Rosacea is a frustrating skin condition that can often be confused with acne. It is important to discover the symptoms, triggers that cause rosacea flare-ups (as there is no known cause of Rosacea), ways to differentiate rosacea from acne and the available holistic treatments that yield deep healing.
As the body is known to have more than 1 mysterious condition that manifests on the skin, rosacea is certainly one of them. Rosacea has a noticeable rate of hereditary predisposition, can be triggered both internal and external environmental factors and is usually found in individuals with lighter hair, blond eyes and a Scandinavian/Northern European heritage, although it can be found in other heritages as well.
4 Sub-Types of Rosacea
Redness/ruddiness of skin, flushing/blushing easily, blood vessels and broken capillaries/telantectangia starts to appear. This subtype is what gives insight to the individual being able to distinguish between rosacea and acne. When inquiring to clients about rosacea, I question if they get red and flush easily from a glass of wine or acute stressful situations, say driving for example. This skin is usually sensitive to touch, sunlight and blushing can cause major heat to rise throughout the face and chest area. (also known as vascular rosacea)
Bumps, papules, pustules and consistent redness all prone to blushing cheek area (but can still appear anywhere on the face).
Skin thickening, usually starting around nose
Eye irritation, such as cysts or grittiness feeling of the eyes.
Other ways to differentiate from acne (although rosacea and acne can co-exist) is that rosacea usually shows up after the age of 30, there are not many, if any, blackheads present and skin may swell in blushing situations, having a hard time returning back to normal. This results from fluid build up in the area due to the stress put on the lymphatic system of the face via damaged capillaries.
The capillaries and blood vessel system of the face are closely intertwined with the lymphatic system. Capillaries enable exchange of water and chemicals between blood and tissue. When these blood vessels become stressed, (blushing, stress, triggers) they tear. The lymphatic system then becomes overwhelmed and cannot properly detox the over abundance of proteins, water and metabolic waste carried by the blood that has seeped in from the broken capillaries.
Individuals dealing with rosacea will notice when skin does return back to normal from any fluid retention, they may be left with more noticeable telectangasia, (broken capillaries that form in clusters) which are the red, thread like spots left on the skin, resulting from loss of elasticity in the walls of the capillaries. When the capillary walls tear, they no longer retract and are left permanently dilated, the blood that seeps out is what leaves the red spots known as broken capillaries (couperose) visible on the skin.
Demodex mites, found normally in skin and hair can appear in larger amounts throughout Rosacea skin. This causes a high inflammatory response in the skin and the bacteria can multiply from known Rosacea triggers such as heat, stress, sun, steam and humidity. Read more on demodex and Rosacea studies here.
Rosacea breakouts can be described as cystic, “bumpy” and under the skin. Often very frustrating, these types of breakouts are advised never to be extracted, as this creates more inflammation and often the surrounding skin is already very inflamed as well. The breakouts associated with rosacea can be painful and the best way to treat them is through anti-inflammatory and soothing practices vs. steam, exfoliation and extractions that are often performed in conventional acne treatments. Pustules can still occur even though rosacea skin tends to be dry and tight and extreme caution must be yielded around any sort of drainage extraction techniques. Conventional Rosacea treatments that include steroids and other topical treatments often times only perpetuate the chronic cycle of inflammation further. This eventually leads to immunity of conventional treatments and in no way addresses the root of why manifestations of Rosacea are appearing.
Over Cleansing/ Stripping Cleansers/Gel and Foaming Cleansers
Scrubbing Skin/Aggressive Exfoliators
AHA’s such as Glycolic acid
BHA’s such as Salicylic acid
Retin A, Retinol, Retiniods in general
Products containing witch-hazel, alcohol, menthol, peppermint, rosemary, etc
Inflammatory Diets (gluten, sugar, coffee, alcohol, red meats)
“Rosacea treatments are most effective with a holistic approach to mind, body and spirit. Both stress and diet are massive factors in either causing or eliminating flare-ups. By understanding what triggers your own flare-ups, you can deeply address the root of the flare-ups instead of suppressing them through conventional treatments, which often causes flare-ups to resurface with a vengeance when they do return. ”
Soothing and Nourishing Skincare Practices. Gentle Cleansers, Rose based formulations, cooling, soothing and calming products are highly recommended. Josh Rosebrook’s holistic line is composed of gentle and healing formulations that are effective for Rosacea, as well as Marie Veroniques collection of essential oil free products created for adult acne and skin inflammations.
