Rosy cheeks may epitomize health and wellness, but for the roughly 14 million Americans who suffer from rosacea, they signal another skirmish in an ongoing skincare battle. According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS), the symptoms include red areas and small bumps or pimples on the face, visible blood vessels on the nose or cheeks, and watery or irritated eyes. Rosacea most frequently affects fair-skinned women over age 30, but men can suffer from it, too. Although scientists believe heredity predisposes some to rosacea, no one really knows what causes it. Traditionally, doctors prescribe oral or topical antibiotics for rosacea, but a growing amount of scientific evidence supports more natural remedies. Try some of these holistic tips to help get the red out.
Avoidance. In a survey of more than 1,000 rosacea sufferers, the NRS found that sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, and strenuous exercise are the most common triggers for rosacea. While you can’t do much about the weather, you can reduce your sun exposure with sunscreen.
Skincare. “The biggest thing with rosacea is keeping your skin cool and calm,” says Ashley Scroggins, an aesthetician with Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy in Boulder, Colorado. Wash your face with steamy hot water or scrub your skin, and your rosacea will quickly become hot and bothered. Scroggins says rosacea sufferers should also avoid skincare products that contain alcohol, which can irritate the face. In addition, she notes, “Some clients respond well to products with rose in them, because it’s calming and soothing.” Scroggins’ favorite skincare products for rosacea include Sanitas’ Rosacea Serum, Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner, Jurlique’s Ritual Kit for sensitive skin, and Zia’s Brilliance line.
Diet. The National Rosacea Society lists so many food triggers, it’s a wonder rosacea sufferers can eat at all. The most common? Alcohol and spicy foods, so play it cool by staying on the wagon and off the chilies. A growing number of doctors recommend anti-inflammation diets to combat rosacea, including Nicholas Perricone, MD, FACN, adjunct professor of dermatology at Michigan States University’s College of Human Medicine, and Andrew Weil, MD, director of the University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine. “Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, cold-water fish, and stay away from starches and sugars,” Perricone advises. Both doctors also have skincare lines designed to reduce inflammation: Weil’s Plantidote line for Origins and Perricone’s N.V. Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals (a few of which contain parabens but are currently being reformulated to remove them).
Supplements. Perricone recommends taking a minimum of 100 mg a day of alpha-lipoic acid and 60 mg a day of coenzyme Q10 orally to reduce rosacea-related inflammation. Also, a recent study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that rosacea sufferers taking 100 mg of zinc sulfate capsules three times a day can significantly decrease rosacea symptoms.
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