Could A Plant-Based Skin-Care Routine Replace Your Dermatologist?

No matter how wholeheartedly you've thrown yourself into the green world of natural skin care, the last line of defense remains the same: When anything you can either a) buy from a store or b) concoct with organic herbs and extracts grown from your own garden like an old witch hovering over a cauldron proves useless, you consult a dermatologist. So maybe you're convinced they're in the pocket of Big Pharma, raising insurance copays and writing illegible scripts left and right — but they're still the licensed professionals with degrees in this sort of thing, right?
Historically, yes. But new data suggests that a "nature-based" skin regimen might just outdo dermatologist-recommended "synthetic" products in the pursuit of better skin. Burt's Bees teamed up with North Carolina-based research organization Dermatology Consulting Services to conduct two clinical trials — double-blind randomized and controlled — comparing the efficacy of the brand's Sensitive skin-care line vs. the derm-approved routine on patients with sensitive skin related to rosacea, atopic dermatitis and eczema, or general reactivity. The overall appearance of skin affected by these conditions improved up to 38% over the course of treatment with the Burt's Bees range, whereas the highest improvement seen in those on the synthetic regimen was 11%.
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"It is exciting to see these data validate the nature-based approach for achieving skin benefits that many patients with sensitive skin seek," clinical and research dermatologist Zoe Draelos, MD, the study's principal investigator, said of the findings, which were reported at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting this week.
It's crucial to note that any research funded by a brand, using that brand's own products, is far from unbiased. Even so, the results could carry more weight in the future, if other, more impartial studies were to be conducted — and they're definitely intriguing, especially for anyone whose crazy sensitive skin seems resistant to anything their dermatologist prescribes or tells them to use. So, if that sounds like you, it probably can't hurt to give Burt's Bees a try... or go back to your mortar and pestle to see how closely you can replicate the results without having to buy into a corporate-funded study.

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