How to Beat Rosacea

How to Beat Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin disorder that affects at least 16 million adults in the United States  (Rosacea.org, 2014).  Rosacea initially presents itself as rosy red cheeks but eventually leads to pustules, visible blood vessels, eye inflammation and facial flushing.  Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available for this skin disorder.  Here are some of the best tips and treatment methods for dealing with your rosacea.

Discover Your Rosacea Triggers 

When you are first diagnosed with rosacea, it is important to discover the triggers that cause your skin condition to flare-up.  Factors that cause rosacea to flare-up include hot or cold weather, pollutants, spicy foods, excessive makeup, foods high in sugar, dairy foods, alcohol and caffeine. 

Use a journal to record the condition of your skin each day, what you ate and what you were doing.  Once you have identified the triggers that affect you, it is time to make a plan that will address them.  Divide the triggers into two categories — internal triggers (diet, alcohol) and external (weather, humidity, makeup).

Fix Your Diet

Using the data from your journal, determine which foods are making your rosacea worse.  You may have unusual foods triggering rosacea flare-ups and there may be a delayed reaction to the foods you are eating. 

A common trigger amongst all rosacea sufferers is any food that causes a sudden spike in insulin production.  Simple carbohydrates and foods high in sugar push glucose into the bloodstream rapidly.  That is followed by a spike in insulin and the insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 (a hormone that acts like insulin).  Inflammation can occur as a result of insulin and IGF-1 spikes, which can worsen rosacea.  Choose low GI foods and carefully check the packaging of any processed foods you eat for their sugar content. 

Be extremely careful with caffeinated beverages, because they can dilate the blood cells in your face and worsen your condition.  Caffeinated sugary beverages are the worst case scenario for rosacea suffers because they contain both caffeine and high doses of sugar.

After taking action on the foods that are worsening your condition, look at foods that may help improve it.  Some medical experts suggest an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce rosacea flare-ups (Drweil.com, 2014).  This type of diet focusses on eating whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables.  It avoids processed foods, sugar and fat.  The anti-inflammatory diet also aims to include foods high in phytonutrients, antioxidants (particularly Omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins and minerals.  Foods that are more alkaline can also reduce inflammation.

There is some evidence that the health of the flora in a person’s intestinal tract also plays a role in the severity of rosacea (Aad.org, 2014).  If you have had a poor diet or recently taken antibiotics, you may have an imbalance in your intestinal tract.  That imbalance can lead to inflammation which worse rosacea.  You can take oral probiotics containing lactobacilli and bifidobacterium to help correct the imbalance.  Many yoghurts also contain these cultures.  The cat’s claw herb also helps restore flora balance in your gut.

Other supplements reported to improve rosacea include flaxseed oil (for its omega-3 content), zinc, red clover and licorice.

Use the Appropriate Skincare Routine

Rosacea affected skin is extremely sensitive and must be handled carefully.  You should create a daily skin care routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection.  This routine creates a protective layer for your skin, to reduce the impact of external rosacea triggers.

It is important to choose products that do not irritate your sensitive skin.  Some of the ingredients that can worsen rosacea include alcohol, peppermint, eucalyptus, witch hazel and menthol.  Products that contain harsh cleansing agents or astringents should also be avoided.  Avoid products that have a lot of chemicals or fragrances in them, because they are more likely to cause a flare-up.  

Look for products that have natural ingredients and specifically mention their suitability for rosacea sufferers.  Brands like Cetaphil, La Roche-Posay and Tolerin have a range of cleaners and moisturizers designed for people with rosacea.  Make a habit of using sunscreen, because ultraviolet light is one of the main triggers for rosacea flare-ups.

Use Home Remedies

There are many home remedies for rosacea that can reduce inflammation and the redness on your face.  Many rosacea sufferers have had success with cucumber face masks, green tea masks, rose hip oil, cold compresses, oatmeal face masks and tea tree oil.  There are dozens of home remedies on the Internet to use in conjunction with other forms of treatment.  

Topical Medications

There are a number of topical treatments available for rosacea including creams to help reduce swelling, remove dead skin or which act as an antibiotic.  

Some of the more popular creams contain azelaic acid (Finacea) or the antibiotic metronidazole (Metrogel), which can help deal with pustules and reduce redness.  These creams work by reducing the inflammatory response of your skin and helping to remove bacteria.  Antibiotic creams such as Clinda-Derm, Emgel and Erygel can be effective at treating rosacea pustules.

Products such as Zenmed and Booster Blue are aimed at reducing the facial flushing experienced by people with rosacea.

Oral Medications

Your doctor may prescribe you a mild antibiotic to help deal with the inflammation and pustules.  Commonly prescribed antibiotics include doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.  These antibiotics are given in small doses.

Your doctor might keep you on a course of these antibiotics for as long as six months.  Unfortunately, rosacea will usually return when the course finishes and there are often side effects when taking these drugs.

Laser treatments

Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and laser treatments can be used to reduce facial redness and flushing.  The treatment involves using heat to damage the visible veins on the face, making them shrink.  It is a mildly painful treatment, however most people do not require any pain relief while undergoing the procedure.

As medical technology improves, there will be additional forms of treatment made available for rosacea sufferers.  By obtaining some of the treatments above and modifying your lifestyle, you can rid yourself of most rosacea symptoms!

Michelle Gensaya

Sources:

Drweil.com, (2014). Anti-Inflammatory Diet - Dr. Weil. [online] Available at: drweil.com/drw/u/ART02012/anti-inflammatory-diet [Accessed 14 Oct. 2014].

Rosacea.org, (2014). Rosacea Now Estimated to Affect at Least 16 Million Americans. [online] Available at: rosacea.org/rr/2010/winter/article_1.php [Accessed 13 Oct. 2014].

Aad.org, (2014). Could probiotics be the next big thing in acne and rosacea treatments | aad.org. [online] Available at: aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/could-probiotics-be-the-next-big-thing-in-acne-and-rosacea-treatments [Accessed 14 Oct. 2014].

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Michelle Gensaya
Michelle Gensaya is a Senior Editor at Health Haxor and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Michelle is passionate about health and fitness and often writes about natural home remedies, women's health and beauty tips.
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