Many people with skin conditions often turn to complementary health approaches, particularly vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements. In spite of interest in complementary approaches, there have been only a few studies on complementary health approaches for skin conditions, and those that have been conducted have often had methodological problems. Here are six things you should know about complementary health approaches for skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, impetigo, and rosacea:
- There is some limited evidence that relaxation techniques may help improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, particularly in the pediatric population, although most studies have had problems with their methodology. The American Academy of Dermatology’s clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of atopic dermatitis has stated that there is inconsistent to no evidence to recommend the use of vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements. The guidelines also state that the use of probiotics/prebiotics for the treatment of patients with established atopic dermatitis is not recommended because of inconsistent evidence.
- There is some evidence that fish oil, Dead Sea climatotherapy, and the topical herbs Mahonia aquifolium and indigo naturalis may be beneficial for the treatment of psoriasis.
- According to the American Academy of Dermatology’s clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acne, there are currently very limited data regarding the safety and efficacy of herbal and other complementary therapies such as topical tea tree oral or bee venom to recommend their use.
- There is insufficient evidence to either recommend or dismiss herbal treatments for impetigo, including tea tree oil, garlic, coconut oils, tea effusions, and Manuka honey.
- Although some natural products have shown promise for improving symptoms of rosacea, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of many of these products for rosacea.
- Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.