What a misery acne can be and few teens escape it completely. It can last well into adulthood too. There are many treatments available, both over-the-counter and on prescription. Many people look to alternatives to medical Something done with the aim of improving health or relieving suffering. For example, medicines, surgery, psychological and physical therapies, diet and exercise changes., such as herbal preparations and changes to their diet. Are they any good? A team from The Cochrane Skin Group set out to find out.
Their new Cochrane review brought together the best available evidence from Randomization is the process of randomly dividing into groups the people taking part in a trial. One group (the intervention group) will be given the intervention being tested (for example a drug, surgery, or exercise) and compared with a group which does not receive the intervention (the control group). A trial in which a group (the ‘intervention group’) is given a intervention being tested (for example a drug, surgery, or exercise) is compared with a group which does not receive the intervention (the ‘control group’). on complementary therapies for acne. There are 35 Clinical trials are research studies involving people who use healthcare services. They often compare a new or different treatment with the best treatment currently available. This is to test whether the new or different treatment is safe, effective and any better than what is currently used. No matter how promising a new treatment may appear during tests in a laboratory, it must go through clinical trials before its benefits and risks can really be known. (over 3000 people) looking at herbal medicine, acupuncture, wet cupping, diet, purified bee venom, and tea tree oil.
Here’s what they found:
- Low- versus high-glycaemic load diets were compared. There was no clear evidence of a difference between groups in the number of non-inflammatory lesions after 12 weeks (2 studies combined). The low glycaemic load diet showed a benefit on inflammatory and total skin lesions in the one An investigation of a healthcare problem. There are different types of studies used to answer research questions, for example randomised controlled trials or observational studies. with usable results
- Single trials found that tea tree oil and bee venom reduced total skin lesions
- 31 trials gave mixed results about whether complementary therapies might reduce the number of skin lesions
- No serious adverse events (side effects) were reported. Some people taking herbal medicines had nausea, diarrhoea and stomach upsets; acupuncture needles caused itching, redness and/or pain and tea tree oil users reported itchiness, dryness, and flaking of the skin
- Groups taking Ziyin Qinggan Xiaocuo Granule or minocycline showed no difference in the number of people with remission (2 studies combined)
How good is the evidence?
There were a lot of problems with these studies, in the way they were designed and carried out and in reporting. The evidence is very weak, coming mostly from single, low quality trials, at high A way of expressing the chance of an event taking place, expressed as the number of events divided by the total number of observations or people. It can be stated as ‘the chance of falling were one in four’ (1/4 = 25%). This measure is good no matter the incidence of events i.e. common or infrequent. of Any factor, recognised or not, that distorts the findings of a study. For example, reporting bias is a type of bias that occurs when researchers, or others (e.g. drug companies) choose not report or publish the results of a study, or do not provide full information about a study.. Future trials must be better designed and reported if they are to be useful for those making choices about treatment.
As with some over-the-counter treatments for other ailments, which I wrote about in this recent blog, we’re left not knowing whether these treatments are likely to help or harm. If you’re looking for more information about acne, you might find these NHS Choices pages helpful.
Cao H, Yang G, Wang Y, Liu JP, Smith CA, Luo H, Liu Y. Complementary therapies for acne vulgaris. Cochrane Database of In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. 2015, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD009436. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009436.pub2.