After performing more than 25,000 treatments over the last decade you tend to begin to notice certain trends before they ever make it on the fashion pages or in the news. One minute everyone might be sheet-masking. The next minute everyone is drinking Bulletproof Coffee and Spinning at Soul Cycle. While the 30-day elimination diet might currently be what’s in vogue, there is also a skincare trend that’s growing by the second. I seem to be seeing more and more of it in my clientele—it’s a chronic condition commonly known as rosacea and an untold several million Americans fail to know they have it.
In the past I might have only seen one rosacea symptom in ten years. Now I’m starting to see rosacea symptoms in all types of people at least once every few days whether they are in my treatment chair or at an event. I’m not the only one taking notice. According to the National Rosacea Society, rosacea affects more than 16 million Americans.
WHAT CAUSES ROSACEA?
There is a dispute among the skincare community as to whether rosacea is an internal issue or an external one. Some blame heredity, environment, a compromised immune system or parasites that live in the follicles of our skin called Demodex mites. While the effects can be treated externally, relief is often temporary.
Here are the most common triggers that I see with my clients:
*STRESS lowers immune system
* SAD (STANDARD AMERICAN DIET) fast food, vegetable oils, fried foods, refined flour, synthetic sweeteners, saturated fats, conventional and processed meats, trans fat all increase inflammation
* STRENUOUS WORKOUTS increases heat in the body/face
* NERVES lower the immune system
* INFLAMMATION is the root of all disease; lowers the immune system
* EATING SPICY FOODS increases heat in the body
* ALCOHOL damages liver cells and promotes inflammation
* SUN EXPOSURE causes heat, redness and blood vessel dilation
* SEVERE COLD WEATHER compromises skin barrier
* SUGAR suppresses white blood cells
* DAIRY common allergen; can lower good bacteria in the gut
* HYALURONIC ACID SKINCARE PRODUCTS can sometimes weaken the skin barrier
A NOTE ON HYALURONIC ACID
In rosacea patients I have personally witnessed mild to violent reactions to all forms of topical Hyaluronic Acid. Dr. Loren Pickart explains that this is because Hyaluronic Acid “can loosen and wet the skin, in turn damaging the skin barrier, permitting easier access for bacteria, viruses and allergens.” I have also researched and found that deficiencies in magnesium (which many of us have) prohibits the body from being able to metabolize Hyaluronic Acid .
RECOGNIZING & TREATING ROSACEA
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disorder where essentially the face begins to constantly flush around the nose and cheeks and then eventually progress into areas around the mouth and forehead creating pustules and pimples (the angry red ones that never come to a head and really hurt). In severe cases, or left untreated, skin can begin to thicken and grow around the nose causing a condition called Rhinophyma (bulbous nose) or even spread to the eyes causing complications with vision. Some other symptoms of rosacea are general facial redness, red patches, burning and stinging when applying skincare products and dilated blood vessels.
Rosacea requires a medical diagnosis, yet because rosacea has such a wide range of symptoms, it seems to go misdiagnosed as adult acne or dermatitis (eczema). The doctor will generally put a patient on aggressive rounds of Retin-A, IPL or V beam lasers, Steroid creams, glycolic acid peels, oral antibiotics or in severe instances Acutane.
THE CURE FOR ROSACEA
At this time there still is no “cure” for rosacea. In my professional opinion that’s because most of the medical community is treating rosacea from the outside instead of the inside of the body. I have personally witnessed hundreds of rosacea sufferers eliminate symptoms within less than a week by simply changing their diets and nurturing the barrier of their skin. It also helps that they have my assistance and they follow their skincare homework.
Aside from eliminating triggers from the Rosacea triggers list above, there are several other options to help combat the case of the mean reds:
Make sure to use a gentle touch. Over stimulating the skin can increase overall redness. Stay away from harsh towels, face cleansing brushes and face scrubs.
Oatmeal has beta glucans, which strengthens the immune system of the cell. It’s also super anti-aging and calming. Just grind up steel cut oatmeal in the blender and then cook it up like you would regular oatmeal. Add equal parts honey to the oatmeal once the oatmeal has cooled. 2-3 tablespoons of the oatmeal mixture should cover an entire face and neck. Keep the mixture thin so it’s easy to apply and stays on the skin. Rinse with a paper towel covering the drain to prevent clogs. 20 minutes at least 3 times a week is optimum, but some clients love to do it daily because it’s so effective!
Probiotic skincare is beginning to gather popularity. There are several companies out there like Mother Dirt who are paving the way to strengthening our “Microbiome.” Nurturing good bacteria on top of the skin keeps bad bacteria at bay.
Eating fermented foods feeds the good bacteria in our guts. Strong gut bacteria means a strong immune system, which means glowing skin! Try kimchi, for example.
DEMODEX FACE WASH
With Demodex mites being a suspected root of Rosacea, using a demodex cleanser is helpful.
EAT ORGANIC FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants help to strengthen our cells and immune system.
EAT THE RIGHT SPICES (GINGER, BASIL, TURMERIC)
Increases health for immune system and nervous system.
USE GENTLE SKINCARE PRODUCTS
Stay away from products with fragrance, alcohol and too many ingredients. Keep it simple.
SULFUR SOAPS AND CREAMS
10% sulfur is an old yet underrated option to help calm cystic Rosacea. Sulfur helps to kill bacteria on several skin types and does so without drying out the skin. It is important to make sure to do a test patch on skin first to make sure you don’t have an allergy to sulfur or consult a physician prior to use.
Strengthens the immune system and keeps inflammation low.
Low magnesium increases anxiety, increases acne.
A couple of drops of Rosemary extract into your cream can help lower inflammation and reduce cystic acne because Rosemary is a natural antibacterial and super antioxidant (much better than tea tree or neem).
EAT YOUR OMEGAS
Essential fats are the key to stronger skin and organs in the body.
GET YOUR D CHECKED
Adequate vitamin D levels are key to a strong immune system.
KEEP UP FLUIDS
This should be self explanatory, but always needs mentioning.
Last but not least, if you suspect you might be suffering from rosacea, see a dermatologist rather than attempting to treat on your own.
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