New Rosacea Treatment Is a Honey Deal
Approximately 10 percent of adults experience rosacea, facial redness and chronic inflammation that thus far has no cure. Now the authors of a study from New Zealand suggest a new rosacea treatment shown to be effective involves honey.
Are you among the more than 16 million Americans who has rosacea? The National Rosacea Society states that most people who are affected don’t even know they have this skin condition, the signs of which include
- Redness on the cheeks, forehead, chin, or nose
- Pimples or bumps on the face
- Irritated or watery eyes
- Spider-like visible blood vessels on the face
A variety of treatment options are available for rosacea, and because each case is unique, the therapeutic approaches vary from person to person. Some of those approaches include oral and topical antibiotics, pulsed light therapy, laser treatments, and cryotherapy, among others.
New rosacea treatment
In New Zealand, a team investigated the use of a honey formulation (90% medical-grade kanuka honey and 10% glycerine, a product known as Honeyo) as a treatment for rosacea. Kanuka honey comes from bees who mainly visit the Kunzea ericoides bush, which is found exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.
The control group was treated with Cetomacrogol, a cream used to treat dry, irritated skin. A total of 137 adults (age 16 or older) with rosacea were randomly assigned to one of the two groups.
The study lasted eight weeks and the honey or cream were applied twice daily. Each of the participants were asked to keep the honey or cream on the affected area for 30 to 60 minutes before washing it off.
Here’s what the investigators found:
Improvement in rosacea was seen as soon as two weeks into the study
- By the end of the study, 34.3 percent (24 of 68) in the honey group and 17.4 percent (12 of 69) in the control group had achieved at least a 2 point improvement on the IGA-RSS scale. This scale (Investigator Global Assessment of Rosacea Severity Score) is routinely used to evaluate the severity of rosacea.
- The number of participants who had a score of zero (complete resolution of rosacea) was 9 of 68 (13.2%) in the honey group and 2 of 60 (2.9%) of controls
A two-point improvement in the IGA-RSS could represent a change from severe to moderate or from moderate to mild in severity of the disease. The authors concluded that the honey formulation was “an effective treatment for rosacea.”
Dr. Shaun Holt, science director of HoneyLab, which provided the kanuka honey product for the study, explained that mites and bacteria associated with them that dwell deep in the skin are believed to be an underlying cause of rosacea. A reason the honey is effective is that it can kill the microorganisms and reduce inflammation. (Note: None of the authors declared competing interests in this study.)
Braithwaite I et al. Randomised controlled trial of topical kanuka honey for the treatment of rosacea. BMJ Open 2015; 5:e007651
National Rosacea Society