Rosacea: natural approaches to an incurable problem that really work
“Rosacea is a chronic, progressive disorder which is often distinguished by flare-ups followed by remissions. The condition isn’t life-threatening, but it can certainly be life altering due to its effect on your personal appearance. According to the National Rosacea Society, over 75 percent of people with rosacea feel the condition has affected their self-esteem. Many rosacea sufferers are uncomfortable in public settings and avoid social activities.”2
- Dr. Mercola -
griffin+row products contains scientifically blended combinations of 30 essential oils and botanical extracts, including rosehip, aloe vera, and jojoba oil, to name a few. The range has been designed to work synergistically to nurture, protect and nourish even the most sensitive of skins, including those prone to rosacea.
Rosacea: you have to understand the enemy to fight itThe truth is that you can manage rosacea but you cannot cure it. Although this condition has been around for centuries (even 15th-century painter Rembrandt is believed to have had rosacea), scientists are still completely baffled about its true cause and you cannot cure a disease until you know the root cause of it.5 In fact, conventional treatments, such as antibiotics, often worsen rosacea because they lead to imbalances and infections in the very gut bacteria, h. pylori, that is now directly linked to rosacea.6
What is rosacea really?Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes red sometimes scaly-looking patches to appear upon the face, particularly the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Rosacea often looks like eczema or acne, but unlike other skin conditions, rosacea only affects the facial skin. Today, doctors are still trying to figure out exactly what causes this bewildering skin disorder. Rosacea patches sometimes resemble pimples on the face that do not easily go away on their own. Often, flare-ups can be caused by stress, eating foods that are spicy or that cause inflammation, an inflammatory condition such as Lupus, HIV, or diabetes, or exposure to sunlight. When individuals break out with rosacea, they frequently feel a “flushing” or “blushing” sensation on the face. Strangely, this confounding skin disorder only afflicts individuals who are between 30 and 50 years of age. Because of the late onset of rosacea, some naturopaths recommend an anti-inflammation diet, believing that a diet of packaged and refined flours, sugars, and trans fats could be causing a gradual build-up of toxins in the body that cause inflammation and contribute to rosacea flare-ups.7
Types of rosaceaThere are four basic types of rosacea called rosacea “subtypes.” Individuals may suffer from one or several of these forms of rosacea. In fact, ocular rosacea is often present with types one through three and is a dangerous disorder of the eyes that requires immediate medical attention. Subtype 1: Facial redness (Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea): This type is characterised by flushing, redness, and the appearance of visible blood vessels. Subtype 2: Bumps and Pimples (Papulopustular Rosacea): This type of rosacea is characterised by a constant or persistent redness and bumps or pimples forming. This subtype is the most likely to be confused with acne. Subtype 3: Enlargement of the Nose (Phymatous Rosacea): This (rarer) subtype is characterised by thickening of the skin and enlargement of the nose. Subtype 4: Eye Irritation (Ocular Rosacea): This type is found around the eye, including dry eyes, excessive tearing, burning eyes, swollen eyelids, loss of vision, recurrence of sties, and corneal damage.8
Recognising the symptoms of rosaceaAt first, most people with rosacea do not seek medical attention. They blame any redness on sunburn, heat, acne, or allergies until they note the presence of burning combined with pimples and seek medical attention. How will you know if you have rosacea or just acne? Well, rosacea has some distinctive symptoms and here are the key symptoms:
- Redness in the face, especially on the high inner cheeks (close to the nose), on the nose, and sometimes on the chin and forehead
- Stinging and burning in the skin
- Flushing and blushing often
- Parts of the skin that seem “thickened” –especially around the nose or chin
- Skin that seems to have a rough or bumpy texture with very large pores
- Painful, swollen skin
- Spider veins and broken capillaries in the face
- Blood vessels that seem to sit close to the surface of the skin
- Raised patches on the skin—these often look like hives at first—they’re called plaques
- Eye irritation and redness inside the eye (indicative of ocular rosacea)
What causes rosacea?Although researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact causes of rosacea, they do have theories. There are seven chief suspects that dermatologists and scientists believe might be to blame for rosacea.
- Too much of a skin protein
- Demodex mites (demodex folliculorum).
