Botanical ingredients reduce mild acne-related erythema

A combination of salicylic acid and botanicals commonly may provide anti-inflammatory benefits as a spot treatment for acne.

A pilot study recently published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology shows that a combination of salicylic acid and botanical extracts can reduce erythema associated with mild acne.

Researchers combined an over-the-counter topical gel containing 2 percent salicylic acid combined with botanicals that have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

This was a proof-of-concept randomized, blinded, split-face study whose goal was to determine if this formulation could reduce the redness, elevation and induration associated with acne lesions. It included 25 patients who, after 10 days, reported having a 15-20 percent reduction in redness consistently over the course of the study.

Typical commercial over-the-counter products are based on benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, both of which are effective in reducing lesions, but neither have the capability to immediately reduce inflammation or redness. In addition, benzoyl peroxide is poorly tolerated by some patients and is associated with skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, the authors wrote.

In this study, researchers evaluated Kamedis Acne Spot Treatment (Kamedis Ltd), which includes 10 percent herbal botanical ingredients associated with having antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Those ingredients included Rheum palmatum, Portulaca oleracea, Chrysanthemum indicum, Scutullaria baicalensis, Phellodendron amurense, Sanguisorba officinalis and Sapindus mukorossi.

The anti-inflammatory mechanism in Rheum palmatum, for example, is emodin and aloe-emodin have been scientifically proven to block the inflammasome-induced pyroptosis and cleaved IL-1β.

"Acne lesions heal, which is a study limitation, but the concept was to reduce redness and pain associated with acne, since these are issues for many young individuals who say, 'I've got this big important meeting and a red spot on my face. I don't want take medicine. I want to apply some type of natural anti-inflammatory acne treatment.' This product may fulfill that niche," said Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., president of Dermatology Consulting Services in High Point, North Carolina, and an author of the study.

Study design

The study included subjects between the ages of 12 and 43 years who had at least two inflammatory papular lesions and two non-inflammatory open or closed comedones on each side of the face in roughly symmetrical locations. Subjects were instructed to apply the study product three times daily for 10 days, after washing the entire face with Dove sensitive skin soap to lesions on a randomized side of the face.

At follow-up visits on treatment days one, two, three, seven and 10, the investigator used a five-point ascending scale to assess each inflammatory lesion on both sides of the face for parameters including erythema, elevation, induration and overall appearance. The investigator also assessed non-inflammatory lesions for elevation and overall appearance, and took standardized digital photos at follow-up visits.

For inflammatory lesions, improvements in erythema, elevation and overall appearance at day 10 were 50.7%, 63.3% and 66.3%, respectively. Moreover, the treated side showed improvement over control after one day of treatment.

By day two, improvements in inflammatory lesions attained an advantage of 15 – 20 percent over the control side across all inflammatory lesion parameters, and the improvements persisted through day 10 (p<0.005).



This study was sponsored by Kamedis Ltd.


1. Barak-Shinar D, Draelos ZD. A randomized controlled study of a novel botanical acne spot treatment.Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. June 1, 2017.

2. Consumer Antiseptic Wash Final Rule, Questions and Answers, Guidance for Industry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 2017.


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