Will natural therapies cure your acne?

For people faced with overwhelming choices of acne treatments, alternative acne therapies can be appealing. The popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continues to rise, with a common perception that “natural” remedies are safer.

But, the research shows there’s little evidence natural remedies help treat acne.

This US systematic review and meta-analysis synthesised existing data regarding the efficacy of CAM in acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. A literature review identified published randomised clinical trials and cohort studies measuring the efficacy of skincare ingredients including aloe vera, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, oatmeal, witch hazel, green tea and turmeric.

“Only data from the qualitative reviews showed a reduction in the primary outcome measures with CAM treatments. Within the quantitative data, there was no statistically significant difference in improvement between the CAM treatments and placebo groups in all three diseases examined,” Virginia Jones and colleagues wrote.

“Based on our quantitative findings we conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support the efficacy and the recommendation of CAM for acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.”

When choosing acne treatment products, it’s best to choose products that are backed by scientists and dermatologists. Don’t be fooled by products that are marketed as “natural”, as these alternative acne therapies might contain ingredients that worsen your breakouts.

If you need help finding the right skincare for your skin, consult with your local GP, who can refer you to a dermatologist.

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The All About Acne team – the authors of this site – are a group of medically-trained skin experts from across Australia who have an interest in acne management. Our experienced team of leading dermatologists guarantees the information on this website is independent and based on the highest quality research available.

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