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June 2018

Thomas Hindson and His Discovery of Ascorbic Acid to Treat Prickly Heat

Author Affiliations
  • 1Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
  • 3University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(6):675. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.0449

Dr Thomas Hindson was born in northern England in 1934. After attending St John’s College in Cambridge for medical school, he worked as a dermatologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. In 1960, he enlisted as a serviceman in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was later commissioned to the Armed Services in 1963.1

One of Dr Hindson’s most notable contributions to dermatology was the discovery of ascorbic acid as a treatment for prickly heat, or miliaria rubra.2 In 1968, he interviewed an Air Force officer about his year-long episodes of acute intertriginous dermatitis localized to the groin. When the officer mentioned that his dermatitis disappeared after he unintentionally consumed 1000 mg of ascorbic acid for 1 week, Dr Hindson hypothesized that this accidental therapy could be curative. He then treated the officer with 1g of ascorbic acid daily, and the officer reported that his groin was normal after 10 days.3

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