Natural remedies for rosacea

7 Home Remedies for Rosacea You Should Try

Seeking treatment from a dermatologist can ease the redness and bumps of rosacea. But between doctor’s visits, there’s a lot you can do at home to control the disease and reduce its impact on your life.

Start by approaching your rosacea like a researcher: “Keep a skin journal for a few weeks—either on paper or on an electronic device—and note when the rosacea flares and what you did, ate, or were exposed to that day,” Robyn Gmyrek, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, tells Health.

After six to eight weeks of journaling, you’ll have an idea of what makes your rosacea worse—and what can improve it. That way, you can aim to modify your routine, she says.

Need some ideas? Read on for home remedies for rosacea that actually work.

Over-the-counter creams and washes

Your doctor may write you prescriptions for medicated skincare products—if so, use those as directed, and ask before combining them with other remedies. But over-the-counter products can also decrease the inflammation rosacea causes, Dr. Gmyrek says.

Look for products that are sulfa-based—they’re often marketed to treat acne, but they can also act as home remedies for rosacea bumps. Topical azelaic acid can also be anti-inflammatory, she says. We like The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% ($8; sephora.com).

Because exercise is often a rosacea trigger, washing your face and applying cream soon after a workout is a good idea, says Richard Torbeck, MD, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon in New York.

Anecdotally, some people have reported soothing from lavender or coconut oils, and aloe vera gel (we like Banana Boat Soothing Aloe After Sun Gel) may reduce rosacea redness. But steer clear of anything that contains steroids, including hydrocortisone—those products can actually worsen your symptoms, Dr. Gmyrek says.

RELATED: The Best Moisturizers for Rosacea, According to Dermatologists

Dietary changes

There’s no ideal diet that serves as a one-size-fits-all home remedy for a rosacea flare-up. But there are foods that tend to trigger symptoms in many people, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, medical director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology.

These include spicy dishes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and dairy products. Experimenting can help you determine the right recipe for calming your skin, Dr. Gmyrek says.

Supplements

Dietary supplements may also have a role to play in rosacea management, Dr. Jacob says. Try omega-3 fatty acids, from sources like coldwater fish or flaxseed oil. They’re anti-inflammatory, meaning they may ease the underlying processes that contribute to redness and swelling.

RELATED: 5 Things That Might Cause Rosacea, According to Dermatologists

Rethinking hydration

Many people with rosacea find hot beverages—coffee, tea, and the like—trigger flushing and redness. If that’s true for you, it might be worth cutting that second cup of joe, or trying it iced.

Alcohol can also contribute to rosacea symptoms, because it dilates your blood vessels, Dr. Torbeck says. If you don’t want to avoid it completely, try experimenting with different beverages. Those with lower alcohol content—think beer instead of whiskey—might have less of an effect, and white wine may be less bothersome than red, he notes.

Sunscreen

Being smart about sun protection can help control your symptoms, Dr. Torbeck says. Seek shade when you can, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and wear sunglasses, especially if your rosacea affects your eyes.

Wear sunscreen daily; choose a sunscreen formula with an SPF of at least 15 and labeled broad-spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Mineral formulas containing zinc or titanium oxide work well for many people with rosacea, Dr. Jacob says. Our pick: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($33; amazon.com).

RELATED: The 4 Types of Rosacea—and How to Treat Them

Eyelid care

In some people, rosacea affects the eyes as well, a condition called ocular rosacea. Rosacea of the eye home remedies include placing warm compresses over the eyes to soothe gritty, uncomfortable sensations.

Medical experts also recommend artificial tears and proper eyelid hygiene for rosacea, which includes gently scrubbing your lids with diluted baby shampoo. This can help clear blockages in the meibomian glands, which secrete a fatty substance that keeps your eyes from drying out.

Makeup

Makeup can’t change the progression of rosacea, but it can reduce its impact on your life. “For redness, green-tinted makeup can help as cosmetic camouflage,” says John Barbieri, MD, a research fellow in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Avoiding heavy formulas or those with strong fragrances might also prevent flare-ups, Dr. Torbeck says. The green tones in L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream Anti-Redness ($8; amazon.com) do wonders to counteract redness.

