How I helped get rid of rosacea.
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. It could be a topical issues, but more often than not if you work on something inside, the outside gets better.
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:
What You Can Do to Get Rid of 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? Sigh.
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 one is that 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 did more research and put off taking the pills. I've had enough damage done to me by antibiotics (so I try to avoid antibiotics unless there is no other option) already, thank you.
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.
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What I Do to Get Rid of Rosacea
The HCL was a great help for me, but there are other things that are helpful for healing from the inside out.
- Boost Digestive Function with supplements (I take a good digestive enzyme (I am taking this brand right now.) and HCl (I've used many brands over the years. This Betaine HCL is the first brand that I started with. I am using this brand right now.)
- Increasing digestibility of foods (see How to De-Gas Beans too)
- Dietary Changes (esp. avoid sugar, refined foods, dairy and gluten)
- Strengthen immune system (I have been healing adrenal fatigue and doing metal detox)
- Gentle, natural skin care (like my Do It Yourself Soothing Jojoba Skin Cleanser.
Update – I've switched to Ava Anderson skincare & cosmetics.Update 2016: I left Ava Anderson (now Pure Haven Essentials) due to labeling and ethics concerns.I personally use and love Beautycounter skincare and NYR Organic. I love the Cleansing Balm from Beautycounter for an all day and night soothing treatment. It's a bit pricey but it lasts a very very very long time.
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:
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, what has helped you?
If you know someone struggling, please share this information with them!