Dealing with rosacea is a catch-22. If you have the skin disease that’s characterized by redness along with tiny, acne-like bumps and legions on the face, chances are vices like your beloved bottle of red wine and Seamless order of spicy food trigger the condition.
Controlling rosacea by minimizing flushness and bumps can be frustrating to say the least. Since there’s a number of factors that cause the disease such as genetics, altered skin nerves, an overgrowth of demodex mites, immune system irregularities, and a connection to digestive system disorders, each person’s case is unique. Some of the treatments for the skin disease can be irritating in themselves and further exacerbate symptoms.
“Since so many factors go into it [rosacea], sometimes it is trial and error to find the right thing that works for treating it,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Cybele Fishman. “Some medicines themselves can be irritating, and disrupt the skin barrier. Rosacea patients need a healthy, intact skin barrier to keep their rosacea quiet.”
While treating rosacea with antibiotics is one method of eliminating some of the trial and error of determining which topical treatments can work for you, this route can also aggravate the disease. “If you treat rosacea with high-dose antibiotics, you can mess up the balance of micro-organisms in the gut further, which in turn will exacerbate the disease,” explains Dr. Fishman. “However, a low-dose doxycycline seems to not do this because it’s an anti-inflammatory, rather than an antibiotic.”
You can take preventative measures by adopting natural remedies instead of methods that may cause flare-ups. Since reducing inflammation in the skin and body is key in ridding skin of redness, Dr. Fishman recommends topical products with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea extract, acai, rosehip oil, and starflower, which are all soothing. On the diet end, she suggests avoiding processed sugars and incorporating turmeric and omega-3 EPA (found in flax oil) and omega-6 GLA (found in black currant seed oil) fatty acids into your meals or supplements.
In addition, because of the link between rosacea and the digestive system, she also recommends getting tested for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) because if positive, treating the digestive disorder often improves rosacea’s state.