According to modern medicine, there is no cure for Rosacea. However, many people have been able to clear their flare ups for good by identifying and controlling triggers that cause this skin condition. Here are some recommendations on how to treat Rosacea naturally:
1. Eliminate Diet-Based Triggers
To completely cure Rosacea, it is important to look at this skin condition from a holistic point of view: you need to identify the root cause of the flare-ups.
Sure, using medication, lotions and even light therapy may help to minimize the symptoms of Rosacea at least temporarily.
The problem with some of these treatments is that they can make the skin even more sensitive and in some instances aggravate the inflammation.
If you want to treat more than the mere symptoms, a good place to start is identifying any foods that could be triggering these symptoms in the first place.
There is scientific evidence showing that many skin-related problems including Rosacea emanate from an unhealthy gut. So, if your skin is not beaming with health it could be an indication of your overall wellbeing in terms of digestion, hormonal activity, sleep, and even your mental and emotional state.
Inflammatory gastrointestinal tract disorders are a major culprit when it comes to triggering Rosacea symptoms. These disorders, which primarily include ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease can increase immunoreactive neurons in blood vessels and tissues, leading to the inflammation associated with Rosacea. Inflammation can further affect the skin’s protective bacteria and leave you prone to severe skin damage.
Given the correlation between the skin and the gut, treating Rosacea effectively will require you to eliminate any anti-inflammatory foods from your diet. Track any reactions you may have toward certain foods.
Below are some foods that are known to trigger skin conditions such as Rosacea, acne and eczema:
Foods with trans fats
Foods fried in vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, corn and soybean may hinder smooth digestion. These oils also contain omega-6 elements that are known to promote inflammation and gut irritation.
Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks
Caffeine or alcohol can aggravate flare ups in some people. Try checking whether any of these have an impact on your Rosacea symptoms and cut down as much as possible.
Some dairy products such as cheese, ice cream, yogurt and others may cause allergies and worsen Rosacea symptoms.
Processed foods and sugar
Sugar is a major trigger for inflammation as it reduces the body’s ability to detoxify fast enough. Sugar can also aggravate the gut lining therefore predisposing you to unhealthy skin. Processed foods are packed with salt, sugars and artificial additives that can cause allergies.
Some common allergy causing foods such as eggs, dairy, nuts, seafood or foods with gluten can result in leaky gut syndrome, which causes the immune system to overact and trigger inflammation. You may not know which foods could be bad for your skin and so your best option would be to eliminate and narrow down to those foods that are triggering Rosacea symptoms.
It is not enough to eliminate foods; you also want to add healthy, nutritious food into your diet to promote growth of healthy bacteria and yeast in the gut.
Foods for Healing Rosacea
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Make fresh organic foods a major part of your diet and you will see a transformation to your overall health. Fruit and veggies are packed with anti-inflammatory elements, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant all of which are vital for protecting the skin against adverse effects of the sun.
They also serve to reduce oxidative stress, allowing growth of healthy skin cells. Minimize ingestion of toxins by eating organic foods, which are cleaner and less reactive to your skin.
While you may need to keep away from dairy and processed foods, your body needs good proteins to support a strong immune system. Some great sources of protein include salmon, organic eggs and grass-fed animal products. Organic legumes are also packed with good proteins.
Contrary to popular myths, fats are good for your skin as long as the source of fat is healthy. Nuts, avocado, olive, coconut oil and seeds such as chia and flaxseed work excellently to reduce inflammation emanating from the gut.
These fats have also been found to promote proper production of hormones and keep you feeling fuller for longer so you do not have to crave processed foods that can trigger your Rosacea symptoms.
Foods that protect against inflammation
Some studies show that foods such as cabbage and broccoli, and herb such garlic, ginger and turmeric can help to protect the skin and gut against inflammation.
2. Reduce Stress Triggers
Even mild Rosacea is enough to make some people self-conscious and stressed. Emotional and mental stress can affect your overall wellbeing and exacerbate symptoms of Rosacea such as flare-ups. Stress worsens autoimmune reactions and increases inflammation.
It can also affect normal hormonal function and compromise your immune system—all this can suppress your body’s ability to fight free radicals that can harm the skin.
Try practicing mindfulness. Yoga, Pilates, exercising, prayer, journaling or simple meditation activities can help you feel empowered enough to understand your skin condition and ways to manage it. Educating yourself and others about Rosacea may not only empower you; it could also help to bust the many myths around this condition and enable you to get the support you need.
