Rosacea, otherwise known as acne rosacea, is a condition that can affect men and women of all ages although most commonly affects women between the ages of 30-50 years of age. While there are a number of various subtypes of rosacea, the most common characteristics of this condition include facial redness, swelling, dilation of blood vessels and acne-like pustular blemishes. Needless to say, it’s not a pleasant condition to have and can be tricky to get rid of. While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, there are a number of correlations between rosacea and gut dysfunction or microbial overgrowth.
After seeing my mom suffer from rosacea for a number of years, I made a point to learn everything I could on how to treat the condition either as a compliment to existing treatment plans or by using naturopathic medicine on its own. I’ve seen tremendous success using both approaches and so I’m sharing the most common complimentary approaches I have used with rosacea.
As we age, we lose the ability to produce enough stomach acid. Low levels of stomach acid (also known as hypochlorohydria) are correlated with rosacea in the literature. Hypochlorohydria is also associated with a number of gut issues, such as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut syndrome. Coming full-circle, these conditions also happen to be linked with skin concerns such as rosacea. Most rosacea sufferers that I have worked with also have a history of gut concerns such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and/or heartburn. Any rosacea treatment plan will usually include gut healing and digestive support that is customized to each patient. This may or may not include specific digestive enzymes, natural anti-inflammatories, antimicrobial support or certain stains of probiotics.
Food sensitivities and triggers
Identifying any food sensitivities is also helpful in giving your gut a break and letting it heal. Foods higher in histamine have been known to worsen rosacea and should be avoided for a period of time. Such foods are usually fermented or cured, such as wine, beer, pickles, sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, chocolate, mature cheeses and cured meats. Depending on the person and the severity of the condition, an elimination diet can be helpful with treating rosacea. Some lifestyle changes such as limiting sun exposure or avoiding extreme temperature changes can also be helpful.
Just as with acne, rosacea has been associated with microbial overgrowth on the skin as well as in the gut. Topically, there are a couple key antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory ingredients that have provided tremendous benefit to rosacea sufferers. There are also in-house treatments that are beneficial for both healing the rosacea and correcting any scarring after the condition has healed. One such treatment is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, which have shown promise in skin rejuvenation and can significantly reduce tissue inflammation as well as provide local immune support and wound healing for infected skin.
Regardless of what subtype of rosacea you may have, there is a solution to get rid of it.