Q: Can I use topical feverfew if I have eczema?

A: Ask your doctor to be sure, but typically, you can. In fact, University of California San Diego pediatric and adolescent dermatology professor Lawrence F. Eichenfield, M.D., says that feverfew can help improve eczema symptoms, because it strengthens skin’s moisture barrier to minimize itching and flaking.

Q: How long does it take for feverfew to improve skin irritation or redness?

A: In some studies, results took as little as one week, with increased improvements as you continue using the products. Also, keep in mind that different people with varying degrees of redness or irritation may notice improvement sooner than others.

Q: Is topical Feverfew PFE safe to use after having a skin procedure?

A: Generally, yes, but check with your doctor. It can help soothe post-procedure skin irritation. And dermatologist Leslie Baumann, M.D., even recommends it to patients before having their procedures to prevent irritation.

by team

Where does feverfew come from?

Feverfew – also known as Tanacetum parthenium – is a plant related to sunflowers and chrysanthemums. It grows in Europe, North America and Australia, blooming from July through October. The plant has greenish yellow leaves and tiny yellow flowers resembling daisies.

Feverfew leaves contain compounds known as parthenolides. When applied topically, these compounds can irritate and sensitize the skin. In skincare formulas, however, feverfew is purified, and the parthenolides are removed. This is called Feverfew PFE, or parthenolide-free extract.

How can feverfew help your skin?  

Dermatologists praise this plant for its multiple soothing qualities. Below is a list of feverfew’s benefits. It:

  • Reduces inflammation. Feverfew calms and soothes inflammation and redness associated with acne and rosacea. It acts on chemicals that cause inflammation, dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D., writes in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
  • Minimizes sunburn-induced redness. In one study, reports Dr. Wu, skin that was treated with feverfew lotion before being exposed to UVB rays showed much less redness than skin with a placebo lotion. Specifically, participants received either Feverfew PFE lotion or a placebo lotion on their backs. Then, participants were exposed to small amounts of UVB rays to induce sunburn. Researchers measured redness after 24 and 48 hours.
  • Protects against free radicals. From cigarette smoke to car exhaust and other chemicals, our air isn’t exactly healthy. These environmental threats produce harmful molecules known as free radicals, which are linked to skin damage, aging and cancer. Antioxidants are substances that protect skin from free radicals. Feverfew PFE falls into this category.
  • One study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, showed that “Feverfew PFE proved to be the most effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant among 2,000 other botanicals ranging from aloe vera to white tea,” writes Ning Chao in Elle. Feverfew PFE outperformed other antioxidants by a long shot, faring 35 times better than the closest runner-up. Because of its protective antioxidant effects, feverfew may have useful applications in preventing skin cancer.

  • Lowers shaving irritation. Shaving often causes sensitivity, irritation and razor burn. One study examined feverfew’s effects on shaving irritation. For two weeks, participants used Feverfew PFE on one leg twice a day and a placebo lotion on the other leg. They shaved two or three times weekly. The result? Feverfew PFE worked much better than placebo lotion at reducing irritation.  

Who should look for feverfew?

Feverfew can be a great addition to your skincare regimen if you have any of the following skin problems:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Sensitive skin that’s often irritated
  • Skin that burns easily

Who should avoid feverfew?

Not sure if feverfew is right for you? Check with your dermatologist. But the following people might want to skip it:

  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • Children under two years old
  • Anyone allergic to chamomile, yarrow or ragweed, because feverfew is similar to these plants and will probably result in an allergic reaction, too.
  • Individuals prone to canker sores, mouth, tongue or lip problems. If you experience these concerns, don’t apply topical feverfew products near your lips or mouth. Especially in its raw leaf form, feverfew can just make matters worse.

Product picks

Many products allow you to enjoy feverfew’s soothing, protective effects.

  • Cleanser. Want a foaming cleanser that removes dirt and impurities, but won’t irritate your sensitive or dry skin? Put off by harsh perfumes or dyes? Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser is noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. It also helps to minimize redness.

  • Moisturizer. After cleansing, apply a moisturizer with sunscreen. Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Day Lotion SPF 20 protects skin from UVA and UVB rays, plus evens out skin tone.

  • Body splash. When you step out of the shower, apply Philosophy Amazing Grace Perfumed Body Spritz to moisturize and leave a clean, fresh scent.

  • Night cream. Before hitting the sack at night, use a protective night cream to counteract and repair the day’s skin damage. You’ll bolster and strengthen your skin’s barrier, allowing it to retain moisture better. Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Night Cream helps to make lines and wrinkles less visible.

Plagued with skin sensitivity and redness? Have a condition like acne or rosacea? Then feverfew may just be the ticket to soothe and calm your complexion!

See also:

Caring for Sensitive Skin

Top 10 Articles on Sensitive Skin: Psoriasis, Eczema, Rosacea & More

Acne Treatment for Dry and Sensitive Skin

5 Nourishing, Natural Ingredients


Philosophy Amazing Grace Perfumed Body Spritz experience full-body scenting that begins with a "base coat." the amazing grace body spritz is a lightly scented spray which provides moisturizing and antioxidant benefits to the skin."
Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Night Cream This luxuriously restorative night cream helps replenish the skin’s natural moisture barrier and fights free radicals even while you sleep."
Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Day Lotion SPF 20 A beautifully lightweight moisturizer with the age-protecting, age-reversing power of anti-oxidants for noticeably younger-looking skin. Contains patented Helioplex sunscreen technology, for deep cellular protection to help guard skin against sun-induced DNA damage."
Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser With naturally calming feverfew, a natural ingredient related to chamomile, this light foaming cleanser helps visibly reduce redness and calm dry, irritated or sensitive skin while gently cleansing. It lifts away dirt, oil, and make-up without over-drying or aggravating even very sensitive skin."

"The information provided on is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical question or concern regarding any news item or article on this news magazine, please consult your physician..."