RELATED: The Best Anti-Aging Products for People With Rosacea (That Won’t Irritate Skin)

From 6 million to 32 million Americans, or 5% to 10% of adults, have rosacea, but just a small fraction of those affected are being treated. Most common in fair-skinned individuals, rosacea tends to cluster in northern latitudes, often runs in families, and usually starts during an individual’s 30s. Its sudden onset and similarity to acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and sun damage complicates diagnosis.1,2
Rosacea begins with a tendency to blush or flush easily. Redness can spread beyond the cheeks and nose to the back, chest, and ears, and the skin usually is very sensitive. The condition involves more than redness, however—it occurs in 4 subtypes (see Figure), though many patients have 2 or more types.3

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is distinguished by flushing, redness, and visible blood vessels. Central flushing and redness are prominent, and skin may appear swollen or burn and sting. Dryness, roughness, or scaling also may occur.3 Diffuse vascular erythema (flushing) is rosacea’s most common symptom.4
  • Papulopustular rosacea manifests as redness, swelling, and acnelike breakouts that may come and go, usually developing where the skin is most reddened. Burning, sensitive, or stinging skin with visibly broken blood vessels is the hallmark. Plaques or raised patches also may appear on the face.3
  • The rare phymatous subtype—sebaceous gland hypertrophy—usually develops after another rosacea subtype. Skin thickening occurs most often on the nose (sometimes called rum or whiskey nose, though alcohol is not a factor) but can also affect the cheeks, chin, ears, and forehead.3
  • Ocular rosacea causes red, irritated eyes with swollen lids that can resemble sty formation. Eyes may be bloodshot or watery and feel dry and gritty. Blurry vision and light sensitivity may occur.3

Chronic and progressive in a waxing-and-waning fashion, rosacea can create self-esteem issues and social anxiety.5 Patients worry that the condition will worsen or cause irreversible disfigurement.3 More than 74% of patients with rosacea report fielding intrusive comments or questions, and 87% believe that people judge them negatively by their appearance.6 Patients may avoid social situations and have difficulty establishing new relationships.2,6 In addition, 66% of patients with severe symptoms said that rosacea compromised their professional interactions.7
Symptom Triggers
Outside factors often exacerbate rosacea symptoms (Table 1). Flare-ups also may be associated with certain foods and cosmetics.8
About 82% of individuals with rosacea are untreated, even though treatment can make a tremendous difference.9,10 Nearly 70% of patients who have received treatment report improved social and work lives after effective therapy.6,7 Treatment goals include:1

  • Alleviating erythema, papules, pustules, and skin irritation
  • Delaying or preventing progression from mild to more severe stages
  • Avoiding exacerbations and facilitating remission
  • Improving quality of life
  • Maintaining optimum skin condition

Treatment of each subtype differs. Topical agents are first-line therapy in mild to moderate rosacea. The FDA has approved 6 topicals for rosacea (Table 2). Many patients respond just incompletely to topical agents. Others experience distressing flare-ups that require stepped-up treatment. If topical treatment is insufficient after 8 to 12 weeks, patients may need to add oral doxyclycline or minocycline (not for their anti-infective properties but for their anti-inflammatory properties) or low-dose ivermectin.3
About one-third of patients with rosacea use metronidazole. Pharmacists should note that most individuals with rosacea use nothing at all for the condition or are notoriously nonadherent, probably because they consider their treatments ineffective. Explaining how to use topicals reduces adverse effects and improves compliance and use. About 80% of patients will need to use more than 1 therapy concurrently or sequentially. Up to one-third of patients need 3 or more prescription medications.11,12
At the Pharmacy
Pharmacists should monitor concurrent medications carefully. Calcium channel blockers may enhance or induce symptoms, and some antihypertensives may reduce symptoms and are sometimes used off-label to treat rosacea. Anecdotal evidence indicates that beta-blockers, clonidine, naloxone, ondansetron, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may reduce flushing. A number of other drugs cause flushing and may exacerbate rosacea.4 Counsel patients to avoid benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, propylene glycol, and topical retinoids.13,14
Rosacea patients use a large assortment of nonprescription skin care products, including mild cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens. Sunscreen is a critical component of skin care because sun exposure triggers rosacea flare-ups. Patients with erythematotelangiectatic and papulopustular rosacea should look for mild OTC cleansers and moisturizers to self-treat burning, dryness, itching, stinging, and tightness.15 Recommend products that contain just cetyl alcohol, glycerol monostearate, mineral oil, petrolatum, preservative, stearic acid, thickeners, and water. Recommend non–soap-based surfactants and synthetic detergents with low to neutral pH. 13,16
Conclusion
Individuals who experience rosacea tend to use prescription products just to treat flare-ups and rely on OTC products for long-term control. Millions of patients would benefit from prescription drug treatment. Management strategies must be tailored to specific symptoms, and often, periods of trial and error are needed. Clinicians also must consider rosacea’s psychological and psychosocial impact and suggest stepping up treatment when flare-ups occur. Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP, is assistant director of the Office of Pharmacy Professional Development at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in Storrs.
References

Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment

How do dermatologists diagnose rosacea?

