My journey with rosacea began when I was very young – about age 11 – which is very uncommon, as it usually comes more like age 20-30. It can be quite stubborn, and I had it So badly. When I was a teenager I destroyed all the worst pictures of me, so I have no way to show you how bad it really was – but it was clearly traumatic or I wouldn’t have destroyed them.
And my skin is far from perfect! I still have rosacea. But I very rarely feel it, these days. And it doesn’t flare as much.
I still have rosacea, but I have made enough progress and discovered enough helpful tools that I would love to share them with you. Please pass this on to anyone who would find it helpful!
Rosacea is known for redness on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead, with bumps, or pimples and in extreme cases can effect the eyes. No one is entirely certain of the cause, and there is no known cure at this point. It can be well managed, but is a challenge to keep it in remission long term.
Rosacea can be uncomfortable, even mildly painful, but mostly it is very embarrassing. It can flare very quickly despite best efforts. Like getting stuck in the sun at an outdoor wedding, or a windy bike ride, or some unexpectedly spicy foods. There is so much to manage and so many possible “mistakes.” This can leave us feeling a bit vulnerable. The following picture is me when I was 14 years old, and got caught in the sun. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
Possible Causes – all theories, but I believe they all play a part:
- The immune system is definitely involved, and the result is inflammation on the face. This covers poor digestion and likely insufficient stomach acid and enzymes, leaky gut, and bacteria imbalances along with food sensitivities and histamine reactions.
- Demodex Mites – everyone has them, but rosacea skin tends to have a lot more. There is much debate over whether it is the mites that cause rosacea, or the rosacea that attracts the mites. However it works, these mites certainly don’t help the skin heal and can stimulate the immune system into over-activity.
- Genetics – often multiple family members have rosacea – especially if you are fair skinned.
- Physical or Emotional Stress/Vascular System – constant blushing/embarrassment, too much sun, cold, wind, spicy food, overexercise, etc… can widen the vascular system of the face and eventually break blood vessels.
As far as the cure – as it isn’t fully understood, there isn’t a firm one. Antibiotics are often prescribed which bears evidence that there is some bacterial involvement – as well as some oral creams and gels – which I tried for about 5 years during my teens (and it did help, but not long term and not enough to make it worth it for me). I haven’t used a prescription for my rosacea in almost 20 years, but I have no judgement for those who choose to go that route. I just got tired of it, and I think it made things worse long term by disrupting my microbiome further.
And here lies the gift of rosacea. The possible causes/remedies can seem rather endless sometimes. Instead of being discouraged by this – my rosacea has taught me to be to be a lot better at self-care and self-love. And it is responsible for a lot of my physical and emotional healing. For that, I am so so so grateful!
Below are all of the possible causes/things to work on for rosacea that I have experienced. Each one has helped me to a certain extent, but none helped me long term until I worked on my mindset/emotions. So as crazy as it sounds, I will start there.
The Emotional Side of Rosacea
Rosacea has a very mask-like form to it. It took me a while to understand that I was hiding behind it and that in many ways it was a safety net for me. For instance, (at least in my head) having such an obvious “flaw” kept people from being jealous of me, and helped keep away unwanted attention from men. It also kept my options limited to keep me safe (and insignificant). I am still working very hard on being comfortable with being seen for who I really am, and feeling safe in my body. But knowing that my rosacea had a positive intention for me, and it wasn’t my body betraying me, helped me to stop resisting it – and start supporting myself in love.
It also can become apart of your identity. For so long, that was what I saw in the mirror. I used to get very uncomfortable when my skin was very clear. As much as I hated the rosacea, it didn’t feel like me! Yay that I have worked through this! (This may not apply to those who get rosacea as an adult.)
Stress. Rosacea is very reactionary. So stress effects it very much. Namely the basic stressors: pressure to look good at particular events, relationships, money, time, lack of self-care, self sabotage, etc…
I LOVE working with people on the emotional side to healing. It is my very favorite, and it is why I became a transformational coach! If you would like to learn about this further – click here to book a free clarity session with me.
The Physical Side of Rosacea
Digestion – Immune System – This post is not about how to optimize digestion, but I may write a separate post about it if there is enough interest. There are many things you can do, but if you have a serious case of rosacea, I recommend working with a qualified practitioner.
