What’s New in Rosacea?

In Dermatology by Alim R. Devani, MD

Something you may not have heard about yet for what’s new in rosacea is using the medication given to dogs called ivermectin.

Yes, it does sound strange that the same medication veterinarians give to their clients for parasites such as round worms, ear mites, and hair mites that cause mange would possibly work for your rosacea. You might know about ivermectin because your pet gets it each month as a heartworm preventative agent.

Well, just because it’s used for heartworm in dogs doesn’t mean there’s a connection between heartworm and rosacea. There’s not.

But what researchers all around the globe are finding is that if someone has rosacea, they may also have an infestation of Demodex mites that is contributing to the skin condition. This is why antibiotic treatments wouldn’t be successful for rosacea – there is a big world of difference between a bacteria and a mite. Mites don’t respond to antibiotics.

That’s where doctors decided to try out ivermectin 1% topical treatment for rosacea. In one study, 12 weeks of treatment created significantly greater reductions in rosacea symptoms and enhanced the participants’ quality of life. And there’s more. The longer they took it, the better their improvement.

New Zealand’s Solution for Rosacea

When scientists in New Zealand answered the question, what’s new in rosacea, their answer wasn’t the heartworm preventative agent. They went straight to the plants for the answer. They used a topical 90% medical grade kanuka honey with 10% glycerine ointment on over 100 patients with serious cases of rosacea.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Kanuka honey? Is that misspelled? Isn’t it supposed to be manuka honey – the honey with some pretty incredible antibacterial properties that help heal wounds?”

Yes, you read it right – it is kanuka honey. There’s a difference between kanuka honey and manuka honey. Manuka honey is grown as a monoculture in New Zealand, planted in wetter, warmer areas and is darker in color than kanuka honey. They both have a similar flavor although kanuka honey taste is crisp with a flavor of butterscotch. However, kanuka honey is a plant difficult to find.

There was twice as much improvement in the rosacea in those who used the kanuka honey as compared to those using the control cream, 34.3% compared to 17.4% at week 8. The team of 13 scientists and doctors concluded it was an effective treatment for rosacea.

Koreans Answer What’s New in Rosacea Differently

Koreans used a triterpene that was naturally found in the plant, Solanum melongena L. in their acne patients for a four-week trial. The lupeol reduced inflammation nicely and suppressed oil secretion as well. A microscopic skin evaluation found reduced numbers of infiltrated cells and pathogenic proteins around the sebaceous glands and comedones. They’re telling everyone that there is clinical feasibility in applying lupeol for the treatment of acne.

What’s New in Rosacea – and Available Now?

Scientists and doctors in the U.S. are starting to use the effective newly approved treatment for rosacea called brimonidine tartrate and topical oxymetazoline.

Check with your local cosmetic dermatologist to see what you can do about your rosacea. You don’t have to keep suffering anymore. Call us today at 403-271-3627.


Gupta, G., et al. Ivermectin 1% Cream for Rosacea. Skin Therapy Lett 2015 Aug; 20(4): 9-11.

Braithwaite, I., et al. Randomised controlled trial of topical kanuka honey for the treatment of rosacea. BMJ Open 2015 Jun 24;5(6):e007651.

Ali, S.T., Alinia, and Feldman, S.R. The treatment of rosacea with topical ivermectin. Drugs Today (Barc) 2015 Apr; 51(4):243-50.

Kwon, H.H., et al. Activity-guided purification identifies lupeol, a pentacyclic triterpene, as a therapeutic agent multiple pathogenic factors of acne. J Invest Dermatol 2015 Jun; 135 (6): 1491-500.

Moustafa, F.A., Sandoval, L.F., and Feldman, S.R. Rosacea: new and emerging treatments. Drugs 2014 Sep; 74(13): 1457-65.