Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that affects between 0.5-10% of the world’s population (16 million of those being American), so to say it’s common is a bit of an understatement. This skin disorder used to primarily affect people over the age of 30, but in more recent years, rosacea can be seen as soon as one’s early teens and twenties.
The rosy rash that develops on the face as the result of inflammation in the skin is something that affects self-confidence and one’s quality of life. So today, I want to teach you how to best treat rosacea naturally so that you can better support your skin’s health from the inside out and perhaps even reverse the symptoms of rosacea using a holistic approach.
How to Treat Rosacea Naturally
Before we begin, let’s delve into some more information about rosacea so that you have a strong foundation of knowledge to work from, because, believe it or not, 95% of people who have rosacea weren’t even aware they had this condition prior to diagnosis. That’s a lot!
So, let’s start by getting to know our adversary so that we can better treat it and potentially reverse it using the right tools.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that manifests in a red rash on the nose, cheeks, forehead, chin, and even the eyes (known as ocular rosacea) and chest.
These legions often include small, red, pus-filled bumps which is why so many mistake rosacea as just a bad case of acne.
Unlike acne, however, rosacea does not produce whiteheads or blackheads. In fact, it rarely appears during adolescent years… though that seems to be changing.
Typically, rosacea develops during a person’s thirties and forties beginning with a slight pinkish blush to the skin that progresses into permanent thickening of the skin and redness, especially on the nose area if left untreated.
Women are more likely to develop rosacea than men while men who do develop the condition tend to have more severe cases – sometimes as severe as rhinophyma or a painful disfiguration of the nose.
The Symptoms of Rosacea
Most people think rosacea is just a reddening of the skin and nothing more. However, symptoms often go beyond this.
The most common symptoms of rosacea include:
• Acne-like breakouts
• Bumpy skin texture
• Dry, rough, scaly skin patches
• Itchy skin
• Large inflamed pores
• Painful, inflamed skin
• Raised patches of skin (called plaques)
• Red pimples or welts
• Redness across the nose, cheeks, forehead, and/or chin
• Sensitive eyes including symptoms of dryness, redness, stinging, itchiness, blurred vision, pain, and watery or bloodshot eyes
• Sensitivity to sunlight, hot and cold temperatures, and skincare product ingredients
• Spider veins and/or broken blood vessels on the face
• Stinging or burning sensations of the skin
• Thick areas of the skin that can appear on and around the nose, cheeks, forehead, or chin area
Anything that can cause blood vessels to dilate in the face can also cause a flare-up of symptoms.
Common rosacea triggers include:
• Consumption of alcoholic beverages
• Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
• Fatty foods
• Harsh winds
• Hot drinks
• Spicy foods
• Stress and anxiety
• Sun exposure
Although these triggers will differ from person to person, the key is to single out and eliminate triggers as much as possible to help prevent overt dilation of the blood vessels since each time this happens, they lose some elasticity. This loss of elasticity is what ultimately causes broken blood vessels on the face because they remain in a constant dilated state – hence the redness rosacea is known for.
The symptoms of mild rosacea start out as a small rash, a small patch of bumps, or redness on the skin before spreading and becoming progressively worse. Symptoms can also come and go depending on your emotional state, exposure to triggers, and general lifestyle.
What Are the Root Causes Rosacea?
The main root causes of rosacea include:
• A diet high in fat and low in fiber
• Constipation and generally sluggish digestion
• Dysbiosis in the gut (lack of bacterial diversity in the gut and imbalanced levels of gut bacteria)
• Food allergies and sensitivities
• Hormonal imbalance
• Low levels of stomach acid
• Nutritional deficiencies (especially trace minerals and B Vitamins)
• Reaction to synthetic hormones like birth control and hormone replacement therapies
• Repeated exposure to triggers
Most skin conditions are a result of underlying digestive issues, and rosacea is certainly no exception.
In fact, many rosacea sufferers have been found to have low stomach acid levels which point to low absorption of nutrients, particularly trace minerals and B Vitamins. The gut can also be overgrown with bacteria that may be triggering inflammation in the skin.
Having a sluggish digestive system with frequent bouts of constipation will also affect digestive health and the overall condition of our skin. When digestion is impaired, the skin is often the first to show signs of the body’s attempt to detox and process waste. You can often see this as an imbalance in regards to the bacteria in the gut responsible for assisting the detox process.
Those who suffer from leaky gut and those who have food allergies are also more prone to developing skin conditions like rosacea.
Hormonal imbalance is another factor to consider if you find that your rosacea tends to flare during specific times of the month. This can especially impact those going through peri-menopause and menopause where hormones levels start to decline.
Some women find relief after getting their hormones under control, ye there are those who still suffer from flare-ups even when on hormonal replacement therapies.
Conventionally, rosacea is treated with antibiotics which must be taken continuously. I for one think this is a terrible idea since rosacea is often exacerbated by a lack of bacterial diversity in the gut!
The 4 Types of Rosacea
Believe it or not, there are actually 4 types of rosacea!
However, they all share one commonality – inflammation that manifests as a red rash.
I have included a few rosacea pictures below so that you can see the difference between them.
1. Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea
This type of rosacea is characterized by red and flushed skin with visible blood vessels. This is the most common form of rosacea.
2. Ocular Rosacea
Ocular rosacea occurs around the eyes and is known to cause redness, itchiness, sensitivity, pain, and a watery bloodshot look to the eyes. It can also cause blurred vision.
3. Papulopustular Rosacea
This is the form of rosacea that often confuses people into believing it is acne related since it is characterized by acne-like breakouts, persistent redness, papules (bumps), and pustules (pimples). This type is common among women in their 30s and 40s.
