Get rid of rosacea redness

How Can You Reduce Rosacea Redness?

Everyday Health: What is the best way to make rosacea redness less noticeable?

Jessica Wu, MD (

I recommend avoiding extremes in temperature, since heat and cold can make the blood vessels more reactive, making redness worse. This includes hot showers, saunas, steam baths, and hot yoga. In addition, baby your skin. Harsh products (like bar soap, scrubs, and skincare brushes) can aggravate those with rosacea, who tend to have sensitive skin. Instead, use a gentle milky cleanser and wash with your fingertips; splash with lukewarm water. (Usually a milky liquid cleanser is better than a bar soap, which can be too harsh.)

Follow this with sunscreen during the day and a calming moisturizer at night. Look for ingredients like licorice extract, cornflower, or feverfew, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and redness.

Tinted moisturizers can help reduce redness, and they help camouflage large pores better than powder, which can settle into pores and make them more noticeable. Beware of green tinted makeup – use very sparingly on the most red areas and follow with normal-colored foundation – otherwise you may end up looking like Shrek.

Nicholas Perricone, MD (

Topical alpha lipoic acid can decrease the redness associated with rosacea, which is not lessened when treated by prescription medications such as Metronidazole.

Elizabeth Tanzi, MD (

Avoid rosacea triggers such as hot weather and sun, cold and windburn, and red wine. Most importantly, a series of laser or light-based treatments can be very effective to reduce the redness and improve rosacea by closing down those dilated blood vessels in the face

Howard Murad, MD (

Keep it simple. The more ingredients and products you apply to your skin, the higher the likelihood that an ingredient or product may aggravate it. That’s why it may be helpful to use multi-function products, such as a calming moisturizer with a green-tinted base. Also, sunscreen is a must! Always test a new product in a peripheral area — your neck, your arm — before using it on your face to make sure your skin doesn’t react to it. Avoid any products that burn, sting, or irritate your skin.

Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD (

Use 37 EA and you see an immediate constriction of the broken capillaries and immediate reduction of redness. It decreases puffiness so the skin also appears smoother, and results in less pore prominence and less creasing. Then use a foundation geared toward warm-toned individuals such as L’Oreal True Match.

Dennis Gross, MD (

There are many over-the-counter remedies that are designed to reduce redness and sooth inflammation. Maintain an extremely gentle cleansing regimen and avoid alcohol-based products to help reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.

Jeannette Graf, MD (

Using mineral makeup is helpful in diminishing redness in rosacea by providing coverage and also having a soothing effect on the skin. Using green-based primers under makeup diminishes redness.

Neil Sadick, MD (

Treat with intense pulsed-ight (IPL) or Laser Genesis. At home you can try cold soy milk compresses as well as products by Park Avenue Prescription and Eucerin.

Marta Rendon, MD (

The best way to get rid of the redness from rosacea depends on the type of rosacea the patient has. Anti-inflammatories, both topical and oral, that your dermatologist can prescribe are beneficial. Vascular lasers target the blood vessels that cause the redness are a good treatment option. Other possible ways to make the redness less noticeable is to avoid triggers and use makeup or a moisturizer with a green tint that helps to cover the red.

H.L. Greenberg, MD (

There are a few tricks that may assist in the treatment of rosacea including ice-chips in the mouth to reduce redness and antihistamines for people who get redness with exercise. Studies are under way for the use of topical Afrin to treat rosacea topically, although it is not FDA approved to do so.

Sarah Swanson (

Use a mild cleanser that has calming properties and cool water. A concealer with a green tint will cover redness best. A photo facial with intense pulsed light (IPL) will drastically reduce the redness associated with rosacea, and the improvement will typically last for months. With careful skin care, lifestyle changes, and topical and noninvasive therapies, oral antibiotics and oral retinoids can be avoided in the vast majority of cases, avoiding the risks of oral therapy and providing a more natural solution to this chronic disease that adversely impacts appearance and quality of life.

Eric Schweiger, MD (

I find the best treatment for the redness of rosacea is laser therapy. The vascular lasers ( KTP laser and pulsed-dye laser) are very effective at eliminating the tiny blood vessels and matted telangiectasias, which are responsible for the redness in rosacea. Usually about three to four treatments are needed for best results.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD (

If think back to your days experimenting with primary colors in kindergarten, you may recall that red plus green makes brown. So the use of a green-tinted makeup foundation will mask the underlying flush. Following this, ordinary makeup may be used. Certain companies, such as Physician’s Formula, make green-tinted products for both men and women for this purpose.

