Custom Topical Formulations

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Last Updated 11/7/07


This page includes rosacea recipes and information that may be helpful for those who would like to make customized blends at home for their rosacea. I will include recipes and tips that have helped me and/or seem to be helping others. In general, I think blending at home can be pretty simple, and fun! It is easiest to choose a lotion, cream, or topical you already know you can use, and simply mix whatever active ingredient you want to try into it. In addition, there are simple recipes "from scratch" that can be used.

It is always a good idea to let your dermatologist know what you would like to try. It is wise to ALWAYS use a small test spot for up to two weeks to determine how your skin reacts, and to try only one new thing at a time. I highly recommend using a calendar to record what you are trying and when, and making notes regarding how your skin responds.

You will notice that I tend to use Skinactives. Keep in mind there are other ingredient sources I am not as familiar with, and I have listed some below. Also included are links for supplies (bottles, etc), and more common ingredients you cannot get from Skinactives. Please note: Although I am only a customer, after my experience with EGF, Skinactives submitted a patent on it for rosacea and graciously included me because of input I provided to them. Have a great day! -Artist


12/27/07: I am currently trying an even easier way to use EGF. I am simply dotting a miniscule amout of the EGF from the purple tube (undiluted)onto my WET face and spread around. I use a plastic toothpick and dip it into one of the tiny beads of EGF in the tube. Then I dot it onto my WET skin so it dilutes right on my face. It seems to be working just as well. This way, I don't have to mix it or worry about preservatives since freezing EGF is out of the question. This method has been much easier so far. I would use caution with this method, since the EGF is undiluted. I am sure to use a miniscule amount on my very wet face.

11/7/07: Well it's been a while since I've updated. My rosacea is still doing really well with my routine, which I have updated. It's simpler, and one of the changes includes the fact that I now use the Sea Kelp Bioferment as a cleanser instead of the Toleraine Dermo Cleanser. I find the Sea Kelp cleanser is very gentle and cleanses more thoroughly. Also, it combats flakes much more effectively. In addition, I freeze some of my non-preserved mixes now so I don't have to continually make fresh batches. Freezing preserves them very nicely. Recipes have been updated accordingly. Have a fabulous day!

3/22/07: I've just learned that glycerine dissolves several actives. For example, to dissolve licorice, just mix it with enough glycerin to make a paste. Then add distilled water and hyaluronic acid. No more grinding the licorice. No more gritty textrue. Great! I will be improving the recipes below based on this. Glycerin is a humectant. It's moisturizing and non-irritating.

Another idea for those who do better without preservatives is to then freeze small portions of the non-preserved mix to keep it fresh. When you are ready for more, just plop a small cube into a jar and let it melt. This way you don't have to make fresh batches every week. You should not freeze EGF or SOD, but other actives should be fine according to what I learned. Cheers! Artist

Skinactives ---- Skinactives Rosacea Resources Forum ---- Bottles and Jars ---- From Nature With Love ---- Making Cosmetics ---- The Herbarie ---- Make Your Cosmetics ---- Smart Skin Care----Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe ---- Personal Formulator (has a forum) ----Lotion Crafters ---- Ingredients to Die For

Rosacea an Antioxidant System Defect? ---- Licorice Packs a Punch ---- Treating Rosacea with Herbs ---- Benzaldehyde Reduces Facial Erythema ---- Licorice Extract and Skin ---- Boswellia and Endothelial Inflammation ---- Chamomile Study ---- Green Tea Extract Phase 2, Shows Promise---- Jojoba Oil Has Anti-inflammatory Properties ---- Antioxidant Properties of Some Hydroalcoholic Plant Extracts with Antiinflammatory Activity.

AA = Anti-Angiogenic
AR = Anecdotal Positive Reports
AB = Anti-Bacterial
AF = Anti-Fungal
AH = Anti-Histamine
AI = Anti-Inflammatory
AO = Anti-Oxidant
CI = Enhances Capillary Integrity
LA = Less Allergenic (my opinion)
M = Moisturizing
N = Nutritive
PE = Protective against the elements wind, cold, and heat
SS = Supports and/or Builds Skin Structure
UV = Protective against UVA and/or B rays

Active Ingredients:
Note: I make the ingredient Bold when I notice several have used it with success. (Remember, not everyone may react in a similar way.)
I will remove ingredients if I learn of consistent negative reactions.