A treatment plan for rosacea generally includes avoiding triggers, using gentle skin care products, and treating the rosacea. If your dermatologist suspects you have rosacea, you won’t need medical tests. No medical test can tell whether you have rosacea.

To diagnose rosacea, your dermatologist will examine your skin and your eyes. Your dermatologist will also ask questions.

Before giving you a diagnosis, your dermatologist may want to make sure you don’t have another medical condition. Sometimes, another medical condition can look a lot like rosacea. Your dermatologist will want to rule out these conditions. Medical tests can help rule out conditions, such as lupus and an allergic skin reaction.

If you have rosacea, your dermatologist can talk with you about treatment options. While treatment cannot cure rosacea, it can help:

  • Reduce (or eliminate) signs of rosacea on your skin

  • Ease your discomfort

  • Prevent rosacea from worsening

How do dermatologists treat rosacea?

To give you the best results, treatment often begins with a bit of education. While medicine or laser treatment can help reduce or clear signs of rosacea, your everyday habits may cause a new flare-up.

Learning how to do the following can help reduce flare-ups:

  1. Find your triggers. Many things you do can cause rosacea to flare. Dermatologists call these tripwires “triggers.”
    Common triggers for rosacea include becoming overheated, having cold wind blowing on your face, and eating spicy foods. These may — or may not — cause your rosacea to flare. People have different triggers.
    It’s important to find out what causes your rosacea to flare and avoid those triggers.
    You can learn more about triggers and how to find them at: Triggers could be causing your rosacea flare-ups.

  2. Think sun protection 24/7. People who have rosacea often find that their skin is quite sensitive to the sun. To protect your skin from the sun, you’ll want to:

      Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 (or higher) every day before you head outdoors
  3. Avoid the midday sun
  4. Seek shade when outdoors
  5. Slip on a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors to protect your face and neck from the sun
  6. Wear sun-protective clothing and sunglasses

    Use sunscreen

    If sunscreen irritates your skin, try using one that contains only titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

  7. Practice rosacea friendly skin care. Many skin care products can irritate skin with rosacea. Some skin care habits, such as scrubbing your skin clean, can cause rosacea to flare. Using mild skin care products and being gentle with your skin can help prevent flare-ups.
    If you have trouble finding mild skin care products, ask your dermatologist for recommendations.

The rest of your treatment plan will be tailored to treating your rosacea. Here’s how dermatologists treat the different signs of rosacea:

  • Rosacea treatment for the redness

  • Rosacea treatment for your eyes

  • Rosacea treatment: Acne-like breakouts

  • Rosacea treatment: Thickening skin

Outcome for people who have rosacea

There is no cure for rosacea, but you can successfully control it. Making some lifestyle changes and treating rosacea can prevent flare-ups. It can also prevent the rosacea from worsening.

Many people find that by doing these things, living with rosacea becomes a lot easier. They also say they feel and look better.

Images
Getty Images

Pelle MT, Crawford GH, et al. “Rosacea: II. Therapy.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51(4):499-512.

Two AM, Wu W, et al. “Rosacea Part II. Topical and systemic therapies in the treatment of rosacea.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72:761-70.

Rosacea is a common, non-contagious inflammatory skin condition which is found on the face and appears as red, flushed skin. It kind of looks like you’re blushing… all the time. It is often mistaken for Eczema, Acne or a skin allergy. The severity of the condition differs from person to person. Rosacea is quite a complex condition which is why it can be broken down into 4 subtypes (with long scientific names):

Subtypes of Rosacea

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea – Persistent redness and visible blood vessels
  2. Papulopustular Rosacea – Same as above but with tiny acne-like bumps
  3. Phymatous Rosacea – Same as above but with thickened skin causing an enlargement of the nose
  4. Ocular Rosacea – Same as above with eye irritations such as dry eye, tearing and burning

So what causes Rosacea?