Another useful trick is to apply oxymetazoline (for example, Afrin) nasal spray directly to the reddish areas twice daily. The vasoconstrictive action of the product can be helpful for suppressing the flush. Unlike its use in the nose, which is restricted to three consecutive days, these products may be used on the face for extended periods of time without concern. Topical niacinamide and topical azelaic acid products may also be helpful for controlling the redness in some individuals. Likewise, the use of crotamiton lotion for two weeks may do so in others.

Darrell W. Gonzales, MD (

Patients with rosacea have a number of options to lessen and perhaps improve the redness of their face. There are newer physician-grade cosmeceuticals available that can help reduce redness, including topical products containing caffeine and green tea polyphenols. There are also lasers that can help target the capillaries of the face and reduce redness, including intense pulsed light laser and pulsed dye laser. Finally, make-up with a green tint base can help to dramatically offset the redness. This make-up can be purchased at department stores and even some large chain pharmacies.

Jeffrey Ellis, MD, and Amy Slear, MD (

Rosacea redness can be challenge to hide. Some tricks are to use a gentle cleanser with cool water. Remember to use sunscreen religiously and to apply camouflage if needed. There are laser procedures available that may also help to reduce facial redness.

William Ting, MD (

Practice strict sun protection and work with a board-certified dermatologist. Direct skin application with Afrin (or a generic equivalent) spray may offer few hours of redness camouflage with its vasoconstrictive effect.

Dina Strachan, MD (

That will depend on the kind of rosacea you have. Medical treatment works for acne and inflammation. Light devices such as lasers and IPL work for broken blood vessels. Other than that there is camouflage makeup.

Brad Abrams, DO (

The best way to make rosacea redness less noticeable or eliminate the sign of rosacea is the Vbeam treatment. The Vbeam Perfecta laser uses a unique micropulse technology, which spreads out a single laser pulse into eight evenly spaced micropulses, providing gentle vessel heating and allowing consistent effective results. The compression handpiece pushes vascular fluids out of the way, enabling the laser to precisely target pigmentation without impacting underlying blood vessels, thus offering precision results and greater comfort for patients during treatment. Permanency of results depend on may factors, like the condition being treated or the lifestyle of the patient. Results have been amazing.

Eric Huang, MD (

No single treatment regimen is effective in all patients. Topical metronidazole is sometimes effective for mild cases, and topical sulfacetamide/sulfur and azelaic acid preparations are also useful. Tretinoin is sometimes an effective option as well, though the potential irritation makes it more difficult to tolerate and I do not use this often. In more severe cases, oral antibiotics in the tetracycline family are helpful, as is low-dose doxycycline. When these are not effective, or if telangiectasias are a primary concern, intense pulsed light or pulsed dye laser can reduce the redness. The addition of redness relief creams is an easy adjunct to any regimen.

5 Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of Rosacea (Skin Redness)

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that leads to redness and bumps on the face. Its symptoms include thickening of the skin, redness and pimples. The persistent redness caused in usually in the central part of the face. It is of utmost importance to treat this chronic skin condition as it can worsen with time if left untreated. The areas that are quite prone of getting affected are chin, forehead and cheeks. This skin condition is often mistaken for acne and can prove to be quite annoying. Rosacea can occur in anyone. But it is fairly prevalent across middle-aged women who have fair skin. While there is no definitive cure to rosacea, you can surely reduce the signs and symptoms of it.

Here are few natural remedies that may reduce the symptoms of rosacea to a considerable extent.

1. Green Tea
Green tea has various anti-inflammatory properties that can possibly reduce redness and inflammation on the skin. Make yourself a regular cup of green tea and keep it in the fridge for about 40-45 minutes. After 45 minutes, take a clean piece of cloth and soak it in the cup. Once this is done, massage it over the affected areas. Do this regularly to see better results.
(Also Read: 3 Amazing Green Tea Face-Packs For A Healthy And Spotless Skin)

Green tea has various anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is one of the most trusted remedy for variety of skin problems. Ayurveda too, speaks highly of aloe vera and its skin healing benefits. Pluck a fresh leaf from an aloe vera plant and extract gel from the same. Apply the aloe vera gel over the affected areas and wash it off with cold water.
(Also Read: How To Use Aloe Vera To Hydrate Your Skin This Summer?)

Apply the aloe vera gel over the affected areas
3. Honey
Honey is again an effective remedy for skin redness as it is a rich source of humectant which is responsible for moisture in the skin. Massage a bit of honey on the affected areas and let it dry for 30 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water and watch out for results.
(Also Read: 5 Home Remedies For A Dark Neck: Make Your Skin Tone Even!)

