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About Rosacea

Allergy, Skin Conditions, Age related illnesses | September 9, 2016 | Author: Naturopath

Skin conditions

About Rosacea

Rosacea is a persistent non-contagious skin disorder that produces redness and tiny pimples primarily on the central region of the face. The redness is caused by the small blood vessels (capillaries) that have dilated near the surface of the skin, causing a permanent flushed appearance. Due to the disorder causing small yellow-headed pimples the condition can also be referred to as acne rosacea.

Who is at Risk

The disorder usually appears during or after middle age and is most common in fair skinned complexions.

shutterstock_451523404A common first sign of the condition is frequent flushing or blushing. The symptoms tend to worsen with age and can lead to permanent redness (erythema) and in severe rosacea, the nose can become reddened and enlarged (rhinophyma).

Rosacea with rhinophyma is particularly common in alcoholics and is caused by the enlargement of the sebaceous glands on the nose.

Another complication includes ocular rosacea which causes inflammation, itching and burning of the eye.

At this point the cause of rosacea is unknown and there is no cure but making simple changes in the diet and lifestyle can help slow the progression of the disorder and reduce the symptoms.

Know your triggers

It is recommended to avoid any foods, drinks or activities that cause the blood vessels of
the skin to dilate.

In the diet this includes:

  • hot foods
  • beverages
  • alcohol
  • spicy foods
  • coffee and other caffeinated drinks

The National Rosacea Society recommends keeping a diary to identify environmental and lifestyle triggers.

An elimination diet may also be helpful in some individuals with suspected food intolerances and allergies.

Common dietary allergens include shellfish/fish, soy, eggs, tomatoes, citrus, nuts, gluten, dairy and food chemicals/preservatives.


Emotional stress and anxiety as these are also common triggers. Lifestyle recommendations would include yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. Nutrients important for a healthy nervous system include B vitamins and magnesium.

Sunlight can also trigger the rosacea blush and overexposure should be avoided. Make sure to wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to protect the face. Overheating can also worsen the symptoms of rosacea so it is recommended to avoid hot showers, spas, saunas and excessive exercise. Natural fabrics such as cotton should be worn as clothing and used as bedding so as to allow the skin to breathe and avoid overheating.

Emphasis on healthy diet

It is important to eat a diet high in soluble fibre and anti-oxidants with a moderate amount of healthy fats and essential fatty acids. Healthy fats are found in coconut oil, linseeds, nuts and seeds, fish and avocado. A diet low in sugar is recommended as sugar can worsen inflammation and can trigger dysbiosis in the digestive system. Healthy sugars found in fruits are healthy if consumed in moderation, however, it is the refined sugar in processed foods that need to be avoided.

shutterstock_79900603Consume daily anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and alkalizing foods such as:

  • turmeric
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • leafy greens
  • green tea
  • carrots
  • cruciferous vegetables.

Healthy proten is important for general health but also for skin repair. Good sources of protein include:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • fish
  • lentils
  • legumes
  • chicken

Avoid processed meats such as sausages and aged meats as they are likely to have preservatives and other ingredients likely to cause a reaction.

Other nutrients that may be helpful for rosacea include omega 3, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A as they are all important nutrients indicated for oxidation, inflammation and skin damage.

Take probiotics

Numerous research has shown that the functioning of your digestive system reflects the condition of your skin.

Probiotics can be an effective and safe treatment strategy, especially for those taking antibiotics to treat acne rosacea.

Specific strains for skin inflammation and immune health include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and HN001 for prevention and Lactobacillus fermentum for treatment.

Potential microorganisms that contribute to the symptoms of rosacea

Studies have confirmed that there is a link between rosacea and co-existing pathogens. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) was found to have a significantly higher prevalence in individuals with rosacea. Eradication of SIBO found complete resolution or a great improvement in cutaneous lesions.

Naturopathic protocols that treat SIBO involve a detoxification program that aims at killing pathogens in the small intestine while improving the function of the organs that clear wastes in the body such as the kidneys, liver and bowel. The essential oils of Origanum vulgare (Oregano), Syzygium aromaticum (Clove) and Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) have been shown to be effective in killing a wide range of micro-organisms and in the treatment of SIBO. Talk to your naturopath.

Hshutterstock_357609920elicobacter pyloria has also been implemented in the possible pathogenesis of rosacea. In one study conducted on 26 individuals with grade IV rosacea (a more severe form), a positive serology to h.pylori was found in 65.4%.

Demodex folliculorum is another contributing parasite that is found in higher concentrations in people with rosacea. The presence of demodex in the hair follicle can lead to inflammation and further skin damage.

Natural therapies to help reduce the population of this mite on the skin in people with rosacea include applying manuka and tea tree oil in a cream base topically to the skin. 

If there is ocular rosacea with suspected mite involvement tea tree oil can be applied to the eyelashes before bed. In this instance it is important to change your pillowslip regularly.

Topical agents

It is important to employ a daily skin cleansing and moisturising regime that involves products designed for sensitive skin. Topical application of chamomile, calendula, vitamin E, Evening primrose oil, jojoba and colloidal oats can be helpful for inflamed, irritated and dry skin. They can also be helpful for skin repair, while Calendula and Chamomile also have anti-microbial activity.

To conclude

Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding known triggers can make a significant difference in alleviating the symptoms of rosacea. It is also important to address possible infestations with micro-organisms on the skin and in the gut.  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Beers, M. (2003). The Merck Manual of Medical Information (2nd ed.), Pocket Books, United States of America

Sarris J & Wardle J. (2010). Clinical Naturopathy, Churchill Livingstone, Australia

Parodi A et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Jul:6(7):759-64

Erbagci Z, Ozgöztasi O. The significance of Demodex folliculorum density in rosacea. Int J Dermatol. 1998 Jun;37(6):421-5

Bhattarai S et al. The study of prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in patients with acne rosacea. Kathmandu Univ Med J.2012 Oct-Dec:10(40):49-52

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