Announcing: California College of Ayurveda and the UC Davis Dermatology Department

 Publish Important Research related to the Herbal Treatment of Acne.

The California College of Ayurveda and UC Davis Dermatology Department have collaborated to publish important research related to the treatment of Acne. The paper titled, Neem and Turmeric Inhibit Propionibacterium acnes Induced Lipid Synthesis and Inflammatory Response of Human Sebocytes , reveals that the herbs studied are effective.
Acne is the most common skin condition affecting adolescents and young adults. Sebocytes are specialized epithelial cells associated with hair follicles. Sebocytes produce sebum, an oil important in the protection of the skin from external elements and integral part of the skins immune system.  Sebum and inflammatory mediators produced by sebocytes  contribute to the pathogenesis of acne. Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) affect  sebocytes promoting hyperproliferation which contributes to the plugging of the hair follical and the formation of acne comodones, papules and pustules.    Neem and turmeric contain multiple constituent phytochemicals that exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They have been used in alternative medical systems for the treatment of acne. However, the influence of neem and turmeric on sebaceous biology has not been investigated. This research investigates how neem and turmeric extracts affect the lipid synthesis of sebocytes that have been stimulated with heat killed P. acnes. The results are summarized below.
Neem and Turmeric Inhibit Propionibacterium acnes Induced Lipid Synthesis and Inflammatory Response of Human Sebocytes 
Jennifer Ornelas1, Rasiq Zackria2, Dev S. Chahal2, Marc Halpern DC CAS PKS3, R. Rivkah Isseroff MD2,4, Raja K. Sivamani MD MS2
  • 1. University of California – Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA USA; 
  • 2. Department of Dermatology, University of California – Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA; 
  • 3. California College of Ayurveda, Nevada City, CA, USA; 4. VA Northern California Health Care System, Mather, CA, USA 

Results and Conclusions

  • 1. Heat killed P. Acnes induces sebocytes to upregulate mRNA expression of TLR2, inflammatory cytokine IL-6 , lipid synthesis transcription factor SREBP1, and the lipid synthesis enzyme SCD1. The changes are mitigated by the presence of aqueous neem and turmeric extracts. 
  • 2. Heat killed P. Acnes induces increased lipid synthesis in sebocytes and this increase can be abrogated in the presence of aqueous neem and turmeric extracts. Neither neem nor turmeric extracts alter sebocyte cell proliferation and the effect appears to be through downregulation of the lipid synthesis pathway. 
  • 3. Azaridachtin, a phytochemical in neem, does not alter cell proliferation nor does it alter lipid synthesis in sebocytes. Therefore, the lipid modulatory effects of neem are likely due to other phytochemicals within the aqueous extract. 
  • 4. Curcumin, a phytochemical in turmeric, reduces sebocyte cell proliferation and reduces sebocyte lipid synthesis. Turmeric may be one of the phytochemicals that contribute to turmeric’s moduation of sebocyte lipid synthesis. Curcumin appears to be more effective in reducing sebocyte lipid synthesis than epigallocatechin gallate 
  • 5. Different phytochemicals have differential effects on sebocyte lipid synthesis. Therefore careful study of each new phytochemical is needed to understand how it modulates sebocyte function.
The collaboration between UC Davis Dermatology Department and the California College of Ayurveda was made possible by Dr. Raja Sivamani, a member of the UC Davis Dermatology research team and  Dr. Marc Halpern, President of the California College of Ayurveda. 
For More Information Please Contact: Dr. Marc Halpern at at  Or contact Dr. Raja Sivamani at