Rosacea

Rosacea

 

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disorder in which the nose, the cheeks, the forehead, or the chin are chronically reddened and prone to breaking out in acne-like welts. Unlike acne, however, rosacea never produces blackheads or whiteheads, and it rarely appears during adolescence. Instead, rosacea generally sets in during a persons thirties or forties, beginning with a mild pink blush that doesnt go away. If treated early, the condition may never progress any further or may even recede a bit. But in advanced cases, it can cause permanent thickening and redness, especially on the nose.



Although women are more likely to have rosacea than men are, men who do have rosacea tend to have more severe cases.

Anything that dilates blood vessels in the face can lead to a flare-up of rosacea. Spe- cific triggers differ from person to person, but the most common are alcohol, hot liq- uids, coffee, spicy or fatty foods, extreme temperatures, sun exposure, harsh wind, and stress. Its important to minimize the exposure to triggers, because each time the blood vessels expand, they lose some elasticity. Over time, they become incapable of con- stricting properly and they remain in a dilated state—hence the redness. A person who already has the early flushing of rosacea will find that triggers make his or her face even redder, or that they lead to pimples that may or may not disappear when the trig- ger is removed.

Although we understand the elements that make rosacea worse, there is no one underlying cause of this. Skin conditions generally point to some kind of digestive problem, and rosacea is no exception. Many rosacea sufferers have been found to have low levels of stomach acid, which prevents proper digestion of trace minerals and pos- sibly the overgrowth of bacteria that aggravates the skin. Sluggish bowels and con- stipation may have a similar effect on digestion. And whenever pimples or red spots appear, its likely that the skin is pushing out toxins that an impaired digestive tract is unable to process. Leaky gut syndrome, which is characterized by malabsorption, may be an issue for people with rosacea. Also, B-vitamin deficiencies, especially of B12, are common with this condition. Friendly flora that are involved with detoxifi- cation and that prevent the overgrowth of infectious bacteria are often depleted. We have also found that rosacea becomes a problem as the result of a hormone imbal- ance. Premenopausal and menopausal woman often find that rosacea starts to act up until they get their hormones balanced with natural therapies. On the other hand, syn- thetic hormone replacements and birth control pill use initiate or worsen this condi- tion for some women. Finally, hidden food allergies may cause flushing that is mistaken for rosacea.

Conventional treatment for rosacea involves antibiotics, either oral or topical, which have a minimal effect and which must be taken continuously. While people with severe cases that may lead to disfigurement might want to consider medication, most peo- ple will be better off making an effort to avoid their personal triggers and improve their digestion.

 

 



SYMPTOMS

 

Redness across the nose, the cheeks, the forehead, or the chin

Red pimples or welts 

 



ROOT CAUSES

 

Repeated exposure to rosacea trig- gers (alcohol, wind, sun, etc.)

Low levels of stomach acid

Constipation

A diet thats high in fat and low in fiber

Food allergies 

Nutritional deficiencies (especially of B vitamins)

Dysbiosis (imbalance of the gut bacteria)

Hormone imbalance

Reaction to synthetic hormones



 

Testing Techniques

 

The following tests help assess possible reasons for rosacea:

Hormone testing (thyroid, DHEA, cortisol, testosterone, IGF-1, estrogen, progesterone)—saliva, blood,  or urine

Intestinal permeability—urine

Detoxification profile—urine

Vitamin and mineral analysis (especially B12)—blood

Digestive function and microbe/parasite/candida testing—stool  analysis

Food and environmental allergies/sensitivities—blood, electrodermal

 

 

 

TREATMENT Diet

Recommended Food

Eat lots of raw foods. In their natural state, vegetables, fruits, nuts, sprouts, and seeds all possess enzymes that help you convert food into the nutrients that are needed for skin and circulatory health. Green leafy vegetables are especially good for rosacea patients, as theyre an excellent source of trace minerals.

Drink several glasses of fresh vegetable juices a day. If you have rosacea, its likely that your digestive system isnt processing food thoroughly, and juices are a potent way to deliver nutrients directly to your bloodstream.

Make sure your diet includes plenty of fiber. If youre eating a couple of servings of raw foods at every meal, youre probably getting almost as much fiber as you need to keep toxins moving through your digestive tract, instead of erupting from your skin. Add whole grains and beans to round out your meals.

Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation. Have cold-water fish from a clean source several times a week, and eat flaxseeds (1 to 2 tablespoons, with 10 ounces of water) each day.

A deficiency of B vitamins has been found in many people who have rosacea. Brown rice, oats, wheat germ, nutritional brewers yeast, and whole-grain bread and crackers are all good sources. If you tend to be anxious, B vitamins will also help you feel calmer.

Its generally inadvisable to take antibiotics for most cosmetic disorders (save them for the more severe infections), but if you feel you must take them, be sure to eat some live unsweetened yogurt or another cultured product every day. Cultured foods replace the “friendly” intestinal bacteria that antibiotics strip away.

 

Food to Avoid

Avoid food items that make you flush. Spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol are tripwires for most rosacea sufferers. Sugar and iodized salt may also dilate your blood vessels. Learn which foods bother your skin, and eliminate them from your diet.

Be careful of food and drinks that are hot in temperature. Allow hot beverages and soups to cool before you eat them.

Saturated fat has an inflammatory effect on many body systems, including the skin. If you stay away from red meat and fried, greasy foods, youll also improve your digestion.



Food allergies may mimic the symptoms of rosacea or make an existing problem worse. Read the Food Allergies section on pages 251–256, and follow the elimina- tion diet there.

 



Detoxification

 

Follow a one- to three-day juice fast to clean toxins and irritants from your body and to put your digestive system in optimum working order. You should drink a variety of liquids during your fast, but green drinks and cleansing herbal preparations are especially supportive of detoxification.

 

Super Seven Prescriptions—Rosacea

 

Super Prescription #1    Gentian root (Gentiana lutea)

Gentian root improves overall digestive function. Take 300 mg or 10 to 20 drops ve to fifteen minutes before meals. It also works well as part of a bitters diges- tion formula.

Super Prescription #2    Betaine hydrochloride

Take 1 to 3 capsules with each meal. Reduce the dose if you feel a warming or burn- ing sensation. This supplement improves stomach acidity and digestion, especially of proteins. It also prevents the overgrowth of bacteria in the digestive tract that may influence rosacea.

Super Prescription #3    B-complex vitamins

Take a 50 mg B-complex twice daily. It supplies B vitamins that improve rosacea.

Super Prescription #4    Vitamin B12

Take 400 to 800 mcg sublingually or 1 cc injection by your doctor weekly. This B

vitamin works to reduce flare-ups of rosacea.

Super Prescription #5    Burdock root (Articum lappa)

Take 300 mg or 3 ml three times daily. Burdock has historically been prescribed for rosacea and other chronic skin disorders. It appears to improve detoxification, as well as hormone balance.

Super Prescription #6    Natural progesterone

See the Menopause section for proper usage, which depends on where you are with your menopausal transition. This hormone has anti-inflammatory benefits and improves skin conditions if it is deficient and then supplemented correctly.

Super Prescription #7    Probiotic

Take a product containing at least 4 billion active organisms twice daily, thirty min- utes after meals. It supplies friendly bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus, that improve skin health.

 

General Recommendations

 

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) improves liver function and detoxification for opti- mal skin health. Take 250 mg three times daily of a 80 to 85 percent silymarin extract.

Digestive enzymes help you to digest food more efficiently. Take 1 to 2 capsules of a full-spectrum enzyme product with each meal. Lipase enzymes that digest fat appear to be particularly important for people with this condition.

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) improves hormone balance for pre- menopausal and menopausal women affected by rosacea. Take 80 mg of a 2.5 per- cent triterpene glycoside extract daily.

 

 

 

 

 

Studies completed during the early part of the twentieth century found that a significant percentage of people  with rosacea  had low stomach  acid (hypochlorhydria). Supplementation with hydrochloric acid resulted in an improvement of their skin. 

 

study of ninety- six people  with rosacea  found that supplementation with six tablets of brewers yeast plus iron resulted in an improvement of their skin lesions.



Green tea (Camellia sinensis) contains a rich source of antioxidants and substances that assist detoxification. Drink the organic tea regularly (2 cups or more daily) or take

500 to 1,500 mg of the capsule form.

Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation of the skin. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil or 5 grams of fish oil daily, or a formulation that contains a mixture of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) extract improves liver function, which is important for healthy skin. Take 800 mg twice daily.

A super green food supplement supplies phytonutrients that improve skin health. Take an organic super green food such as chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, or a mixture of super green foods each day. Take as directed on the container.

Aloe vera gel is soothing and anti-inflammatory. Apply it directly to the affected area. Test it out on a small patch of your skin first, as you may be highly sensitive to many preparations, even gentle herbal ones.

 

 

Homeopathy

 

Choose the appropriate remedy from the following list, and take 6C three times daily for up to three weeks.

Use a combination acne formula or one of the following if it matches your symp- toms. Use a 6x, 12x, 6C, 12C, or a 30C potency for two weeks. If there is improve- ment, discontinue using unless symptoms return.

Arsenicum Album is for hot, dry, and flaky skin. The person tends to be anxious and restless, gets cold easily, and prefers warm drinks.

Hepar Sulfuris may provide relief if you have several pus-filled spots that are painful when touched, and if the skin lesions feel better with a warm compress.

Pulsatilla (Pulsatilla pratensis) is for rosacea associated with the hormonal changes of puberty, menstrual onset, or menopause. Women tend to be sensitive and weepy. They crave sweets. They feel better in the fresh air and worse in warm rooms.

Sepia is for rosacea associated with the hormonal changes of puberty, menstrual onset, or menopause. Great irritability and fatigue are present. The woman craves chocolate and salty and sour foods. She tends to get chilly easily.

Sulphur is for chronic redness and inflammation that is worsened by the sun, hot baths or showers, and warm climates. The person has a high thirst for cold drinks and prefers a cool climate.

 

 

Acupressure

 

See pages 668–675 for information about pressure points and administering treatment.

Stomach 36 improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

Spleen 10 clears excess heat from the blood.

Stomach 3 will clear up rosacea blemishes.

Use Bladder 10 if rosacea is aggravated by stress.

 

 

Bodywork

 

Reflexology


To cleanse your blood, work the liver and the kidneys.

If you need to reduce stress, work the solar plexus and the diaphragm.



Hydrotherapy

Some people find that a warm foot bath pulls heat away from the face; for others, this treatment simply makes their faces even more inflamed. In no case you should use hot water for the foot bath, nor should you take hot baths, showers, or saunas.

 

Aromatherapy

Try placing a cool—not cold—compress made with lavender oil on your skin to reduce heat and swelling. Take advantage of the relaxing scent, and breathe deeply.

 

 

Stress Reduction

 

Its helpful if you can minimize stress before it brings on a flare-up (which usually leads to even more stress). As soon as you feel any anxiety, take a moment to breathe deeply. If you have ve or ten minutes, try a brief meditation session.

 

 

Bach Flower Remedies

 

If rosacea redness or breakouts make you feel embarrassed or ashamed, take Crab

Apple.

People who are highly efficient but find it frustrating to be around others who are slower should take Impatiens to develop their tolerance.

Gorse will brighten the outlook of people who despair of ever finding a cure for their disorder.

 

 

Other Recommendations

 

Bright sunlight is one of the most common rosacea triggers. Stay out of the midday sun, and when you do go outside, wear protective clothing and sunscreen. If over-the- counter sunscreens irritate your skin, ask your doctor about a gentle prescription formula.

Avoid intense exercise. You should still participate in some activity for thirty min- utes a day, but you might want to stay in the lower range of your target heart rate. Dont go to gyms that lack proper ventilation and cooling systems.

Beauticians who see rosacea acne and dry skin may want to sell you facial treat- ments, but resist the temptation. The skin manipulation and the steam of facials will only make your condition much worse. If you want a relaxing, indulgent experience, have a body massage instead.

Limit the time you spend in cold and windy weather. When you must go outside, cover your face with a soft scarf or even a ski mask made from hypoallergenic material.

If you want to wear makeup, use gentle, hypoallergenic cosmetics and makeup- removal products.

If you are taking a synthetic hormone replacement, consult with a holistic doctor for a more natural approach, as these hormones can contribute to your acne rosacea.

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