gluten, nuts, sugar, fried foods, alcohol and caffeine. Though the list may sound limiting at first, these foods are often responsible for increased inflammation and skin irritation.

3. Favor Natural Cosmetics

Consider switching to a gentler formula of cosmetic products or even going without cosmetics for a few days every week to allow your skin to breathe.

While this may sound counterproductive, if you prefer to cover up your rosacea with foundation or powder, in many cases it does help improve the skin’s health and appearance.

4. Reduce Stress

Managing stress levels is crucial when it comes to rosacea and any other type of skin irritation. Our bodies react differently under stress and may be more prone to allergies, breakouts, irritation and inflammation.

Taking time regularly to do activities that make you happy is monumentally important. Meditation and yoga can help you manage stress and anxiety. Creative outlets such as music, writing and art also make great options for self-care.

5. Try Supplements and Essential Oils

Natural supplements and essential oils can be a good way to get your skin back in shape.

Turmeric, ginger, aloe vera and raw honey can be combined to make a variety of topical mask treatments to soothe skin on the face and limbs.

Essential oils like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, chamomile and thyme have anti-inflammatory properties and provide the added benefit of aromatherapy. Putting a dab of one of these oils on your temples or the insides of your wrists before bed lets you breathe them in as you fall asleep.

Diet, sunscreen, cosmetics, self-care and natural supplements are all natural remedies to add to your rosacea treatment toolbox. Trying a few or all of these options can be a great way to explore what works best for your body. You may even get to know yourself a little better. Enjoy the journey and be patient with yourself and your skin.

Read more about Treating Rosacea: The Best Ways to Get the Red Out

About the author: Chris Barry is a staff writer and senior editor for Zwivel. He has written stories on everything from motorcycle gangs in the Caribbean to traveling the USA with Ringo Starr. His articles have been published in such high—and sometimes low—profile publications as Vice, Maxim and The National Post.

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