3. Protect Your Skin With Sunscreen
Direct exposure to the sun not only increases the risk of sunburns; it can also exacerbate the symptoms of Rosacea. To minimize or prevent redness and inflammation, it is crucial that you form a habit of applying sunscreen to your skin daily.
The type of sunscreen you use is important too—the wrong type could worsen your symptoms. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select sunscreen that is labeled i) broad spectrum to protect you against UVA and UVB rays; ii) SPF 30 or higher; iii) water resistant to ensure that the sunscreen can stay on for up to 40 or 80 minutes even when the skin is wet before needing to reapply.
4. Use Essential Oils to Ease Rosacea Inflammation
Essential oils, carrier oils and herbs have been used for many years to treat skin problems. These treatments are not only affordable and easily accessible, they are mostly safe to use. Oils such a coconut, lavender, castor and others may help to increase blood flow to areas affected by Rosacea, reduce unhealthy bacteria and minimize death of healthy bacteria. All this helps to promote rapid healing of the flaky lesions that often accompany Rosacea.
Before using essential oils to treat Rosacea, speak to your dermatologist. These oils and herbs may be as effective as supplemental treatment alongside other treatment regiments such as medication or light therapy.
Recommended essential oils and herbs include thyme, lavender, geranium, eucalyptus, rosemary, rose, tea tree and chamomile. Other supplemental treatments include raw honey, aloe vera, turmeric and ginger.
For best results, combine essential oils with gentler carrier oils such as jojoba oil or coconut oil before applying to the affected area. You are also advised to patch-test on a small area of the skin before applying essential oils to your entire body to see how your skin reacts.
5. Moisturize With Natural Products
Some clinical evidence shows that keeping skin moisturized with the right products can help improve the skin’s hydration and protective mechanism, therefore easing Rosacea symptoms.
Rosacea can make your skin excessively oily and it may seem reasonable to avoid moisturizing. However, natural oils such coconut oil and aloe have a soothing antibacterial effect that can help treat your skin condition.
It is possible to cover your Rosacea with cosmetics but you want to select products that contain few harsh chemicals and more natural elements such as aloe. Many commercial cosmetics have the potential to worsen your Rosacea. If you are unsure about good cosmetic products for your face, your dermatologist may be able to recommend products that can help with the condition.
Rosacea Medical Treatment
In some cases, Rosacea may be resistant to natural treatments. Recent scientific findings have begun unraveling the latent cause of Rosacea and several medical treatments have been developed for this condition. However, as mentioned earlier, medicated creams and lotions, or oral medicines can only treat the symptoms of Rosacea, which may reoccur.
Given that Rosacea is essentially an inflammatory condition, effective treatment must address the underlying cause of the inflammation. The antibiotics prescribed for Rosacea contain azelaic acid or metronidazole. Common brand names for metronidazole antibiotics and Tetracyclines include Gelderma, Metro Cream and MetroGel while those that contain azelaic include tropical treatments such as Clindamycin, Erythromycin, Allergan and Azelex.
More recently, dermatologists have been recommending active Vitamin D, which helps to regulate cathelicidin, an antimicrobial peptide found in the skin. Research is still underway on the role of this peptide in skin problems but existing evidence show s that cathelicidin is related to skin conditions such as Rosacea, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Some studies have shown that some patients with a high amount of cathelicidin in their skin are more prone to Rosacea and require antagonistic medicines to minimize these amounts.
Side Effects of Rosacea Medications
Tropical creams for Rosacea are much better than antibiotics. The problem with antibiotics is that they not only kill bad bacteria, they can also kill the healthy bacteria in the gut that are vital for immunity, hormone production, digestion etc. This may affect the gut in ways that make the skin vulnerable to inflammation and redness.
It is common for dermatologists to recommend long-term use of bacteria in combination with tropical treatment. However, prolonged use of antibiotics can cause resistance so at some point, the Rosacea medications will stop working and the symptoms may return with a vengeance. Rosacea medication may also abnormally lighten the skin with no way to restore the skin to its normal color.
Rosacea can certain put a damp on your confidence, increase stress and affect your overall wellbeing. The great news is that this common skin condition is treatable especially if you understand its underlying causes and eliminate triggers that exacerbate inflammation and flare ups.
To treat Rosacea, you must be willing and ready to make significant lifestyle changes. This may include giving up certain foods and incorporating others into your diet. Be sure to work with your dermatologist to find the best natural treatments for your Rosacea.
For more Rosacea-related content, please take a look at our recommendations for makeup for Rosacea, the best lotion for Rosacea or our review of the best supplements for Rosacea.