Just a Red Face – or Something More? | How I Soothed My Rosacea

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This is my story about how I soothed my terribly red face in a very unusual way.

If you have red, irritated skin on your face, I hope this helps you as well!

woman with red face

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 my poor red face and thought, “After all that I have been through, I really need to share with others what I’ve been through with my skin and my health.”

And so this post was born.

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

If you have blemishes or rashes going on with your skin, something isn’t quite right inside.  It could be a topical issue, of course, but more often than not if you work on something inside, the outside gets better.

Many many people are struggling with undiagnosed skin conditions. They think that they have to just live with them, putting makeup on top to cover up the problem.

But that is not true. There are ways to deal with these things–and sometimes working on the inside of your body is just what needs to happen.

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.

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My Face’s Story

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.  I had a real problem.

His reassurance? “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:

How to Soothe a Red Face

Following are some things that you can do to soothe red facial skin.

  • 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
  • Use Green-tinted cover-up (can you say, “Wicked Witch”?)

Basically, I was supposed to change my whole life.  Meanwhile, this red face was doing its best to do just that.

I truly 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 soothe irritated skin.  More money to throw after a problem that wasn’t going away.

And how I was supposed to avoid stress when I felt like my skin was inflamed all the time?  Sigh.

Well, finally I found some answers. 

What Causes a Red Face?

There are a lot of things that can cause redness on the face, but one of them might surprise you.

As I was doing research on my situation, I read that a red face is thought to be linked to acid reflux.  Interestingly, I’d been having heartburn.  So I talked with my physician and he prescribed Zantac.

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 and reading over and over again that people were having relief from this simple change sounded amazing, and the ingredients seemed to be simple and natural. Furthermore, there weren’t any big warnings about using a small amount.

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.

My red face wasn’t completely clear, but it sure had improved 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.

older woman with red face

What I Did to Soothe My Red Skin

The HCL was a great help for me, but there are other things that have been helpful for me as I have worked on my overall health doing the following.

How Is My Face Now?

I actually wore a scarf with pink in it a few weeks ago and was told by a friend how nice it looked. Great, huh?

So wearing pink or red is not my goal, but it sure feels nice to be able to wear these colors and not feel self-conscious.  What I truly hope is that this information can help you or someone you love.

Your red face may appear to be merely a cosmetic issue, but looking and feeling inflamed all the time is not fun. And more importantly, it typically means something needs addressing inside.

Clean Skincare to Soothe Redness

Beautycounter products in a wooden tray

What you use on your face can make a big difference for your red face. You should use something gentle, with safer ingredients, and no artificial fragrances.

I use a number of products that I love but one of my favorite companies is Beautycounter due to their transparency and quality. Following are products that many who struggle with a red, irritated, face say have helped them.

Cleansing Balm (used as a cleanser or as a soothing balm–this should last about 6 months at least if used as a balm)

Countermatch Line – this set has worked wonders for lot of people with red and irritated skin, like rosacea. Their Countermatch Moisturizer works well for all kinds of irritated skin on the face.

Supreme Cream – A fantastic moisturizer.

Counterstart – this line is really basic and has also been a winner for those struggling with red, irritated skin.

Others mentioned that a facial oil with calming essential oils was helpful too.

I’m happy to help you with these products or any others and can discuss other companies as well. Just comment below the post or reach out to me at adrienne {at} wholenewmom {dot} com.

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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 a red face, what has helped you?
If you know someone struggling, please share this information with them!

