Tips to Manage and Improve Rosacea
As we have discussed in earlier posts, rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the face. Any kind of heat will make the symptoms worse, so when trying to manage your rosacea, it will be vital to avoid all external and internal sources of heat. The following is a list of things to avoid that make the symptoms of rosacea worse, followed by a list of things you should do (or do more often) to help improve symptoms and slow the progression of your rosacea. If you have some tips that have been helpful for you and you don’t see them in this post, please share with us by leaving a comment below.
Things To Reduce or Avoid
- Reduce all triggers of flushing and blushing. Things that commonly cause flushing or blushing include: emotional factors such as anger or embarrassment, stress, heat (sources detailed below), and physical over-exertion. Biofeedback can very helpful to manage your emotional reactions and reduce your body’s negative responses to stress.
- Reduce exposure to things that heat your face or raise your body temperature. As best you can, avoid sunlight, over-exertion, hot climates, exercising in hot temperatures (this includes those hot yoga classes that you might really enjoy), hot showers/baths, steam baths, hot tubs, and drinks and foods that are hot in temperature (tea, coffee, soup). Though I often recommend facial steams as part of a good beauty routine, people who have rosacea should not stick their faces over a pot of steaming water; the benefits do not outweigh the risks of vasodilation.
- Reduce intake of substances that cause accumulation of internal Heat. Avoid spicy foods, dairy, fried foods, alcohol, and smoking. These things can also cause direct flushing of the face, so there is more than one reason to avoid them.
- Stop Smoking and avoid alcohol. I know I just listed these two things, but it is worth repeating.
- Avoid chemical irritants. Avoid harsh cleansers, cheap cosmetics and lotions or moisturizers with too many chemical ingredients. Make your own gentle facial scrub from simple, natural ingredients.
- Avoid physical irritants. Reduce the friction on the delicate skin of your face. Be gentle when cleansing: don’t scrub too often or too roughly and don’t use pre-made scrubs that are too abrasive. Dry your face by gently patting it with a soft towel; don’t rub it dry or use a rough paper towel.
- Keep skin clean to avoid secondary bacterial infection, esp. of the nose.
- Reduce direct face contact with pets. Though Demodex mites in humans are thought to possibly have a correlation to the development of rosacea, they have not been proven to be an actual cause. Additionally, it is rare for the species of Demodex mite found on dogs to be transmitted to humans. Nevertheless, don’t rub your face on your pets or let them sleep in your bed. They have lots of bacteria (and who know what else!) on their fur, so you should keep your sensitive facial skin away from them.
- Reduce your consumption of foods that cause inflammation, such as polyunsaturated vegetable oils (like safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut and soy oils), wheat/gluten, sugars, and simple carbohydrates. Do your best to eat more foods that have anti-inflammatory affects.
Things To Do To Improve Rosacea
- Wear sunscreen to avoid getting sunburn.
- Use an apple cider vinegar toner. Apple cider vinegar is your face’s friend – it helps restore the acidity to the acid mantle. This acid mantle is the thin, slightly acidic film on the surface of your skin that helps reduce the over-proliferation of bacteria. This will reduce the pustules and papules (blemishes) that can develop as rosacea progresses. Make your own toner or purchase our herbal toner formulated specifically for skin suffering from rosacea. Apply the toner to a dry face after cleansing.
- Apply cool compresses or cooling clay masks. Cool compresses (especially with herbs) can reduce the sensation of heat and may help minimize erythema. Use our facial teas formulated specifically for rosacea or make your own chamomile tea and let it cool in the refrigerator for an hour. Dip a cloth in the cool tea and apply to your face. Do this daily or after exercise/exertion to reduce the heat in your face. A weekly mask of cosmetic clay can help sooth skin and draw out toxins (very useful when there are pustules and papules). Because I actually have rosacea, I formulated wonderful clay & herb facial masks with Chinese herbs that I find more soothing and effective than clay alone. To learn more about how to use them read this beauty routine post.
- Take a Vitamin A supplement: Up to 10,000 IU daily is safe to take on your own until skin improves. Consult with your dermatologist or regular doctor if you want to take more than that (some sources suggest 50,000 IU of Vit A is useful for rosacea if taken for a short period). Then reduce to 5,000 IU daily. Caution: if you are pregnant, you should consult your healthcare provider before you take any Vitamin A supplementation.
- Take a Vitamin D3 supplement. While some people are actually deficient in Vitamin D (blood tests can reveal this), I believe people with inflammatory conditions should take in more Vit D3 even if they aren’t deficient and this may be especially true for those with rosacea who avoid sun. Vitamin D is essential for many reasons, including reducing inflammation and minimizing unhealthy levels of harmful bacteria in the body. Daily recommended dosages are currently being debated. The current RDA for adults under age 70 is 600 IU (daily) but some health providers recommend taking as much as 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU daily.
- Take probiotics. Supplementation with “friendly” bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, or Bifidobacterium bifidus, can be helpful for inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea because they can aid with digestion to reduce the build-up of pathogenic Heat and they may help reduce the amount of pathogenic bacteria in the body that aggravate inflammation.
- Take a supplement for essential fatty acids (EFAs): fish oil concentrate (3 to 10g daily) or flaxseed oil (1 to 3 tblsp daily) plus Vitamin E (400 IU to 800 IU daily). Essential fatty acids help reduce inflammation which helps skin stay healthy and reduces inflammation.
- Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, tuna, sardines, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, winter squash, papaya. (Click the following links for more foods that reduce inflammation in the body and more tips to reduce inflammation).
Were these tips helpful? If so, please repost this and share with your friends. Got more tips to share with us? We’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.
Publish Date: August 4, 2011 *Articles may include updates since original publishing.