4-ethoxybenzaldehyde - Active Ingredient in "Cutanix" - AI, LA
Astaxanthin - AO, UV
Azeloylglycine - Azelaic Acid derivative - LA
Beeswax - PE, AR
Bisabolol - AI, LA
Boswellia - AI, SS, AR, Elastase Inhibitor
Caffeine - AO, LA, Possible Capillary Constriction
Calendula - AR, AI
Centella Asiatica - CI, AI, SS
Chamomile - AB, AI, AO
Coconut Milk - N, AR
Coconut Endosperm - N, M, SS
Emu Oil - SS, M, AR, LA
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) - AA, AR, SS, LA
Eyeliss - AI, SS, CI, improves lymph flow (used often for puffy under-eye)
Glutathione - AR, AO, LA
Grape Seed Proanthocyanidins - CI, AO, AI, SS, AH
Green Tea EGCG - AA, AO, AI
Hesperidin - CI, LA
Horse Chestnut - AA, AI, AO, CI
Hyaluronic Acid - SS, AR, LA Thickener
Jojoba Oil - SS, M, P, AR
Licorice Powder - AI, AR
Lycopene - AO, LA
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Mild Vitamin C) - AO, SS, LA (Once a week only. Overuse may promote angiogenesis)
Niacinamide - AI, SS, AR, LA
Pomegranate Seed Oil - AA, M, N, AO
Pomegranate Extract - AO, UV, AA
Resveratrol - AI, AO, UVB, AF, LA
Sea Kelp Bioferment - N, M, AR, AI
Sodium PCA - Very Moisturizing, LA
Strontium - Instant anesthetic, Anti-irritant, AI
Superoxide Dismutase - AO, LA (found to be deficient in rosacea skin)
White Willow Bark (Salicylic Acid) - Possibly once a week as a mask for gentle exfoliation.
Zinc Oxide Powder - AR, UVA, UVB, PE, LA, Possibly AA since it is a copper antagonist

Ingredients I would NOT use:
Ceramides (with caution), Ascorbic Acid, Retinol, Copper Peptides, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Cortisone for more than a few days in a row, SD Alcohol, Witch Hazel, Chemical peels, harsh exfoliants, anything that causes burning/stinging/itching/redness.

With rosacea there are several areas to address. Here are some main categories with ingredient ideas. You decide what category is most important for you to tackle first, then on with your test spot, after a visit showing your list to your dermatologist.

-Prevent Inflammation: Licorice, Green Tea with EGCG, Bisabolol, Strontium
-Antioxidant support: Glutathione, Green Tea EGCG, SOD
-Retain Moisture: Hyaluronic Acid, Oil, Natural Active Peptides, Sodium PCA
-Epidermal Support: EGF
-Capillary Strength: Horse Chestnut, Grape Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica
-Skin Nutrition: Sea Kelp Bioferment

-Papules & Pustules: Licorice, Azeloyl glycine, 4-ethoxybenzaldehyde
-Redness: EGF, Licorice, Caffeine
-Sensitivity: Licorice, EGF, Strontium, Bisabolol
-Visible Capillaries: Horse Chestnut, Grape Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica, Vitamin K, possibly EGF, Caffeine

MY CURRENT TOPICAL ROUTINE (last updated 11/7/07)

-Wash with Sea Kelp Bioferment. It comes with Decyl Glucoside, a gentle surfactant. Mix the little vial of Decyl Glucoside with the Sea Kelp Bioferment before you start using it.
-Apply Hyaluronic Acid/Distilled Water Moisture (recipe below)
-Apply a drop of Emu Oil over top.
-Allow to air dry.
-If I'm going to be outside a lot, wear a hat .
-If needed, a tiny amount of La Roche Posay Unifiance Concealer on any uneven areas.

-Wash with Sea Kelp Bioferment/decyl glucoside, rinse.
-Apply Hyaluronic Acid/Distilled Water Moisture (recipe below)
-Apply a drop of Emu Oil over top.
-Two or three times a week I use a few drops of plain Glycerine on my WET face (glycerine needs water in order to moisturize) instead of the HA/emu oil.
-After washing face in the evening, use a plastic toothpick to carefully dot a tiny, tiny amount of straight EGF from the purple tube onto my WET face, spread around. This way, I can use it daily without the worry of preservatives.

