Complementary and alternative medicine use in dermatology in the United States

Landis ET, Davis SA, Feldman SR, Taylor S. Complementary and Alternative Medicine use in Dermatology in the United States. J Alt Comp Med. 2014;20(5): 392-398.

BAKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has an increasing presence in dermatology. Complementary therapies have been studied in many skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.


This study sought to assess oral CAM use in dermatology relative to medicine as a whole in the United States, using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.


Variables studied include patient demographic characteristics, diagnoses, and CAM documented at the visits. A brief literature review of the top 5 CAM treatments unique todermatology visits was performed.


Most CAM users in both dermatology and medicine as a whole were female and white and were insured with private insurance or Medicare. Fish oil, glucosamine, glucosamine chondroitin, and omega-3 were the most common complementary supplements used in both samples.


CAM use in dermatology appears to be part of a larger trend in medicine. Knowledge of common complementary therapies can help dermatologists navigate this expanding field.