Honey is again an effective remedy for skin redness as it is a rich source of humectant
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils like lavender, jasmine, rose, tea tree, thyme etc. have anti-inflammatory and healing properties that can do wonders for your skin. Add 2-3 drops of any essential oil to few drops carrier oils like almond or coconut and apply it over the affected area before sleeping.
(Also Read:5 Natural Home Remedies to Remove Dark Circles)

Essential oils like lavender, jasmine, rose, tea tree, thyme etc. have anti-inflammatory
5. SPF
​Sunburn is the most common woes faced by millions across the globe. Long term exposure to the dangerous radiation of the sun, could penetrate into the skin and may cause damage.In order to protect your skin from extreme sun heat and UV rays, it’s essential to apply a layer of sunscreen on it. Doing so can keep redness and rashes at bay.

(Also Read: 4 Most Effective Home Remedies for Sunburn)

In order to protect your skin from extreme sun heat and UV rays
CommentsThese natural remedies might get you some relief from the symptoms of rosacea; however, if the symptoms persist, do consult dermatologist for the same.


The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are there any studies or research that I can participate in?

A. As a member of the National Rosacea Society (NRS), from time to time you may be given an opportunity to participate in research to help improve treatment or patient care. If you have not done so, this is one more reason to join the NRS today.

Q. Can rosacea occur in children?

A. Although the incidence of rosacea in adolescents and children is infrequent, such cases have been documented in the medical literature. Eyelid styes may be one form. Rosacea often runs in families, and rosacea sufferers would be wise to be on the lookout for early signs in children in order to seek diagnosis and treatment before the condition worsens.

Q. Are there support groups for rosacea sufferers?

A. The National Rosacea Society is the world’s largest support organization for rosacea, offering information and educational services to hundreds of thousands of rosacea patients and health professionals each year.

While face-to-face support groups are not well established, rosacea sufferers can find online chat groups and forums through Facebook and


Signs and Symptoms

Q. Does rosacea cause facial swelling, burning or itching?

A. Facial burning, stinging and itching are commonly reported by many rosacea patients. Certain rosacea sufferers may also experience some swelling (edema) in the face that may become noticeable as early as the initial stage of the disease. The same flushing that brings on rosacea’s redness can be associated with a build-up of fluid in the tissues of the face. It often occurs above the nasolabial folds — the creases from the nose to each side of the mouth — and can cause a “baggy cheek” appearance. It is also believed that in some patients this swelling process may contribute to the development of excess tissue on the nose (rhinophyma), causing it to become bulbous and bumpy.

If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss them with your physician. For a complete description of the signs and symptoms of rosacea, visit the All About Rosacea page.

Q. Are rosacea symptoms generally symmetrical or asymmetrical?

A. Rosacea can present itself in different ways for different individuals. Rosacea patients may exhibit varying levels of severity of symptoms over different areas of the face. Patients have often reported that the disorder actually began with a red spot or patch on one cheek or another part of the face, and then spread to other areas. On the other hand, many rosacea patients exhibit similar symptoms on both sides of their faces.

Q. I suffer from regular acne in addition to rosacea. Is this common?

A. Rosacea and regular acne, called acne vulgaris, usually appear separately, but some patients are affected by both. While both conditions in adults are often informally referred to as “adult acne,” they are two separate diseases, each requiring different therapy. Acne vulgaris is associated with plugging of the ducts of the oil glands, resulting in blackheads and pimples on the face and sometimes also the back, shoulders or chest. Rosacea seems to be linked to the vascular network of the central facial skin and causes redness, bumps, pimples and other symptoms that rarely go beyond the face. Special care is necessary in treating patients with both conditions because some standard medications for acne vulgaris can make rosacea worse.

Q. Is dry, flaky skin typical with rosacea?

A. It has been estimated that approximately half of all rosacea sufferers may appear to experience dry skin. With treatment, this dryness often eases along with disappearance of papules and pustules. To combat dry, flaky skin, use a moisturizer daily after cleansing and applying medication. You also may wish to check with your dermatologist to see which medication is best for your skin type, since some have a drying effect and others are more moisturizing.

Q. Is oily skin common for rosacea sufferers?

A. There is no standard skin type for rosacea patients. Many sufferers experience dry, flaky skin, while others may have normal or oily skin, or both. The key is to identify your skin type and use medication and skin-care products that are suitable for you.

