A question from Lucy
Exciting to find your site… thank you for interesting articles.
Do you know anything about Dermalex Rosacea Cream? It sounds tempting in so far as being antibiotic free and reducing redness but the scary-sounding ingredients are unfamiliar. Is it genuinely safe?
I’d be grateful for your opinion
The Dermalex ingredient list might help!
Tri-solve®, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Purified Water, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Bisabolol, Esculin, Triticum Vulgare Germ Extract, Echinacea Angustifolia Extract, Boswellia Serrata Extract, Zanthoxylum Bungeanum Fruit Extract, CI 42090, CI 19140.
Well this is an interesting question. First off, rosacea is an interesting condition. It is basically just that your face is red all the time. This is down to a continual elevation of the immune system on the skin of the face. The upshot is that the blood capillaries close to the surface are dilated, which is where the red colour comes from. But the other effects of inflammation mean that the skin is also sensitive and loses some of its barrier function.
There are a number of causes. Hormone imbalance is one – though that isn’t so much a diagnosis as an admission that we don’t know exactly what is going on other than it is something that the body is doing to itself. It can also be caused by excessive drinking. And there are plenty of cases where no convincing explanation is ever found. But the big cause is an organism called helicobacter pylori. This is the same organism that often causes stomach ulcers, and is a tricky customer to treat.
You can however often get rid of it with one of the more powerful antibiotics – metronidazole. This can be taken as a tablet, but it is better to try and use a gel applied directly to the affected area first. That way the total dose applied is lower, and using less is generally better when it comes to antibiotics. However it doesn’t always respond to a gel, and so this isn’t always going to be an option.
A lot of people are cautious about antibiotics, and so they should be. They are powerful tools which can have undesirable side effects. But there are times when they are preferable to not treating a condition, and while I am not qualified to give medical advice I am informed enough to have an opinion. If I suffered from rosacea I would definitely regard taking an antibiotic as a better option than not treating it at all. A red face is something you can live with maybe, but it is a sign that your skin is under stress and I think you are better off getting rid of the infection if you possibly can.
So the logic of what I am saying would also suggest that it is worth trying a solution that doesn’t use antibiotics at all before resorting to the serious medications. The only thing is that I don’t think that there is much reason to believe that this product will work tremendously well. Let’s look at the ingredients.
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane is a sunscreen. Sunlight seems to make rosacea worse, so this might help a bit. I think I’d rather use a proper sunscreen product or just stay out of the sun. But as I say, it might do some good.
Bisabolol is a mild anti-inflammatory so again might do some good but I’d be surprised if it does very much.
You then get a list of natural extracts which almost certainly won’t do anything very much at all.
And finally you have a blue and yellow colour, which is what those two long numbers indicate. This is the old makeup artists trick of using a green colour to counteract redness. So that might tackle the redness of the skin a bit. (Incidentally oil paintings often use the same trick. When you see old paintings where people have green faces it is because they used a green undercoat to tone down the red pigment and create a flesh tone. But the red has faded.)
So this product might have some kind of effect in relieving the symptoms of rosacea, though I am far from convinced it would do very much. Online reviews of it are mixed. There is nothing there that is likely to be harmful so there is no harm in giving it a punt if you want to. But at around £20 for 30g at time of writing, it is quite expensive for what it is. It also won’t tackle the root of the problem in the way an antibiotic would.
One last point on it. The way this product is presented it looks very much like it is an approved pharmaceutical product. But it doesn’t seem to have a product license number, so I don’t think it actually is. It is worth remembering that licensed products will have had the evidence for their claims evaluated prior to approval. So it is generally better to go for licensed products if you are looking to solve a problem. I have written about the difference between licensed and unlicensed products before.