4. Phymatous Rosacea
Phymatous rosacea includes symptoms of fluid retention (edema), swelling, thickening of the skin around the nose area, and redness.
Rosacea VS Acne
Like I’ve stated earlier, many people believe that their rosacea is actually acne because so many of the symptoms are similar.
However, one sure fire way to tell the difference between the two is that rosacea is a chronic condition that generally occurs much later in life than acne. It also had no whiteheads or blackheads and will look like a blushing of the skin in the central area of the face, not just red or inflamed pimples. The texture of the skin will often look like raised red bumps and will often be accompanied by broken blood vessels.
Acne can occur anywhere on the body and is characterized by a variety of forms like blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, bumps, and nodules on different areas of the face and body.
How to Treat Rosacea Naturally with a Holistic Approach
So, now that you are armed with knowledge, it’s time to get into the actual treatment protocol you can follow to help alleviate symptoms.
First and foremost is diet.
As we learned, rosacea is an inflammatory condition of the skin that is largely influenced by what we put into our bodies.
Therefore, it only makes sense that you need to cut out inflammatory food and drink from your diet in order to eliminate those triggers. This is especially important if you suffer from leaky gut, ulcerative colitis, SIBO, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease as these conditions have heightened levels of immunoreactive neurons that increase inflammation in the body.
Cutting out processed foods like bread, pasta, cereals, soft drinks, candy, baked goods, etc. as well as foods high in sugar, alcohol, and caffeine is a great place to start.
You should be eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, sprouts, and seeds daily to help up your bacteria diversity and nutrient intake. Dark leafy greens are especially noted for their high content of trace minerals, something that all rosacea sufferers need.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat include:
• Bok choy
• Bone broth
• Chia seeds
• Coconut oil
• Dark leafy greens
• Ginger root
• Wild salmon
Getting enough fiber in your diet will ensure that your digestive system is working smoothly. Not only does fiber help detoxify the body, it also ensures that you will be having regular bowel movements. Sluggish digestion is one of the leading triggers of rosacea, so I implore you not to skip this step.
Taking a high-quality probiotic is another way to support gut bacteria diversity and will also help your body digest food and absorb nutrients. This is especially important if you are already on an antibiotic protocol. I cannot stress this enough!
High Fiber Foods Include:
• Beans and lentils
• Cruciferous vegetables
• Root vegetables
Drinking plenty of water (not from the tap) is another key element in the body’s ability to detox and remove wastes.
The Best Herbs and Supplements for Rosacea
Many who suffer from rosacea have a deficiency in b-vitamins. Take 50mg of B-Complex 1-2 times daily to improve symptoms.
This is one of my favorite digestive supplements. Betaine hydrochloride helps improve and increase stomach acidity, as a result, digestion is much better especially when it comes to proteins. Having proper stomach acid levels for optimal digestion will also ensure that bacteria overgrowth in the gut is controlled.
Take 1-3 capsules of betaine hydrochloride with meals. Start with one, then up it as necessary. If you feel a warming or burning sensation, decrease the dose.
Burdock is a particularly detoxifying herb often used for many types of chronic skin conditions, including rosacea. It helps support the liver and purifies the blood and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Enzymes are essential for every digestive complaint or skin condition as they help break up our food in the digestive tract and help the body assimilate nutrients.
Since those with rosacea often have deficiencies, taking enzymes with your meals is a must.
Take 1-2 capsules of a full spectrum digestive enzyme with every meal.
Gentian is a bitter herb that helps stimulate the release of bile and other gastric juices that help digest the foods we eat.
Since you actually need to taste the bitter flavor of this herb for it to work, it is best taken in a little water as a tincture (10-20 drops) before meals.
Milk thistle is another herb that’s excellent for liver support and detox and has shown great results when it comes to chronic skin conditions, including acne and rosacea.
Take 250mg three times daily. Make sure it contains 80-85% silymarin extract for best results.
Vitamin B 12
Taking 400-800mcg of Vitamin B12 during a rosacea flare-up can help reduce symptoms and future flare-ups.
It is best taken sublingually.
Homeopathic Remedies for Rosacea
Use either 6C or 30C strength three times daily for three weeks.
Arsenicum Album is for flaky, dry, hot feeling skin where the person feels anxious and restless, gets cold easily, and prefers warm beverages.
Hepar Sulphuris is indicated for those who have painful pus-filled spots where a warm compress is soothing.
Pulsatilla is specifically for rosacea associated with hormone imbalance, changes, puberty, menstrual time of the month, or menopause where the woman feels emotional, weepy, and sensitive. They crave sweets and feel more at ease in fresh air.
Sepia is also for rosacea associated with hormonal imbalance except that the woman feels irritable and fatigued. She may also crave chocolate, salty, and/or sour foods and gets cold easily.
Sulphur is for treating chronic inflammation and redness that is aggravated by the sun, hot baths and showers, and warm weather. The person often thirsts for cold drinks and prefers cold weather.
Acupressure for Rosacea
Stomach 36 (St36)
This point improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Spleen 10 (Sp10)
This point clears excess heat from the blood.
Stomach 3 (St3)
Helps clear up rosacea blemishes.
Bladder 10 (B10)
Helps is rosacea is aggravated by stress.
Essential Oils for Rosacea
The best essential oils to use are those with strong anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s important to use well-diluted formulas so that you do not further irritate the skin and use very little. You don’t want to be dragging the delicate skin when applying healing serums.
The rose water will make applying the serum much easier and with less drag.
These oils will also help control demodex mites and other microbes thought to aggravate rosacea.
In what ways have you been able to treat rosacea naturally? Please share in the comments below!
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