Q. Is there any connection between rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis?

A. It is not unusual for seborrheic dermatitis to appear concurrently with rosacea. Seborrhea manifests as reddish-yellow greasy scaling in the central third of the face. Scalp, eyebrows and beard may have fine flakes of white scale, dandruff or patches of thicker, greasy yellow scale. Eruptions may also appear beyond the face. To learn more, visit the Seborrhea page.

Q. Is there any connection between ordinary eczema and rosacea?

A. No, nothing in the medical literature links rosacea and atopic dermatitis, or eczema. The two diseases may share some symptoms, but also have many differences. Rosacea is more common in fair-skinned individuals and nearly always affects the face only, causing such signs and symptoms as redness, visible blood vessels, bumps and pimples and sometimes swelling of the nose from excess tissue. Atopic eczema is more common in individuals with dry skin and can appear in various areas of the body, producing red scaling and crusted or weeping pustules that itch fiercely. However, a recent NRS survey found than 55 percent of rosacea patients said they had experienced another skin disorder.

Q. Is there a connection between lupus and rosacea?

A. No. Discoid lupus is a chronic, scarring skin disease. Another form, systemic lupus, is characterized by a variety of signs, including some in the vascular system. Because lupus can cause a reddish skin rash that spreads across the bridge of the nose and face, often in a butterfly pattern, it can appear similar to rosacea. However, while both rashes can be smooth in texture, the presence of bumps and pimples, which rarely occur in a lupus flare, may help differentiate the diseases. In addition, lupus is almost always accompanied by other symptoms not associated with rosacea, such as fever, arthritis and signs of renal, lung or heart involvement. A dermatologist can usually quickly tell the difference between a butterfly rash of lupus and rosacea.

Moreover, unlike lupus, as many as 50 percent of rosacea patients may also have ocular signs. Visually, an eye affected by rosacea often appears watery or bloodshot. Sufferers may feel a gritty or foreign body sensation in the eye, or have a dry, burning or stinging sensation.

Q. Are rosacea sufferers more likely to get skin cancer later in life?

A. No medical evidence has linked rosacea directly with skin cancer. Rosacea sufferers may be more likely to develop skin cancer later in life because of their frequent light complexions and propensity to injury from ultra-violet radiation from the sun. It is important that you consult your dermatologist if you have any signs of possible skin cancer, such as a mole that is enlarged or asymmetric or that has an irregular border or varying color. Although unrelated to rosacea, skin cancer is a potentially fatal disease whose incidence has been on the rise.

Q. I’ve been using medication for some time now and it has cleared my pimples and reduced my redness, but it also seems to have made me develop more spider veins. What’s going on?

A. Visible blood vessels (telangiectasia) sometimes develop with rosacea and were likely always there, but were hidden or less noticeable because of your redness. Once medication has diminished the redness, it is not uncommon for spider veins to become more noticeable. These can be camouflaged with makeup, or removed with a vascular laser, intense pulsed light source or other medical device.

Q. Can you get rosacea on other parts of your body?

A. Although it is not a common feature of rosacea, symptoms have been reported to appear beyond the face. In a National Rosacea Society survey, rosacea patients reported experiencing symptoms on the neck, chest, scalp, ears and back.

Q. How does menopause affect rosacea?

A. The hot flashes sometimes associated with menopause may bring on a flare-up or even the initial onset of rosacea. A Swedish study also noted that postmenopausal women with rosacea may be more likely to experience migraine headaches.

Several articles about the relationship between menopause and rosacea have appeared in Rosacea Review. To view those archives, .

Q. Can rosacea involve the eyes?

A. Yes. Known as ocular rosacea, eye symptoms may include a watery or bloodshot appearance and a dry, gritty feeling with burning, itching and/or stinging. Individuals with rosacea may be prone to styes, and light sensitivity and blurred vision may also be present. Left untreated, decreased visual acuity due to corneal involvement may occur. Eye involvement may appear before as well as after any skin signs or symptoms, and individuals who suspect they may have ocular rosacea should consult a dermatologist or ophthalmologist for appropriate therapy.


Trigger Factors

Q. What are the most common lifestyle and environmental factors that aggravate rosacea or trigger flare-ups?

A. According to a National Rosacea Society survey, some of the most common rosacea triggers include sun exposure, emotional stress, hot or cold weather, wind, alcohol, spicy foods, heavy exercise, hot baths, heated beverages and certain skin-care products. For a list of common triggers, visit the Rosacea Triggers section.

Q. How effective is avoiding lifestyle and environmental factors?

A. In a survey of 1,221 rosacea sufferers by the National Rosacea Society, 96 percent of those who believed they had identified personal trigger factors said avoiding those factors had reduced their flare-ups. Full survey results are available in the Rosacea Review archives.