-Apply Simple Licorice Mix (recipe below) as an anti-inflammatory treatment. I use this when my skin is feeling sensitive.

I don't use Noritate or antibiotics at all anymore.

RECIPES: *My current favorites
Please remember to use a test spot for up to two weeks:

*Hyaluronic Acid/Distilled Water Moisture: For moisture, extremely gentle
Mix 2 tablespoons distilled water with 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon hyaluronic acid
Freeze in ice cube tray or plastic container (since no preservative is added)
Apply twice a day alone or mixed with a few drops of oil or moisturizer. Either scrape a bit off when you want to use it, or thaw out a cube for your dropper bottle when you are out.

*Simple Licorice Mix: For inflammation, sensitivity, p&ps, & redness
Mix 2 tablespoons of distilled water with 1/8 teaspoon licorice powder. Add enough hyaluronic acid to make a thin gel (about 1/4 teaspoon). Mix well, allow to sit for a bit, mix again. Since no preservatives are used, freeze in an ice cube tray or plastic container. Either scrape a bit off when you want to use it, or thaw out a cube for your dropper bottle when you are out. If you don't freeze it, keep it in the fridge and make a new batch often - every 3-5 days or so. FYI..I wouldn't freeze EGF or SOD as they will lose their activity.

*EGF Simple Monthly Treatment: For diffuse redness
I like to make this fresh monthly and use as a treatment for five days in a row, since it does not have a preservative and I can't freeze it:

Put 2 tablespoons of distilled water into a Dropper Bottle. Add 1/4 teaspoon of Hyaluronic Acid and shake until gel-like.
Add about 1/4 of the reconstituted EGF vial, invert several times to blend.
Do not shake once EGF has been added. Keep in the fridge, using the dropper to prevent contaminating it with your fingers.
Apply monthly for five days in a row. Boost moisture by mixing a few drops with your oil of choice in your palm before applying.

See NOTE below regarding storing EGF.

More recipes you might like to try:

Simple Powdered Actives Mixes:
You can use plain Glycerine to dissolve many powdered actives like Licorice, Horse Chestnut, Green Tea, etc. Just mix a tiny bit of glycerine with the powder before adding distilled water.

SOD-EGF-SKB Mask: For mild cleansing (good in the morning), antioxidant, nutrients, epidermal thickness
1 8 oz container of SKB (Sea Kelp Bioferment)
1 SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) Kit
1 EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) Kit
Mix gently
Mix a dime-sized amount with a few drops of oil or lotion in your palm. Apply to face just after a shower or rinsing face with tepid water and drying. Allow to soak in for about 5 minutes and rinse. Keep in fridge.

Non-Allergenic Moisture Mix: For dry skin, sensitivity, redness
1 teaspoon cream or lotion type base of choice
1 drop Bisabolol
4 drops Sodium PCA
1/8 teaspoon Hyaluronic Acid
1/8 rounded teaspoon Caffeine
5-10 drops Emu Oil or oil of choice
Mix and shake like crazy...
1/4 vial Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)
Mix gently, apply daily. Enjoy!

Licorice Mix: For inflammation, sensitivity, p&ps, & redness
2 Fat Tablespoons of your base.
1/8 even teaspoon Licorice Powder
Optional: several drops of oil of choice. I use Emu Oil
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon Hyaluronic Acid for moisture.
Mix well.

EGF NOTE: Remember: Undiluted (before you mix the saline into it) EGF lasts a year or so, but once the EGF is diluted in the saline, it only lasts for up to two weeks unless you stabilize it. The HA/Water base is not preserved, and is very dilute, so the EGF will only remain active in this solution for up to two weeks as well. After testing on your skin with the simple HA/Water/EGF mixture, you may want to stabilize the next batch so you don't have to buy fresh EGF every two weeks. You can stabilize it three ways:

1) by using a preseserved lotion, cream, or gel as a base

2) or, by adding Natural Active Peptides and a preservative to the HA/Water/EGF base (recipe below). The Skinactives preservative, Liquipar Optima, has no formaldehyde releasors and cost's $1. It contains Phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben. The following recipe contains a very small percentage of preservative compared to what is on store shelves, since you only need it to last several months, not several years. Or, determine what preservatives are used in your current topical and try to get those.

