Rosacea is a condition of the skin that affects many people around the world. It is characterized by erythema (skin redness) and pustules (1). Pustules are small bumps that can be inflamed that have a white spot at the center, which represents white blood cells that have been recruited to fight the infected area.
Telangiectasia is also evident in those with rosacea (1). These are broken blood vessels, otherwise called spider veins. They are visible on the skin and are very red. Erythema from rosacea is constant, and the skin condition requires long-term management as it is not curable (1).
There may be a number of factors that contribute to rosacea and skin redness. These include demodex mites, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, and environmental factors (1).
Demodex mites are tiny mites that live in the hair follicles on human skin. If an infestation occurs, it can cause redness and flaking. H. pylori causes changes in hormones which can affect rosacea. Environmental factors include cold, heat and sunlight, each of which can exacerbate erythema. They trigger pro-inflammatory cells that increase inflammation and redness.
A benchmark in rosacea therapy involves topical treatments such as metronidazole (1). The main goal is to prevent facial flushing, redness, and the eruption of pustules.
Many sufferers of rosacea and skin redness and sensitivity in general have expressed that cosmetic formulations can cause sensitive skin symptoms and flare rosacea (1). Therefore, it is especially important that cosmetics are formulated with sensitive skin in mind.
Ambophenol is an extract from a type of leaf that has been purified to use in cosmetics. Traditionally, ambophenol has been used for its medicinal properties such as pain relief. It also has antioxidant properties.
In particular, it interferes with cathelicidin expression. This is an antimicrobial substance that is part of the immune system (2). In patients with rosacea, this peptide is found in high concentrations, promoting inflammation in the skin.
Ambophenols work to normalize the expression of cathelicidins in the skin, which helps to regulate the immune function and reduce symptoms of erythema and other inflammatory symptoms (2).
UV-induced erythema is influenced by the enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. Ambophenol can actually interfere with the pathway of cyclooxygenases, leading to an anti-inflammatory response (2). Ambophenol also improves circulation of blood, working to form new blood vessels from existing ones and reducing the instance of broken capillaries.
La Roche Posay’s Dermallergo serum contains both ambophenol and neurosensine, another anti-inflammatory ingredient.
One study found that topical application of this serum containing Ambophenol significantly improved all clinical signs of rosacea, including an improvement of their rosacea when exposed to heat or other triggering factors (1). It reduced redness and telangiectasia after 1 month of use and 1 week following cessation of treatment. The patients also stated that the product was easy to apply, and that skin flaking and dryness also improved with application of this product.