Q. How long after a rosacea trigger will a rosacea flare-up occur?

A. Although there are no data available on how quickly a rosacea trigger may lead to a flare-up, the time is likely to vary depending on the individual and the nature of the trigger. Try monitoring your individual case to see how quickly your rosacea has responded. And remember, while a wide range of factors has been identified as potential triggers, not every trigger affects every individual every time.

Q. Is there any relationship between rosacea and allergies?

A. Allergies may cause an altered reaction of the body that includes flushing, which frequently triggers rosacea symptoms. A recent study found that 38 percent of rosacea patients suffered from a contact allergy. As with more common rosacea triggers, identifying and avoiding allergens — the substances you are reacting to — may also help control your rosacea.

Q. Will exercise cause my rosacea to flare up?

A. Any activity such as exercise that causes flushing or overheats the face has the potential to spark a rosacea flare-up. The good news is that signs and symptoms may be avoided or reduced by managing your workout. Ways to help reduce the incidence of flare-ups include working out in the early morning or late evening when weather is cooler; working out more frequently but for shorter intervals; keeping cool indoors by running a fan or opening a window; and cooling off by keeping a damp towel on your neck, drinking cold fluids or chewing on ice chips. Choosing low-intensity exercise or water aerobics may also be useful.

Q. How do I determine what causes a flare up?

A. Rosacea signs and symptoms may be prompted by a vast array of environmental and lifestyle factors that differ from one individual to another. Some of the most common factors are listed here. As with an allergy, it is useful to keep a diary to pinpoint the particular elements that may prompt a flare-up in your individual case. The National Rosacea Society publishes a booklet, Rosacea Diary, designed to help patients identify and avoid their individual rosacea triggers, and the Coping with Rosacea booklet provides lifestyle management tips.



Q. Can rosacea be cured?

A. While rosacea cannot be cured, medical treatments are available that can control or eliminate its various signs and symptoms. Learn more in the Management Options section.

Q. How is rosacea treated?

A. The signs and symptoms of rosacea vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must therefore be tailored by a physician for each individual case. Some patients are troubled by redness and flushing, while others have bumps and pimples, thickening of the skin, or eye rosacea or combinations. For patients with bumps and pimples, doctors often prescribe oral and topical rosacea therapy, and a topical therapy to reduce facial redness is now available.

When appropriate, laser treatment or other surgical procedures may be used to remove visible blood vessels, reduce extensive redness or correct disfigurement of the nose. Eye symptoms are commonly treated with oral antibiotics and ophthalmic therapy. Visit the Treatment Photos page to see before-and-after photos of several therapy options.

In addition, rosacea patients are advised to identify and avoid lifestyle and environmental factors that may aggravate their individual conditions. Patients may also benefit from gentle and appropriate skin care, and cosmetics may be used to reduce the effect of rosacea on appearance.

Q. Why are antibiotics prescribed for rosacea? Is it a bacterial infection?

A. It is unknown exactly why antibiotics work against rosacea, but it is widely believed that it is due to their anti-inflammatory properties, rather than their bacteria-fighting capabilities.

Q. What about bacterial resistance from antibiotic use?

A. Topical antibiotics result in such minimal levels of medication in the bloodstream, if any, that there is virtually no risk of developing bacterial resistance at sites other than where the topical antibiotic is being applied. A version of an oral antibiotic with less risk of microbial resistance has been developed specifically for rosacea.

Q. What medications are used for rosacea besides antibiotics?

A. Physicians may use a variety of medications to help control rosacea in individual patients. Products containing a sulfur drug or azelaic acid may be prescribed as an alternative or adjunct to antibiotic therapy, and a cardiovascular medication is sometimes used to control severe flushing. Other medications may also be considered, especially in cases that do not respond to initial therapy.

Q. What about long-term side effects?

A. Topical therapy results in such minimal levels of medication in the bloodstream, if any, that there is virtually no risk of systemic side effects except allergic reactions. Possible side effects associated with oral antibiotic therapy include upset stomach, sensitivity to sun exposure, tooth discoloration, diarrhea, allergic reactions and vaginal yeast infections.

Q. If I take long-term medication consistently, will it lose its effectiveness?

A. Topical therapy usually controls rosacea on a long-term basis, without loss of effectiveness.

Q. Should I still use my medication between flare-ups?

A. Rosacea is characterized by flare-ups and remissions, and a study found that long-term medical therapy significantly increased the rate of remission in rosacea patients. In a six-month multicenter clinical study, 42 percent of those not using medication had relapsed, compared to 23 percent of those who continued to apply a topical medication. In general, treatment between flare-ups can prevent them.

