Riversol: From idea to a Rosacea Product


I thought this article from the Vancouver Sun was quite interesting from the point of view of developing new products for rosacea sufferers. Just how do you get from something that you think might work, to a product that all rosacea sufferers can use?

Clinical trials can take millions of dollars and dozens of years to get through the FDA, to become a new drug. Is there another option though?

This article tracks Vancouver dermatologist Jason Rivers who is attempting to develop and promote the Riversol range of products as being helpful for rosacea sufferers.

The Active Ingredient

The active ingredient present in Riversol is Beta-thujaplicin (βthujaplicin, also known as Hinokitiol), an active that appears to have limited published research so far.

One paper is Inhibitory Effect of β-Thujaplicin on Ultraviolet B-Induced Apoptosis in Mouse Keratinocytes and perhaps another In Vitro Inhibitory Effects of Hinokitiol on Proliferation of Chlamydia trachomatis.

β-Thujaplicin is a molecule from the Western Red Cedar tree. You can hear Dr. Rivers discuss in this short YouTube video: Dr. Jason Rivers on Thujaplicin.

The Products

The Riversol for Rosacea, Normal to Dry Skin consists of 3 products, a cream cleanser, serum and moisturizer. The list of ingredients follows.

Cream Cleanser Ingredients

Aqua/Water, Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 80, Hinokitiol (Beta-Thujplicin), Allanloirl, Xanthan Gum, PVM/MA Decadlene Cross-Polymer, Benzophenone-4, Specially Denatured Alcohol. Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, lsopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide.

Serum Moisturizing Cream Ingredients

Aqua/Water, Mineral Oll, Propylene Glycol, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol. Polysorbale 60, Hinokitiol (Beta-Thujaplkin), Tocopheryl Acetate, L-Ascorbic Acid, Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl, Phosphates, Propylene Glycol Alginate (from sea kelp), Titanium Dioxide, Xanthan Gum, Specialiy Denatured Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Melhylparaben, lsopropylparaben, lsobulylparaben, Butylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA.

Riversol for Rosacea Serum Ingredients

Aqua/Water, Propylene Glycol, Hinokitol (Beta-Thujplicin), Disodium Lauriminodipropoplonate Tocopheryl Phosphates. Aminopropryl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Xanthan Gum. PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Specially Denatured Alcohol, Phenornyethanol, Methylparaben, lsopropylparaben, lsobulylparaben, Butylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Terasodium EDT A, Benzophenone-4

Contrast the list of ingredients with for eg. Metrogel 1% which consists of just metronidazole in a base of betadex, edetate disodium, hydroxyethyl cellulose, methylparaben, niacinamide, phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, propylparaben and purified water.


Are you sitting down?

The 3 products are available from their web site for a whopping $CAD 218.00, although a sample kit is also available.

From the Vancouver Sun;

Walking the fine line between marketing and medicine

Vancouver doctor’s company looking at ways to sell cream that treats rosacea

By Jenny Lee, Vancouver Sun June 8, 2011

You know that lovely, idle, workday dream? The one where you turn a great little work idea into a mega-business and retire to acclaim and fortune?

Vancouver dermatologist Jason Rivers is going for it.

It all started 10 long years ago when Rivers, a University of B.C. dermatology professor who is also in private practice, learned of an ingredient that seemed useful as an anti inflammatory, antifungal and anti-microbial.

Beta-thujaplicin (thoo-ya-PLY-sin) isn’t really cost-effective to extract or synthesize for use in most skin-care products, and clinical research on its efficacy is still limited.

But Rivers was intrigued, and when by chance he met a cosmetic chemist, he asked for a custom formulation of antiaging, sensitive-skin creams containing the ingredient. Rivers no longer remembers how much that cost, but it was a whole lot less than he expected. He handed jars out to friends and patients and colleagues for free. “I thought it was going to be a one-off flash in the pan,” Rivers said, but people started asking for it.

“We’re simply saying it’s effective for sensitive skin,” he said. “We’re not saying it will cure rosacea.”

He’s insisting on providing free samples so consumers aren’t coerced.

“It’s not going to work for everybody. Some people may find it irritating to their skin. We’re just saying there’s an alternative for you.”

And he’s careful with loaded words: “I never say ‘pure’, never ‘the best’, never ‘guaranteed.'” “Being an academic, I’m fairly skeptical by nature, so I haven’t given up my day job. I had a vision to do something and, at the very least, I’ve brought my vision to reality,” Rivers said. “Where it goes, I don’t know.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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7 Reader Comments

  1. Jasmine 215 says:


    As long as there is no PERMANENT CURE for Rosacea, Acne and other inflammatory skin disorders, these doctors, clinicians, biochemists, aestheticians, etc. will all be devising other types of topical medications to give hope to chronic sufferers, thereby getting rich off the insecurities of others!

    Do we NEED any more of these stupid topicals like Rosacare, Zenmed, Murad, ProActive? Just think how rich all of their inventors have become!

    Talk about GREEDY!

  2. Oldtypist says:

    Isn’t Propylene Glycol one of the dreaded chemical additives in skin care that aggravates and irritates skin?

    A shame to see it included in all his products.

  3. Jason Rivers says:

    I just happened by this site as I am always on the lookout for new information about dermatology and rosacea. Just to set the record straight, the intent of Riversol is to provide people with another option. As you know, people with rosacea have extremely sensitive skin that can be intolerant to a number of different products and ingredients. That being said, it is important to use a moisturizer as there is evidence to show that these help to restore the normal barrier function of the skin – and this helps to relieve symptoms of rosacea. My intention was not to get rich off of Riversol products – after 10 years, I have not taken a penny from the company and our long term goal is to develop Riversol as a philanthropic company with a social commitment. As you may be aware, we offer free samples for people to try ( or a starter kit for under 50.00) so that there is no pressure on you the rosacea sufferer to expend large sums of money. As indicated above, my product line is tolerated by the majority of people – but not everyone. So I encourage you to try it before you buy it if your are concerned (and also remember there is a money back guarantee if you ar not satisfied).

    As for the ingredients, they are in the products because I believe they are effective and safe – there is a lot of misinformation out there and this is one of the reasons I created my own line. As for Propylene Glycol, this is another good example of people believing other people who ( with due respect) may not be the best resources for information. Propylene glycol as used in our products is plant derived, of low concentration, and serves as a humectant ( to draw water to the skin’s surface). It has a low irritancy and allergic tendancy in the concentrations used. Please don’t confuse it with proyplene glycol as used for your antifreeze!

    I hope this clarifies the situation somewhat.

    • undrgrndgirl says:

      yeah. i see it has been 7 years since this was published…but i just want to tell dr. rivers that even $50.00 is a lot of money for a lot of people, and i’m guessing that is for a very small quantity of the product.

  4. Lori Cresey says:

    I have had severe rosacea since birth and I tried Riversol. Not only did my skin feel better (no etching or irritation) but it looked more vibrant after use! It is the only product that has worked thus far.

  5. Maritza Bermudez says:

    Hello, im wondering if i could get a sample of the kit? I have very sensitive skin and i have a nickol iron allergy. I have tried so many products and everything i have tried has given me a reaction. I have had rosacea for over 7 years and i still have not found a moisturizer that i can use…please help me!

  6. Riversol Skin Care Solutions Inc. now has a paraben & mineral oil free formula called Riversol MD.

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