INFORMATION AND ALTERNATIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR ROSACEA
The inflammation of rosacea can look like acne, but tends to be more chronic. It is very common. Usually, it begins with flushing on the nose and cheeks (from blood vessels swelling under the skin). It may also cause burning and grittiness in the eyes and impair vision. The most prevalent thought is that rosacea is an autoimmune disorder. Your immune system may have been overstimulated and is now attacking your blood vessels, etc. This over-stimulation could be from eating foods that are not acceptable to you (may cause allergic reactions or even “leaky gut”), from over-exercise, from being over-stressed, or from a build up of toxins in the body that the liver is struggling to process. The symptoms may not be the same in everyone. In women, it is often thought to be related to perimenopause and menopause; hormonal changes have been found to be a possible trigger. Rosacea clearly demonstrates the connection between emotions and the skin, for it always gets worse when under stress. The most common tripwires have been found to be: sun exposure, stress, hot weather ,alcohol,spicy foods, exercise, wind, hot baths, cold weather, hot drinks, and various skin-care products.
With stress and emotions playing such a big part in the inflammatory conditions of rosacea, it has been suggested that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or any de-stressing therapy (massage, yoga, any relaxing spa treatment)would be very beneficial.
Fine tuning the diet is extremely important. Wheat, sugar, and dairy have been found to cause inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Each person’s system reacts differently with various foods. This can be due to genetics – “one man’s food is another man’s poison”. Eating foods that react with your blood cells can cause immune reactions ranging from mild to severe. While attempting to control symptoms, it has been found to be necessary to consider the avoidance of hot beverages. These may trigger inflammatory reactions. Anything that can cause a flush can potentially cause a reaction.
Rosacea is most common in women, however, when it does occur in men it is often more severe… resulting in a thickening and swelling of the skin on the nose.
Take care of your skin. It is of great importance to choose skin products carefully. Research has found that, in some people, products containing vitamin C or citric acid elicit a reaction, as does lavender and chamomile extracts.It has been found that scrubbing and products which may irritate the skin including exfoliant and astringent products (which contain alcohol)should also be avoided. Only very mild products should be used on the face - those described as non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. Water-based products are recommended; products containing alcohol, witch hazel, tea tree oil, acetone, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, peppermint oil, menthol, retinoic acid or other vitamin A derivatives, alpha hydroxy acid, lanolin or oil are not. The best policy is always to avoid using anything on your skin that you aren’t sure of, and gradually introduce them. If you have a computer, there is a line of products that have very good ingredients that I have found. It is at the site – www.rosaceacare.com. Men should use an electric shaver or a very sharp blade to avoid friction. If you find the sun worsens the flushing of your rosacea, you will need to find a suitable sun block. Rosacea is not a dangerous disorder, but can be very distressing and disfiguring.
The Nine Major Symptoms of Rosacea
1. Facial Redness is the most common symptom of rosacea. This is caused by hundreds of tiny dilated blood vessels near the surface of the facial skin.
2. Facial Telangiectasia (tel-an-jek-tasia) are tiny broken blood vessels that are permanently fixed in the dilated state. These blood vessels take on the appearance of fine red lines coursing through the surface of the facial skin.
3. Facial Skin Hyper-Reactivity is caused by inflamed blood vessels near the surface of the skin. These blood vessels dilate very easily to topical triggers and physical insults. It is important to note that the term 'sensitive skin' is misleading to rosacea sufferers because the problem is based on sensitive blood vessels, and not sensitive skin cells.
4. Lumpy-Bumpy Facial Skin is uneven skin texture, or lumpy-bumpy facial skin caused by dilated blood vessels, localized swelling, and leakage of inflammatory cells out of the blood vessels and into the skin.
5. Facial Papules are small, red bumps about the size of a pinhead. These bumps are caused by vascular flushing. Over time, flushing results in leakage of inflammatory cells out of the blood vessels and into the skin. These inflammatory cells then migrate toward the surface of the skin, resulting in inflammatory papules which are not caused by bacteria.
6. Facial Pustules are small red bumps with pus. These bumps are caused by vascular flushing in areas around sebaceous glands. Over time, flushing results in leakage of inflammatory cells out of the blood vessels and into the skin. These inflammatory cells then migrate towards the sebaceous gland or pore, resulting in inflammatory pustules.
7. Facial Burning Sensations are caused by activation of sensory pain nerves in the facial skin. These pain fibers are triggered by the heat associated with increased blood flow. These nerve endings can also be activated by inflammatory substances that leak through blood vessels. After chronic activation, sensory pain nerves may become sensitized to other triggers such as skincare products and environmental insults (i.e., sun, wind, heat, and cold). Facial burning sensations can become severe in some sufferers, causing debilitation.
