The Good and Bad of "All Natural" Therapy for Rosacea
If you are using an “all natural”
therapy not offered by your dermatologist to help control rosacea,
be sure to mention this during your next appointment. A recent
survey found that patients with rosacea often try “all natural”
products and are not aware that these therapies have potential side
effects and can interact with treatment prescribed by a
These findings come from a dermatology clinic where dermatologists
suspected that many of their patients were using natural therapies.
To find out just how popular these treatments were with their
patients, the dermatologists surveyed patients. Twenty-two percent
of patients with rosacea said that they have tried an alternative or
When asked why they tried the therapy, most patients said they
“liked the idea of a natural treatment.” Fewer than half of the
patients, only 38%, felt that the alternative or complementary
therapy improved their skin. The treatments most often used were
naturopathic therapy and herbs.
None of the patients surveyed said that they were aware that
alternative and complementary therapies have potential side effects.
Yet, 8% reported that they had a “bad reaction.” Most patients said
they stopped using the complementary or alternative therapy. The top
reason: Treatment was ineffective. Others felt that the therapy was
less helpful than conventional medicine.
What Dermatologists Recommend
Patients should know any product or treatment that promises to
eliminate rosacea in a few days or weeks is just too good to be
true. There is currently no cure for rosacea. If there were, your
dermatologist would tell you. Research shows that following a
treatment plan proves most effective. For treating rosacea,
Follow the treatment prescribed by
your dermatologist. Each subtype of rosacea — there are four —
requires different treatment.
Keep follow-up appointments with
your dermatologist. Seeing your dermatologist as recommended
will allow the doctor to customize your treatment plan for best
results. Sometimes a patient needs another medication added to the
treatment plan, a dose modified, or a change in the skin care
routine to get the desired results. Speak honestly with your
Use appropriate skin care products.
Skin affected by rosacea is extremely sensitive. Trying to find
rosacea-friendly products can be frustrating, time-consuming, and
expensive. Your dermatologist is your best source of information for
product recommendations. A dermatologist can recommend a gentle
cleanser, rosacea-friendly moisturizer, appropriate sunscreen, and
other skin care products.
Learn what causes your rosacea to
flare, and avoid these triggers as much as possible. Common
rosacea triggers include unprotected sun exposure, stress, drinking
alcoholic beverages, and eating spicy foods. If you are not sure
what causes your rosacea to flare, keeping a flare-up diary can help
you identify your triggers.
Adding an Herbal Remedy
A few dermatologists are reporting that when they add a carefully
chosen herb to some patients’ treatment plans, the results are
better than with medication alone. While this news is promising,
dermatologists caution that more research is needed. It is still not
clear why a few patients may benefit and others see their rosacea
worsen. The long-term effects of these herbal remedies are not
known. Proper doses have not been determined. The concentration of
herbs can vary from product to product and even from batch to batch.
Before adding an herbal remedy or other “all natural” product, be
sure to talk with your dermatologist. As mentioned above, some “all
natural” remedies, including several herbs, can make rosacea worse.
Other products cause unwanted side effects.
And, if your dermatologist asks you about what skin care products,
supplements, and other therapies you are using, be sure to mention
everything. Knowing all of this will help your dermatologist create
the most effective treatment plan for you.
Del Rosso JQ. "'Therapeutic’ Treatments for Rosacea." Presented as a
poster (P582) at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of
Dermatology. February 2007; Washington, DC. (Support for an
educational grant identified.)
Mc Aleer M et al. "Complementary and alternative medicine use in
rosacea and psoriasis patients." Presented as a poster (P562) at the
65th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. February
2007; Washington, DC. (No commercial support identified.)
Schwanke, J. “Herbal therapy for rosacea.” Dermatology Times.
November 2006. p. 50.
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology