Golden chamomile for Rosacea
Skincare for Rosacea, Harmony between Nature & Science
Part 1 of 3
Like most stories, this starts as a family story. My sister and my husband struggle with moderate, but very visible facial redness, often causing some measure of embarrassment. When I started Stoic Beauty with my daughter, her affinity for natural botanical medicines sparked my curiosity. I became interested in a natural treatment for rosacea.
As a chemist, I know that there are many pharmacological options available for people with rosacea. However, in mild cases, doctors rarely recommended any treatment. This was the case for my sister and my husband. They were merely advised to avoid obvious triggers like spicy food and alcohol.
As an ever-learning cosmetic formulator, it is also quite disappointing that no one has ever mentioned how important protection from sun exposure is and what ingredients to avoid in cosmetics and toiletries. Granted, the doctors my sister and my husband consulted were general practitioners not dermatologists… but still some more well-rounded advice would certainly be more effective!
So, taking matters in my own hands, I began a research journey.
Scratching the surface online, I found a lot of interesting possible natural treatments. One of them is extract from a plant called Chrysanthellum indicum which I found reading a blog post by David Pascoe who started the Rosacea Support Group. Very promising and interesting discussion followed his post by the group members. Attention piqued; I took a deeper dive into the science.
Chrysanthellum indicum is a plant that has been used in traditional medicine in central and South America and Africa and has been added to the small but hopefully growing arsenal of medicinal plants in Western herbal medicine.
In 2005, a group of scientists from Greece and France published a paper describing the results of a clinical trial testing safety and efficacy of a cream containing golden chamomile extract in the treatment of rosacea. They hypothesized that the well-documented effect of Chrysantellum indicum on blood microcirculation may be beneficial in treatment of rosacea.
I am not sure if this hypothesis was a stroke of genius leading to a discovery or simply a rationalization of previously observed efficacy of golden chamomile tincture in alleviating skin redness. What is important is that it makes sense: whatever makes the walls of small capillaries stronger and less leaky, has a good chance to provide some relief to rosacea sufferers. In addition, the antioxidants present in golden chamomile may quench free radicals. Free radicals are blame for deterioration of the elastic and collagen fibers of lymphatic and blood vessels. Certainly to be avoided!
What is so exciting about this clinical trial? Well, it was multicenter, randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled. Whew. Put simply: it was conducted in more than one clinical center where the participants were randomly assigned to ether a group given a cream with golden chamomile extract or an identical-looking placebo. Both the participants and the investigators (fifteen dermatologists in this case) were unaware who was assigned to which group. The participants (125 in active and 121 in placebo group) who were clinically diagnosed with moderate rosacea, were instructed to apply the cream on their face twice daily for 12 weeks. Just before the treatment, and every four weeks during the trial, both the participants and investigators assessed the results.
Statistical analysis of the collected data (which I am not going to describe in detail here) show that both the active treatment and the placebo group were very similar in terms of erythema (redness) and the overall rosacea score at the beginning of the study, and both have shown improvement as the time on treatment progressed (improvement in the placebo group is often observed, therefore studies including placebo group as a comparator are so much more trustworthy).
Importantly, the improvement in erythema and the overall rosacea score was significantly higher in the group treated with the cream containing the Golden Chamomile Extract. Progressive improvement during the treatment suggests that that duration of treatment beyond 12 weeks could be even more beneficial. Overall, the efficacy of golden chamomile cream was comparable to the drug metronidazole! This is very promising and very exciting news for natural skincare enthusiasts.
That’s where my adventure with golden chamomile has begun, and it led to our very exciting Harmonia | Balancing Night Cream.
For those scientifically minded, the story of my journey to formulate Harmonia continues… check out Part II & III of this series. 🤓🤓