Q. How should I care for my skin?

A. A rosacea facial care routine recommended by many dermatologists starts with a gentle and refreshing cleansing of the face each morning. Sufferers should use a mild soap or cleanser that is not grainy or abrasive, and spread it with their fingertips. A soft pad or washcloth can also be used, but avoid rough washcloths, loofahs, brushes or sponges.

Next, rinse the face with lukewarm water several times and blot it dry with a thick cotton towel. Never pull, tug, scratch or treat the face harshly. Sufferers should let their face air dry for several minutes before applying a topical medication. Let the medication soak in for an additional five or 10 minutes before using any makeup or other skin care products.

For additional information, visit the Skin Care & Cosmetics section.

Q. What skin-care products are appropriate to use with rosacea?

A. The skin of many rosacea sufferers may be sensitive and easily irritated. Patients should avoid using any products that burn, sting or irritate their skin. In a National Rosacea Society survey, many individuals with rosacea identified alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus oil, clove oil and salicylic acid as ingredients that irritated their individual cases, and many also avoided astringents and exfoliating agents. A useful rule of thumb may be to select products that contain no irritating or unnecessary ingredients.

Sunscreens or sunblocks effective against the full spectrum of ultraviolet A and B radiation can be especially important for rosacea patients, whose facial skin may be particularly susceptible to sun damage and consequent rosacea flare-ups. An SPF of 15 or higher is recommended, and physical blocks utilizing zinc or titanium dioxide may be effective if chemical sunscreens cause irritation.

Q. How does laser therapy work?

A. To remove visible blood vessels or reduce extensive redness, vascular lasers emit wavelengths of light that target tiny blood vessels just under the skin. Heat from the laser’s energy builds in the vessels, causing them to disintegrate. Generally, at least three treatments are required, depending on the severity of redness or visible blood vessels.

Vascular lasers may also be used to help retard the buildup of excess tissue, and in severe cases a CO2 laser may be used to remove unwanted tissue and reshape the nose. New laser technology has been developed to minimize bruising, and recently developed devices called intense pulsed light sources mimic lasers but generate multiple wavelengths to treat a broader spectrum of tissue. As with any surgical technique, the safety and effectiveness of laser therapy may depend on the skill of the physician.

Q. Is there research being conducted on rosacea?

A. The National Rosacea Society has instituted a research grants program to encourage and support scientific investigation into the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea that may lead to improvement in its treatment, as well as its potential prevention or cure. Information on this program can be found under Research Grants.

Q. How do I control flushing/blushing?

A. As always, the best offense is a good defense. Individuals with rosacea should identify and avoid environmental and lifestyle factors that cause flushing. A list of the most common rosacea triggers can be found here. In severe cases, certain medications may be prescribed by a physician to lessen the intensity and frequency of flushing, and a topical therapy is now available to treat persistent facial redness.

Q. Do steroids induce rosacea?

A. While effective in treating certain skin conditions, long-term use of topical steroids may prompt rosacea-like symptoms informally called “steroid-induced rosacea.” While some physicians may prescribe a short course of a steroid to immediately reduce severe inflammation, if you are concerned about a medication you are taking, your best bet is to discuss this with your physician.


Acknowledgments: This section has been reviewed and edited by Dr. Mark Dahl, chairman of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic Arizona.

Last Updated on August 13, 2018

What is ALA? Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits Your Skin

Every so often the airwaves fill with news about a new miracle substance that can cause skin tightening and make your skin young again, as if you magically had a neck lift or non-surgical face lift.

Some of these are synthetic but most are compounds discovered from some sort of natural source, like a rare melon that is grown only in France or an even rarer orchid found only in a mysterious jungle somewhere. Of course the more rare the plant, the more expensive the product, which only increases the hype about it. Most of these substances are animated by the marketing hype about them, which points to the unfortunate fact that few if any of them actually undergo serious scientific research and clinical testing. Most are like a flash in the pan, and as the media hype-wave passes, the substance recedes from memory in perfect timing with the arrival of the next new miracle substance promising miracle skin rejuvenation.

On the other hand, a few of these substances actually do work, and some have been around long enough that scientific studies have validated some of the claims made in the media. One such substance is Alpha Lipoic Acid. Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits not only you skin but has many other important roles.


So, what is Alpha Lipoic Acid, and what exactly can it do for our skin?

