Tamanu Oil for Blepharitis and Melasma?

Certified Organic Tahitian Tamanu Oil (Kamani Oil)

Hello Dr. Ettinger,

I suffer from blepharitis and I’m wondering if I can apply tamanu oil on my eyelids.  I came across some info on the internet that it can be used for conjunctivitis (I assume it’s because of its anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal properties).  If so, should it be applied undiluted or diluted (with a Q-tip)?

I also suffer from long-standing hyperpigmentation (uneven patches/streaks on my cheeks) on my cheeks and old acne scars which are more like shallow, irregular craters. Will tamanu oil help in filling in the indentations?

Thank you in advance.

Mary Smith

Mary,

Application of the undiluted tamanu oil w/a Q-tip should be okay. As far as hyperpigmentation goes, it’s most likely not going to work. My wife has melasma and we have tried everything, nothing seems to work. She does use it as a moisturizer and it works very well for that.

Sincerely,

Marcus Ettinger BSc, DC

Dear Dr. Ettinger,

Thank you for your reply.  I will tread cautiously when applying (initially diluted) tamanu oil on my eyelids.

Yes, hyperpigmentation/melasma is extremely difficult to overcome.  You didn’t say if, in your practice, you’ve encountered success with tamanu oil in filling in shallow acne scars (one of the benefits of tamanu oil is that it helps with acne scars, but I’m not sure which kind – raised, rolling, etc.).   Would appreciate a quick feedback with regard to that, at your convenience.  Thanks.

Regards,

Mary Sue

Mary,

Deep pits caused by acne vulgaris are hard to resolve, even with chemical peels or laser. Collagen regeneration will help to reduce the depth and plump-up the area, and works best for mild scaring. Everyone’s chemistry is different and what works for one may not work for another. Our Tamanu oil is not expensive and will have some positive impact on your skin. It’s worth a try.

Another option is more expensive, but will yield the best results: Use the oil for a while along with a .5% retinol product 1-2x/wk, and get the skin very healthy. Now the expensive part: You will have to save about $3,000 for Fraxel (less down time), or CO2 or erbium laser (more down time)

Let me know where you live and I can refer you to a reputable cosmetic/laser dermatologist (if interested). Please e-mail me in a couple of months and give me an update.

Sincerely,

Marcus Ettinger BSc, DC

Dear Dr. Ettinger,

Thank you for your tips.  I don’t have deep cystic acne scars (fortunately), but do have what I describe as shallow, irregular craters (with several medium-sized indentations).  It was because of that that I went for a peel many, many years ago that resulted in my hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure.  You might say that I traded one skin problem for another (and I still have acne scars!).  It was obviously a potent peel and I was NEVER cautioned by the derm to avoid the sun or use sunblock which wasn’t a household word back then.

I tried various treatments after that fiasco – HQ, Retin-A, Obagi (which resulted in rebound hyperpigmentation when stopped), microdermabrasion (the first two were fine, but the third increased the size of my already darkened areas on my cheeks), Cosmelan II 5 years ago(again, initially I was overjoyed but after a week to 10 days’ use brought forth not only darker patches but streaks as well) and more recently about a year ago the Wonderbar, the negative results of which I’m still recovering from.  My skin has yo-yo-ed between getting worse and better all these years.  Funnily enough, the times when my hyperpigmentation was at its lighter phase were when I stopped doing “treatments” and used natural/organic skin products.  For almost the last two months, I’ve been using rosehip seed oil on my face and it seems to have helped lightened my hyperpigmentation  – not that I haven’t used rosehip oil in the past – but perhaps I didn’t give it enough time back then.   Also the brand or the type may have made a difference.  As you know, rose hip oil is rich in natural retinoic acid – perhaps that’s what helping with both my skin issues.

The fact that I am oriental also complicates matters.  I cannot risk having laser or aggressive exfoliating treatments whether it’s for acne scars or hyperpigmentation/melasma.  Although mine is not melasma per se, one derm and one esthetician did term it as such.  (One very reputable laser I went to see advised me against the laser precisely because of my being Asian.  Of course, laser technology has considerably improved since the ‘80s, but I cannot take that risk).  I’ve often wondered if the peel I had ages ago went too deep because the pigmentation has never completely faded, but the fact that my skin has experienced lighter phases has given me hope for further recovery.

In the meantime, I will patiently keep on using what nature has to offer.  I find that switching from chemical sunscreens to physical ones has also helped.  That said, I’m still looking for the ‘perfect’ sunblock.

Thanks again.

Regards,

Mary

P.S.  In your opinion, is it okay to apply tamanu oil over the rosehip oil, or is that overkill? (Will one counter the other, or worse still, will they “clash”?)

Mary,

The Tamanu will be perfectly okay to use in conjunction with Rosehip oil. Since Rosehip oil can irritate skin I would use one of the oils at night and one in the morning. It’s a personal choice which rotation you want to use.

As far as sun block goes, I like SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30. I sold/used it in my MedSpa that I owned for 3 years. For my Asian patients, I used Tri-Luma to lighten hyperpigmentation. SkinCeuticals Phyto + is a natural alternative to Tri-Luma.

You may also want to get yourself a sun-protection hat. Coolibar is what I carried.

I hope this additional information is helpful.

Sincerely,

Marcus Ettinger BSc, DC



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