So You Have Rosacea? How to Care For Your Skin
Which Rosacea Treatments Are Most Effective?
Although I am not a medical professional, I was diagnosed with rosacea years ago. I have gone through the gamut of traditional and alternative therapies, and I can tell you what works for me.
In desperation, when I was first diagnosed with rosacea, I went the traditional route of tetracycline antibiotics. While antibiotics can be useful for calming a flare up, the effects are not lasting and extended use will damage the digestive tract.
My experience is corroborated by a study conducted by the Department of Internal Medicine in the University of Genoa, Italy. This study connected rosacea and digestive health. The study showed a higher prevalence of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) in rosacea patients and found that treating this digestive condition also eliminated rosacea symptoms. Seventy-eight percent of the patients´ skin lesions cleared and amazingly, ninety-six percent of these patients remained in remission for at least 9 months! This shows a much better track record than traditional antibiotic therapies. If you suspect any digestive condition such as SIBO, gastritis or GERD, ask your physician about being tested.
If you are reading this article, you are most likely battling a rosacea flare up. Although not considered a curable condition, rosacea can be controlled if battled head-on. In my article: What Causes Rosacea and Natural Treatments that Work, we discussed the importance of digestive health and diet to control rosacea. We also considered the recognition of triggers to stay in remission from rosacea. In the article Supplements and Foods That Heal Rosacea, I discuss a powerful supplement that keeps my rosacea at bay.
In this article, we´ll discuss effective skin care solutions.
Which came first, rosacea or Demodex mites? Since all human beings are host to Demodex mites, it´s hard to say. But studies have shown that rosacea patients are infested with a higher ratio of Demodex mites. That could be due to a weakened immune system which compromises the skin´s protective barrier. Or it could be that the Demodex mites cause rosacea flareups.
Either way, the key to eradicate an overabundance of Demodex mites lies in a healthier diet devoid of processed foods and sugar and improved digestive health. With patience, your immune system will improve. The Demodex mites will have no choice but to find another host.
In the meantime, try washing pillowcases and towels frequently. Practice good hygiene. Tea tree essential oil is effective in killing Demodex mites, but it will also irritate sensitive skin. If you choose to use tea tree oil, only use a drop or two. If it makes your skin redder, then avoid it.
When you suffer a rosacea flare-up, your first line of defense is to eliminate potentially irritating products. That means suspending, at least temporarily, the use of anti-aging creams and lotions. Don't worry for the moment about your lines and wrinkles. Controlling the rosacea outbreak is your first concern. Rosacea will wreak havoc on aging skin if not brought under control.
Try cleansing with water only during a rosacea flare up. If you feel water isn't cleansing enough then try a very gentle liquid cleanser like Cetaphil. For a more natural cleanser, I've had success with Dr. Bonner's soap. Gently wash face and pat dry with a soft facial cloth. Don't use soap or harsh cleansers recommended for acne. Never exfoliate irritated skin. Do not use any product that contains alcohol or witch hazel. Read labels, even of products said to be safe for sensitive skin. If you'd like, try splashing your clean skin with cool chamomile tea.
If your skin is oily, skip the moisturizer for now. If the rosacea makes your skin feel dry and taut, try a few drops of hemp oil. Although my skin is oily and breaks out with the use of any other oil, I find hemp oil to be soothing. It has anti-inflammatory properties that calm my red skin. Always buy cold-pressed hemp oil. It is green in color and has a nutty fragrance. Why hemp oil? It rates zero on the comedogenic chart for oils, which means it will not clog your pores. It also has a balance of omegas that resembles that of the human skin. It will dissolve sebum and control the size of your pores, which can be an issue with rosacea patients.
If hemp oil isn´t moisturizing enough for you, try NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream PHA 12. It´s not a natural moisturizer but is very emollient and can be used on sensitive skin.
Always use sunscreen! Find one that doesn't irritate your delicate skin. I like Elta MD clear SPF 46, which promises not to irritate even post-surgical procedure skin. I also like dermatologist approved lines like Bioderma, La Roche Posay and Avene. Only use products approved for sensitive or reddened skin.
The key here is to listen to your body. Don't use too many products at once. As your skin calms down, don't introduce more than one new product a week. Stop using any product that irritates your skin.
Try simple facial masks such as:
- natural yogurt
- oatmeal flour mixed with water or milk
- cosmetic turmeric mixed with water
Some rosaceans find honey to be soothing and antiseptic. Manuka honey is especially beneficial since it has anti-bacterial properties. You can add it to the oatmeal, turmeric or yogurt facial mask. If you have symptoms of Demodex mite infestation, though, omit the honey. Apply mask to cleansed skin and leave for 10 minutes, or until it begins to dry. Don't allow the mask to dry on your skin. It will require too much rubbing to remove a dry mask which will negate the soothing benefits.
Aloe Vera is also very soothing and anti-inflammatory. The best Aloe Vera comes from a live plant. If that is not an option, however, try purchasing the purest Aloe Vera gel in the refrigerator section of a local health food store. Apply to cleansed skin and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing.
- Azelaic acid controls some cases of rosacea. I have found benefits from Azelique Age Refining Day Lotion. It reduces redness and controls my breakouts.
- Zinc and sulfur are other effective home remedies for rosacea.
- I have had success with MSM gel. It has the added benefit of controlling milia, small white bumps that can appear on stressed skin.
- Skin formulations with niacinamide are also effective against rosacea.
- I have found a little emu oil goes a long way to moisturizing dry skin. Emu oil is another one that rates low on the comedogenic scale. So if you have no objection to using it, that's another one to try. I
- really like sea buckthorn oil. This bright red oil stains skin and clothing, so only mix a drop or two into your hemp oil. Use it in the evening before going to bed.
One more closing piece of advice: don't touch your face! It may be tempting to try to squeeze those rosacea bumps, but other than when washing your skin absolutely do not touch it. Touching only aggravates the situation.
If you are a rosacea sufferer, please mention in the comments section which topical products and/or skin care tips have worked for you.
If you are battling rosacea, your first line of defense is to heal your digestive system. Be gentle with your skin, eliminate irritating skin care products, and don't touch your face during the day. Learn how to care for your skin to reduce redness and pustules.
If you are interested in powerful supplements and foods that can heal your rosacea, watch for next week's article: Supplements and Foods that Heal Rosacea.