Alpha Lipoic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in many plants and animals and is also produced in our human bodies. It has many important biochemical roles in human physiology and is found in every single cell in our bodies.

Some of the roles include:

  1. Alpha Lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that participates in many different physiological functions. As we all know, oxidative damage also prematurely ages our skin, causing wrinkling, thinning and skin cancers. Thus, anything that enhances our skin’s ability to fight oxidative damage, will also increase its heath, supporting skin tightening and skin rejuvenation.

Nugget: Alpha Lipoic Acid is now commonly used as an “integrative oncology” IV therapy for various cancers with remarkable results, including pancreatic cancer. The general medical establishment is quite negative about such out-of-the-box treatments, but associated clinical studies are solid, and no sane person can argue with the results.

For this article, our point is clear: If ALA can help heal a patient with cancer, it certainly cannot hurt to use it for aging damaged skin, with wrinkles, jowls, acne, cystic acne or perhaps rosacea.


More and more, in skincare clinics such as ours who practice advanced Integrative Medicine, IV therapy is becoming an integral and critical component of effective protocols for overall health and wellbeing, including that of the skin.

  1. It has a critical role as a “co-factor” in the generation of energy in every single cell.

    What is ALA? Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits our mitochondria

Nugget: Every cell in the body must generate its own energy. Our bodies are NOT engineered like our neighborhoods, where a central power station feeds (supplies) each of our homes. Every home must have its own energy generator.

Nugget: Every cell uses the same physiological “machine” to generate energy called Mitochondria. Mitochondria are small “organelles” that exist inside each of our cells. Within each mitochondria, the primary biochemical pathway that converts food into energy that the cell can use is called the Citric Acid Cycle. Thus, carbohydrates and fats are converted into the molecule “ATP” which is the primary chemical “fuel” that cells use to live and function. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a key component in this pathway. Without Alpha Lipoic Acid the cycle would stop, our cells would not be able to produce energy to function (ATP), the cell would die and shortly thereafter so would we.

This applies to all the different types of cells that comprise the skin as well. If each of them is not fully functioning at the level of their mitochondria, the skin will deteriorate, prematurely age, wrinkle, sag, and become more susceptible to cancer. On the other hand, treatments that energize the mitochondria of skin cells, will cause skin tightening, lifting, toning, and overall skin rejuvenation. Such treatments should be combined with laser skin tightening, non-surgical facelift, skin resurfacing, neck lift, and any other protocol that is integrative in nature.

Nugget: Ozone is known to energize mitochondria in a direct and profound way. Though the scientific explanation goes beyond the scope of this article, I will address ozone in a forthcoming article. For now know, that mitochondrial stimulation is the reason that our protocols combine ozone with CIA. (Collagen Induction Acupuncture).


  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid has mild anti-inflammatory properties.

Even seen severely sun damaged skin? Is there any doubt in your mind that it is chronically inflamed? Thus it is easy to see why Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits sun-damaged skin and is expected to have a profoundly curative anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.


  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid may have a positive “anti-aging” effect by inhibiting “cross bridging”.

Nugget: One of the biochemical characteristics of the aging process and aging tissue is the bonding together of molecules that should be separate. These chemical bonds are referred to as cross-bridges. Though we do not understand why this occurs, proteins in tissues of older individuals tend to “cross-bridge”, which impairs their ability to function properly. “Hardening of the arteries” (Arterial sclerosis) is an example of damage caused by cross-bridging, and so is wrinkling of skin.


  1. Lastly, Alpha Lipoic Acid can help our bodies remove toxic heavy metals.

Nugget: Our bodies naturally use specific metals as a healthy and necessary part of our physiology. Copper, iron, zinc, manganese, chromium, molybdenum and selenium are found in small quantities (referred to as “trace” elements) as important components of certain molecules. A well-known example is the critical presence of iron in our hemoglobin. However, other metals, usually classified as “heavy metals” such as lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminum are toxic to us and do not play a role in our physiologies. When somehow we absorb them, they are not only toxic but hard to get rid of as well. For example mercury that you inadvertently absorbed as a child, will remain in your body for life, causing toxic damage the entire time.

Nugget: The process of getting rid of toxic heavy metals is called “chelation”. Biochemically speaking, the foreign heavy metal is bound to anther molecule that the body can process through a filtering mechanism. The body does this naturally but only to a limited extent. Essentially, the foreign toxic heavy metal that the body doesn’t handle well, is “hitched” or “chelated” to a naturally occurring healthy molecule that the body is designed to handle… and the good molecule tows the toxic metal molecule through a filtering process that eliminates it through the urine or feces. When a person is carrying a significant heavy metal load, their body will need help in getting rid of it. In such cases, Chelation Therapy, wherein the patient takes therapeutic amounts of these healthy chelating compounds, either orally and/or through IV therapy, in order to detoxify from the toxic heavy metals.