Rosacea problem-solving areas:
~Protein breakdown – proper hydrochloric acid is important, but I don’t recommend blindly supplementing with it
~Fat breakdown – fat is a huge component of skin and gall bladder health should be addressed
~Liver health – the skin is used for detoxification if the other detox pathways aren’t working properly.
~Optimal absorption – small intestine health
~Blood sugar balance – good for way more than just skin.
~A healthy histamine response – this is a huge topic all on its own!
~Anything that would challenge the immune system, such as parasites, bacteria and yeast – lab tests can be helpful here.
Which is pretty much all of digestion. 🙂
Diet – I have found The Paleo Approach – or the Autoimmune Protocol to be very helpful. Most of the recipes on this website reflect that dietary approach and I find that once you get in the mode, its pretty easy. The link above covers diet and some known rosacea triggers like alcohol and hot chili peppers. In addition to that – avoiding any known allergens, anything spicy or very hot in temperature can help.
Minerals – I have done 3 rounds of hair mineral tests over the last 6 months. It didn’t have an immediate effect on my skin – but it affected my energy levels, my hormones, and it has had a trickle down affect on my skin after a few months. It is definitely part of the root issue! Click here to see more about HTMA.
Sun: Wear a sun visor and keep one in every car. I really don’t love wearing sunscreen, but see products for the one I do wear.
Weather: Do your best to avoid wind, and very hot/very cold weather. But in the end – you need to live. So just do your best and don’t stress.
Exercise – don’t avoid it! But be wise about how hard you go, and when you do it. In the summer, I try to exercise at 5am when its not as hot.
Cleaning Products: use cleaning products without harmful chemicals in them! I use baking soda, vinegar, Dr. Bronners Soap, and Thieves Cleaner for almost everything. And I feel like my house is pretty clean! I can feel my rosacea flare with strong scented cleaning products for sure.
My product regimen – and I have searched far and wide and tried many (even esthetician level professional) rosacea products. I will continually update this as I play around with products – however I don’t wear makeup – so I can’t help you there. I don’t care if other people use it, but I don’t like it on me, and it isn’t my style. Please feel free to comment below and let us know what works for you!
First I wash my face with Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser by Annemarie Gianni. I LOVE this cleanser and have used it for months and it really feels good. My rosacea skin doesn’t do well on her scented facial oil or toner, but her products are beautiful and I wish I could use more! I’m trying the anti-aging oil and unscented oil soon. I will update this when I get a little more experience with her other products.
Then I spray my face with Calendula Hydrosol – I buy it from Mountain Rose Herbs – but you can use it from any good source.
Then I run to my fridge and apply a layer of Dermaced Redness Redux – This is amazing for me! A serum specifically for rosacea that makes a HUGE difference for me – even in flares. This seems to work especially well for those with more intense rosacea. For those with very mild rosacea, I’m not sure it makes as much of a difference. It has worked better than anything I have Ever tried, and if you have a bad case of rosacea, I highly recommend it!
Ingredients: Distilled water, sea kelp bio-ferment, pomegranate extract, natural active peptides, aloe extract, green tea extract, hyaluronic acid, glutathione, epidermal growth factor bt, superoxide dismutase, catalase, phenoxyethanol, and methyparaben and isopropylparaben and isovutylparaben, and butylparaben.
Full disclosure – it has parabens! I avoid these in everything else, but I have found this product so helpful, I honestly don’t care. It is better than a lot of other things, and it pretty much keeps me from flaring.
And despite the preservatives, it still needs to be kept in the refrigerator. You make a decision that is best for yourself. 🙂
Then I moisturize: Alpha Lipoic Revitalizing Moisturizer with CoQ10 from Dr. Ron’s. Very clean product – and I love all of his things. Sometimes I have to let it sit for a minute and finish gently rubbing it in for it all to absorb.
I don’t love how sunscreen feels on my body, but if I do need it, I use this one.
Products I am playing with at the moment: Sea Buckthorn Oil – both internal and external. I haven’t been using it long enough to know, but Sea Buckthorn oil kills mites when topically applied – so it has been very good for many people with rosacea. Note that it is a seed oil, though!
So – my rosacea isn’t perfect. I am working to improve my heath, inside and out and I am happy! And I hope this can help you similarly.
Feel free to comment and let us know what you have found most helpful! If you are interested in working with me on either or both the emotional and physical aspects of rosacea, click here to book a free session to talk about what that would look like.
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