8. Facial Swelling occurs when fluid and proteins leak out of facial blood vessels at abnormal rates. Frequent facial flushing leads to increased movement of water and proteins across abnormal blood vessel walls. Over time, this "spillage" overwhelms the lymphatic system (drainage vessels), and leads to fluid build up in the facial skin.
9. Rhinophyma is a form of rosacea that is characterized by chronic redness, inflammation, and increased tissue growth of the nose. Rhinophyma can take on many different forms. In most forms, the nose is chronically red and inflamed. There is also evidence of swelling, and the skin often shows thickened skin with large pores, resembling the peel of an orange (peau d' orange). In some forms, sebaceous gland hypertrophy and hyperplasia (increased growth and number of sebaceous glands) can cause the nose to grow considerably, resulting in a bulbous appearance.
With all supplemental therapies, it is recommended that supplements be taken – for example – Monday through Friday and take nothing (except calcium and magnesium) on weekends. This gives the body a break and enables it to re-establish it’s setpoint. This practice also keeps the system sensitive to the supplements being taken and ensures their effectiveness.
SKIN CARE AND DIETARY INFORMATION
- A high quality multi vitamin/mineral supplement is a good base for any nutritional protocol; ensuring optimum nutrition guards against deficiencies. A complete multi-vitamin often contains the vitamins in the ratios most needed and most beneficial for bioavailability.
- Calcium/magnesium – 1500/750 mg per day has been shown to counter stress and tone the nerves. It is also known to keep down the production of the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids which cause inflammation. Stress will also raises cortisol levels. This is known as the "fight or flight" hormone, which is similarly known to promote inflammatory conditions.
- Digestive enzymes – 2 with each meal or at least the 2 largest meals of the day - In clinical manifestations of rosaces, studies have shown a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes. It is very important for blood types A and AB to find supplemental digestive enzymes containing HCL. This is due to the fact that it has been found that their system lacks an adequate supply of this. Achlorhydria, or hypoacidity, is associated with digestive and skin problems. Studies have shown that people with rosacea, in most cases have achlorhydria. This low stomach acid makes it difficult to digest proteins, promotes excess bacterial growth in the intestines and stomach, and impairs vitamin and mineral absorption. This leads to intestinal permeability and "leaky gut" which is known to cause inflammatory conditions.
- The use of probiotics – 1t. 2 times a day has been found to give very positive results concerning skin disorders. Research shows that it is best to get multi-strain probiotics.(Look for DDS-1 acidophilus, Super Strain bifidobacterium, and Super Strain LB-51 lactobacillus bulgaricus. These particular strains have been clinically studied.) Natren has a good product, as does Solaray. Another good product is produced by Jarrow. One of the best products (based on the extremely high colony stimulating count in each capsule) is called VSL#3. It can be purchased online and is understandably a little pricey. All of these products are known to balance the beneficial bacteria in the system, which may help alleviate inflammatory reactions. Probiotics are also known to be beneficial with the inhibition of H.pylori, which is the known cause of ulcers and many other digestive problems.
- Omega 3 fish oil. Therapeutic dosage is 1-2 T. a day. Fish oil or cod liver oil is known to be highly beneficial in inflammatory conditions. It has been found to also be very effective with arthritis, high cholesterol and memory. Most health food stores carry the recommended brands that have been molecularly distilled to alleviate any contaminants. These come in very good lemon or orange flavors which can be added to smoothies or simply put on salads as a dressing. It is very important to avoid vegetable oils and foods that are either made with vegetable oils or cooked in them. These particular oils are solely omega 6 fatty acids. The ratio of essential fatty acids in the body should ideally be 2:1 - omega 3 to omega 6. Any oil except olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil is pure omega 6. When the levels of omega 6 in the body exceed the ideal levels, inflammatory reaction may result.
- Bioflavanoid complex –WITHOUT VITAMIN C is found to strengthen the capillaries and vessels in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties. The recommended dosage is 500mg. to 1000mg. once or twice a day.
- Vitamin A – 10,000-15,000iu daily has been found to be necessary for healing and the construction of new skin tissue.
- Zinc – 50mg/day in addition to the amount found in your daily multiple vitamin. This in known to be very beneficial for immune functions and skin and tissue repair.
- A complete B-Complex (100mg- once or twice a day) is specific for handling stress. Studies have found that stress play a large part in rosacea outbreaks.