- Abnormalities in blood vessels of the face
- Complications associated with fair skin
- Dysbiosis in gut bacteria
- A poor diet over time
Rosacea triggers: the cause of most flare-upsThe key for all patients who have rosacea is recognising triggers. You can learn to feel when a rosacea flare up is coming—and you should immediately write down what you are doing, feeling, eating, drinking, or if you are just in the sun or heat when it happens. For some individuals, eating spicy food, for example, triggers a flushing sensation in the face, which manifests into a strong stinging feeling on the cheeks. Typically, this means an outbreak of rosacea is coming. There are all kinds of triggers like these. It’s important to note, however, that some people have no pain or feeling at all with breakouts. In a 2009 study scientists found that among 69 individuals with rosacea, the triggers that caused rosacea flare-ups most often were:
- Stress: 60%
- Sun exposure: 56%
- Alcohol: 33%
- Exercise: 29%
- Coffee 21.7% (but scientists don’t know if it’s caffeine or the heat of the beverage)
- Eating a hot meal: 20.3%
- getting hot/sweaty
- spicy foods
- vigorous exercise
- dairy products
- extreme cold
- feeling ashamed or embarrassed
- feeling angry
- other medications – such as those for treating high blood pressure
- inflammatory diseases such as Lupus, type I and II diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, MS, other medical conditions such as high blood pressure
- Common illnesses such as a cold, cough, or fever
More on exercise and rosaceaOddly enough, many women begin noticing they have rosacea when they begin really trying to get in shape. In fact, a new survey by the National Rosacea Foundation found that over 80 percent of the survey’s 563 respondents said exercise aggravates their rosacea symptoms. Aerobic exercise, in general, was cited as the most aggravating, mentioned by nearly 55 percent of the patients. This type of exercise increases the demand for oxygen, resulting in higher respiration and heart rates.16 So if you’re used to walking really fast on a treadmill and finding that this aggravates your rosacea, you might try walking outside in the air on variable terrain to challenge the muscles and the heart as a way to get your intense walking exercise yet avoid the kind of heat, sweat, and cardiovascular intensity that triggers flare ups.
The importance of complete sun protectionRosacea + sunlight = fission for people with rosacea. A writer at the National Rosacea Society notes that: In patient surveys, the sun ranks as the most common trigger for rosacea flare-ups, so it is likely that the sun is the culprit in your case. Even incidental exposure, such as running errands on a sunny day, might be enough to cause an outbreak of rosacea symptoms in some individuals.17 As the National Rosacea Society adds, avoiding sunlight, quality sunscreens or natural sunscreens, and wearing protective eyewear, hats, shirts and long pants can alleviate 80% of rosacea flare-ups. For the best sunscreen, seek a sunscreen that protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. You want a quality sunscreen without harmful toxins and chemicals in it, of course. So look for non-chemical sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium dioxide with an SPF of 45 or higher. Also, try to limit or avoid any peak sun exposure, when the sun rays are strongest, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. As rosacea is a lifetime condition, focusing on managing the disorder and not curing it is key. You have to accept that this is a disorder with manageable flare-ups and make it your life’s mission to know and avoid yours.
The importance of a flare-up diaryA flare-up diary can help you isolate triggers. Try to write down all flare-ups quickly and what you did before the flare up happened (went out without sunscreen, took a long hot bath, had pizza with friends, drank milk, soy, ate nuts), so you can begin to chart your triggers and find ways to avoid them. The National Rosacea Society actually recommends a Rosacea Diary Booklet, which they sell on their website, which helps you learn what all kinds of triggers aggravate rosacea and gives you a journal to write them down in.
Seek help: rosacea can permanently damage the skinRosacea will only get worse if you are doing nothing to manage flare ups. Rosacea can permanently damage the skin and create a lasting redness of the face, or move into frightening skin conditions when left unmanaged, such as the red, bulbous nose that is a consequence of one type of rosacea called rhinophyma.18 Therefore, you need to see a professional dermatologist who can help you pinpoint the subtype of rosacea you have and determine if there are any other skin conditions present. They can also tell you if you show signs of ocular rosacea, which is very important to seek help for, as it can lead to permanent damage to the eyes and cornea.
How to treat rosacea naturallyAlthough you do want to speak to a dermatologist about rosacea and hear what he/she has to say about medication options, here are the natural remedies and lifestyle changes that will help you avoid rosacea flare-ups and take care of the skin gently.
