Nutrition and Healing

Herbal magic makes rosacea disappear

Q: The rosacea on my cheeks has become so embarrassing that I don’t even like to have my picture taken any more. Makeup is only working to a point, and I’m worried it could make my rosacea worse. I’ve tried over-the-counter creams and even a prescription gel, and I’ve been really disappointed. I’m out of ideas. How about you?

Dr. Wright: I understand your frustration. Rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition that mainly affects the faces of older men and women, can be notoriously difficult to treat. Fortunately, I may indeed have one more trick up my sleeve that you have not yet tried.

In fact, most people have never heard about this course of treatment at all.

If you have been reading e-Tips for a while, you’re probably already familiar with the health benefits of the natural remedy milk thistle, also known in the herbal world as Silybum marianum. Milk thistle can protect your liver from a toxic attack, and even helps remove excess iron from your body.

But in a study published several years ago, scientists discovered that milk thistle may also help clear stubborn rosacea. In a placebo-controlled clinical study, researchers asked 46 patients battling the condition to apply either a placebo cream or a cream containing silymarin (a concentrated extract from milk thistle) and MSM. The silymarin/ MSM group showed a significant improvement, with big reductions in redness, itching, and acne. General measures of skin health—such as hydration and color—were also dramatically improved.

The good news is that it couldn’t be cheaper or easier to see if a silymarin/MSM topical solution can work for you. There are products available online and in health food stores right now that will run you about a dollar a day. Good luck!

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