Why do rosacea sufferers want alternative or natural therapies?
Despite the availability of several types of topical, systemic and laser therapies, and many years of research into rosacea, why is there so much ongoing interest in alternative and natural therapies ?
The writers of this 2011 paper think that this is a good question, and propose an answer.
“Despite all the research on the development of rosacea and the underlying neoangiogenesis, pilosebaceous abnormalities, dermal matrix degeneration, and dysfunction of antimicrobial peptides most therapies only target the signs and symptoms of the condition rather than the underlying cause.
Because each patient is uniquely sensitive both to triggers that stimulate disease and to standard therapies, an increasing number of patients are seeking alternative options.”
Why won’t my Dermatologist recommend Natural Therapies?
According to the authors;
Large, clinically validated, placebo-controlled trials are lacking, most likely because medicinal botanicals used in cosmeceuticals are considered food additives or dietary supplements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be marketed without maintaining any drug status or restriction.
So this may suggest that it is far easier to market cosmeceuticals and thus we will never seen the corresponding mandated scientific trials that could prove their efficacy.
What has been proven for rosacea?
Remembering that there isn’t really such a thing as an `alternative medicine’, just proven and unproven medicines – we still need to ask what has been shown to be effective in rosacea?
The authors tell us that only the following ingredients have any scientific literature backing their claim that they provide a therapeutic advantage in the treatment of rosacea;
- colloidal oatmeal (see Colloidal Oatmeal: a Dream Ingredient for Rosacea Sufferers)
- niacinamide (see Niacinamide, Moisturizers and the Skin Barrier Function)
- feverfew (see Aveeno Ultra Calming with Feverfew )
- licorice extract (see Eucerin Redness Relief: product reviews)
- green tea (see Green Tea helps after IPL)
- coffeeberry (see Coffeeberry Perfecting Minerals from Priori Minerals)
Many of these ingredients will be familiar to rosacea sufferers via products that tout these beneficial ingredients. The list looks very similar to that published in 2008 – Natural Anti-inflammatory Therapies for Rosacea
Natural Rosacea Ingredients
Borrowing from the paper, the following table gives an overview of the source and ingredients of these so-far proven natural products.
|Colloidal oatmeal||Avena sativa||Polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, saponins, enzymes,
flavonoids, vitamins, avenanthramides
|Niacinamide||Vitamin B3 found in foods (meat, fish, wheat)||N/A|
|Feverfew||Tanacetum parthenium||Volatile oils, flavonoids, sesquiterperne lactones|
|Licorice||Glycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza inflata||Glabridin, licochalcone A|
|Teas||Camellia sinensis||Polyphenols: epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and
epicatechin gallate (ECG)
|Coffeeberry||Coffea arabica||Polyphenols: chlorogenic acid, proanthocyanidins,
quinic acid, ferulic acid
|Aloe vera||Aloe vera||Salicylic acid, magnesium lactate, gel
|Chamomile||Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile||Terpenoids, flavonoids|
|Lentinula edodes, Ganoderma lucidum||Polysaccharides, teriperpenes, proteins, lipids,
A photograph in the paper features a few off the shelf products. Here is what I could make out;
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
“Clinically shown to soothe skin with eczema Steroid free, fragrance free and dermatologist recommended. National eczema association accepted. Temporarily protects and helps relieve minor skin irritation.”
Ingredients: Colloidal Oatmeal (1%, Skin Protectant), Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Avena Sativa Kernel Oil (Oat), Steareth 20, Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (Oat).
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer
“Immediately Highlights Skin to Bring Out its Natural Radiance. Oil-Free. Hypoallergenic. Noncomedogenic. Aveeno Radiant Skin Daily Moisturizer with an exclusive Total Soy Complex”
Ingredients: Octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate) 7. 5%, Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate (octyl salicylate) 2%, Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Glycerin, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Panthenol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Methylparaben, Steareth-2, Fragrance, Polyacrylate-13, Behenyl Alcohol, Steareth-21, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Disodium EDTA, Polyisobutene, Arachidyl Glucoside, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Benzalkonium Chloride, Polysorbate 20, Boron Nitride, Titanuim Dioxide, Mica
NeoStrata Skin Brightening Gel
This product is promoted as “An essential skin lightening gel with Hydroquinone and Polyhydroxy Acids to gently exfoliate and fade dark spots, enhance cell turnover and lighten pigmentation concerns.”, so perhaps not suitable for sensitive rosacea skin.
Skin Brightening Gel Ingredients: Tolnaftate 1%, Acetyl Proline, Arginine, BHT, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Mandelic Acid, Menthyl Lactate, Methylparaben, Mineral Oil, PEG-40 Stearate, Petrolatum, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum
Paul Mitchell TeaTree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Body Butter
This product seems to have all the major ingredients in its name, so it should be no suprise that the product’s web page says that it contain shea butter, vitamin E, lavender, mint and tea tree.
This product is promoted as `Ultra Rich Moisturizer’.
Nia 24 Skin Strengthening Complex
The long list of ingredients should alert you – there are too many.
Water (Aqua), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Myristyl Nicotinate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cyclomethicone, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Alcohol Glycerin, Polyacrylamide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Seed Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Pentadecalactone, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Dodecahydro-3a,6,6,9atetramethylnaphtho( 2,1-b)furan, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Kernel Extract, Maltol, Ceramide 3,Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 2, PEG-8, Phospholipids, Tribehenin, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3,BHT, Laureth-7, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polysorbate 60, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate,Methylparaben,Propylparaben
Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion
The ingredients for the lotion only list jojoba oil and lavender oil.
Botanicals and Anti-Inflammatories Article Abstract
Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2011 Sep;30(3):148-5, Emer J, Waldorf H, Berson D.,
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, New York, USA.
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by cutaneous hypersensitivity.
There are many therapeutic options available for the treatment of rosacea, but none are curative. Since the pathogenesis of rosacea remains elusive, it is not surprising that no single treatment is paramount and that many patients find therapies unsatisfactory or even exacerbating.
Treatments are prescribed to work in concert with each other in order to ameliorate the common clinical manifestations, which include: papules and pustules, telangiectasias, erythema, gland hypertrophy, and ocular disease.
The most validated topical therapies include metronidazole, azelaic acid, and sodium sulfacetamide-sulfur. Many other topical therapies, such as calcineurin inhibitors, benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, retinoids, topical corticosteroids, and permethrin have demonstrated varying degrees of success.
Due to the inconsistent results of the aforementioned therapies patients are increasingly turning to alternative products containing natural ingredients or botanicals to ease inflammation and remit disease.
Additional research is needed to elucidate the benefits of these ingredients in the management of rosacea, but some important considerations regarding the natural ingredients with clinical data will be discussed here.
Do you have any better suggestions? I was a little disappointed by the passively suggested products this paper – that it showed products that might not be first line of choice for rosacea sufferers.
Perhaps you have had some success with some kind of natural treatment you can share? Please let us know below.
- Natural Anti-inflammatory Therapies for Rosacea
- Exotic and Expensive Cosmetics, Do They Work ?
- Colloidal Oatmeal: a Dream Ingredient for Rosacea Sufferers
- Niacinamide, Moisturizers and the Skin Barrier Function
- Coffeeberry Perfecting Minerals from Priori Minerals
- lavender, arnica, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and calendula ; do they work ?
- The Top Natural Rosacea Treatments