- Drink lots of purified water only
- Eat a clean, organic, anti-inflammatory diet
- Get 25 grams of fibre a day
- Eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
- Use healthy fats only
- Eat enough crucifers and alliums (garlic, onions)
- Eat fatty fish 3 times a week and get Omega 3s in the diet
- Healthy fats only (no industrial seed oils)
- Avoid all processed food, fast food, refined sugars and flours
- Avoid toxins and “artificial” foods
- Add anti-inflammatory spices such as cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, sage, and thyme.19
- Lose weight
- Use natural moisturisers, cleansers, and cosmetic products
From beginning to end, griffin+row products are designed to protect, soothe and nourish sensitive skin. Cleanse will gently wash away dirt, pollutants and makeup without disrupting the skin’s delicate acid mantle or protective barrier. griffin+row moisturisers, Nourish and Enrich both contain natural ingredients rich in essential oils and botanical extracts to calm and soothe inflamed skin while penetrating deep below the surface to protect the skin’s natural barrier.
- Manage stress levels
- Look for and eliminate any and all possible irritants: especially detergents, cosmetics, scented cleaning products and fabric softeners.
- Get tested for all allergies
- Try supplements and essential oils that can help rosacea
- rosehip oil
- aloe vera
- jojoba oil
- coconut oil
- raw honey
griffin+row skincare products are made from a cocktail of the purest plant-based extracts and natural oils, including aloe vera, jojoba oil, lavender, rose extract, rosemary extract, rosehip oil and more. If suffering from rosacea, the soothing and deeply nourishing ingredients in the griffin+row products are compounded when used together as part of the griffin+row 5 step simple skincare routine.
- Culp, B. and Dr. Noah Scheinfeld. (2009). Rosacea: A review. P &T, 34(1): 38-45: 38-45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700634/
- Mercola. (2009). A misunderstood skin condition that’s sweeping the baby boom generation. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/01/A-Misunderstood-Skin-Condition-Sweeping-the-Baby-Boom-Generation.aspx
- Everyday Health. Famous faces with rosacea. https://www.everydayhealth.com/rosacea-pictures/famous-faces-with-rosacea.aspx#05
- Szlachcic, Al. (2002). The link between helicobacteria pylori infection and rosacea. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology,16(4):328-33.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12224687
- National Rosacea Society. Now Widely Recognized, Rosacea Was First Noted in 14th Century. https://www.rosacea.org/rr/1996/winter/article_1.php
- Wheeler, R. Dr. P. Bass III. The h-pylori-rosacea connection. https://www.everydayhealth.com/rosacea/the-h-pylori-rosacea-connection.aspx  Metrus, L. (2017). The rosacea diet: what to eat and not eat for calm, happy skin.https://www.byrdie.com/rosacea-diet
- American Academy of dermatology. Rosacea. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea
- Yamasaki, K. et. al. (2007). Increased serine protease activity and cathelicidin promotes skin inflammation in rosacea. Nature Medicine, 13:975-980. https://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n8/full/nm1616.html
- Stanislaw, J. et. al. (2012). A Potential role of Demodex mites and bacteria in the induction of rosacea. Journal of Medical Microbiology 61: 1504-1510. https://jmm.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/jmm/10.1099/jmm.0.048090-0
- National Rosacea Society. Causes of rosacea: neurovascular system. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/causes/neurovascularsystem
- The link between Helicobacter pylori infection and rosacea. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, 16(4):328-33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12224687
- Zandi, S. et. al. Helicobacter pylori and rosacea. East Mediterrean Health Journal, 9(1-2):167-71.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15562747
- Mark’s Daily Apple. How I lost 40 pounds and banished rosacea using primal principles. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-i-lost-40-pounds-and-banished-rosacea-using-primal-principles/
- National Rosacea Society. What causes rosacea. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/materials/understanding/causes.php\
- National Rosacea Society. Exercise may cause flare ups but can be controlled. https://www.rosacea.org/rr/2013/spring/article_3.php
- National Rosacea Society. The sun. https://www.rosacea.org/tags/sun
- National Rosacea Society. All about rosacea. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/allaboutrosacea.php
- Mind body green. 9 foods for the ultimate anti-ifnlammatory diet. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-22607/11-food-rules-for-the-ultimate-anti-inflammatory-diet.html