Rosacea Treatment Using Diet and Skin Care

Frequent flushing, redness, red bumps, and dilated blood vessels around the nose and cheeks are hallmarks of rosacea, a chronic skin condition that affects over 16 million Americans. Rosacea may also result in a red, bulbous nose (known as rhinophyma) or a burning or gritty sensation in your eyes (known as ocular rosacea).

An aloe vera plant in the sunlight
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Treatment for rosacea typically involves the use of medication and/or avoiding triggers that worsen rosacea symptoms such as sun exposure, stress, alcohol, and spicy food. In some cases, laser therapy may be suggested to reduce flushing and the appearance of blood vessels. If rosacea is left untreated, the condition may worsen, which may lead to more frequent or persistent flare-ups.

In addition to treatment, some people try remedies and creams to reduce symptoms. Here's a look at the most frequently used remedies for rosacea.

Skin Cream

A number of skincare ingredients are sometimes used for reducing the redness and pustules associated with rosacea, based on their purported anti-inflammatory properties. The most common skincare ingredients include:

  • Green Tea
  • Licorice
  • Feverfew
  • Oatmeal
  • Aloe Vera
  • Chamomile
  • Honey
  • Niacinimide
  • Essential oils such as tea tree oil

Diet

Anti-inflammatory Foods

In addition to topical skin creams, there's also evidence that following an anti-inflammatory diet may help manage symptoms. Research suggests that inflammation plays a key role in the development of rosacea.

While there's currently a lack of scientific support for the anti-inflammatory diet's effectiveness as a rosacea treatment, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may help enhance your overall health and possibly protect against diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.

Zinc

A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology examined the role of zinc sulfate in people with rosacea. After taking zinc sulfate three times a day for three months, participants had a significant decrease in disease activity compared to those who took a placebo. However, a later study published in the same journal didn't find greater improvement in rosacea severity with oral zinc therapy compared to a placebo.

An essential micronutrient for human health, zinc is found naturally in food such as oysters, beef, breakfast cereal, cashews.

Avoiding Trigger Foods

Foods that may worsen symptoms include hot drinks and beverages, spicy foods, and alcohol.

Since certain foods are thought to trigger the release of chemicals that dilate blood vessels and cause flushing, some people avoid these foods in an attempt to reduce symptoms.

One method of identifying food intolerances is through an elimination and challenge diet, which involves temporarily avoiding certain foods from the diet (such as milk or gluten-containing foods) for one to two weeks then systematically introducing them into the diet to isolate the foods that cause symptoms. Supervision by a health practitioner is recommended.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Rosacea may be linked to certain digestive disorders, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. Researchers conducted a nationwide study and found that the prevalence of celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, H. pylori infection, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was higher among people with rosacea compared to the general population.

Stress Management

Because stress is considered a common trigger for rosacea flare-ups, stress management techniques may help keep rosacea in check. 

Bottom Line

For optimal treatment of rosacea, it's important to work with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan and learn to live with the condition. It may take time to figure out the triggers to avoid and the lifestyle changes and treatments that can manage your condition.

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