No set cause for Rosacea has been found. It is believed by many dermatologists and researchers that there are various triggers that may prompt Rosacea to develop or, in some cases, worsen. These triggers differ among Rosacea sufferers. We recommend to our customers to try and identify what is triggering their Rosacea as this will make it easier to determine how to best treat it. It is also worth noting that what may work for one person may not work for another. Resting or altering a treatment is also advised as some sufferers find their symptoms may build up a resistance to a particular treatment. According to dermatologists and researchers, the 5 key triggers of Rosacea are:

  1. Demodex Mites
  2. Blood vessel abnormalities
  3. Helicobacter Pylori
  4. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
  5. Leaky Gut Syndrome

1. Demodectic Rosacea


Demodex Mites

Demodex Mites are microscopic creatures that inhabit the pores of the skin. You can’t see them with the naked eye and they live harmlessly on most people. Yes, this made us cringe too! It has been found that Rosacea sufferers have a higher density of these mites on their skin than those without Rosacea, as seen in the study The Demodex Mite Population in Rosacea. It is believed this higher density of mites may lead to or worsen the condition. On the other hand, some people believe it isn’t the actual number of mites, but rather the bacteria released when they die that causes Rosacea. Yucky, yes we know but all the more reason to get rid of them, right?! The study Mite-related bacterial antigens stimulate inflammatory cells in Rosacea found this bacteria has “the potential to stimulate an inflammatory response in patients with papulopustular Rosacea.” Another interesting point to note is that Rosacea tends to flare up during heat and humidity, conditions in which these mites thrive.

Treatments

In order to help treat Demodectic Rosacea, one must manage the Mite population on the skin and also soothe the inflammation caused. There are a number of ways to do this:

Tea Tree Oil


Tea Tree Leaf

Some studies such as this one have found that tea tree oil may help kill off Demodex Mites. The problem though is that Tea Tree Oil is required to be at least 50% concentration. This can be irritating on the skin and may potentially burn the skin.

Anti-Demodex Medication

Medication is often prescribed to Rosacea sufferers which helps stop the mites from spreading and moving around the skin. The anti-parasitic medication Invermectin is one example that is commonly used to treat worms in dogs and other animal parasites. While it is often effective, there are some side effects such as possible neurotoxity which damages the nervous tissue. Additionally, this medication is not suitable to use during pregnancy, breast feeding or for children under 5 (as advised by your doctor).

Rosacea Night Powder

MooGoo has developed a powder for Rosacea caused by Demodex Mites. It will not necessarily help with other types of rosacea and as is often the case, what works for one doesn’t always work for another. For more information about our powder and how to use see here. Remember that Rosacea can be caused by Seborrheic Dermatitis (we have our Scalp Cream for this) or other causes.


Olive Leaf

Olive Leaf

Olive leaf extract is taken in capsule form and acts in the same way that antibiotics do. It is very strong which means dosages must not be tampered with. There isn’t a lot of research into this treatment unfortunately.

Fish Oil and Vitamin E

The Omega-3 fatty acids found in Fish Oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe the inflammation caused by Demodectic Rosacea. Vitamin E is effective in repairing damaged skin and helps reduce the redness caused by this condition.

Whilst both of these may help soothe the symptoms of Demodectic Rosacea, neither of them do anything about the mite population on the skin which causes the condition to flare up in the first place.

2. Blood Vessel Abnormalities

Abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face play a role in the development of Rosacea as it causes persistent redness and enlarged blood vessels. What causes the blood vessels to inflame and swell is unknown.

It has been shown in the past that a relationship exists between gut problems and skin conditions, such as Rosacea. The following 3 Rosacea triggers are all related to a gut condition.

3. Helicobacter Pylori


Artistic Impression of Helicobacter Pylori

Helicobacter Pylori (Hp) is a common bacterial infection that affects the lining of the stomach and causes inflammation and stomach ulcers. It affects over 30% of the world’s population, according to the Centre for Digestive Diseases. Hp may also lead to an increase of Nitrous Oxide (NO) in the blood and tissue which, along with the inflammatory symptoms, is believed to cause a range of other conditions, including Rosacea. The bacteria may also prompt a protein known as bradykinnin to develop which may trigger the expansion of blood vessels (a common characteristic of Rosacea). The study found, “Rosacea could be considered as one of the extragastric symptoms of Hp infection.”

The first step to treat Rosacea caused by Hp bacteria is to eliminate the bacteria itself and soothe the associated inflammation. This can be done using:

Oral Antibiotics

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for Hp infections. However, if antibiotics are taken too much, the bacteria may become resistant to their effects which force you to take higher or stronger dosages.