3) A third option I am currently trying is simply dotting a miniscule amout of EGF from the purple tube (undiluted) onto my WET face and spread around. I use a plastic toothpick. It seems to be working just as well. This way, I don't have to mix it or worry about preservatives.

Stabilized EGF Mixes:
Recipe 1)
1 8 oz jar of sea kelp bioferment 1 EGF kit
Mix gently and apply daily as a 5-10 minute mask with a few drops of oil or moisturizer added in palm, rinse, dry. Keep in the fridge.

Recipe 2)
8 (EIGHT) Tablespoons distilled water
1 teaspoon hyaluronic acid (HA)
1-2 teaspoons Natural Active Peptides
1 teaspoon Sodium PCA (optional)
6 drops Liquipar Optima (preservative)
SHAKE, then add the entire EGF kit, then only invert to mix to avoid damaging the EGF

EGF/Aloe Vera mix: For diffuse redness
Aloe Vera has antimicrobial properties. Simply mix the reconstituted EGF vial into 6-8 tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel

Zinc Oxide Cream: Skin Protectant

1/2 teaspoon Beeswax Pellets
1 teaspoon oil of your choice. I use Emu Oil
A mixture of 1/8 teaspoon of Hyaluronic Acid and 1-2 teaspoons distilled water
Scant 1/8 teaspoon pure Zinc Oxide Powder
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon Seakelp Bioferment

Heat the oil and beeswax together until the beeswax melts into the oil, stirring constantly. I used a ladle over a candle,
but be very careful not to burn the bottom. Pour into a container and stir in the HA/water mixture, stir in the seakelp bioferment (optional),
then the zinc oxide. You can add more or less oil or water to make it heavier/lighter. Store in fridge. Use within a few weeks.

Remember, Zinc is a mild astringent, so adjust to your skin tolerance. At first, zinc clears and calms my skin, but if I use it for
many days in a row I can tell I am getting too much astringent action, so I skip it when I know I'll be inside most of the day.

Aspirin Mask: For inflammation & gentle exfoliation
Several on the forum found this to be helpful. I would use a small test spot the first few times. I would also
use it just once or twice weekly for gentle exfoliation - never daily. Aspirin is anti-inflammatory, and also a BHA:

Dissolve 2 uncoated aspirin in 1 tablespoon distilled water, coat face, rinse after it dries thoroughly.

Aspirin/Green Tea Mask: For inflammation, anti-oxidant
Another poster reports good luck with this Aspirin/Green Tea version.


Seakelp+jojoba oil+h2o
-I mix in the palm of my hand a small squirt of kelp, a cpl drops jojoba and a spray of distilled water....i rub my hands together and apply to my entire face every morning for at least half an hour. (This can be blended into a potion also, but will need some preservative if you do that)
-I use the eye seurm morning and night I use egf daytime under makeup.
-I use the combo potion at night before bed.
-I pat clear,filtered jojoba oil onto my face after these if it's too dry.

Eye Serum 2oz.
3/4tsp Hyaluronic acid (HA), 4TBS. distilled water, 1/4th tube palmatoyl pentapeptide, 1/8th tsp.dmae, 3 drops liquipar (I make a light potion for my skin-i may increase the amounts as time goes by.) Beat half the water and HA separate, then add that to the actives&preservatve +rest of water....that way it will mix quicker.

Night-time rosacea, capillary and melasma blend
4 oz of Nature's Life Aloe Vera Herbal Blend, 1/2 tsp. licorice, 1/4 tube Glutathione, 1 tsp. horsechestnut, a few drops Unfiltered Jojoba Oil, or as needed (Licorice can be drying so the oil helps with that.)

First i grind the licorice to a finer consistency. Then whip in the jojoba oil. Then add the thins out the aloevera gel. Then add the horsechestnut. I don't use preservative in this because the aloe has enough for the actives being used. Oher actives can be added to this recipe.

EGF serum
4TBS. distilled h2o, 1+1/2tsps aloe vera gel blend, 3 drops liquipar, shake or mix well, then add half an egf kit (always at the end of mixing....then only gently invert potion from here after). This is a nice, light gel serum but it holds together nicely.

have fun, emily

Thank you Emily for sharing your recipes!

Please note: Although I am only a customer, after my experience with EGF, Skinactives submitted a patent on it for rosacea and graciously included me because of input I provided to them.