Products that include stripping, drying ingredients, astringents, hydroxy acids, scrubs etc. are exceptionally harsh for rosacea treatment and should be avoided at all costs. These ingredients only perpetuate the inflammatory cycle of Rosacea further and should be eliminated immediately. Cleansers that leave the skin tight and dry afterwards are most definitely disrupting and preventing healing on many levels of complexion health and should also be eliminated immediately. Read Nourishing Skin Microbiome Through Cleansing to learn more about the delicate balance of the skin microbiome and skin conditions from the chronic use of aggressive products.
Recommended Marie Veronique Product Routine
Cleanse. Marie Veronique Pure EO Free Cleanser
Tone. Marie Veronique Balancing Hypotonic
Serum. Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum
Oil/Moisturize. Protective Oil (can be used for both day and night)
SPF. Everyday Tinted SPF
Rose, Chamomile and Calendula Compresses. 3 soothing herbs to help calm and cool inflammed skin. Steep tea bags and once tea has cooled, create a compress with muslin cloth or organic cotton and apply to skin. If you decide to make the switch from coffee to tea, you’ll have plenty of compress ingredients at your disposal.
Gua Sha and Jade Roller Crystals. Jade rollers cool the skin and assist in lymphatic drainage. Gua Sha stones cool to the touch may be lightly placed over areas of inflammation for cooling properties and lymphatic support.
All forms of touch and massage through tools or hands for Rosacea should always be techniques yielded for lymphatic drainage only. Deep massage, rubbing, gliding and other traditional massage methods should be avoided.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Diets rich in cooling foods, nutrient dense foods, green leafy vegetables, almonds, healthy proteins such as quinoa, white meat, salmon, omega rich foods, etc. If you are ready to get serious in the treatment of Rosacea, avoiding dairy, sugar, gluten, coffee, alcohol, processed foods/chemicals, red meat and fried foods is vital.
Food Journal and opt for an elimination diet. Cut out all potential triggers listed above and evaluate skin after 3 weeks. As you slowly add back each individual trigger separately, record how you feel and noticeable triggers so you can discover what causes flare-up and eliminate the cause.
Gut Health. Small intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) is common in people with rosacea. A quality probiotic will work to restore gut flora and nourish the gut. Be sure to shop for a high quality and potent product.
Avoid Coffee and opt for caffeine through tea. Caffeine in coffee is more stimulating than tea, which can create irregular blood sugar levels and leave us with sugar cravings, blood sugar spikes and potential skin inflammations. The caffeine in tea still exists but tea contains other beneficial constituents that help ease caffeine absorption into your system, avoiding the highs and lows found with drinking coffee. Green Tea is an abundant source of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoid Alcohol. A massive trigger in almost 100% of Rosacea clients. Alcohol is one of the top ways to differentiate Rosacea from acne. If complexion and/or chest becomes flushed, blushed, red or inflamed, even after just a small amount of alcohol, there is usually a type of Rosacea present.
Zen Inducing Workouts. Try workouts like Yoga, Pilates, balanced cardio sessions and more yin style exercise. This relieves stress and gets in your daily dose of movement without flushing or over-heating the skin.
Meditation and breathing exercises help to manage daily stress, induce healthy circulation throughout the body and support skin through the governing lung meridian, as the lungs govern the skin in Chinese Medicine Modalities. *Incorporate mediation into every lifestyle for the endless, life improving benefits of mind, body and spirit.