Current Dermatology Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 359–370 | Cite as

Complementary and Alternative Methods for Treatment of Acne Vulgaris: a Systematic Review

  • Molly R. Marous
  • Hania K. Flaten
  • Brigitte Sledge
  • Hope Rietcheck
  • Robert P. Dellavalle
  • Tina Suneja
  • Cory A. Dunnick
Invited Commentary


Purpose of Review

To review the current literature regarding complementary and alternative treatment options for acne vulgaris.

Recent Findings

Acne vulgaris is an increasingly prevalent disease worldwide. While conventional methods of treatment are still primarily used to treat acne, complementary and alternative methods of treatment are becoming utilized in conjunction or in place of prescription medications.


Studies have shown comparable benefit of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies to conventional treatment. Oral green tea extract was a moderately effective treatment of inflammatory acne without significant side effects. Nicotinamide oral and topical preparations demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of moderate inflammatory acne without significant side effects. Oral zinc gluconate was not as effective as oral minocycline in the treatment of inflammatory acne. CAM therapy has relatively few reported side effects for acne vulgaris, and is mildly effective in treatment of inflammatory and comedonal acne. More studies are needed for further comparison of CAM modalities with each other as well as with conventional treatment.


Acne vulgaris Complementary treatment Alternative treatment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly R. Marous
    • 1
  • Hania K. Flaten
    • 2
  • Brigitte Sledge
    • 3
  • Hope Rietcheck
    • 2
  • Robert P. Dellavalle
    • 2
    • 4
  • Tina Suneja
    • 5
  • Cory A. Dunnick
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Geisinger Commonwealth School of MedicineScrantonUSA
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  3. 3.Texas College of Osteopathic MedicineFort WorthUSA
  4. 4.Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center, Dermatology ServiceAuroraUSA
  5. 5.Department of EpidemiologyColorado School of Public HealthAuroraUSA
  6. 6.Department of DermatologyColorado Permanente Medical GroupCentennialUSA

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