Just a Red Face – or Something More?

You've got a red face. Red blotches. Is it just a temporary thing? Or something More. Rosacea is a real health condition. Find out why I had a red face--and what I did to get rid of it.

Last night a new acquaintance said to me, “You have a beautiful complexion!” (and no, the above photo is not of me).

I almost couldn’t believe it, and then I told her what a testimony that was to my health improving.  I mentioned to her my previous struggles with acne and rosacea and thought, “I need to share with others what I’ve been through with my skin and my health.”

Your skin can be a reflection of what is going on inside of you.

If you have acne, rosacea, eczema, or other things going on, something isn’t quite right inside.

Approximately 45 million people worldwide don’t know that they have rosacea, that it is treatable, and that it is a symptom of other deeper issues.

There are different thoughts in the alternative medical community about the causes of skin problems, but I’m going to share part of my skin story so that hopefully you can benefit from what I’ve learned.

In my childhood, I always had beautiful olive-toned skin.

The first signs that I had a problem showed up in my late 20s.  I remember wondering about faint flushing that I’d begun to experience and I asked an older woman in my church if she thought that I had rosacea.  She had mild rosacea, and she said that there was no way I did.

But the redness continued to come and go.  Slight, but still there.

Several years later, I asked my doctor what he thought, but he dismissed my concerns and told me to just be gentle with how I washed my skin – “Use tepid water and don’t scrub,” was his advice.

Fast forward again.

Another year or so later and I saw my dermatologist for another issue.  I timidly voiced my concerns, and he validated my suspicion.  “Mild rosacea – but it probably won’t get so bad that you’ll have a bulbous nose.”  Well, I was glad about the nose thing, but I didn’t want the red face either.

Years went by and I just avoided wearing pink and red.

It all was manageable until about 4 years ago when things got really bad.

My face was red.  Really red.  Nose, cheeks, chin. 

I felt this awful irritated tingling all the time.  I could feel it creeping up into my skin and it was basically petrifying.

I was crying, complaining to my husband, and scouring the internet for solutions.  I even got an intense case a few times when the rash got bright red and looked like the classic lupus butterfly rash.

Talk about stress.  Here’s what I found:

Typical Recommendations for Managing Rosacea:

  • Special face creams and washes
  • Dietary changes (e.g. avoid spicy foods, too hot or too cold drinks, and alcohol)
  • Avoid intense exercise
  • Avoid stress
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes
  • Green-tinted cover-up (can you say, “Wicked Witch”?)

Basically, I was supposed to change my whole life.  Meanwhile, rosacea was changing mine.

I didn’t want to go anywhere.

One night my husband kindly drove me across town to a woman’s house to try samples of her expensive skin care routine that was supposed to help rosacea.  More money to throw after a problem that wasn’t going away.  And how I was supposed to avoid stress when I felt like I my skin was inflamed all the time?

Well, finally I found some answers. 

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that can affect your whole life (believe me!)  It is characterized by (Source: Rosacea.org):

  • flare ups and remissions (comes and goes)
  • typically starts around age 30
  • redness on cheeks, nose, chin, and/or forehead (can be elsewhere)
  • typically gets worse over time, forming pimples and pustules and even the huge “bulbous” nose (e.g. W.C. Fields)

What Causes Rosacea?

There are a number of thoughts out there, but rosacea is thought to be linked to acid reflux.  And I’d been having heartburn.  So I talked with my physician and he prescribed Zantac.  Now, me being the “anti-pharmaceutical” person that I am (I’ve had enough damage done to me by antibiotics already, thank you), I put off taking them.  And did more research.

One thing on the internet caught my attention.

Acid reflux can be caused by too little acid in the stomach – not too much.

The remedy?  Betaine HCl (that stands for hydrochloric acid.  Stomach acid).

It sounded simple, but a bit scary. But after digging around on the internet more I thought it sounded pretty safe.

And the $17 bottle at the health food store for 200+ pills was a lot cheaper than the expensive skin care routine.

Next thing I knew I was driving to the health food store.

Two pills with my dinner and a good night’s sleep and …

My face looked a TON better in the morning.

I couldn’t believe it.

The rosacea wasn’t completely gone.  But it sure had been set back a lot.

I wasn’t afraid to go out in public anymore.  Though I didn’t want to wear red yet, at least I didn’t feel like I was going to crawl out of my skin.

Since then, I’ve continued to work on my health and my skin.

Please note:  Many of the links below are affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on them, I might make a commission.  Your support of my blog and the free resources here is MUCH appreciated.

I actually wore a scarf with pink in it a few weeks ago and was told by a friend how nice it looked :-).

Now, wearing pink or red is not my goal.  What I truly hope is that this information can help you or someone you love.  It may appear to be a merely a cosmetic issue, but looking and feeling inflamed all the time is not fun – and more importantly, it means something needs addressing inside.

Other related posts:

What is the Best Probiotic?
The “Straight Poop” About Probiotics

Finally, I am not a doctor. Even though I was Pre-Med at a quality university, I decided that I couldn’t likely juggle being a physician while being a mom.  In hindsight, I was probably right, but that doesn’t make me any less interested in all things medical.  Still, you must check with your own physician prior to changing your diet, exercise routine, or supplements.  Just makin’ sure we understand each other :).

If you struggle with rosacea, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you know someone struggling, please share this information with them!

{Photo Credit}

This post contains affiliate links.  Here is my disclaimer.

 

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  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with rosacea, reflux, and stomachs acid. That may explain why tomato gravy does not aggrivate my reflux. In fact, I crave acidic foods. I need to do more research myself now.

    Have you found any connection between reflux and tongue tie? My children have both been diagnosed with tongue tie and I suspect I also have a degree of it. If you are interested in starting some research google Holly Puckering and read the PDF file. Wow.

    Thanks for the time you put into your work.

  2. Adrienne, do you still take this? I’m just learning about it and hope it could help my acid reflux. Thanks! <3

  3. I just found your blog today and came across this post. I don’t have rosacea, but I am really having a lot of heartburn. I read about HCL with pepsin and tried it last week (250 mg…wanted to start slowly a) with my evening meal. I never experienced any warmth, but woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible acid taste in my mouth and a super uncomfortable, gurgly stomach. I’m guessing I have enough acid??? Can you describe the warmth you are supposed to feel?

    • Oooh…I guess you might. I can’t medically advise, but I would guess so. Perhaps trying during the day is better b/c you can be awake to evaluate how you feel. I was told that it’s best to start supplements in the morning for that reason. Hope that helps :). My “warmth” ended up being more of a tummy ache….