- CONCERNING WOMEN ONLY Vitex (1 cap 2-3 times a day) is an excellent herb used to balance both estrogen and progesterone; in many cases leaning more towards progesterone. It has been found that if a woman is low in estrogen, vitex will raise the level; if low in progesterone, it will raise that and lower the estrogen. Rosacea has often been found to be hormonal in nature. The thyroid also plays a big part in this. Hormones are known to function synergistically in the body. It is known that, often times, menopause is associated with Syndrome X, which includes many medical conditions such as: type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, hypertension, obesity, polycystic ovaries, excess facial hair, male pattern baldness, AND/OR rosacea. This may all be due to an imbalance in hormones, insuln resistance, and lowered thyroid activity. In most cases, estrogen dominance is the culprit. In addition to vitex, the use of progesterone cream has been found to give dramatic results and relief of symptoms. The use of natural transdermal progesterone cream has been found to be very beneficial when used the last 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle. This can counter estrogen dominance, which has been found to increase the severity of rosacea breakouts. If post menopausal, it has been recommended to use a small, pea-sized amount of the cream 3 weeks out of 4 every month.
- Bromelain and Tumeric taken on an empty stomach has been found to be very beneficial in inflammatory conditions.
- Burdock, Oregon grape root, or rosemary teas are all known to be excellant detoxifiers and blood
purifiers. They have also been found to be particularly beneficial for inflammatory conditions of the skin.
- Pau d’arco tea (3-4 cups a day made with distilled water)is known to be a very antibacterial, antimicrobial, and purifying herb. It is also very tasty.
- Milkthistle (twice a day) – tends to be one of the best liver tonic herbs, according to ongoing research. A sluggish liver is often one of many possible causes of rosacea.
- MSM, Alpha lipoic acid, and aloe gel have been found to be very soothing and healing to the skin. I believe there is a product in health food stores by Jarrow that combine all.
- Do not scrub or rub the skin. The reason for this is obvious.
- Steroidal creams have been found to make the condition worse by lowering the immune system. They are also known to have a rebound effect; causing the inflammation that you are trying to eliminate.
- Antibiotics have been found NOT to be the best first choice; they have been found ineffective in treating the CAUSE of rosacea, and do not often remedy the many symptoms. In addition to that, antibiotics come with a multitude of side effects; one can become resistant to them; they are known to cause imbalance in normal flora in the body, resulting in a systemic candida infection; they can cause sun sensitivity, and are known to adversely affect the immune system – causing further autoimmune reactions. Topical and oral antibiotics, when used long term, may have a rebound effect after they are stopped.
- Recommendations of the National Rosacea Society (NRS)are to apply a quality moisturizer to the skin after mild cleansing. Emu oil has been found to be an excellent skin moisturizer which penetrates deep into the many layers of the skin. It is known to mirror the composition of the lipid profile of human skin. Additionally, studies have found that emu oil may contain anti-inflammatory properties. The NRS also recommends choosing facial products that will not clog pores. Emu oil is noncomedogenic, and will not clog
- Calendula tea, made with distilled water and cooled, is very soothing to inflammatory conditions of the skin. Pat on with cotton balls.
- Moderate, rather than excessive exercise may be preferable. Excessive exercise is known, in many cases, to exacerbate inflammatory conditions and over-stimulate the immune system.
- There are many, many emotional, mental and physical triggers when it comes to exacerbations of inflammatory conditions, you need to pay attention to your body and discover the triggers.
- Adiet high in sugar is known to increase blood glucose levels which, in turn, increases insulin levels to keep the glucose under control. Research has found that increased insulin may cause an inflammatory metabolism with free radicals and pro-inflammatory enzymes, which in turn causes flushing, triggering rosacea.
- Drink plenty of cool water is known to be helpful. Just make sure it is pure water, not from the tap. Distilled is not recommended.
- It has been found beneficial every month or so to do a 1-2 day chlorophyll fast. Eat only a salad a day for your main meal, then drink 2-3 liters of water that has had 1T. of liquid chlorophyll added to each liter. This is very cleansing and detoxifying and will supply needed balanced minerals. You may also add some fresh lemon juice – from half a lemon – to one liter. A good fiber supplement is recommended while fasting; Nature's Secret Ultimate Fiber is very good.
- Hot beverages have often been found to trigger reactions; anything that can cause flushing may trigger a reaction.
- Use NO vitamin C. This is known to cause exacerbations in people with rosacea.
- Eliminate all wheat, dairy, and sugars. All react very quickly to affect the insulin levels in the body. As mentioned above, elevated insulin is known to trigger autoimmune reactions. According to documented studies:
- “It seems quite clear that there is a connection between insulin and acne. In polycystic ovary syndrome, which is diagnosed in women who are obese and have acne, it is clear that elevated insulin levels are a major factor. (Gynecol Endocrinol August 2002)
The association of elevated insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and acne has been well documented for some time (Journal Dermatology April 1995); so it seems wise to lower any foods that cause the body to make more insulin than it needs. The worst offenders here are sugars and grains. I suspect that the gluten in wheat also causes worsening of symptoms in many that is completely independent of its effect on insulin. This is especially an issue in those that have rosacea.”