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  1. Hello! So… I am big into Chinese medicine and how it effects my body. I am huge into natural ways first and western medicine as a last resort. (The woman I see has been known to cure some forms of cancer with Chinese herbs and acupuncture and it is quite interesting to read on TCM (traditional chinese medicine). If you are brand new and are figuring the natural way out, I recommend looking into that, along with Dr. Marc Hyman. It is amazing the information that there is on the two). I am not sure if I have Rosacea or not to be honest. My skin does look similar to images I have found on the internet. Were your cheeks also very sore if you put pressure on them at all like they were inflamed? I am 17 and have had the slight redness for a few years. It honestly is getting so uncomfortable. I am working to heal my body (a lot of other issues) already, including my hypothyroidism, having a deficiency in B12, my metabolism was broken, so it has been stressful. And to add to it, the painful redness on my cheeks. I am really bad about taking supplements. At the moment I was taking 23 different kinds from a nutritionist. I sort of stopped taking them, which I know is really stupid of me. But one of the things he prescribed was HCL ease. I am going to try to start taking them again and hopefully it will go away once and for all. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi there. They did feel inflamed. Sometimes itching and sometimes warm. I hope you are feeling better. Sorry for the delay in responding. Things have been nuts here. Please update me!

  2. I truly believe that it’s definitely an internal problem..topical things may help but not for long. I have tried astragalus which after a day or two has noticeably calmed the redness. It is used mainly for frequent colds and the immune system. After sharing this other friends who have tried this herb and they got results as well!

  3. I’m white with super sensitive skin that is rosacea prone. The Made from Earth Rosehip Hibiscus Serum clears up any dryness or flakiness extremely quickly, doesn’t cause breakouts and soothes my rosacea. It leaves my skin hydrated and absorbs very quickly.

    My skin has cleared up in a matter of weeks and healed very nicely.

  4. Thank you!!! I hate to swallow more pills, but I’ll give it a try! (I’m already taking so many to heal my IC. ??)

    After trusting you through the essential oil research study that you did, I’m confident that this just might help me, too!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. I’d be happy to share the supplements and other natural healing products that not only allowed my UTI to go away without multiple prescriptions of antibiotics, but is, also, now rebuilding the GAG layer of my bladder, diminishing and, now, ending the pain of IC!

      1. Hello, just happened to see your post on UTI issues. Please know I have old timer friends (former farmers now in their 80’s) who have sworn by this remedy for UTI and any other bladder or kidney related problems forever. It absolutely destroys UTI and bladder infections of any kind. Buy DILL SEED. Any kind will do, but organic is best. Do not buy Dill Weed. It must be Dill Seed. Get a small pot and boil about 2 cups of water on the stove and put in about 3 teaspoons of Dill Seed. Boil it up and put on a low simmer after it boils for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat. And let it sit til warm. Strain out the seeds and drink the tea. Do not use any other additive to the tea. Drink a cup at a time. Continue drinking the tea about 3 times per day until your infection is gone. It will only take about 2 days for a regular UTI. Maybe a day longer if you have severe urinary tract problems. This tea expels (….not to be graphic….) all infection including parasitic matter, pus, infected blood in urine will pass out, discolored urine, all unnatural matter. If you have a fever with the UTI, that will pass too. Continue to drink plain filtered water while performing this remedy. You will feel well again. Drink this tea even at the slightest sign of bladder pain or UTI symptoms.

  5. My adopted daughter has rosacea. We were told, it was a mite problem and to change her pillow case every night. It has REALLY helped. And her, sweet red face is normal, when she advoids the triggers, for her the worse is vinegar, and second direct sun.

  6. My skin has cleared up mostly. I still get some rosacea around my nose that seems to keep coming back but I Dermalmd Rosacea Serum definitely helps it not flare up as much and as noticeable.. 🙂

  7. Just wondering if the Betaine HCL helped with the acid reflux? I have been having it pretty bad for a while and was sent to a gastroenterologist who wants to me to take omeprazole for 6 months because she says if there is damage to my esophagus it will take that long to heal and she will re-evaluate me then! When I mentioned that I had read that acid reflux is often from not enough acid she dismissed the idea. I should mention that I also have a hiatal hernia. Anyway, the omeprazole does stop the reflux but from the reading I have done it not only stops production of acid in the stomach but every cell in the body as well… and the acid in the cells is needed to break down proteins so they don’t build up. And I just keep imagining all the food I eat sitting in my stomach with no acid to help it digest so it just sits there putrifying, growing all kinds of nasty bacteria that will end up causing all kinds of problems. But every time I stop taking the omeprazole the acid reflux comes back with a vengeance. So I am wondering if the Betaine HCL will help to alleviate that.. i do usually take a probiotic as well and have taken digestive enzymes before but not lately. I really don’t want to have to keep taking the omeprazole. 🙁