Natural Supplements

A number of natural supplements have been found to kill off Hp bacteria and soothe the inflammation. These include (but are not limited to):

1. Monolaurin

Monolaurin is derived from coconut oil and, interestingly, is also found in human breast milk. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe the symptoms of Hp. It is taken in capsule form and a number of studies have found it is effective in killing off the bacteria. Some examples include:

Bacterial effects of fatty acids and momoglycerides
Minimum Inhibitory concentrations of herbal essential oils and Monolaurin of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria


Monolaurin is derived from Coconut Oil

2. Mastic Gum

Mastic Gum is derived from the mastic tree and acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal supplement that has been found by some studies to kill off Hp bacteria such as:

The effect of mastic gum on Helicobacter Pylori: A randomized pilot study
Bacterial Activity of Pistacia lentiscus Mastic Gum against Helicobacter Pylori

3. L Glutamine

L Glutamine is an amino acid that’s found in high levels throughout the body. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and is essential for the proper fucntion of the immune system. It is often taken as a supplement to heal any damage and inflammation caused by Hp. This article goes into this a bit deeper and one study that examines the efectiveness of the amino acid in soothing inflammation is Why is L-Glutamine important to cells of the immune system in health, post injury, surgery and infection?

4. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth


Small Intestinal What???

Some cases of Rosacea are caused by Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO develops when there is a growth of excess bacteria in the small intestine (in a healthy digestive system there is only a small amount of bacteria present). This causes inflammation and damage to the intestinal wall which prompts other conditions such as Rosacea to develop. The study Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication found that, “Rosacea patients have a significantly higher SIBO prevalence than controls.”

Initial emphasis should be on removing the unwanted bacteria and to soothe the inflammation caused. This can be done using:

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat SIBO and may be quite effective for some people. There are quite a few internet forums that look at the use of antibiotics such as this one. However, prolonged use of antibiotics may disrupt gut flora which is increasingly being linked to other health risks.

Low Carbohydrate Diet

When carbohydrates are eaten, they break down during digestion and ‘feed’ the bacteria. Of course we do not want that to happen! We recommend that if you have SIBO, avoid grains and rather stick to veggies, fruits, legumes and protein instead.

Herbal Remedies


Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint Oil is a popular supplement among SIBO sufferers. It is taken in capsule form which opens up once it reaches the small intestine and kills off the unwanted bacteria. A number of studies look at the effectiveness of this supplement such as:

The treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with enteric-coated peppermint oil: a case report (Peppermint Oil)

Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial

Grapefruit extract, oregano oil capsules, garlic and olive leaf extract are some other herbal remedies however there isn’t too much research into these.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are often taken to help support the body’s digestive system until the unwanted bacteria is removed.

Probiotics

Probiotics are often taken by SIBO sufferers which help reduce the inflammation caused, inhibit unwanted bacteria and help the body’s digestive functions work more efficiently.

5. Leaky Gut Syndrome


Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a common condition that occurs when the digestive tract walls become too penetrable, thus allowing toxins, allergens and food molecules to pass out of the gut into the rest of the body. The immune system identifies these as ‘invaders’ and responds to them as it normally would to say the Flu virus. As the leakages occur each meal, this leads to an overactive immune response which leads to inflammation and further conditions, such as Rosacea.

Initial emphasis should be placed on healing the damaged digestive tract and soothing the inflammation caused. We recommend identifying any possible food allergies and make the required nutritional changes.

Probiotics are often taken to help repair the intestinal tract and reduce the associated inflammation.

Natural Supplements

Some supplements have been found to help heal the damaged tract and reduce the inflammation caused. These include:

1. Glutamine

Glutamine, an amino acid, helps restore the gut barrier and digestive functions that are impacted by this gut condition. This article looks into this a bit more and the study Glutamine: a role in gut protection in critical illness looks at the effectiveness of Glutamine in treating LGS.

2. Quercetin

Quercetin is derived from fruits and veggies

Quercetin is a flavanoid that can be found in fruits, veggies, leaves and grains. It acts as an effective antioxidant and helps to soothe the inflammation caused by LGS by improving the tissue health of the intestinal wall. Some more information on this supplement can be found at:

GI-Revive, Designs for Health
Leaky Gut Syndrome: Breaking the Viscious Cycle

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