Rosacea is one of those pesky, mysterious conditions that can often be rooted in the mind-body connection. A frustration a lot of people with rosacea have is that nothing seems to consistently help them manage their breakouts. A new face wash or magic serum may work for a month or two, but those red blotches just keep coming back.
So what’s the trick? A less is more approach to skincare, and a holistic approach to self-care and eating that nips those triggers in the bud. Read on for some natural rosacea treatment facts you may not know!
Stress, emotions running high, and even embarrassment can all trigger a flare-up of rosacea. First and foremost, it is vital to have some really effective stress management techniques in place for when you start to feel those feeling bubbling up. A regular yoga and/or meditation practice has been shown to be a significant aid to people with rosacea (just avoid Bikram or hot yoga, which can exacerbate symptoms!). But when you’re starting to feel stressed or emotional, even just stopping in your tracks to take a 5-7 long, deep breaths with your eyes closed will work wonders!
Rosacea can actually have a lot of food triggers, and is linked to the digestive tract. Sugar, wheat, dairy, spicy foods, corn, red meat, and eggs, and nightshades are the most common triggers, so the best move is to do an elimination diet for at least two weeks and then gradually add the potential problem foods back in, one food per week, keeping an eye on your symptoms. The only exceptions? Sugar and spicy foods. Keep these skincare bad guys out of your diet to keep your face as glowing and clear as possible! Opt for an anti-inflammatory, skin-boosting diet of lots of veggies (particularly dark leafy greens), whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and omega-3 rich fish. Include lots of cooling foods like cucumber, liquid aloe, celery, oats, and green tea.
Alcohol is another major rosacea trigger. I hate to tell you, but you’re going to have to cut down on the wine and booze! Although wine has the strongest effect in triggering a flare-up, all forms of alcohol are bad guys here. A study by the National Rosacea Society found that 9 out of 10 patients reported a significant improvement in breakouts after avoiding alcohol altogether. If you must imbibe, opt for brown liquors, which are less inflammatory to the skin. Of the helpful beverages, green tea takes the cake. It has an amazing, anti-inflammatory effect on skin… Opt for one cup a day instead of coffee, but skip the sugar (stevia or raw honey are great!), and make sure it isn’t too hot, as heat is another trigger!
Supplements can help
There are actually a lot of dietary supplements that have been shows to drastically improve rosacea flare-ups long-term. Omega-3’s antioxidants are key for fighting inflammation, and you can boost your dietary intake by taking a 1-2 punch of flaxseed oil and grapeseed extract. Take it in capsule form, or use liquid flaxseed oil on your salads, in your smoothies, or drizzled on pretty much whatever (at least 2 tsp per day), and take about 50mg of grapeseed extract daily. Probiotics have also been shown to greatly improve rosacea by restoring healthy intestinal flora and balancing the digestive tract. Take a dairy-free probiotic everyday and include probiotic foods like kombucha, coconut kefir, and miso as well. Turmeric is another amazing anti-inflammatory supplement. You can mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a glass of water (which is a little strong for my taste), or opt for turmeric in capsule form. A vitamin B deficiency can also cause rosacea flare-ups. A high-quality liquid or sublingual B supplement can help stop flare-ups before they start! Lastly, cooling liquid aloe is a wonderful addition to a rosacea regimen, working to cool down inflammation and the internal source of flare-ups. Add it to smoothies, mix with fresh juice (like cucumber!) and enjoy daily.
Minimize your skincare regimen
Though there are are quite a few skincare products on the market geared toward rosacea, all but very few can actually make symptoms worse long term. Rosacea skin is super sensitive to additives, chemicals, and synthetic ingredients, which means a less-is-more approach to skincare tends to work best. And guess what? You may already have your miraculous rosacea skincare treatments in your pantry! Instead of washing your face with drying soaps and harsh cleansers, the best solution (for rosacea as well as almost any skin problem, like acne!) is oil. Yes, oil! Cleansing your face with pure, natural, organic oils actually balances your skin’s own oil production, unclogs pores, soothes and moisturizes the skin, and combats inflammation and redness! It’s best to use a combination of sunflower and castor oil in a 2:1 ratio. Add some rose essential oil for even more anti-inflammatory benefit. You can mix up a large batch to keep in a bottle. Wash your face with the oil every night by first massaging it into your skin for a minute or two, and then covering your face with a warm washcloth (not hot) for a minute to open up your pores and let the oil do it’s business. Keep soaking your washcloth in warm water, ringing it out, and gently wiping the oil from your face until it’s mostly washed off. Pat your face dry, and you’re done!
If you’d like, you can follow this with a toner of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar on a cotton pad. Apple cider vinegar has an amazing effect on skin ailments like rosacea, perioral dermatitis, and breakouts! (Read about The Magic of Apple Cider Vinegar). Another great natural toner for rosacea is pure rosewater, which has a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on skin.
In the morning, you can actually just rinse your face with warm water, and you’re all set! If you need a little more moisture, just dab on a tiny bit of your oil mixture. No need for expensive, speciality moisturizers that still run the risk of irritating your sensitive skin! Hemp seed oil can also be used as a great anti-inflammatory moisturizer.
Go natural with makeup
As much as possible, opt for natural, talc-free mineral makeup, rather than heavy foundations or chemical laden products. A green-tinted base with mineral sun protection will minimize redness without triggering a flare-up. Use gentle, soft brushes, and go easy on the blush and bronzer, since your face already has some natural red color. To offset the redness of your skin, use cool-toned lip and eye colors. As with all your skincare, less is more! Focus on sun protection, and natural, minimal ingredients.
Keeping cool, both mentally and physically, is a major element in managing rosacea. We talked about stress up above, but other heating emotions like anger and frustration can cause flare-ups as well. Obviously, it’s impossible for most of us to live a life devoid of these emotions, but we can do a lot to keep them in check. Calming and cooling habits like meditation, hatha yoga, swimming, pranayama (breath work), and time in nature (during the cooler parts of the day) all work to holistically keep our bodies cool from the inside out.
Likewise, it’s important to stay physically cool. Avoid being in the sun during the hot times of the day, dress appropriately for the weather, use the AC or a fan when it’s hot in your home, and avoid heating activities like saunas, excessively strenuous physical activity, hot yoga, etc. If you feel like you’re overheating, sip some cool water, put a cool washcloth on your face, and take some deep, cooling breaths.
Need help developing a routine to combat rosacea?
Schedule an Ayurvedic consultation with me to get a personalized diet, lifestyle, supplementation, and skincare regimen to heal your skin for good!