One of the reasons that Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits our physiology and has so many roles is its unusual property of being soluble in both fat and water. This unusual characteristic is called: “amphiphilic”.

Nugget: When it comes to the biochemistry of animal physiology, the matter of solubility is a key factor. As we know from our experience in the kitchen, some substances can be dissolved in water and others only in oil. For instance, sugar and salt dissolve easily in water, but neither of them will dissolve in oil. On the other hand butter will not dissolve in water, but does dissolve in fat or oil.

What is ALA? It’s amphiphilic unlike oil and water

In fact everybody knows that “oil and water don’t mix”, which means that they do not dissolve in each other. Therefore it stands to reason that a substance that dissolves in one of them will not dissolve in the other. An exception to this would be an amphiphilic compound such as Alpha Lipoic Acid which dissolves in both.

The reason properties of solubility are important is because animal physiology can be divided into two primary internal environments;

  • a) Hydrous environments that are dominated by water, such as inside and outside of our cells (intracellular and extracellular environments)
  • b) Anhydrous environments that are dominated by fats (lipids or oils), such as the membranes of our cells which are made up primarily of fats, lipid tissues such as the fat under our skin (subcutaneous fat), and certain organs such as breast tissue.

Thus physiologically active chemicals such as vitamins that need to function in a water (hydrous) environment need to be water soluble, whereas vitamins that need to function in a fat (lipid) environment need to be fat soluble.

Nugget: By the way, solubility is also a critically important consideration of the design of medications and their proper prescription. For example, to be effective as a drug that fights a bladder infection it must be water soluble in order to collect and be active in the urine, whereas a drug that is engineered for breast tissue will need to be lipid soluble, as breast tissue is predominantly composed of lipids.


There are a number of conditions for which they have proven beneficial.

  • Immune boosting
  • Diabetes neurological complications
  • Arterial sclerosis


What is ALA? Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits skin topically

Now that we know a few of the Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits, the reason for this article is to address whether or not it can be good for our skin as either in a topical or oral product.

Obviously all the different types of cells that we have in our skin benefit from what Alpha Lipoic Acid does for all cells. (Functions 1-5 listed above) So the critical question becomes, if we deliver Alpha Lipoic Acid to damaged skin will it help it? Theoretically, it should help… but does it?

Unfortunately, this is precisely where much medical science falls short. Many things we think we understand about our physiology that lead us to developing a particular therapy or product that according to our ‘theories’ should work, don’t work when clinically tested. Often times even substances that work when tested on cell cultures in a laboratory setting, do not work when tested on living beings. Worse yet, sometimes our theoretical therapies actually cause damage.

Nugget: The truth is, that as much as we think we understand about our physiology, we are barely scratching the surface of its actual complexity. Indeed, every individual element of human physiology is complicated, and when millions of these elements are combined into a single interrelated, exquisitely balanced, complete and synergistic system… and then integrated into all the other dimensions of life that are beyond physiology… we end up with beings that are infinitely complex.

I am not the first to say such a thing… but exploring the “inner engineering” of human physiology is like touching the mind of God.


In the case of Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits, some clinical testing has been conducted with encouraging, but not conclusive results. Topical products containing Alpha Lipoic Acid have reduced fine lines and wrinkles to various extents. However, much more clinical testing is needed before a definitive conclusion about the efficacy of Alpha Lipoic Acid can be reached. This same can also be said about treating acne, cystic acne, rosacea, sun damaged skin, age spots and sun spots.

The good news is, that evidence does exist that Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits the skin and can help, and we know that it can’t hurt you. This alone is progress when compared to other popular products that can cause irritation and even damage when overused such as Tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova), especially for people who are hypersensitive to it.

One last point. Should you choose to use Alpha Lipoic Acid products, make sure that the product uses the ‘R’ form of Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is more effective than the ‘S’ form.

About the Authors

Doctors Alice Pien, MD and Asher Milgrom, Phd are established pioneers in the fields of Regenerative Medicine and Skincare. Their expertise ranges from advanced laser systems to stem cell medicine. Their medical education and advanced certifications span from medical schools of NY State University, the University of Chicago, to John Hopkins, Harvard and UCLA. They approach medicine with the clinical expertise of over 85,000 successful treatments over the past 20 years and significant scientific research resulting in proprietary protocols that they customize for each individual patient.

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