Black Like Me

by John Howard Griffin

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What medication did the author of Black Like Me take to change his skin color?

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John Howard Griffin, author of Black Like Me took large doses of Oxsoralen to change the pigment of his skin.  Used in conjunction with sunlight, this drug causes the pigment of the skin to darken.  Normally this drug is used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, cutaneous Lymphomas.

In preparation for his experiences, Griffin traveled to New Orleans where he consulted a dermatologist, who prescribed a course of drugs, sunlamp treatments, and skin creams. While it has been rumored that Griffin died from his use of Oxsoralen and other drugs that he took to darken his skin, the worst effects of these medications were only fatigue and nausea.

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