- Follow specific blood type dietary suggestions. This may alleviate allergic reactions or sensitivities, and may also prevent digestive problems and “leaky gut” which also can trigger autoimmune responses.
- Don’t eat fruit on an empty stomach. It is always best to eat it with a small handful of nuts or seeds. This will keep the insulin levels from rapidly fluctuating.
- Spicy food has been found to trigger reactions.
- Traditional medicine claims to know of no cause for this disorder. However, it is very well known in alternative medicine that the presence of certain bacteria in the stomach (Heliobacter pylori) is often associated with this disease and elimination of these bacteria with appropriate therapy often improves the condition. Studies show that garlic, goldenseal, and Oregon grape root are very effective in eliminating H.Pylori. The garlic must be eaten fresh and crushed. One of the best suggestions is to crush it and mix with small amount of raw, unpasteurized honey, then swallow.
People who have blood type O are are known to be genetically susceptible to ulcers caused by h.pylori. Keep in mind, though, that one can also be at risk by eating a diet that is not compatible with your blood type. H.pylori is found in every one, but a healthy immune system keeps it under control. It is when the immune system is depressed or over active that problems with the infection occur. Coffee is known to aggravate the symptoms of H.pylori. People with reduced stomach acid levels oftentimes suffer from what they assume is high stomach acid (heartburn, bloating, nausea, frequent burping) and as a result frequently take antacids. Clinical research has found that by doing this, they encourage greater H.pylori activity and thus increase the risk for ulcers or gastric cancers. H. pylori is also being implicated in heart disease, gum disease, asthma, rosacea, and chronic headaches or migraines as well.
When using homeopathic remedies, the therapeutic dosages have been found to be as follows: take 4-5 pellets under the tongue every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours.(don’t eat or drink anything 15-30 minutes before or after, this ensures a “clean mouth”) Then, extend the time to every hour, then to every 2 hours, etc – for just the first day. After that, it is recommended that you take the remedy 4 times a day. It is very important that you NOT use peppermint toothpaste or anything with peppermint in it, coffee, eucalyptus, or smoke within 2 hours of using homeopathic remedies. They nullify the homeopathic effects. Actually, while using homeopathic medicines, it is better not to use any of them at all. The theory of homeopathic medicines is that they "encourage the body (immune system) to correct the symptoms caused by a full strength dosage of the remedy being taken." If the correct remedy is chosen, the symptoms match what you are trying to get rid of. If you smoke, drink coffee, use peppermint toothpaste, etc., the effects of the homeopathic remedy will be lost and your symptoms may return.
ALL REMEDIES FOLLOWING ARE 30C DILUTION AND INCLUDE THE SYMPTOM PATTERN. TRY TO MATCH YOUR SYMPTOMS AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE.
- Arsenicum album– face dry and burning, itchy, cold applications only make worse. Skin flakes and scales, restlessness, chilliness
- Belladonna – use in early stages, face red, dry and burning hot, swollen, sensitive. Pustules on face.
- Sulfer iodide – face always red and dry with pimples and pus filled pimples
- Sanquinaria – burning and itching aggrevated by heat. Scanty menses
- Lachesis – condition markedly worse in AM and aggrevated by alcohol. Face reddish purple and motled.
- Liver, Yogurt, Sour Cream, Cheese (except cottage cheese),Chocolate, Vanilla, Soy Sauce, Yeast extract (bread is OK),Vinegar, Eggplant, Avocados, Spinach, Broad-leaf beans and pods, including Lima, Navy or pea.
Citrus fruits, including tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins or figs, Spicy and thermally hot foods, Foods causing histamine reactions.
- Alcohol, especially red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka or champagne, Hot drinks, including hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee or tea.
- Anxiety, Physical, Excess Exercise, "Lift and Load" Jobs
- Cold, Heat, Humidity, Saunas,,Hot baths or showers, Simple Overheating, Excessively warm environments, Sun, Strong Winds
- Vasodilators, Topical Steroids
- Frequent Flushing, Menopause, Chronic Cough, Caffeine withdrawal syndrome
Please email me if you have any questions.
Eat Right 4 Your Type- D’Adamo
Prescription for Nutritional Healing – Balch
What your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause – Lee
Wisdom of Menopause – Northrup
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – Murray/Pizzorno
Enzyme Therapy – Chicoke
PDR for Nutritional Supplements