Green tea already is a favorite among fans of "natural" medicinal products. Now a cream made from an extract of freshly baked green tea leaves may be an effective treatment for a type of acne called papulopustular rosacea.
Women treated with the green tea extract cream had a 70% improvement in rosacea compared with women treated with a placebo says Tanweer Syed, MD, PhD, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of San Francisco, Calif., who developed the tea extract.
The study was presented at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting in New Orleans.
Rosacea Rosacea is a common skin condition which develops in phases. Typically, it starts with a tendency to blush -- rosy cheeks or redness and swelling in the center of the face which can progress to papulopustular rosacea. Tiny pimples begin to appear in and around the red areas. Treatment can control the symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse. Untreated, the condition can lead to chronic inflammation; the nose takes on the appearance of becoming red and enlarged.
Syed tested the green tea extract cream in 60 women aged 25 to 50. All had visible signs of rosacea with papules and pustules as well as redness and swelling.
Prior to starting treatment, and weekly after treatment began, photographs were taken of the women's faces.
Half of the women received the green tea extract cream and half received a placebo cream. The women applied the cream to their faces twice a day for four weeks.
At the end of four weeks, "marked beneficial improvement" was observed in both groups, say the researchers. However, treatment with the green tea extract resulted in significantly fewer facial inflammatory lesions than placebo treatment, says Syed. Clear, minimal or mild improvement of inflammation was seen in 70% of the women treated with the extract cream.
Syed says green tea extract cream was a natural choice for the rosacea because earlier research suggested that green tea extract has natural antiaging and antiacne properties.
"The green tea has a soothing quality that helps the redness," Syed says.
The difference in this product versus others on the market, he says, is that the green tea leaves are picked and used within five hours, before turning dark and fermenting.
Guy Webster, MD, vice chairman of dermatology at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, says the study involved only a small number of participants and more work needs to be done before the cream can be marketed. Webster was not involved in the study.
"However, these results are tantalizing. These women obviously had rosacea and blushing. There is not much you can do for this. But the faces were looking distinctively red and they are coming out not distinctively red," he says.
The study was 75% funded by Syed Skincare, Inc.