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Green Tea and Acne/Rosacea

In a small study, patients with papulopustular rosacea treated with a hydrophilic cream containing 2% polyphenone (green tea extract) experienced a significant reduction in mean inflammatory lesion count compared with patients applying vehicle cream, according to results reported here at the 63rd annual meeting of the American College of Dermatology.

Women randomized to the green tea extract cream had a 70% improvement in rosacea compared with women in the vehicle cream group (P < .0001) , said Tanweer Syed, MD, PhD, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Syed developed the polyphenone cream.

"This is tantalizing," said Guy Webster, MD, moderator of the poster session at which the data were presented and vice chairman of dermatology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "These women obviously had rosacea and blushing. There is not much you can do for this. But the faces were looking distinctively red [at baseline] and they are coming out not distinctively red," he said, referring to images on the poster. Dr. Webster was not involved in the study.

While he found the results encouraging, Dr. Webster cautioned that the findings are from a small study. Larger studies with multiple investigators will be required to confirm the results.

The study recruited 60 women aged 25 to 50 years. All women had visible signs of papules and pustules, 20 had erythema, and 17 had telangiectasia. Half of the women were randomized to treatment with the 2% polyphenone cream and half to vehicle cream. The women applied the cream to their faces twice a day for four weeks.

Cure was defined by the absence of clinical signs of inflammation.

After four weeks, marked beneficial improvement was observed in both groups. But the active cream yielded a statistically significantly higher reduction in mean inflammatory lesion count than the vehicle cream measured by a standard global assessment score, Dr. Syed said.

The cream not only has been shown to improve rosacea, but green tea extract also has natural anti-aging and anti-acne properties as well as a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50, Dr. Syed claimed. "The green tea has a soothing quality that helps the redness."

The difference between this product and others on the market, Dr. Syed said, is that the green tea leaves are picked and used within five hours, before they turn dark and ferment.

Dr. Syed concluded that the cream is safe, well tolerated, and effective.

The study was 75% funded by Syed Skincare Inc.

AAD 63rd Annual Meeting: Poster 19. Presented February 20, 2005.

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