    1. All I can say is that my rosacea is so much better when doing things like this for my digestion. So my physician thought that I had acid reflux b/c of the heartburn but it all stopped w/ the HCl. Of course since your physician is concerned about damage to the esophagus you should consult w/ a physician but I am very happy with how it helped me.

    2. look into melatonin for your reflux.
      i was on ppis for about 15 years…some at 3 to 4 times the recommended dose (while under the care of a gastroenterologist!) i only got worse.
      after years of trying various natural remedies, i found some research on melatonin…more melatonin is made in your gut than in your eyes…i found a protocol for 3 mg of melatonin, a b-complex and other supplements. i only ever used the melatonin and b-complex. i am now down to taking 3mg of melatonin 5 nights a week, i also have a “reflux” box frame for my mattress as well. i also use a little baking soda if i feel reflux coming on. i’m 95% better and 1000% better than when i was taking the ppis. i am also on a low carb high fat diet.

  8. Hmmm this is interesting. I have occular rosacea and I take Zantac everyday but it’s because I take Zoloft that makes me feel so sick and nauseous. I wonder if the Zantac is taking away too much acid? It’s hard to say.

    1. It’s hard to know but from my research that I did for myself I found that deficiency of acid seems to be fairly common. For me it was worth trying. They put you on the Zantac b/c of the Zoloft?

  9. I have ocular rosacea and I wasn’t getting relief. I had temporary relief using some salve made from essential oils and coconut oil, but it wasn’t consistently working. I’d used dermalmd years ago for dry skin, and I remember it was effective. So after reading the reviews and doing some research, I bought dermalmd rosacea serum. It helps! My eyelids love it. I’ve kept the redness and swelling at bay since I got this. It took a few days at first, but it definitely works.

  10. I tried the Made from Earth Rosehip Serum for my rosacea on my cheeks and it works because my cheeks really flare up in the winter with central heating, cold, etc. It has definitely helped the flare ups and moisturises really well. I use on my cheeks morning and night under foundation. No rosacea product works for everyone but the Made from Earth Rosehip Serum worked for me and is reasonable in price

  11. I have struggled with red skin for years. I have adult acne and as a result have many old scars and red skin. I struggle to leave the house without make up on as my skin looked so sore and inflamed.

    I have tried many rosacea treatments and most have left me with very dry itchy skin as my acne sill pops out around my neck and jawline.

    This however the Somaluxe Redness Repair has really helped. My red skin is starting to fade. It’s also helping with current acne spots. There not dry and itchy anymore my breakouts seem less severe as the redness has reduced. I love the product.

  12. For my face I’ve only been using dermalmd rosacea serum about a month or so and I can tell a difference already. The sides of my face and nose are extremely red and it has lessened. It is a very thick serum but is not greasy at all, a little goes a long way.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I can’t find the ingredient list anywhere- just key ingredients. Do you have the list please? thanks!

  13. I have always had red cheekanitis as my son calls it. I am of British decent
    People always said I looked like I was healthy, then that turned into raccoon face meaning that did I have sunglasses on when out in the sun, which one speaker at a health conference, picked me out and said I had kidney problems. I have rosacea for sure.
    It gets worse with wine, stress and lack of sleep.
    I also had excema very badly when I was young. Skin it seems, is a neurological billboard
    I do have neurological problems which have me in the MS category and suffer from fatigue, sensory overload, digestive complaints, neuralgia etc
    I have had digestive issue and food sensitivities my whole life.
    About 4 years ago, I had some very shocking news and developed trouble swallowing, , I finally figured out I had a hiatus hernia which accounted for my upset tummy, acid reflux. This I managed to counter with a few tricks I learned while researching. One being I had very bad posture my whole life which I have somewhat corrected
    Breathing practices, stretching, yoga and what I call time out for integration help my rosacea. I don’t put anything on my face as it flares up
    I’ve started Essential oils but only sniffing and some diffusion but went into severe coughing. I was told I was detoxing. I stopped the oils and stopped coughing but was hoping they could cross the blood brain barrier and clear up my nervous system and my skin
    I do drink wine but mostly I only drink water, little dairy, hardly any gluten and eat small portions. I do find that taking digestive aids and Hcl help
    I also take magnesium and essential fatty acids
    Only one of my children has red cheekanitis
    A lot of research needed so I like this blog for all the work being done already

    1. Welcome, Daphne, and thanks for your kind words. I am trying out some new products for rosacea. Mine flared over the past few weeks – it hasn’t done that for a long long time. Have you done anything for your kidneys? I have been curious about that.

  14. It’s so good to find other bloggers talking about rosacea – even though it’s so common, it’s hard to find others.
    I’ve had rosacea for 10 years (since I was 21) and I’ve finally got it under control (as much as possible!)

    I’m really intrigued about your link between acid reflux and rosacea, going to do some more research into that!

    Here’s my blog if you’re interested in reading about my rosacea journey: https://talontedlex.co.uk/2015/04/09/what-is-rosacea-my-diagnosis-and-what-it-means-to/


  15. I also found a product that helps shade the redness, it’s Physicians Formula face powder. There’s a shade with green and pink and white, it’s a great cover up for emergencies till you can get your skin straightened out. I work in a restaurant and it’s stressful and you run around constantly, my face gets red and heated. I go to the ladies bathroom and dust some on my cheeks when I feel them tingling, it hides the redness without making my face look washed out (pink shade) and doesn’t look green or white.. the three shades work together to give you a natural blush cover up.

    1. Hi there. I think I tried some samples of that – it didn’t work great for me, but glad it’s working for you. Have you tried the HCl?

  16. 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?

    1. 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….

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

    1. Yes, I do. I am so sorry to just be getting back to you – I think your comment went to spam and I am just trying to catch up. Thanks and let me know.

  18. 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.

    1. Thanks! Interesting. I have no idea but my boys both have some degree. I don’t believe that I do at all though.

  19. I have the bumpy, pimples type of Rosacea. I’m 66 years old and it seemed to manifest after a serious horse riding accident 6 years ago. Maybe it was the trauma? Perhaps the medications I was given. I’ll never know. I do tend to have adrenal fatigue so there’s a connection.
    I’m writing to that tell you this ; I’ve been to countless dermatologists, used their prescription drugs, all to no avail. They worked a bit, or for a while and if I missed a day, it was all back. I found a company called BeautiControl. I tried their Sensitive Skin care line using the face wash, moisturizer and their Calming Fluid for flare ups (usually from being in the sun too long). I have found that buy using these products in the morning and before bed, my Rosacea is almost non existent. Best thing is if I skip a session or even a day or two it doesn’t flare up again like when I was using the prescriptions. The stuff is not too expensive and lats quite a long time (months).
    I want to share this with other sufferers.
    Full disclosure :I did work for BeautiControl after my accident. I’m a massage therapist. I broke my back in that accident and couldn’t do massage anyone, but seriously missed that spa environmental I found this company and did home spa parties. I still ‘belong’ to that company, but purely for the small discount I get when purchasing my skin products. Happily, I’m back to doing massage again.
    I’m intrigued by your information about actually getting rid of this nasty condition and will now continue reading what you have to say about it in your blog. Thank you for doing the research!

    1. Glad to hear something is working for you! I wonder if the stress might have upset your gut and caused the condition. I am using a line by Miessence that is likely more expensive but I am happy with it. Not sure about BeautiControl’s ingredients. I haven’t looked at them in a long time. Welcome!!!